Should you shovel your deck?

Snow is back and it’s turned cold here this December in Wisconsin.  You’ve kept your driveway and sidewalks clear of the snow, but do you need to shovel the snow off your deck?  Actually, the answer is simple:  NO.

If you are worried about your deck collapsing from the weight of snow, don’t.  Building codes require that decks support more weight than your roof.   Basic rule of thumb: Don’t worry until the snow is above your rails.  Most deck rails are 36″ high and weight of snow should not cause a problem unless it is over three feet deep.  The best thing you can do with your deck is just leave it alone while the snow sits there, slowly melting and clearing itself.  The deck will still be there come April, no need to mess with it in the mean time.

snowdeck

An exception to not shoveling would be if your deck is the second-emergency entrance into your home, or an entrance you use regularly.  Then you may choose to shovel it, but be careful.  Here are some basic rules to follow:

  • Before snow falls, make certain no nails are sticking out of the deck boards .
  • Try using a broom or leaf blower first. If too much snow, then get out the shovel.
  • Use a plastic shovel, not a metal one – so not to scratch the decking material.
  • Shovel in the direction/parallel to the boards, not across the boards.
  • Never chop ice off your deck, it’s too easy to damage deck boards. If you must get rid of ice, then use environmentally safe chemicals.

So, if you need to (or desire to) get that snow off your deck, just be careful not to scratch or damage the deck boards.  And be careful walking on your deck afterwards, ice has a way of creeping back for revenge.

What, you don’t have a deck? Are you considering having one built down the road? Well, give us a call for a free consultation…608-241-9009.  We’ll be happy to take a look — once all this snow melts that is …  Happy Winter!

Tankless Hot Water Heaters

We all know hot water is very much a necessity. Most of us have water heaters at home and do not give it a second thought, we just assume we will have hot water on a daily basis until…you are standing in the shower and the water goes cold because someone in the other part of the house decides to turn on the water, or there is just no hot water at all.  It may be time consider replacing your traditional tank-water heater with a tankless hot water tank.

Let’s discuss the advantage’s of replacing your old hot water tank with a Tankless water heater. Have you found yourself scratching your head when the electric bill comes, most of us have. Depending on your household size and use, your conventional hot water tank can drive your electric bills through the roof.

Did you know that most conventional heaters make up for almost 20% of your household energy consumption. Think about this for a moment 20% is a lot of consumption when you begin thinking about the different household items that make up your electric bill…clothes dryers, stoves, heat, washing machines, lights, hair dryers and the list goes on. So when you think about it on this level 20% for the use of hot water is quite a bit of your electric bill..

Lets review some of the reasons why installing a tankless heater could be very beneficial:

Tankless hot water heaters are energy efficient. You can cut your heating cost to up to 30%. Now think about this for a moment…If your hot water is costing you up to 20% on a conventional hot water tank and your saving up to 30% on a tankless hot water system and the tankless is also eco -friendly well, this sounds pretty beneficial.

Tankless hot water heaters work differently from the conventional water heaters. With a Tankless water system the water is heated only when it is needed. When you turn on the faucet that is when the Tankless heating system kicks in and at the same time the water is heated (using a heating element). That is why a Tankless hot water system is also called “Instantaneous or Demand. “  It creates a constant flow of hot water, so this allows everyone in your home to have hot water at the same time!  Wow….no more being deprived of hot water in your home.
And keep in mind tankless water heaters are safer because the system does not store water which can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

So, if it’s time to replace your hot water heater, check out tankless hot water heaters.  it will save you money and it can last up to 20 years and still maintain its efficiency!

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Traditional Hot Water Tank

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Tankless Hot Water Heater

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need Help?  Give us a call, we can always help:
Adams Design Construction, Ltd    608-241-9009
http://www.adamsofmadison.com

 

 

 

 

 

Double Hung Windows – the new replacement

We all know new windows can help with your energy bills, but when it comes time to replace them, what to choose?  There are several different types of windows. Traditionally, most windows were side-hinged windows, referred to as casements, and sliding sash windows. New opening mechanisms such as friction and pivot hinges are increasingly popular and available in double hung windows.

So,why choose double hung windows? Cleaning. Double hung windows are much easier to clean than windows based on a spiral or string system, because they won’t allow the sash to drop out when you are cleaning them. They also tilt in a way that uses a flush fitting tilt release which is more attractive than the older screwed in tilt release systems. This system works well for two story homes and enables you to clean your windows from the inside.

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You may find that choosing a quality window is difficult because of the overwhelming number of options. So where to start?  We suggest picking a window that comes with a solid warranty offered by a quality manufacturer.  Besides your budget, this is an important factor in your decision making, since your windows should last decades.  Also to consider is the material you choose: vinyl, wood, aluminum and composite materials are all available in our area. And after you’ve made your decision, we suggest hiring a professional to install them – nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on new windows and then not have them installed properly.

Remember, window materials, shapes, and sizes vary considerably, as does terminology, so you should read your manufacturer’s literature carefully. Replacement windows for older homes often need to be custom-built to your requirements, which is also something to consider.

Windows are a large investment and if you pick wisely you can save money over the long run by improving your energy efficiency. In order to save money in the future you may be wise to spend a little more on your windows now…

Need help choosing and installing your windows – we’re here to help. Give us a call, 608-241-9009, and we’d be happy to get started on updating the windows on your home.

Bathroom Update – Low Flow Toilets

Do you still have an old toilet, pre 1994?  If so, then you are using a lot of drinking water every time you flush your toilet.  Older toilets waste a huge amount of water, they use approximately 3.5 gallons of drinking water every time you flush.  That can add up to an average of 20.1 gallons of water per person, per day, about the equivalent of one bath. These older toilets account for around 30% of indoor water use.  And it takes considerable amounts of emissions-producing energy – to say nothing of chemicals – to treat all this water, both at the water treatment and sewage treatment plants.  By installing a low-flow toilet you can save all that extra drinking water from being flushed down the sewers.

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Congress, in an effort to conserve resources, reduced the amount of water which newly manufactured toilets could flush, to 1.6 gallons per flush.  The first generation of low-flow toilets had some problems with this low water, however low-flow toilets have greatly improved since they were first introduced.  There have been design modifications and outright changes to the method of waste disposal to make low-flow toilets more efficient. There are also dual-flush low-flow toilets available, where you have two options when flushing.  Most dual flush toilets flush 1.6 gallons on the main flush and as low as .08 gallons per flush on the rinse flush.

Something else to consider if you are replacing your toilet is to get a high-rise toilet (also known as comfort-height or chair-height).  They don’t set as low and can really aid aging-in-place.

Whether your motivation is to be more environmentally responsible, or just saving money,  installing a more efficient toilet is an effective and easy way to start to upgrade your bath.

We love re-doing bathrooms, so give us a call and get started with your new bath!

Open Or Closed Kitchen, Which Option Is Best For You?

For years the kitchen was just a workplace, sometimes tucked in the back of the home and always closed off.  Heck, Thomas Edison’s winter home in Fort Myers, Florida, has an entirely separate building just for the kitchen. Rumor has it that Edison hated the smell of cooking food.

But then around the 1980’s trends began to change. Rooms began to flow together and the kitchen became part of the living space or great room.  This created a feeling of much larger space and usually increased natural light.

Lately there has been a trend of returning to the closed kitchen, but not the same as yesteryear’s.  A closed kitchen does not have to feel cramped. There are many ways to achieve a closed area using pocket doors or half walls.  But which design is right for you?  Here are a few pros for closed and open kitchen concepts:

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Closed Kitchen

Advantages of a Closed Kitchen:

  • Odors: cooking odors are confined to the kitchen.
  • Space: more walls equals more cabinet space, more counter-tops and more room for appliances.
  • Appearance: messes, such as dirty dishes, are hidden from view.
  • Privacy: people are not inclined as much to enter the kitchen and disturb the cook.
  • Formal: with a closed kitchen there usually is a formal dining room, more traditional for dinner guests.

 

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Open Kitchen

 

Advantages of an Open Kitchen:

  • Natural Light: when you remove interior walls it allows for more sunlight from windows to enter the entire home.
  • Monitoring Kids: great rooms allow parents to cook and do other items while still keeping an eye on the kids.
  • Part of the Action: when entertaining, the cook can be involved and converse with others while preparing food,
  • Larger Feeling: when the walls come down, space is increased.
  • Resale Value: most new home buyers are looking for enough space.  Combining the kitchen, living and dining rooms will do just that.

So which layout is best for you?  Is your current floor plan working, if not maybe a change to an open or closed kitchen is just what you need.  Or possibly somewhere in the middle using pocket doors or partial walls. Adams Design Construction, Ltd can help you decide, we’ve been doing this for years. Give us a call:  608-241-9009.

ENTRY DOOR – IS IT TIME TO REPLACE IT?

We often think about replacing our windows, they may be old, cracked, or we need something more energy efficient.  But what about our front door?  Quality doors add to the curb appeal of a home, increase the value, and also enhance your home’s security. Block the noise outside from entering your home with a well built door which will provide a sound barrier. Energy efficiency is the most important door feature to have. Well built doors provide tight, long-lasting barriers by using effective weather seals to improve energy efficiency. The function of door (patio, garage, front or interior door) will certainly be a factor in your decision. When you install a door ensure it is up to code and meets the safety features in your area. There are a number of design options you can choose from when it comes to doors, such as whether you would like to use colored, textured or wrought iron glass. There are many types of materials that hand formed bevels come in like black chrome, lead, brass, copper, zinc and antique black. Or maybe you require more light in the entry. Replacing your doors is a cost effective makeover.  So go out to the front of your house, take a look at it from the curb – could your entry use a face lift?

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entry door by Adams Design Construction, Ltd.

 

Remember, give us a call, we’re here to help !

Aging in Place

There is a strong movement these days to help the older generation stay in their homes as they get older. “Aging in Place” started as a marketing term coined by those who work in the senior housing industry. But, it has evolved into a something millions of Americans are helping their elderly parents do: stay in their homes, be comfortable and safe in familiar surroundings. Here are a few ideas when it comes to remodeling your home to be able to age in place. Continue reading