Saturday, March 29, 2014

Guest Post - Playing Peak Hours to Your Advantage: How to Save Mountains on AC and Heating

Today I am welcoming Stefanie Miles with a Guest Post on Air Conditioning and Heating.  Thank you Stefanie!

Playing Peak Hours to Your Advantage: How to Save Mountains on AC and Heating
Your AC and heat are two of the biggest expenses on your electric bill. While you can unplug some appliances and try to do without, it's hard to turn down — or turn off — your HVAC system.

There are a few ways you can save money while still running your HVAC system — just by playing the peak hours of energy use to your advantage.

What Are Peak Hours?

Peak hours are the hours that your electric company gets the most demand. It's typically the time of day when businesses and homes are simultaneously running AC, heat, computers, electronics, and appliances. This puts a big strain on the electric supply. To help continue providing uninterrupted service during these hours, many electric companies charge you extra. Depending upon where you live, the company you use, and whether it's your home or your business that's being billed, you may pay a higher rate per kilowatt, or you may get a "demand charge," which can be anything from a few pennies to $20 per extra kilowatt.

How Can You Use Peak Hours to Your Advantage?

While peak hour energy use translates to a higher rate, off-peak energy usage costs less — in fact, some electric companies even offer rebates and monetary incentives for you to use the bulk of your electricity during off-peak times rather than during peak hours.

For other appliances this may mean waiting to run them during off-peak times. For your HVAC unit, it means using it smartly and in different ways during peak hours.

Find Out Your Peak Hours

The first step in using electricity intelligently is to call your electric company and find out the following:

·         When are the peak and off-peak hours in your area?

·         What is the rate difference between the two?

·         Do they offer rebates or other incentives if you lower your peak usage below a certain point?

·         Will you be charged extra if your load goes above a certain point during peak hours?

Once you have this information, you'll have a better sense of how you can lower your energy bills.

Lower Your HVAC Use

The most obvious way to save on energy costs is to eliminate as much energy use as possible during peak hours. Running the washing machine and dryer or dishwasher during off-peak hours, for example, is one way to lower your energy bill.

Of course it isn't always possible to run your AC and heating systems only during off-peak hours. Therefore, you need to change the way you use them during those hours. A few ways of doing this include:

·         Making incremental changes in the temperature set by your thermostat. Most people feel comfortable at temperatures below 70 degrees in winter and above 75 in summer; raise or lower the temperature 1 degree at a time during peak hours until you've managed to lower your energy usage during this time.

·         Installing a power manager. Some electric companies offer power managers that can be placed on your AC or HVAC unit. Power managers automatically detect peak or off-peak hours and will shut your system off for 1/2 hour every hour to lower your energy use during these times. Many companies that offer this system also offer credits to home and business owners that use them, which can lower your monthly bills even more.

·         Acting like a power manager. Even if your electric company doesn't offer power managers, you can operate your system as if they do. Shut off your AC or heat for 1/2 an hour at a time during peak hours to lower your drain on the system. 1/2 an hour isn't usually enough to cause temperatures to change too dramatically, which can make the unit work harder to compensate once it's turned back on.

Make It Work for You

Getting acquainted with peak and off-peak hours can make a big difference in your energy bill. Call your electric company today to find out what you could be saving and start pocketing the difference.

Stefanie Miles is a writer for Precision Air & Heating, a leading ac repair company in Phoenix, Arizona. She enjoys home improvement and typically does a project or two a week at her home.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Daffodils in Bloom!

Yes, Spring has Sprung at my house!  I love it when the daffodils are blooming.  Not much else is just yet, so they make me really, really happy!

Thanks for your visit!
Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Power Tools-- Guest Post

Today I am welcoming Daniel Foord with a Guest Post.  Thank you Daniel.


What defines a power tool as being ‘Industry Standard’?


For anyone that has needed to complete a domestic task like clean the car, clear leaves from the patio, or drill some holes for cables, there are a wide range of suitable machines available that can adequately deal with these types of jobs. These will include power tools, measuring tools, cutting tools, and air tools that can be acquired from a general purpose hardware merchandise shop.


There are also a host of tasks, which may be encountered through the process of domestic maintenance, where the types of machines available are simply not powerful enough to cope with the requirements of the job. There are some obvious safety reasons for not distributing the type of equipment that is necessary for this work to the general public. In some cases specialist training is needed before an individual is approved for use. Some pieces of industry standard equipment will only be available through an authorised vendor to a person with the appropriate trade credentials.


The defining factors for an industrial power tool are the level of expertise required to use the equipment and the output power of the device. There are ISO standards which regulate the classification of all machinery and these are used to decide whether a product is of a domestic, or industrial standard.


Finding industrial power tools


The majority of power tools, even industrial standard power tools, are available to members of the public without the need for specific training or qualifications. These can be sourced through merchants that deal specifically with a particular trade. A local directory service or business contact can help to locate these types of outlets. It is also possible to obtain industry standard power tools through reputable internet sites. When dealing with companies via the web it is essential to vet the site properly and check that they have the correct certification to handle the types of goods on offer. The site should have the correct mark badges and dealership approval illustrated on its pages. It is advisable to check the validity of any claims made about the approval to use or sell this equipment by making direct contact via email or phone. Through this form of contact it should be possible to obtain copies of any of the relevant certification for the machinery.


Buy or lease


As the type of equipment involved can be considerably expensive there are usually a variety of payment plans available for industrial power tools. Leasing is a popular option, particularly if the job will be completed in a short time frame. When purchasing this type of equipment outright it is worthwhile checking on resale value and any legal requirements for selling as it may be acceptable for member of the public to buy a particular tool, but there may be restrictions on any onward trade.


Author Bio - Daniel Foord has published a wide range of websites and is a regular contributor to blogs on a variety of topics including trade and industry. He researches on sites including Buck and Hickman in order to stay at the cutting edge of the latest industry news and developments.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Out with the Carpet, In with the Wood



My husband's 'Mancave' is the room above the garage.  I've heard them called a FROG (Family Room Over Garage) or Bonus room.  Whatever they're called, his is a big room with all of the requisite Mancave stuff.  :)

Recently, he decided he'd had enough of the carpet in there.  We were a little concerned about what was going on under the carpet, as there were a couple of "lumps" (for lack of a better word). 

He pulled out the carpet and found that some of the subfloor had buckled and/or wasn't completely seated on the joists.  Lovely....

So, all of the subfloor needed to be removed.  If you've ever removed subfloor, you know what a beast it is to pull up.  It is nailed and glued to every joist!!   Yes, we know how to have fun!  Add to that that the elliptical was too heavy to get down the stairs and out of the way, so we had to keep moving it as we worked.

I am not a goat or a gymnast.  I do not like walking on thin strips of wood.  I played volleyball and basketball. I never once had a desire to do the balance beam.  So to say I was not happy walking across this 400 square foot room on 1 3/4" slices of wood, would be a bit of an understatement...  But, I was successful and never once went through the sheetrock below!  (and I was able to move my end of the elliptical each time while balanced on that 1 3/4" board!)

We had to carry each sheet of subfloor upstairs, put in a lot more cross-joists and then lots of gluing, nailing and celebrating once another 4x8 slab of easy walking was complete!  :)

This weekend was the install weekend.  For much of the time, I was the pneumatic nailing woman.  Other times I was the tap the next board in place woman.  I think this job would've been a lot easier on my body 10 years ago!! 

We chose pre-finished Acacia hardwood.  We have walnut in the rest of our house, but because my husband lifts weights up there, he was afraid that the walnut might dent.  Acacia looks very much like it, but is three times harder. 

After 2 1/2 days of laying the floor, repainting the nicks in the walls, repainting the moulding, then reinstalling it, then carrying all of the contents back upstairs (including 300 pounds of free weights!), we now have a beautiful (wait, did I say WE?) HE has a beautiful new Mancave!


We have company coming this weekend, so get to rest and have fun.  After that, it's redoing the stairs up to the Mancave.  I'll be posting those pictures in a few weeks.  In the meantime, I'll be resting my sore body and shopping my heart out with my dear friend. 
Thanks for your visit!

I am linking to the following parties:


Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

DIY Show Off


The Scoop #110 at Stone Gable

Saturday, March 1, 2014

More Fun and Games for the Game Room

I love antique shows and flea markets, especially during the winter when there aren't any garage sales going on.

Recently I found a Chinese Checkers board at a flea market.  It didn't come with any of the marbles, but good ol' Amazon had someone selling a complete set for $5. 

I wanted to display the board on the wall of my Game Room, so used Tacky Glue and a toothpick and filled each hole.  I set each marble in and let them dry.  Instantly I had colorful artwork for the wall!

Recently, I found this old bank and a jar of marbles.  The bank works by collecting nickels, dimes and quarters.  When the value in the bank reaches $10, you can open it.  Yes, we now put our change in each evening.  My husband knew exactly how it worked, as he'd had one of these growing up.

I love the colorful jar of marbles.  It came with a new lid, so I just changed it out to an old zinc lid and love the new look!

What fun things have you found lately?
Thank you for your visit!

I am linking to the following parties:

Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

DIY Show Off