Category Archives: Opinions

Winter Begins – are you prepared?

Winter begins – December 21st – are you prepared in your home?

Here is an article from Kiplinger that shared the 12 items that you should do to prepare your home for winter.  In case you didn’t do them, you can review them now.


These are the points that you can do at any time:

Check your furnace/AC – if you call when there isn’t an extreme temperature drop, you can probably avoid the “OMG, my furnace went out and it is -15 degrees outside” charge.  One thing that you should be doing monthly is changing your filters, especially if you are using the thin fiberglass filters.

Flip your ceiling fan direction – according to the energy star, fans are for the comfort of people, not the air movement.  We use our ceiling fans all year long to help circulate the air, especially in the rooms with volume ceilings.  We also leave the blowers on our furnace on all the time to help the air circulate between the basement and the upper floors. View this YouTube video to check on the direction your fan blades should be going right now!

Caulk around windows/doors – If you can hold a candle in front of your window and the flame extinguishes, you might have a leaky window.  Apply some caulk around any gaps. Read more here.


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Deck – composite or not

A recent article by Gene and Katie Hamilton from Do It Yourself or Not? prompted this opinion.

First off, composite decking materials are supposed to be “maintenance free”.  Nothing is ever maintenance free, but composite deck material is very close.  Power wash it a couple times a year to remove dirt and residue and it will look wonderful for many years.

Material cost over treated or cedar is to be expected at the high end of the spectrum, but the lack of annual maintenance material cost is well worth the initial expense.

In the DIYORNOT article the authors indicated that you could purchase Trex decking for a 300 square foot

English: This is a picture of New-Tech brand w...
Plastic composite, a type of engineered wood. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ground level deck and fasteners for $2600, install it yourself and save 29% in labor charges over the $3651 contractor charge. We think the material cost is low compared to a smaller project we have just recently completed.

Several questions you have to ask yourself:

  1. Do you have the right tools?
  2. Do you have the extra time?
  3. Will you pass inspection? (oh – did you get a permit?)
  4. Will you order materials properly? (have enough without ordering too much extra)
  5. Will your sanity be in check when you are complete?

Do it yourself projects are really great if you have skills, patience and understanding.  Sometimes it is best to hire a professional to save you stress and anxiety, and in the long run, often, money.

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