Heating and Cooling Your Log Home

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Needless to say, our forefathers didn’t worry too much about heating their log cabins. Big fireplaces had no problem warming up the one or two rooms they lived in. Of course now that log homes are family-sized, people often have the impression that there is something different about how they are heated, and the good news is that a standard system will work as well in a log home as a traditional structure.

Almost all log homes are built with at least one fireplace. Initially, we thought that our beautiful soapstone woodstove would heat the whole house, and we would use our forced-air propane heat as a backup. Alas, we were all wrong. Because we have a cathedral ceiling with a big loft, the heat from the stove goes directly upstairs, requiring two ceiling fans to recirculate the warm air. We expected this, but we also thought the heat would expand sideways into the rest of the open floor space (dining room and kitchen). Not on your life! Even sitting on the couch about 15 feet from the stove, I need a coverlet. I’m uncomfortably chilly in the kitchen. I think that if we had a regular ceiling, the heat might have gone where we expected it, but the volume of the cathedral ceiling threw off our calculations. Also, the soapstone stove is designed to be run 24/7, and because we both work for a living, the stove doesn’t get fired up until the evening. This woodstove needs to be heated up slowly at the risk of cracking the stone, so by the time it’s really cooking we’re ready for bed.

Old-fashioned fireplaces traditionally sucked all the warm air out of the room, but modern designs are more efficient at recirculating the heat. The most energy-efficient fireplace is built in the center of the house, so the stack heat is not lost to the outside. Outside stacks can create back drafts if the fire is extinguished, making a new fire more difficult to light. If you are planning multiple fireplaces, putting two of them back-to-back (facing adjoining rooms) will give you the opportunity to build one chimney with two flues. Or you could put a fireplace above your furnace, again allowing two flues in the same chimney. A direct-vent fireplace will eliminate the chimney, but you’ll have to figure out how to hide the vent on the outside wall. Or, if you use a wood-stove, you could run the pipe through the wall and straight up the outside, building a box around the pipe to simulate a chimney. Depending on the look you want, you may want to leave the pipe inside the room and send it through the roof. This will give more heat.

It’s a good idea to consider your heating and air-conditioning needs early in the design phase. Although log homes are naturally energy-efficient, it’s not wise to skimp on your system. You may be able to heat your whole house with a huge fireplace or wood … Read More

Small Basement Remodeling: Things You Need To Know For A Successful Project

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Whether you are living in Long Island, Staten Island, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens or just anywhere in the Big Apple, one thing that you share with most New York homeowners is having to live with limited space. Often, many homeowners look beyond what is available and end up unnecessarily breaking the bank. Though home additions can add value to your home and enhance quality of living, why resort to this when you still can achieve both for less the cost? The key to efficient use of space is maximizing what is readily there, thus making a small basement remodeling project a smart home improvement move to undertake.

Even if your basement is huge or small in terms of total area, success of the project inevitably lies in properly following several essential steps.

• Before anything else, you should already have established what finish you want to result out of your small basement remodeling project.

• A well-defined plan will be a crucial tool that could spell the difference in both the functionality and attractiveness of the newly spruced up space.

• For optimal usability and comfort, repair and waterproofing issues should first be solved. And to further ensure that the project finish lasts for the longest possible time, implement preventive measures to avoid future problems with moisture which means providing proper insulation, ventilation, and others.

Working on finishing the basement, with all its typical characteristics, is already challenging. Add limited space to that and your project is taken into a higher level of difficulty. Though the task may seem tricky, you just have to stick with universal dos and don’ts in small basement remodeling to bring out the most functional and beautiful finish and overall result.

• Do maximize use of natural and artificial lighting. This can be done through installing fixtures offering radiant lighting and widening or changing windows.

• Do not choose dark colors for your walls as it will only make the small basement remodeling finish seem smaller than it already is.

• Do provide innovative storage solutions that are not only compact but also provide efficient organization.

• Do not choose bulky furniture and fixtures, choose taller models which not only provide a touch of sleekness but also help to avoid crowding the room.

Quality craftsmanship, together with the type of project, is a crucial factor that adds considerable value to your home and can determine the amount of return on the investment you’ll be getting at resale time. This and other reasons, makes hiring a qualified New York contractor the best course of action. Why local? Availing the contracting services of Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, or those based in your areas would be beneficial in terms of communication and faster action in case of emergencies related to the project. With a hired local contractor, the project will take just a fraction of the time and effort you allot for DIY. By the time you see and enjoy the result of your small basement … Read More

AZLT S4 E7 Lowe and Welch Home

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Kim Lowe 480.363.1622 [email protected] Tara Welch 480-227-9588 [email protected] Myron Chamberlain 480.358.7801 …

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Improve Your Home’s Value by Building a Home Workshop

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Many people have their workshop in an unused corner of their garage or the basement or some other out-of-the-way area. This can prove to be problematic, if the space is needed for other things or if there isn’t enough room to really spread out one’s projects or tools. Building a workshop can solve these problems and also add to your home’s value if it is planned out properly.

There are a lot of plans and instructions out on the Internet and provided by hardware supply companies and there is really no limit to the kind of structure one can build, provided that the rules and laws governing one’s property are adhered to. It’s a good idea to get a copy of your area’s zoning laws to find out if you need a permit to build the workshop you’re planning on. Also, homes governed by a home or neighborhood association may be limited as to the kind of structures they can build and owners may need permission to build at all.

The plans you choose for your workshop should allow for the inclusion of electricity. Again, there are many resources on this, so I need not enumerate the how-to’s of this. The important thing is that you ensure that the electricity running out to your shop is treated as seriously as that running inside your house – it must be grounded and up to code. When in doubt, get competent professionals to install and/or inspect it. Installations of heating/cooling appliances can further make your workshop more comfortable and valuable.

There are many alternative energy generators that are on the market right now. You have the option to augment your power with electricity generated from solar panels or wind turbines. The Internet can show you a great many alternative energy generators if you want to lessen your electricity bill and also take less power from the grid that you share with the people in your community.

Try to build to complement your home. If your home is a 1906 heritage house, try to avoid installing a fire-engine-red steel structure. Instead, go for a building that reflects your home’s outward appearance and decor. Acquire paint and trim that matches your home, so that the home and shop present a unified appearance. This helps the shop blend in better with the property. If, for some reason you can’t or won’t match your home, paint your shop a neutral color or one that complements your home’s color. Avoid an appearance that is completely different from your home’s; it produces a jarring note that could be easily avoided.

When building, make sure you allow for plenty of storage space and organization. The cleaner your workshop can be kept, the easier it will be to use for you and the better it will look to a potential buyer. Shelves, drawers and hooks are all excellent built-in additions to consider. Also, consider where you are going to put your waste, how you plan to sort recyclables from non-recyclables … Read More


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Some of the 17,000 poultry at Seldom Rest Farms located, north of Myerstown, PA, on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. The chickens are kept in a two story chicken house and produce approximately 2.5 million chicks each year. To supplement their electrical needs, they chose a contractor who knew about United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Energy for America program (REAP) grants and helped them through the application process. The farm was awarded a $152,000 grant (25% of the cost). to install the 1001kW solar array to power their farm, a neighboring farm and homes on the local electrical grid. The 240 solar panels were ground mounted with 5-foot clearance underneath to allow sheep to graze and rest underneath protected from the rain, sun or snowfall. Ten inverters change the DC electrical energy from the panels into AC energy that goes into the local power grid. Spring statistics show it is producing more than expected. REAP offers grants and/or loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of renewable energy generating systems and for energy efficiency improvements. For additional important details about REAP, see www.usda.gov. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

Posted by USDAgov on 2011-10-03 02:23:20

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How to Make Your Husband Want to Come Home and Be With You – Advice For Wives

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Have you ever wondered how to make your husband want to come home and be with you? Many of us feel a bit frustrated and rejected when our husband spends too much time with his friends or at work. It’s also beyond unbearable if your husband has decided that he needs a bit of time away from you and is bunking with a friend or has taken to staying at a hotel.  If you love your husband and you simply want to spend more time with him so you can rebuild the relationship, there are things you can do, on your own, to make that happen.

Learning how to make your husband want to come home begins with letting him go. As much as you want to nag your husband into spending more time with you, that’s not going to work. Typically when a woman pressures a man into something he’s going to resist. Sometimes in a relationship one partner just needs a bit of room and that can be very difficult for us, as women, to understand. Your husband will feel more respected and loved if you give him what he needs. Some time apart is not going to end the relationship. It actually may be enough to make him miss you.

Also, don’t overlook the power of working on yourself if you’re faced with a situation in which your husband isn’t as interested or attentive as he once was. It’s easy to want to work at changing your husband’s mind by communicating verbally with him, but it may be worth it to try a more subtle approach. Think back to how you were when you two first married. He fell madly in love with you then. You need to work on rediscovering those qualities in yourself that he loved so much early in your marriage. Let him see for himself that you are still the same woman he wanted to spend his life with.… Read More