SPOOKTACULAR Coloring Contest

Bring us your best coloring!

There will be prizes for 1st place in each age group! Winners will be voted on by the Gateway Realty Wiggins & Fort Morgan staff on October 20, 2016.

Age groups: 0-5 , 6-11 , 12-18

fullsizerender1

Our awesome prizes!!!

Pick up a sheet at our office or look for us at Oktoberfest in Brush!

coloringcontest-spooky

Bring your colorful haunted house back to us at either location or mail it.

Gateway Realty Wiggins
105 Central Ave.
Wiggins, CO 80654

Gateway Realty Wiggins in Fort Morgan
417 Main St.
Fort Morgan, CO 80701

Happy Coloring!

 

Your Window to the World

19148790_lDid you know that in the average home, 22 percent of your energy is lost through your windows? But wait. It gets worse. Older homes with single pane glass, cracked or missing caulk, soft or rotting wood – that sound you hear is money literally flying out the window! It is time to get them replaced.

many sizes of windows
44634051_lThere are many styles of windows, but only two basic types of replacements – insert windows (sometimes called “pocket” windows), and “new construction” windows. Insert windows are designed to use the existing frame. The old window is popped out and the insert, complete with its own secondary frame (which could be vinyl, insulation-filled vinyl, wood, vinyl clad wood, aluminum, or composite), is slipped into the “pocket”, insulated with foam or fiberglass, fastened to the old frame, and then caulked. Due to the secondary frame, the new glass area will be slightly smaller than the original. The cost of insert replacements, depending on the style you choose, can be anywhere from $400 to $1000 per window (including installation).
If the smaller glass area is unacceptable, or if the existing window frame is soft and rotted, you will need new construction windows. These come complete with an original-sized frame, so the entire old window needs to be removed inside and out, right down to the rough opening. Vinyl or aluminum siding on the exterior needs to be pulled off in order to gain access to the studs. The windows themselves will cost an extra $50 to $100, but due to the extra labor, expect to pay double the cost of a pocket window. If the exterior of your house is brick, the cost to hire a mason could be enormous. Never let it get that far – invest in commercial caulking around all the windows to keep out moisture.

The Materials Matter

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1. Vinyl – The lowest cost option, vinyl comes with some trade-offs. As the temperature changes, vinyl will expand and contract more than any other material, so proper insulation is crucial. Also, most manufacturers have a good, better, and best line of vinyl windows – always go for the “best” model, heat loss on the low-end frames is appalling. For those who just can’t get over the look of vinyl, the next step up is – wood.

2. Wood – Easily the best looking, wood windows expand and contract less than vinyl, and can be clad on the outside with aluminum or fiberglass for lower maintainence. If you’re going for that rustic bare wood look instead, expect to spend some time with steel wool and varnish every few years or so.

3. Aluminum – Designed primarily for commercial applications or for buildings with ultra-mod styling, aluminum is a poor choice due to rapid heat transfer – and always in the wrong direction! Some manufacturers install a “thermal break” inside the frame in an attempt to lower the Btu/Hr heat loss.

4. Composite – In an attempt to match the low cost of vinyl without the horrible look, some manufacturers are mixing recycled wood fiber, plastic, and sometimes fiberglass (in the high-end models), to create “composite” windows. This is a new process, so no one knows if they will last 20 years (like vinyl), or fall apart sooner as the bonding agent decays. Only time will tell.

5. Fiberglass – The best (and most expensive!) option, fiberglass is paintable, stronger, longer lasting, and the best insulating, especially with foam-filled frames. You wouldn’t want it in a vintage home where unclad wood is the product of choice, but if your budget allows, fiberglass is the way to go. The hideous cost? A homeowner who is spending $20,000 for a complete high-end wood window install can expect to pay $30,000 for fiberglass.

Through the Looking Glass

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Now that you’ve picked out your frames, it’s time to decide on the glass. A much easier task, as there only three choices. At this point in the process, the terms “U-Factor” and “R-Value” will be bandied about. R-Value is a measure of heat resistance, the higher the better. U-Factor (sometimes called U-Value) measures the loss of heat, lower numbers here are better – the opposite of R-Value.

1. Single Pane – still found all over the world in older homes, these consist of a single pane of uncoated glass in a frame. Unless you live in one of those rare places where the temperature is 70 degrees year-round, this choice will add an extra 35%-50% to your heating and cooling bill. Single pane windows generally have an R-Value of 1 (U-Value 0.98). This means that your window is allowing four times the heat flow as the same area of uninsulated wall. Adding a storm window with weatherstripping can nearly double this to R-2 (U-0.49). Still not good.

2. Double Pane – Adding a second layer of glass and sealing the area between the two panes (high-end units fill this air space with argon gas), coating the outer-facing surface of the inner pane (called Low-E glass, it reflects UV rays back outside while letting in most of the light), and adding insulated storm windows will lead to a dramatic improvement in Values (to R-3.4, U-0.29). This is about as good as it gets – salespeople who throw out higher numbers are playing fast and loose with the measurements, such as considering heat loss from the center of the glass only, as opposed to the entire window and frame combined.

3. Triple Pane – Delivers exactly what it advertises – three panes of insulated, coated (or un-, but usually coated) glass in a single frame. It is at this point, however, we run into the law of diminishing returns. These windows can have a R-Value as high as 5, but will only save an additional 2%-3% in energy, while costing 10%-15% more. They should only be considered by those in extreme climates!

(Sales) Resistance – Is Not Futile

Two workers in blue work clothes set a new window in the window

Now it’s time to pick out a contractor. A crucial decision – you can buy the best windows in the world, only to have the installer botch the job with shortcuts, and/or shoddy work. Get at least 3 estimates, more would be better. Read reviews, check out previous jobs these companies have done, and if at all possible, ask someone who “knows things” about the contractor business in your local area.
A lot of salespeople like to throw high numbers because they will make more money, even if they sell fewer jobs. Also, avoid the “lowballers” who will cut corners in order to deliver that low price. And if anyone tries these tactics, show them the door:

1. This price is good for today only! – For whatever reason. Last day of Super Sale. If I sell one more job – Volume Discount! It may be the owner’s cousin’s roommate’s dog’s birthday, but the truth is, really nothing much changes in the business from day to day.

2. Neighborhood discount! You’ll be our “Model Home”! We’ll put a sign up in your yard! – They are going to do all of this anyway.

3. Appointment saver discounts! Time management discounts! Volume discount! Buy 2 get 1 free! Trade in your old windows! Newsflash – nobody wants your decaying old windows. And there are no volume discounts in the replacement window world.

4. “Lifetime” Warranty! – Ask to read it (most people don’t). You’ll be surprised by what little is actually covered.

In other words – Do your homework. Know what you want in advance. Expect to pay more for top-of-the-line products that will last. Window remodeling is a big job, and you only want to do it once!

Happy Couple Moving Together In A New House Unpacking Cardboard

Best Home Facelifts

While searching for your perfect home, you’ve remembered the number one rule with real estate: location, location, location. So, say you’ve found a good area with good schools and great amenities, but what do you do if she’s not the prettiest house on the block? Don’t walk away from that home before you consider what she’d look like after a home facelift. Maybe the bones of that project can still render the home of your dreams. At Gateway Realty Wiggins, we love making dreams come true. So, keep an open mind when home hunting. Here is a list of some of our favorite transformations, showing the best home facelifts can change the way you feel about a fixer upper.

 

bi1 bi2

There are some homes that you stare at for a good reason and some for a bad reason. The “before” look of this home left much to be desired. It had okay curb appeal with a nice yard, but the neglect of the leaves in the gutters could leave a buyer thinking about soggy roofs and roof leaks. The upstairs windows look too small compared to the expanse of the roof line. In the “after” look, the roof line has given this home a drastic new look. The upstairs rooms are probably enjoying a nice new expansion, and the cedar shingles give the home a warmer look. The contrast in the light trim is echoed in the newly updated windows. A beautiful walkway invites everyone into this stylish home.

 

 

bilevel1 bilevel2

The standard lines and finishes of this house leave it feeling pretty standard. There’s nothing wring with this house, besides it lacking a wow factor. Pre-facelift, this house has warped-looking siding and out-of-date windows and door. Post facelift, this home doesn’t even look the same. The old siding has been removed and changed to a smooth stucco finish. The brick has given way to more colorful ceramic tiles. Bump-outs have been added to all the windows to give them more depth and focus, including the new windows above the door. The boring, flat roof line has been give a focal point with it’s new peak and cedar beams. The warm coloring of this home is also reflected in the new front door and windows and the terracotta-colored steps, walk, and driveway. The matching planter posts make this home look anything but standard.

 

 

blueranch1 blueranch2

The ranch-style house is know for its accessibility and open spaces, but not necessarily for its focal points. This doesn’t have to be true. This house’s “before” look sports contrasting paint colors and brick but still looks rather plain. The brighter color attempts to draw attention to the front door and make it appear popped out. So, why not actually pop it out? The “after” look of this home definitely adds attention right to the entrance to the home and its brand new porch. Stone and wooden pillars give this ranch a craftsman-style look while still sporting a contrasting paint scheme. A new roof line adds drama and class to this cozy home.

 

 

brick1 brick2

Again, these two homes don’t even look like the same house, but it’s one of the best home facelifts we’ve seen. Starting off, this house is quaint and seems to have some good light coming in from all its windows. But, it doesn’t have much else going for it. It looks small and will draw small attention. The most drastic change in this home is the second story that’s been added. Increasing square footage in this way always helps make a home more desirable. Instead of having the windows on only one side bumped out, they’ve added a beautiful bay window to the otherwise flat window. A door bump-out above the front door also helps to balance the home’s depths. By continuing the beautiful steps and adding planters, this home now draws loads of compliments. 

 

 

bungalow1 bungalow2

The sweet and simple bungalow looks very simple in its “before” state. It’s dark paint, dark roof, and unruly shrubbery make it look like this house is trying to hide. It’s not a bad little house, but it needs something to up it’s marketability. Adding an upstairs space helps give much-needed square footage. Rather than leaving the crawlspace to be just another blacked-out area, the “after” look trims the crawlspace making the home look even taller. Instead of dark steps, white rises are added to the new steps going up to the beautiful new porch. This home looks so much larger and definitely much cozier.

 

 

farmhouse1 farmhouse2

The sold sign on this house definitely sets the tone “you’re a sucker.” The new owners must have surely felt that way looking at this fixer upper. It’s a plain, small house with an overgrown yard. The best thing going for it is the siding looks okay. Rather than keeping a boring white-on-beige paint scheme, they chose a darker, more contrasting paint color. Adding a beautiful white pergola to the newly built porch gives an excellent place to lounge. And what good is a porch without an entrance to the home? A beautiful red door has been added to the front of the home instead of off side steps. A stone walkway in a well-manicured yard add perfect finishing touches.

 

 

ply1 ply2

Average two-story houses look kind of average. It’s got a flat roof, flat windows, flat front door, and a flat beige and tan paint scheme. The red brick just makes the house look heavy but not impressive. In the facelift, the paint scheme is still neutral but done in a much more eye-catching way. A larger contrast in colors compliments the new stone front. Red accents draw attention upward to the home’s new heights. A new peak in the roof line gives a little more headroom in the attic. This home isn’t boring any longer.

 

 

porch1 porch2

Craftsman-style renovations give this home facelift much more character. The “before” look of this house seems to betray a possible problem with an uneven roof, plain white pillars, an abandoned porch and steps, and a front door that’s hard to find. A makeover to these pillars in two-tone paint keep with the craftsman-styling. The two-tone trim of the upper window is more pronounced in the sharp white on gray paint scheme. White railings help to define this large porch. A glass-paneled front door makes sure to grab attention. New landscaping keep this home stylish and clean.

 

 

ranch1 ranch2

Another boring ranch house has received quite a facelift here. Plain windows, a plain roof, and an abandoned yard aren’t very impressive. Refreshing the paint and adding dark shutters make this home look better than new. A bump-out above the front door gives a really nice focal point to an otherwise bland expanse of the plain ranch-style. Breaking up the color scheme with the white front door area adds more size to this large home. A warm walkway give the steps someplace to go as it frames new landscaping. This home looks bigger, brighter, classier, and definitely not plain.

 

 

whiteranch1 whiteranch2

One of the most shocking transformations belongs to this tiny white house. Its roof looks like it is carrying damage and the greenery is about as tall as the house. It looks like something straight out of the 50’s or 60’s  and probably hasn’t been updated since then. Adding the upper windows and their roof peaks give this home much-needed dimensions. Repainting the home gives it an updated look, and now the landscaping doesn’t look like it’s part of an abandoned house. The “before” could easily be the picture of a bank foreclosure while the “after” looks like a home anyone would be proud of.

 

Sometimes we find the home of our dreams, and sometimes we build the home of our dreams. Whenever you are ready to find your dream home, know that you can trust in Gateway Realty Wiggins.

 

For further reading:

Man Cave of Our Dreams

Home Selling Tips

Create Your Own Backyard Oasis

 

Best Man Caves

At Gateway Realty, we are committed to helping you to find the home of your dreams. Of course, we want to inspire you as well. We’ve explored some ultimate man cave must-haves, but now have to show you the best of the best man caves.

 

 

guns‘Cause ‘Merica! That’s why. It’s better to be prepared in this man cave/doomsday shelter.

 

 

barIf you want the ultimate party palace, check out this man cave. Plenty of seating, arcade games, and an awesome bar make this a man cave you won’t want to leave.

 

 

cabinFor a quieter getaway, opt for a rustic cabin setting. Natural woods and stone with your game trophies set the scene for roughing it, wilderness style.

 

 

belairIf you prefer an old school setting, check out this room. Classic arcade games, favorite records, and of course a couch made out of a Chevy Belair will make sure everyone knows your man cave as one of the best man caves.

 

 

fieldofdreamsMake sure you catch every first pitch in style. Your own field and all the best memorabilia make it even better than watching games from the stands.

 

 

mlbCatch all the action in theater-style leather recliners. Belly up to the bar without missing the action on all the multiple TV’s.

 

 

ultimateBut, if you want to have over more than a few friends, check out this theater man cave. Get all your fantasy drafts done in style with this epic entertainment system.

 

 

diamondClassic styling of diamond-pressed metal trim this awesome pool table. There’s plenty of room for friends and your favorite ride.

 

 

harleySpeaking of favorite rides, check out this Harley-themed man cave. Custom Harley lighting and acid stained concrete floors welcome anyone you let into your man cave.

 

 

racingCalling all gearheads! The best man caves don’t always have to be huge, just filled with what you love. A custom, scale model track celebrates your favorite drivers while you catch the latest race.

 

 

hockeyIf hockey is your game, there’s no better way to watch games than in your own rink with life-size wall wraps.

 

 

elkCabela’s who? Just kidding. But seriously, this is one of the best man caves we’ve ever seen. The ultimate game hunter has to have a custom rock wall. So cool.

 

 

bowlingWho needs to go out for cosmic bowling when you have the best lanes here? Neon and glow-in-the-dark carpet has never looked so good.

 

 

swivelWho’s ready for some football?!! Custom turn-style seating and turf keeps you and your friends driving for the best action.

 

 

Enjoy creating your own awesome man cave. Remember, when in the man cave:

beer
For further reading:

Revisit the sexiest bathrooms

Ultimate backyard retreats

Seller’s Checklist

How to Prepare Your House for Sale

You never get a second chance to make a first impression! It’s cliché, but when it comes to selling your home, it is so true. Potential buyers quickly make the decision to consider your home, sometimes before they even get our of the car. What kind of first impression will you home make?

Here is the Gateway Realty Checklist for Getting Your Ready For Sale:

  1. Preparing your home for sale

    Curb appeal!

    Start at the front curb and just look, better yet, take a before picture:

    1. Cut the lawn
    2. Trim Shrubs
    3. Weed
    4. Edge
    5. Rake
    6. Clean walk and driveway
    7. Repair gutters, eaves
    8. Touch up paint
    9. Consider a new paint job for your front door – polish the doorknob and make it pop!
  2. Now walk around the house and do the same to the back and side yards. Plus:
    1. Pick up litter
    2. Fix the fence – paint if needed
    3. Repair windows and screens
    4. Haul away old cars, trucks and equipment (like Glenn’s old broken down tractors!)
  3. getting your house ready for sale

    It’s tIme to tackle that “HoneyDO” list!

    Enter the entryway side door, back door and garage – what do you see:

    1. De-clutter everything!
    2. Less furniture is better because it makes the home seem more spacious. Put extra furniture in storage
    3. If you like wild colors, consider painting a neutral color. Fresh paint is inexpensive and can real make a difference
  4. The Clean Up!
    1. Shampoo the carpet
    2. Remove and store most clothes from closets
    3. Clean and dust everything
    4. Clean the stairs and hall
    5. Clean counters and the oven/stove
    6. Clean bathrooms and laundry room
    7. Clean the windows inside and out
  5. preparing your home for saleGeneral Maintenance:
    1. Fix cracks and holes in the plaster
    2. Repair leaky taps and toilets
    3. Oil squeaky doors
    4. Replace burned out lights

Once the house is ready for sale, you have some more work to do each time it will be shown:

  1. Turn on lights
  2. Open drapes during the day
  3. Light the fireplace
  4. Adjust air conditioning or heat to a comfortable temperature
  5. Put the dog outside
  6. Turn on soft music
  7. Turn on all the lights
  8. Baking something delicious, like cookies, if you have time

selling your home in eastern coloradoWhen you list your home with Gateway Realty, we will give you a list of simple and easy things you can do to enhance your home’s appeal. The busiest time for showings is right when the house goes on the market, so do the work well ahead of time!

We will market your home, but it’s up to you to make your home marketable! Prepare your house for sale properly and you will see a big return on investment!

 

Beautiful Rustic Entryways

First impressions are always lasting. Your home has no better way to make a great first impression than with an amazing, rustic entryway. Colorado has been known to have amazing new styles of log cabins. Rustic meets luxury in inspired homes like these:

entryway of arched wooden beams and stone pillars

The beautiful archways are supported by great stone pillars in this lovely home.

 

 

stone pathway linking home and guest home

Wooden siding on the home and a beautiful stone path surround this home, guest house, and enclosed breezeway.

 

 

huge open glass doors leading to stone patio

When you have such a gorgeous view of nature, why block it? This home’s glass entryway employs huge glass panes and structured beams.

 

 

stone staircase with rails made from trees

Enter a room in style. This stone staircase and tree railing displays an amazing take on rustic entryways.

 

25 foot ceilings in this luxury log cabin

Huge 25′ ceilings in this entryway make an impressive statement while showing the layers of structure in this home.

 

 

spiral staircase made of cut logs

Make a grand entrance on this one-of-a-kind spiral staircase. Halved logs make the steps and glide past the majestic tree growing right out of the home.

 

 

stone pathway leading into arched wooden beams

Beautiful rustic entryways extend from the home as well. The beautiful stone path leads guests directly under the arched wooden beams and to the luxurious stone façade of the home.

 

 

stream built into river stones leading to patio

Here, this home owner continues the beauty of nature by creating a stream and river rocks right up to the patio of the home.

 

 

multiple frames of wooden beams and stone pillars

Layer upon layer of the wooden frames in this home create a rustic entryway that is as beautiful as it is awe-inspiring.

 

 

entry way made up of two great trees

Nothing says natural like real trees. Two huge trees support this rustic entryway. Glass, stone and wood come together to create a breathtaking home that holds the beauty of nature, whether in the natural elements or in the reflections of nature in the glass work.

 

 

There is a reason why so many call Colorado home with all its beautiful colors and inspirations. The rustic entryways of luxurious log homes are in the designs of so many areas across the nation. If you’re going to “rough it” in the woods, do so in style.

For further reading:

Create your own oasis at home

Ultimate in bathroom luxury

Man cave it up

 

 

Prepare Your Yard for Cooler Weather

As the fall sets in, we are all enjoying cooler temperatures, changing colors of fall leaves, and pumpkin-flavored everything. By now, you’ve probably blown out your sprinklers and are raking falling leaves. But, now can be the best time to prepare your yard for cooler weather and make sure your spring and summer look great.

fall

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  • Remember to keep leaves and debris off the lawns to prevent damage
  • Disconnect hoses but keep nearby for fall watering
  • Water about every 3 weeks now through March when there’s been no snow or snow cover
  • Water only when it’s 40 degrees or warmer
  • Plant spring bulbs as soon as you get them and before the ground freezes
  • Protect shrubs with mulch and rose bushes
  • Deadhead any plants as needed
  • Wrap young trees with tree wrap to prevent sunscald
Sources: plantsomethingco.org, denverpost.com, ext.colostate.edu

Plant Something Now

Make your yard look great and heighten your curb appeal by planting perennials now. Try these hardy, low-maintenance options:

 

Peruvian Lily

peruvianlily

Flowers of the evergreen hybrids come in shades of purple with dark flecks and last well in bouquets. Alstroemeria aurea blooms come in shades of yellow and orange. The 2-to 3-foot tall plants produce flowering shoots as long as the soil doesn’t get too hot. (Twist the shoot off at the base to keep them coming).

 

Aster

aster
Delicate-looking flowers on ultra-tough plants tolerate just about any soil type. “Mönch” grows to 2 feet-tall and pumps out 2 1/2-inch lavender-blue flowers almost all year if spent ones are removed. “Wonder of Staffa” is another favorite with lavender blue blossoms.

 

Mango Punch

mangopunch
The low, mounding perennial covers itself in summer with mango-orange flowers that have a red blush. We love the fresh, fruity hue of this new variety. Clip the faded blooms so the flowers will keep coming.

 

Coneflower

coneflower
Colorful and super tough, “Ruby Star” from Monrovia nurseries has large pinkish-purple blooms with pronounced coppery centers. The plant grows 2-feet tall; the flowers are 4 inches across. Among the many showy hybrids are “Orange Meadowbrite”, butter-yellow “Sunrise”, and reddish-orange “Sundown”.

 

Gaura

gaura
White flowers cluster like butterflies atop tall spikes on these airy 2½- to 4-foot-tall plants. Selected forms include “Siskiyou Pink” (to 2 feet tall), with rose-pink flowers and “Whirling Butterflies” (to 3 feet tall), with white flowers.

 

Heuchera

heuchera
These garden workhorses thrive in light shade (full sun in cooler climates). They send up slender, wiry stems of tiny bell-shaped, pink or white blooms. But it’s the scalloped or lobed leaves we love most; they come in delicious shades of cool lime, plum, chocolate, and more. Our current crave: “Southern Comfort” from Terra Nova nurseries; its hue is rich and mellow, like its namesake.
Source: sunset.com
  

As you prepare your yard for cooler weather, you’re not only making your yard look great now, but also making your yard look great for the spring and summer. Take advantage of this time to add to your home’s curb appeal.

 

For further reading:

Why you should make sure your home is energy-efficient

Build your own man cave

Fund your dream home

 

5 Great Reasons to Get a Home Energy Audit!

12923221_mYour average house leaks energy like a steam boiler on an old locomotive. And while your home is unlikely to burst on a siding, there are a number of cost effective solutions available to improve efficiency and stop the leaks. The first place to start is with a home energy audit. Here are 5 great reasons to delay no longer:

1. Save Money!

A home energy audit identifies where and how your home is losing energy. Windows, doors, insulation, roofing, heating and cooling systems – they all need to be examined. Most fixes are surprisingly easy and inexpensive to implement. Big ticket items like your roof or furnace may even qualify for federal, state, and local tax credits, including rebates. There are a wide variety of programs designed to incentify home energy efficiency. And the beauty part is, that in time, they will all pay for themselves in energy cost savings.

2. Improve Your Home Comfort

28343264_mRoasting in the summer? Freezing in the winter?

What we have here is your basic uncomfortable living environment. Drafty doors and windows, rooms that are too cold in winter or too hot in summer are just some of the energy problems that contribute to the malaise. A Blower Door Test, along with Infrared Thermal Imaging, will find out why.

3. Uncover Potential Health Issues

Dust. A musty smell. Mold and mildew. In many cases, these problems are due to energy efficiency issues. A home energy audit will examine where and how these nasties are occurring, and propose cost-effective solutions.

4. Duct, Duct, Go!

Inefficient air circulation can be the reason behind fluctuating temperatures, differences in dust or humidity build-up, and skyrocketing heating and cooling costs. An energy audit will show you what ductwork, if any, needs to be repaired or replaced.

5. Increased Home Resale Value

Your home is your biggest and most valuable investment. Anything you can do to increase its value can only be good. As there is a 20 to 1 ratio between annual energy savings and the market value of a home, a $300.00 yearly decrease in energy costs will add $6000.00 to its resale value, as well as improve marketability.

Now is the time, because…

winterWinter Is Coming!

Wrongo, Blitzen breath. Winter never left. It just took a brief nap. And after the coolest summer on record, we may be in for a bit of a cold snap. In order to find out what more can be done to improve home energy efficiency, we interviewed Cary Leech of Green Energy Audits.

Gateway Realty: First, let me say what an honor and a privilege it is to have someone with your knowledge and experience appear with us today.

Cary: Why, thank you.

Gateway Realty: Let’s get right to it. You’ve read the post. Do you have any suggestions as to what more a homeowner can do?

Home-Page-Image-2Cary: Certainly. Insulated whole house fans use about 20% the amount of the energy that central AC units consume, and release no greenhouse gasses into our environment. They bring in cool evening air, cooling down the furniture and flushing out the attic of hot stale air. In the morning, close all your blinds and window coverings to keep the house cooler longer during the day.

Switching from incandescent light bulbs to LED bulbs have the fastest rate of return related to any energy saving measure you can do to your home. LED bulbs will last 50,000 hours vs 1200 hours for your average incandescent. That’s 42 incandescent bulbs to one LED bulb. Over its lifetime the LED will cost about $85 vs $352 for incandescent bulbs. That’s a great light bulb fund you’ll want to invest in.

A 20 year old refrigerator costs about $143 a year to operate, switching to an Energy Star rated model will cost about $45 a year.

Gateway Realty: What about replacing an electric oven with a gas oven?

Home-Page-Image-1Cary: There are safety concerns for gas ovens vs electric ovens. There are some advantages to using gas over electric, but the biggest advantage to electric is safety. Gas ovens can produce over 500 ppm (parts per million) CO (carbon monoxide) during start up, which can produce ambient levels that are unsafe to breathe (9 ppm or higher). Unless you have a powerful exhaust fan to extinguish to the outside you are absorbing carbon monoxide into your blood system while you are cooking. If you do not have an exhaust fan, open windows in the kitchen to dilute the CO levels and provide fresh air.  Even stove tops can produce high levels of CO. We recommend cleaning the burners every few months, or replace the gas oven with a gas stove top and electric oven combination.

Gateway Realty: Those are all very excellent suggestions! Thank you for being with us.

Cary: Thank you for having me.

Check out greenenergyaudits.com, the Rebate Page, as well as Thermal Imaging. Its the bee’s knees!

Outdoor Oasis

For your ultimate outdoor oasis, you’ll need a few key elements.

 

seating

Any backyard paradise should have plenty of seating to entertain the many guests who will want to hang out.

 

kitchen

Built into this pergola is a huge island for your outdoor kitchen. Plenty of guests can gather around this expansive bar.

 

outdoor-kitchen

As important as a good grill is, always remember a great cooler is necessary too. This outdoor kitchen adds counter space to a stone cooler and built-in sink.

 

table fire pit

If you prefer to cook around a fire pit, get one that has a built-in table. Around this table, you can cook and entertain at the same time.

 

pool

Enjoy a dip in your natural stone pool. A partial roof allows for sunbathing, while trees and vines offer shady retreats.

 

hot tub

If you’re gonna have a hot tub, make sure it comes with a built-in waterfall that flows to your pool. The cycling water is not only beautiful but trickling waters add a calming sound.

 

creek

For a more natural water feature, let a creek carve its way through your oasis. Imagine how relaxing it is to lounge beside a flowing creek like this.

 

purple

Colorful accents in outdoor furniture compliment the natural greenery. Bring the comforts of home into your outdoor oasis with plush upholstered furniture.

 

bug-off

Keep the bugs away from your outdoor spaces by mixing citronella oil, mint, lemon, lime, & rosemary. Top off with floating candles for the perfect lanterns.

 

chandelier

For classier lighting, outfit a chandelier with solar lights. No need to worrying about wiring up this fixture. Let the sun do the work for you.

 

shower

Wash up from any adventures in your outdoor shower, and let the sunlight dry you off.

 

bed-swing

Kick back in your swinging daybed. Rock yourself to sleep in a plush cloud.

 

oasis

Escape the rain and sun with a closed-roof patio. This build will keep the party going through all kinds of weather.

 

pergola

If you prefer to gaze at the clouds as they drift by or watch the night sky light up, opt for a pergola with a retractable roof.

 

movietime

Add a screen for movie viewing to keep friends and family entertained all summer long.

 

For your ultimate outdoor oasis, combine the beauty of nature with the comforts of home. Forge a haven that is the perfect combination of luxury and low maintenance. Create an oasis that is perfect for entertaining as well as relaxing.

For further reading:

Sexiest Bathroom Showers

Ultimate Man Cave Ideas

Sexiest Bathroom Showers

We all take a shower everyday. (Well at least most of us anyway.) But what does your shower stall look like? If we had showers like these, we would always be clean! Here are our picks for the sexiest bathroom showers:

br2

 

sexiest bathroom shower stalls sexy bathroom shower bathroom shower with a wall of water sexy blue lit waterfall in shower sexy shower stall br5 br4 br3 Sexiest Bathroom Shower with door to the outside

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