Protect Your Home Against Winter’s Rush

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – You’ve probably never thought of it this way, but your roof is to your home what a 300-pound football guard is to his team’s quarterback: the first line of defense against elements — in this case, the harsh winter weather — that would pummel it mercilessly if otherwise left unchecked.
Just like football players look for holes in their competitor’s defense, homeowners should first be on alert for missing shingles or deteriorated flashing (those metal seals around bends and joints on skylights and chimneys). More than 90 percent of roof damage occurs in these two areas, and spotting it early helps prevent bigger and more expensive headaches down the road.
“It really does make sense, financially, to perform inspections at least twice a year,” says Bob Tafaro, president and CEO of GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. “The best times are in spring, after severe weather hits, and then again in fall before the temperature and wind become too brutal.”
Continuing the football metaphor, here are some more tips from the experts:
Know Your Opponent
Especially given the crazy weather we’ve been having, you’ll want to examine the roof edge for wind damage, weaknesses or rusted nails, and handle repairs before the winter weather hits.
Next, be on the look-out for any spots indicating mold, algae and mildew growth — especially if there’s debris on your roof. (Hint: telltale signs include dark spots and discolored shingles.)
Call the Right Play
By “debris,” we particularly mean piles of wet leaves, sticks and small branches. None of these are your roof’s friend.
In fact, not only can they cause water to back up and flow under a roof causing rain or ice dams, but they’re also a shelter for pests eager to eat through your home’s top. So, routinely clean all gutters and drains, make sure the gutters are securely fastened, and check that downspouts point away from your house.
What to do should you discover damage? If you’re at all interested in prolonging your roof’s life, it really does pay to consult a professional roof contractor who is insured and uses quality materials. A free service that makes finding one in your area easy can be found at www.gaf.com.

Block Winter’s Rush From Sacking Your Roof

Blue 42! Blue 42! Hike!

Get ready. Like a 280-pound defensive end seeking the head of an opposing quarterback, winter will be rushing your home’s roof. And if you don’t make the right moves, your home will get sacked!

You’ve probably never thought of it this way, but your roof is to your home what a 300-pound football guard is to his team’s quarterback: the first line of defense against elements – in this case, the harsh winter weather – that would pummel it mercilessly if otherwise left unchecked.

Stay Cool While Saving Money and Energy

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When the mercury rises, it is hard to remain comfortable inside your home without running up a huge bill. Fortunately, the solution is much more affordable than investing in a new air conditioner or central air system. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), installing a ceiling fan in each living space will help family members feel cooler while saving energy. And if you have not upgraded your ceiling fans in the past eight years or so, you are missing out on saving even more money as many of today’s models are more efficient than ever.

Keep Your Cool While Saving Money and Energy

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – When the mercury rises, it is hard to remain comfortable inside your home without running up a huge bill. Fortunately, the solution is much more affordable than investing in a new air conditioner or central air system. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), installing a ceiling fan in each living space will help family members feel cooler while saving energy. And if you have not upgraded your ceiling fans in the past eight years or so, you are missing out on saving even more money as many of today’s models are more efficient than ever.
“A ceiling fan can save homeowners as much as 40 percent on their air conditioning bills by creating a breeze that makes the ambient temperature feel seven or eight degrees cooler than it actually is,” explains John Moody of ceiling fan manufacturer Fanimation. “You can set your thermostat at 80 degrees and it will feel like it is set at 72 degrees.”
How exactly does that work? “A ceiling fan cools the room by creating a ‘wind chill effect.’ It does not lower the room temperature,” Moody says. “This wind chill effect makes you feel cooler by accelerating the evaporation of perspiration on your skin. It’s the same feeling you get when you open the window in a moving car. When used in conjunction with an air conditioner, a ceiling fan can lower energy costs because you can set your air conditioner thermostat at a higher temperature.”
For large homes, installing ceiling fans in laundry rooms and closets is becoming more common, according to Bethany Pirtle of Emerson Ceiling Fans. “Master bathrooms are also a perfect place for smaller ceiling fans, because hair dryers and steam showers can make a bathroom hot and sticky. A small-span fan can quickly and efficiently add comfort,” she says.
Another factor in determining where to install a ceiling fan is the fan’s UL listing. There are three basic UL-listed ratings for indoor, damp and wet locations. Fans that are rated only for indoors should not be used outside — even if the area is mostly covered.
Check out the best ceiling fans for your home at an ALA-member showroom. To find more information and showroom locations, go to www.americanlightingassoc.com.

Nuclear Power Key to Low-Carbon Plans

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As climate and energy bills work their way through Congress, it’s clear that the Obama administration wants to assert America’s energy independence. No single electricity-generating technology can meet America’s future energy needs by itself. But nuclear energy must play a significant role in any viable plan to meet the nation’s energy needs and reduce carbon emissions.

Nuclear energy can compete from a cost standpoint with other sources of electricity. While coal and natural gas plants may be less expensive to build — new nuclear plants are estimated to cost $6 billion to $8 billion — nuclear energy produces electricity using less fuel and with lower operating costs.

There’s also the issue of life span, which varies depending on the technology and makes a difference in evaluating up-front construction costs: Nuclear plants can operate for 60 and possibly 80 years. Wind turbines have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years, according to Minneapolis-based National Wind, a developer of large-scale wind farms.

Aggressive carbon caps under consideration in Washington will make nuclear energy more attractive. Nuclear power plants do not generate carbon emissions. At the same time, nuclear plants require less acreage and provide more reliable electricity than wind, solar and biomass generators.

A biomass fuel cultivation area would have to be larger than Delaware to replace a nuclear power plant. To produce the same amount of electricity as a 2-unit nuclear power plant, a wind farm would need to be 10 times larger than Washington, D.C.

Consider this: The much-publicized Texas wind farm project that T. Boone Pickens recently postponed was estimated to cost $10 billion and require up to 200,000 acres. This cost didn’t include the estimated $3 billion to $6 billion in additional transmission necessary to distribute the energy from its source.

Space constraints and reliability issues prevent renewable sources of electricity from becoming primary power sources. While renewable sources of electricity should pay important roles in a diverse energy profile, an emission-free future will require nuclear power. This position has been embraced by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Congress and by various environmental groups. Tony Kreindler, media director of the Environmental Defense Fund, put it succinctly when he recently said, “Given the scope of the climate problem and the emissions problem, we need to look at all the energy options we have, and nuclear is one of them.”

For more information, visit www.nei.org.

Take Green Tips From Hollywood Homes

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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – When it comes to the green movement, Hollywood has been moving ahead of mainstream America. Take Ed Begley, Jr., a character actor known for roles in “A Mighty Wind” and “Batman Forever.” Begley embraced environmentalism back in 1970, even riding his bike to red carpet events.

Today, Begley lends his name to “Begley’s Best,” a line of all natural, nontoxic household cleaners. He recently published a book about green living, “Living Like Ed: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Life.”

When it comes to the green movement, Begley’s home is surely where his heart is. The 1936 home now features a wind turbine and 6 kilowatts of solar panels — Begley pays only $300 a year in electric bills.

Fitting a house with a wind turbine might seem extravagant to most Americans, but that doesn’t mean that you need celebrity status to conserve energy and resources at home.

Here are some tips for Americans hoping to live more sustainably:

– Watch your water use. Taking simple steps, like only running your dishwasher or laundry machine when you have full loads, can save thousands of gallons of water each year. Take showers instead of baths, and when you need to replace kitchen or bathroom fixtures, choose high-efficiency appliances. Monitor your water bill for unusually high prices — they might indicate leaks.

– Consider buying a high-efficiency water heater. Heating water can use up to 25 percent of a home’s energy supply. If it’s time for a new model, look for one that qualifies for the federal tax credit for energy-efficiency improvements, like A.O. Smith’s Vertex model. Begley uses the Vertex in his home to provide all of this home heating and hot water needs.

– Upgrade your lighting. If every American home replaced just one lightbulb with an ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent light (CFL), it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars for a year. Better yet, CFLs are inexpensive and easily installed.