Getting Prepared!

Posted in Construction, DIY, Home Repairs, Professionalism, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 1, 2010 by BackbayConstruction

This post is in reference to the beginning of Hurricane Season. As is the normal routine lately the news is already getting hyped up on the number of named storms we have to look forward to. My goal is to remind you of the areas that need to be addressed as this season approaches to help you protect the investment you call HOME.

There are only a few areas that need to inspected before the rainy season but they are important areas and shouldn’t be ignored. Water leaks are somewhat easy to avoid but can be very costly if the preventative maintenance is left undone.

The first area that you should check is your exterior doors. You need to inspect the caulking around your doors and repair any places that seem to be cracking or separating from the door frame or the wall. Next, you should check to make sure that your door is closing tightly against the weather stripping. The easy way to make sure it is closing tight enough is to have somebody on the outside with a flash light and to look around the door for any places that the light might shine in. If you do have places that need adjusting there are two fixes. Either the weather stripping is worn and needs to be replaces or your door has settled over time and needs adjusting to bring it tight to the weather stripping. Finally, you should check to make sure that your door sweep or threshold to make sure that it is adjusted correctly. Again, the easiest way to check is the flash light trick. If there is a gap and your door has a door sweep it needs to be lowered (usually a screwdriver or drill is all that you need), or if it has a threshold the threshold needs to be adjusted up (usually a screwdriver is all that you need).

The next area you should check is your windows. You need to inspect the caulking on all four sides of you windows for cracks and/or separation. If you find any, you need to cut out the old caulking and replace it. This is the most common place to find problems, since there windows are not as rigid as doors they tend to move more when used.

Lastly, you need to inspect you roofing. Lifting or missing shingles can almost always mean you have a roof leak. In this case you should hire a professional to come out and make the repairs so that you can be given a warranty. The roofing on your house is one of the most important components and should be taken care of.

I hope that this has been helpful. As always, I love helping and answering questions, so if you have any please ask them in the comments area.

God Bless!

HAPPY EARTH DAY! (5/5)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by BackbayConstruction

This is the last installment of the energy saving tips.  I hope these have been informative without being too boring. This post is an overview of the last four for SUMMER ENERGY TIPS.

  • In warm climates, where summertime heat gain is the main concern, look for windows with double glazing and spectrally selective coatings that reduce heat gain.
  • If your air conditioner is old, consider purchasing a new, energy-efficient model. You could save up to 50% on your utility bill for cooling. Look for the Energy Star and Energy Guide Labels.
  • Keep in mind that insulation and sealing air leaks will help your energy performance in the summertime by keeping the cool air inside.
  • Plant trees or shrubs to shade air conditioning units but not to block the airflow. Place your room air conditioner on the north side of the house. A unit operating in the shade uses as much as 10% less electricity than the same one operating in the sun.
  • Don’t place lamps or TV sets near your air-conditioning thermostat. The thermostat senses heat from these appliances, which can cause the air conditioner to run longer than necessary.
  • Consider using an interior fan in conjunction with your window air conditioner to spread the cooled air more effectively through your home without greatly increasing your power use.
  • Don’t set your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense.
  • Set your thermostat as high as comfortably possible in the summer. The less difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.
  • Whole-house fans help cool your home by pulling cool air through the house and exhausting warm air through the attic. They are effective when operated at night and when the outside air is cooler than the inside.
  • For air conditioners, look for a high Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER). The current minimum is 13 SEER for central air conditioners.
  • During the cooling season, keep the window coverings closed during the day to prevent solar gain.

Well, there is my run down of tips to get you ready for this summer.  Thank you for taking the time to talk with me.  I hope to hear your thoughts and look forward to opportunity to give you advice on what to do next.

Thank you and GOD BLESS,

D. S. Long Construction

HAPPY EARTH DAY! (4/5)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by BackbayConstruction

I know it’s a little off, but the Sun is the first thing I think of when somebody starts to talk to me about the Earth.  I guess its because as humans we live by LIGHT.  Whether it’s artificial in the house so we can see, or it’s something we are protecting ourselves from outside while we play with our families, LIGHT is something we cannot do without.

  • Exterior lighting is one of the best places to use CFLs because of their long life. If you live in a cold climate, be sure to buy a lamp with a cold weather ballast since standard CFLs may not work well below 40°F.
  • Use outdoor lights with a photocell unit or a motion sensor so they will turn on only at night or when someone is present. A combined photocell and motion sensor will increase your energy savings even more.
  • Consider using 4-watt minifluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
  • If you have torchiere fixtures with halogen lamps, consider replacing them with compact fluorescent torchieres. Compact fluorescent torchieres use 60% to 80% less energy, can produce more light (lumens), and do not get as hot as the halogen torchieres. Halogen torchieres are a fire risk because of the high temperature of the halogen bulb.
  • Take advantage of daylight by using light-colored, loose-weave curtains on your windows to allow daylight to penetrate the room while preserving privacy. Also, decorate with lighter colors that reflect daylight.
  • Recessed downlights (also called recessed cans) are now available that are rated for contact with insulation (IC rated), are designed specifically for pin-based CFLs, and can be used in retrofits or new construction.
  • Use CFLs in all the portable table and floor lamps in your home. Consider carefully the size and fit of these systems when you select them. Some home fixtures may not accommodate some of the larger CFLs.
  • Consider using 4-watt minifluorescent or electro-luminescent night lights. Both lights are much more efficient than their incandescent counterparts. The luminescent lights are cool to the touch.
  • Use 4-foot fluorescent fixtures with reflective backing and electronic ballasts for your workroom, garage, and laundry areas.
  • Consider three-way lamps; they make it easier to keep lighting levels low when brighter light is not necessary.
  • Use task lighting; instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. For example, use fluorescent under-cabinet lighting for kitchen sinks and countertops under cabinets.
  • Turn off the lights in any room you’re not using, or consider installing timers, photo cells, or occupancy sensors to reduce the amount of time your lights are on.
  • Install task lighting – such as under-counter kitchen lights or bathroom mirror lights – to reduce the need for ambient lighting of large spaces.
  • Use dimmers, motion sensors, or occupancy sensors to automatically turn on or off lighting as needed and prevent energy waste.
  • Install fluorescent light fixtures for all ceiling- and wall-mounted fixtures that will be on for more than 2 hours each day.
  • Use Energy Star labeled lighting fixtures.
  • Consider light wall colors to minimize the need for artificial lighting.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) in place of comparable incandescent bulbs to save about 50 percent on your lighting costs. CFLs use only one-fourth the energy and last up to 10 times longer.
  • Turn your lights off when you leave a room. Standard, incandescent light bulbs should be turned off whenever they are not needed. Fluorescent lights should be turned off whenever you’ll be away for 15 minutes or more.
  • During winter, open curtains on your south-facing windows during the day to allow sunlight to naturally heat your home, and close them at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.
  • Installing a skylight can provide your home with daylighting and warmth. When properly selected and installed, an energy-efficient skylight can help minimize your heating, cooling, and lighting costs.

These are some tips that are easy to do, I hope they were helpful.  Remember, natural lighting is FREE and its good for you.  Of course this is one of those times where moderation is important. Sunlight gives your body Vitamin D, but too much can burn and cause skin problems.

GOD BLESS,

D. S. Long Construction

HAPPY EARTH DAY! (3/5)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on April 23, 2010 by BackbayConstruction

This short and sweet post outlines a few tips that can incorporate the beauty of your landscape with your heating/cooling costs.  If you plan your yard correctly you can save a lot of money and hopefully help make those payments on the investment that you call HOME.  If you need any ideas leave a comment below and I will be happy to help.


  • Landscaping your home for energy efficiency can reduce your heating and cooling bills, the largest component of your home’s energy use. Your overall landscaping strategy will depend on your regional climate.
  • Plant trees to shade your home, reducing your cooling costs in the summer months. Typically, newly planted trees will begin shading windows in their first year and will reach your roof in years 5-10.
  • Planting shrubs, bushes, and vines next to your house creates dead air spaces that insulate your home in both winter and summer. Plant so there will be at least 1 foot (30 centimeters) of space between full-grown plants and your home’s wall.
  • During winter, dense, low-lying trees and shrubbery on the north and northeast sides of your home can help protect your home against wind chill.

Spring is the perfect time of year to redo your landscaping.  Make sure you water everything new that you plant everyday for a couple of weeks.  I hope you can use these tips to spruce up your yard and save a little jingle in your pocket.

GOD BLESS,

D. S. Long Construction

HAPPY EARTH DAY! (2/5)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by BackbayConstruction

This is the second of five blog posts to help you reduce your ENERGY consumption.  I will give you a list of ways to prevent heat/cool loss through insulation and air leakage.  I have always said the most important way to save ENERGY in your home is to make sure the “envelope” is sealed properly.  Windows and insulation is an area where a lot of people feel they can skimp to save MONEY. Please consider these recommendations:

  • Remember that new windows must be installed correctly to avoid air leaks around the frame. Look for a reputable, qualified installer.
  • In temperate climates with both heating and cooling seasons, select windows with both low U-values and low solar heat gain coefficiency (SHGC) to maximize energy benefits.
  • In temperate climates with both heating and cooling seasons, select windows with both low U-values and low solar heat gain coefficiency (SHGC) to maximize energy benefits.
  • Select windows with air leakage ratings of 0.3 cubic feet per minute or less.
  • Remember, the lower the U-value, the better the insulation. In colder climates, a U-value of 0.35 or below is recommended. These windows have at least double glazing and a low-e coating.
  • When you’re shopping for new windows, look for the National Fenestration Rating Council label; it means the window’s performance is certified.
  • Installing new, high-performance windows will improve your home’s energy performance. While it may take many years for new windows to pay off in energy savings, the benefits of added comfort and improved aesthetics and functionality may make the investment worth it to you.
  • Apply sun-control or other reflective films on south-facing windows to reduce solar gain.
  • Install awnings on south- and west-facing windows.
  • Close curtains on south- and west-facing windows during the day.
  • Install white window shades, drapes, or blinds to reflect heat away from the house.
  • Repair and weatherize your current storm windows, if necessary.
  • Install exterior or interior storm windows; storm windows can reduce heat loss through the windows by 25% to 50%. Storm windows should have weatherstripping at all moveable joints; be made of strong, durable materials; and have interlocking or overlapping joints. Low-e storm windows save even more energy.
  • Keep windows on the south side of your house clean to let in the winter sun.
  • Close your curtains and shades at night; open them during the day.
  • Install tight-fitting, insulating window shades on windows that feel drafty after weatherizing.
  • You can use a heavy-duty, clear plastic sheet on a frame or tape clear plastic film to the inside of your window frames during the cold winter months. Remember, the plastic must be sealed tightly to the frame to help reduce infiltration.
  • Conduct an energy audit of your home to find air leaks and to check for the proper level of insulation. Common sources of air leaks include cracks around windows and doors, gaps along baseboard, mail chutes, cracks in brick, siding, stucco or foundation, or where any external lines (phone, cable, electric, and gas) enter the home.
  • To test for air leaks on your own, on a windy day, hold a lit candle next to windows, doors, electrical outlets, or light fixtures to test for leaks. Also, tape clear plastic sheeting to the inside of your window frames if drafts, water condensation, or frost are present.
  • Plug air leaks with caulking, sealing, or weather stripping to save 10 percent or more on your energy bill.
  • Adequate insulation in your attic, ceilings, exterior and basement walls, floors, and crawlspaces, as recommended for your geographical area, can save you up to 30 percent on home energy bills.
  • Installing storm windows over single-pane windows or replacing them with Energy Star windows can reduce heat loss from air leakage, and reflect heat back into the room during the winter months to save even more energy.
  • In cold climates, Energy Star windows can reduce your heating bills by 30 to 40 percent compared to uncoated, single-pane windows, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative.
  • Close fireplace dampers when not in use. A chimney is designed for smoke to escape, so until you close it, warm air escapes.

Again, the “envelope” of your house is the front line of the fight against wasted energy.  Please use this list to “tighten up” and keep your ENERGY and MONEY where it belongs (in your house, not with the utility company)!

GOD BLESS,

D. S. Long Construction

HAPPY EARTH DAY!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on April 22, 2010 by BackbayConstruction

Happy Earth Day everybody!  In an attempt to help you save some money and our environment I am going to post a few different lists of ways you can save energy.  This first list is just about the appliances around your home and office.  They are some minor adjustments you can make, and they are very easy.  ENJOY!

  • Air dry dishes instead of using your dishwasher’s drying cycle.
  • Always look for the Energy Star and EnergyGuide labels when shopping for home appliances. The Energy Star label is the government’s seal of energy efficiency. The EnergyGuide label estimates an appliance’s energy consumption.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
  • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics.
  • Consider buying a laptop for your next computer upgrade; they use much less energy than desktop computers.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Energy Star computers and monitors save energy only when the power management features are activated, so make sure power management is activated on your computer.
  • Look for the Energy Star label on home appliances, electronics and other products. Energy Star products meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Many appliances continue to draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances that use electricity, such as VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. In the average home, 75% of the electricity used to power home electronics and appliances is consumed while the products are turned off. This can be avoided by unplugging the appliance or using a power strip and using the switch on the power strip to cut all power to the appliance.
  • For older appliances, use a power controlling device to reduce the energy consumption of the appliance’s electric motor.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
  • Plug home electronics, such as TVs and DVD players, into power strips; turn the power strips off when the equipment is not in use (TVs and DVDs in standby mode still use several watts of power).
  • Saving energy starts with being an informed consumer.
  • Studies have shown that using rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs is more cost effective than throwaway batteries. If you must use throwaways, check with your trash removal company about safe disposal options.
  • There is a common misconception that screen savers reduce energy use by monitors; they do not. Automatic switching to sleep mode or manually turning monitors off is always the better energy-saving strategy.
  • To maximize savings with a laptop, put the AC adapter on a power strip that can be turned off (or will turn off automatically); the transformer in the AC adapter draws power continuously, even when the laptop is not plugged into the adapter.
  • Turn off your computer and monitor when not in use.
  • Unplug battery chargers when the batteries are fully charged or the chargers are not in use.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  • Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • When shopping for a new clothes dryer, look for one with a moisture sensor that automatically shuts off the machine when your clothes are dry. Not only will this save energy, it will save wear and tear on your clothes caused by over-drying.
  • Turn off your monitor when you’re away from your PC for 20 minutes or more. If you will be away for two hours or more, turn off your personal computer and monitor.

I hope this list (and the bonus of saving money) encourages you to make some changes around your home and office not only on Earth Day but EVERYDAY.

GOD BLESS,

D. S. Long Construction

Motivating Success

Posted in Construction, Professionalism with tags , , on October 9, 2009 by BackbayConstruction

There are things that we learn in life that we don’t realize we are learning.  I recently heard this quote, “Be miserable, or motivate yourself.  Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”  It really struck a chord with me, and got me thinking this morning while pressure washing some sidewalks.  I have a distinct way of motivating myself.  I dance to James Brown or just about anyone from the Motown days, usually while working.  It probably looks funny from a distance, but that doesn’t matter to me.  The reason I like this music so much is because of the message in almost every song.  Back then, people sang about basically two things:  love and dancing.  To take this further and into “Motivating Success” we will talk about love.  To be truly successful at something, you must LOVE what you do.  Luckily, I learned what I loved to do early in life while working for one of the best block and brick masons in Central Florida.  He put me to work when I knew nothing about construction.  I learned quickly, but fell in love with construction even quicker.  While I was working for him it occurred to me that he got his jobs not because he had the best price, or advertising pitch, but because he loved what he did, and loving it resulted in great work.  He was called for jobs instead of calling for jobs because everyone knew that if they wanted quality they wanted him.  This experience caused me to steer my life in that direction.  While I was steering my life, I was lucky enough to have two of the greatest role models around to raise me.  I spent my childhood watching these two lovebirds sharing their love for each other while dancing to Motown’s greatest.  Maybe this is why I love this music so much.  My dad always told me that, “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.”  I never realized as a kid that I was learning that loving what you do, or whom you are with brings out a dancing machine.  But to “shuck down the corn,” if you love something, or someone dance with it.  You will be amazed at how motivating it will be for you and everybody around you.  My Granddaddy always told me that the first step to being in a good mood was to put a smile on your face, no matter how upset you are.  Once you start to smile everything else will just fall into place.  So put a smile on, dance a little jig and watch how the happiness grows around you, it’s contagious.

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