Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Keeping Out the Cold

Autumn is undoubtedly my favorite season. The colors, the smells, crackling of the fireplacethe anticipation and preparation for the holidays... I can go on and on. During these amazingly beautiful days nothing is worse then sitting in the warmth of your comfy home when you feel a draft creep through your door...
According to the U.S. Department of Energy heating accounts for the biggest chunk of a  typical utility bill! So in addition to checking, and if necessary, fixing your weather stripping I present to you a project to help solve this unpleasant problem. 

While trying to find a quick and cost effective fix to the uncomfortable drafts in my own home I came across these awesome DIY draft blockers on the Family Fun website! Not only are they practical but they're charming and add a creative touch to any room. Upon researching this project I came to the conclusion that there are various ways to construct these frugal little guys. I want to share with you my personal favorites. I chose these because they are fun and seem to have the simplest directions with the most accessible materials.

  • 1 pair striped women's tights
  • Uncooked rice (takes about a full 5-pound bag), uncooked beans, flax seed, recycled newspaper, or unused cat litter
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric glue
  • Felt
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors

  • 1 pair women's tights
  • Uncooked rice, uncooked beans, flax seed, recycled newspaper, or unused cat litter
  • Needle and thread
  • Fabric glue
  • Felt
  • Googly eyes
  • Scissors
  • Paper clips
  • Button
  • Old belt or bracelet
  1. Heat-Saving Snake Step 1HEAT-SAVING SNAKE: Cut off one leg from a pair of striped women's tights and fill it with rice (ours took a full 5-pound bag). An easy, spillproof method is to use a plastic cup with the bottom cut out for a funnel.
  2. Heat-Saving Snake - Step 2 Pinch the open end of the leg into itself to form a tapered snake tail and stitch it closed.
  3. Glue on googly eyes. Lastly, sew on a felt tongue, using the same technique described for attaching the dog's ears (see step 7 for Doggy in the Window, below).

  4. Doggy in the Window Step 4DOGGY IN THE WINDOW: Cut one leg from a pair of women's tights and fill it with rice. Leave enough room to tie the open end into a tight knot.
  5. Doggy in the Window Step 5 For a tail, apply fabric glue across the base of a felt triangle (ours was about 2 1/2 inches wide and 7 inches tall) and sandwich it around the knot.
  6. Doggy in the Window Step 6 Apply more glue to the sides and then fold the felt in half. Secure the tail with paper clips until the glue dries.
  7. Doggy in the Window Step 7 Glue on googly eyes. Attach felt ears by draping each one over the head, as shown, and then sewing the base in place. This way, when you flop the ear down, the stitching won't show.
  8. For the finishing touches, sew on felt feet and a button nose (we used a triangular shank button). Then use your hands to shape the nose and body. Don't forget a collar: an old belt trimmed to fit, or even a bracelet.

    I did find that quite a few people opted to use fabric, instead of women's tights, 
    and sew there own tube to customize the size to their homes doors and windows. This  maybe better for you especially if you have extra fabric lying around or want your 
    draft blocker to match your homes decor.

    “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
    - William Arthur Ward

    Hope this helps,
    Monica McCaslin 
    All Things New Roofing & Restoration

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Get your mind in the gutter...

Gutters are used to direct water from your roof. 
Water left standing on your roof can lead to damage and leaks into your home’s interior. Having a good working gutter system will help prolong the life and structure of your home by keeping water and other damaging debris away from areas that they may harm.

Gutter Cleaning Can Be Performed In 3 Ways
1. Hand Scoop Method
2. Leaf Blower Method
3. Pressure Cleaning Method

Hand Scoop Method
Gain access to the gutter using the appropriate sized ladder. Don't lean the ladder against a downspout or gutter, which can easily bend or break.
Remove debris with hand, large spoon or garden trowel scooping into:
a) garbage bag
b) a bucket 
c) throw debris to ground below. 
Choose the best debris collection method based on your roof and surrounding area.

If you choose to use the garbage bag method I prefer filling several small plastic bags rather than a few large ones... This will help minimize fall hazards due to the lesser weight of the filled smaller bag.

The safest way to get gutter debris down a ladder is simply to drop it to the ground after each hand scoop. This will make a mess of the area below but, in my experience, is the safest method.

Leaf Blower Method
You also can use a leaf blower to clean gutters; however remember that you'll be high up & often in uncomfortable positions. Carrying a good-sized machine is not only awkward but may blind you with dust. Although this is a quicker method it is not the safest or the cleanest. 

Pressure Cleaning Method
If you are already pressure washing the roof, use the 'Pressure Washing' method because you'll need to be continuously spraying out gutter as roof moss and other organic material fills gutters. You literally just high pressure spray the gutter clean while standing on the roof. This method requires the use of a fall arrest system, i.e.. (Rope, lanyard, rope grap, carabiners and harness).
It's important to realize pressure washers can make a HUGE mess... Especially when spraying out a clogged gutter system!

Unclogging Downspouts
Clogged downspouts can also present a problem. Check that the downspouts aren't clogged: lightly tap on the downspout with your hand until you hear a noticeable higher frequency. This is how to locate the clogs. An empty or hollow downspout, will have a lower pitch than a clogged downspout. Use water to unclog your downspouts by placing a garden hose in the opening. Be gentle; downspouts aren't designed to withstand the same pressure as a house drain. If it does not clear with the hose use a small plumbers snake or an unbent clothes hanger. Again be gentle. If you are unable to reach the clog and have located it  you can lightly tap until debris loosens and flushes out bottom of downspout. Remember, if you've filled the downspout with water from above, when the debris loosens it will flush...

 If this all seems a little overwhelming to you 
or if you feel unsafe you can ALWAYS call 
All Things New Roofing & Restoration 
@ (719)325-6949 
for a quote.

I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home....  ~Nancie J. Carmody