Looking for a way to keep your guests and family entertained during the Thanksgiving and Christmas break in the Boulder area? Take them outside for a festive event or a genuine adventure in Colorado’s great outdoors! This is why you live here and why they are visiting!!

Folks who are new to Colorado, or even those who have been here for years, often miss out on some of the area’s greatest activities purely for lack of knowing they exist. So we are hoping to provide everyone with a great to-do list for each of our favorite holidays and special occasions.

So to that end, we are highlighting all of the fun Thanksgiving and Christmas happenings:

1. Go see Colorado’s BEST lights!

The Zoo Lights – The Zoo Lights are back for its 28th year and brighter than ever with more than 2 million LED lights spread over 70 acres, and a dash of Santa’s magic. Make beautiful holiday memories with a visit to Zoo Lights from November 30 through January 6https://www.denverzoo.org

Denver Botanical Gardens – The Gardens’ signature event for over three decades, this annual holiday lights extravaganza transforms our York Street location into a twinkling winter wonderland. With fresh and exciting new features, along with some fan favorites, this year’s display will be brighter and more expansive than ever before. Join us for this family-friendly event that has become a holiday tradition for thousands of Front Range families.

https://www.botanicgardens.org/events/special-events/blossoms-light

 Downtown Denver – Sparkling lights  illuminate the historic Union Station in the heart of LoDo. More than 100,000 lights festoon the trees of the 1.25 mile-long 16th Street Mall.

 Downtown Boulder – Boulder’s Switch on the Holidays – The plaza in front of the Boulder County Courthouse (between 13th and 14th Streets) features lighted trees, an “electric fountain” and a canopy of lights.Above the city, a lighted star shines from Flagstaff Mountain, a local tradition since 1947. See the lights from November 18 through the end of January. Also, the tree trunks at Civic Center Park (west of Broadway between Canyon and Arapahoe) are wrapped in holiday lights.  https://www.boulderdowntown.com/light-up-the-holidays

2. Ski Colorado!! Eldora, Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Winter Park, Steamboat — to list just a few of our favorites. For information on ski passes — the best way to enjoy Colordao’s mountain life — check out the Ikon Pass or the Epic Pass.

3. St Nick on the Bricks – Boulder – Friday November 23, and Saturdays November 24 – December 22, 2018 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. | Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center, 1303 Pearl Street
Kids of all ages can visit with Santa for FREE at the Downtown Boulder Visitor Information Center. Whether you are asking for a fire engine for Tommy, a new doll for Molly, or a diamond ring for mommy, bring your list and a camera to capture priceless holiday memories.Tired of waiting in line? Take a FREE ride on the 100% Electric Tebo Train aka Snowflake Express. Children ages 10 and under (along with accompanying adults) will chug along Pearl Street in this one-of-a-kind experience.The Snowflake Express boards in front of the Capital One Cafe at the corner of 13th and Pearl where hot chocolate samples will be provided. Last train leaves the station at 2:00 pm.
4. Go to the Lights of December Parade in Boulder — Saturday, December 1, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Crowds will enjoy marching bands, lit fire engines, holiday carolers and much more. The grand finale includes an appearance by the jolly old man himself – Santa Claus! The Parade starts at 15th & Walnut and heads West to Broadway, then North on Broadway to Spruce, and then East on Spruce ending at 15th. There will be reviewing stands at 14th & Walnut and Broadway & Pearl. 

5. Ride the historic Georgetown Loop Train! Located only 45 minutes outside Denver, and nestled high in the Rocky Mountains, you can enjoy the lighted forest November 17th-January 5thhttps://www.georgetownlooprr.com

6. Take a Hike: Colorado offers miles and miles of hiking trails to some of the most beautiful spots in the State.  Eldorado Canyon, Golden Gate State Park, Castlewood Canyon, Roxborough State Park, and Colorado’s newest, Staunton State Park with its fantastic Elk Falls.

7. Go DogsleddingBreckenridgehttps://www.boulderdowntown.com/light-up-the-holidays/events/st-nick-on-the-bricks – Open November 17th – April 30th. Each dog sled trip begins with our friendly, knowledgeable guides explaining how to run the sled and how to work with the beautiful Siberian Huskies on your team. This tour is a unique, interactive and absolutely thrilling way to experience dog sledding and the Rocky Mountains! http://www.goodtimesadventures.com/dogsledding.html

8. Parades that are happening in and around Boulder:

Boulder:  The Lights of December Parade. December 1st, 6pm. 15th and Walnut.

Niwot: Holiday Parade: December 1st, 11am-1pm. 2nd avenue from Murray St to Niwot Rd — when the parade finishes, Santa will be in the Grange until 1:00PM to take the children’s Christmas gift wish list.

Longmont: Holiday Parade of Lights – December 8th, 5:00pm

Nov
18

Turkey Trots!

What better way to kick of your Thanksgiving celebrations than by running a local Turkey Trot!?

While we at Lovato Properties are planning to hit up the Boulder race, there are numerous options including Louisville, Erie, Broomfield, Denver, Highlands Ranch, and beyond! Check out this quick list of Colorado races on Thursday November 22nd:

Boulder: https://www.teamboco.com/boulder-thanksgiving-day-5k-11222018/

Louisville: https://sistercarmen.org/louisville-turkey-trot/

Erie: https://www.thepilgrimagerun.com

Broomfield: http://broomfieldturkeyday.com/index.html

Denver: https://unitedwaydenver.org/turkey-trot/

Highlands Ranch: https://www.thechambernwdc.org/pages/AnnualTurkeyDay5k

Happy running and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

 

 

Whew. The holidays are done. The new year has rung in.

That’s when smart homeowners know it’s time to do these five things that’ll save time, money, and hassles all year long:

#1 Organize Your Seasonal Storage Space 

Packing away holiday decor presents a big opportunity. It’s the best time to sort, declutter, and reorganize that space where you store your seasonal stuff.

So before simply stuffing your holiday things back in there somewhere, take inventory, then sort, filter, donate, trash, and re-home as many of your things as possible.

It’ll help keep you more organized all year long, and make it easier to find all your holiday stuff next year.

Photo courtesy of Pottery Barn

 

#2 Deep-Clean the Kitchen

All of that holiday merriment-making is rough on a kitchen. Give it a good deep cleaning now that the glittery dust has settled.

Purge your pantry and frisk your fridge, passing what you can on to local food banks. Scrub the walls and kick-boards, and even pull those appliances right out from the walls for a thorough vacuuming to prevent gunk (and stinks!) from accumulating.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

 

#3 Plan Summertime Projects Now (Especially if You Need a Pro)

Finalize plans for any landscaping, decks, patios, or other outdoor projects that need warm weather. Two good reasons:

1. If you’re DIYing, you’ll be ready to roll at the first hint of nice weather.

2. If you’re hiring a contractor or other professional, getting your bids and contracts in place now will save you from competing with the spring rush (wait too long, and you may not be able to book anyone!).

 

#4 Create a Schedule to Clean ALL Your Home’s Filters

It’s not just your HVAC. The filters in your fridge, your vacuum cleaner, your dryer, your air filter, and other household items need to be changed or cleaned at least once a year to be effective, usually more often — especially your dehumidifier. Yucky mold grows easily there.

Check manufacturer instructions for all the filters in your home, and create a master schedule, then add them to your calendar app to remind you.

 

#5 Save Some Green at White Sales

Linens and towels go on sale in January. It’s a long-standing retail tradition that started back when linens only came in white (hence the name), and still has a solid rep as a money-saver — only in more colors today.

Cut your threadbare bath towels into rags and restock your supply, plus fill in any gaps in your bed linens you may have noticed if you had a house full of holiday guests.

Blog courtesy of our friends at Houselogic: https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/cleaning-decluttering/time-saving-tips/?cid=eo_em_mkt_newsletter

Fluffy snow and sparkling icicles may make for a winter wonderland, but they can also bring on drafts, fallen tree limbs and worse (hello, ice dams). Avoid spending your holidays handling winter-related disasters with a bit of preventative maintenance — we spoke with experts to get the lowdown on the best ways to prevent ice dams, frozen pipes and other winter woes.

Image Cobb County Real Estate

Tasks to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less

Protect entryway flooring.
With tracked-in snow, ice, road salt and sand, entryway floors can really take a beating in the winter. Increase the longevity of your flooring by using floor mats both inside and outside each entrance to your home. Provide a boot scraper or brush outside for removing excess snow, and a waterproof tray inside for placing wet shoes and boots.

Check your emergency supplies. With winter storms comes more potential for power outages — be prepared with fresh bottled water, shelf-stable foods, flashlights, batteries, first-aid supplies and a hand-crank radio and smartphone charger.

Check batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. This is especially important during winter, when we keep windows closed and use wood-burning stoves and fireplaces more often. Make sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in each bedroom, on each floor of the house and in the kitchen. Check detectors monthly and change batteries as needed.

Tackle These To-Dos Over a Weekend

Stay ahead of ice dams. Ice dams form because the edges of a home’s roof are colder than the upper regions (where more insulation is below), causing ice to form around the eaves. Snow melts above, and the melted snow backs up behind a “dam” of ice, potentially causing leaks and permanent damage to the roof and home — if you’ve ever experienced an ice dam on your roofline, you know what a nightmare it can be. We spoke with Gerry Dunleavy, owner of Gerry Dunleavy Construction in Winchester, Massachusetts, to find out how to prevent ice dams from forming, and what to do if you notice one getting started. (Hint: Prevention is far easier than treatment!)

Before winter weather sets in:

  • Remove debris from gutters — water can back up, causing leaks and ice dams or damage to your roof and siding.
  • Inspect and upgrade attic insulation and ventilation.
  • Purchase a roof rake.
  • Remove snow as quickly as possible from the roof after storms. Use your roof rake to regularly remove it (or hire someone to do this for you).

What to do if you notice the beginnings of an ice dam:

  • Carefully remove snow and ice if possible without damaging roof and gutters.
  • If you have heat cables, turn them on. Heat cables cannot prevent or fully remove ice dams, but can melt enough of the ice to create a channel for water to flow out, preventing some damage.

Keep an eye on trees. Big snowfalls can settle onto tree limbs, making them heavy and more prone to breaking — which can be especially dangerous if a tree is within reach of your house. Ease the burden on your trees by brushing off snow after each snowfall, using a broom to extend your reach. Don’t shake the tree to remove snow, since this can cause brittle limbs to break. Proper tree maintenance in the fall, paired with regular snow removal, should help prevent breakage — but if a limb does fall during winter, have it removed as soon as weather permits.

Remove window screens. Removing screens from windows can boost natural light and improve solar heat gain. During winter storms, snow can also get trapped between the screen and window, potentially causing damage to window frames and sills.

Why Cleaning Window Screens Should Be Part of Your Winter Strategy

Keep paths cleared of snow and ice. Regular shoveling (or snow blowing) is the best way to keep walkways, driveways and sidewalks safe and ice-free all winter. Keep some pet- and plant-safe ice melt or sand on hand to provide traction on stairs and other slippery areas, and flag the edges of your driveway and sidewalk so you know where to stop shoveling when the snow gets deep.

If you plan to be away during the season (and your area gets snow), hire a service in advance to clear the snow while you are away. Some cities give tickets if you allow the sidewalk in front of your home to become impassable, because this creates unsafe conditions for pedestrians.

Stop cold air from getting in.Feel a cold breeze? Take action in early winter as soon as you notice a problem. Boost your home’s energy efficiency and stop cold air in its tracks with these tips from Dunleavy:

  • Check and repair caulking around doors and windows and anywhere something penetrates a wall, like outside faucets and air vents.
  • Check weatherstripping on doors and windows.
  • Seal cracks in foundation walls.

Maintenance and Extras to Budget for This Month

Have your fireplace cleaned. If you haven’t done so yet, have your fireplace cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. Regular cleaning is a necessary safety measure for wood-burning fireplaces and wood stoves, since buildup of creosote (from past fires) inside the chimney can potentially cause a house fire. Gas fireplaces should be checked too —even though gas is a clean-burning fuel, there could be an old nest or other debris blocking the chimney.

Plan a cool-season vegetable garden. Winter is a great time to sit down with a pile of seed catalogs and plan what you would like to grow in the coming year. As winter winds down, you can even get an early start by starting seeds indoors or building a cold frame to help your vegetable seedlings transition to the great outdoors.

How to Start a Cool-Season Vegetable Garden

Prevent frozen pipes. Because water expands as it freezes, frozen pipes can burst, leading to extensive water damage and costly repairs. We spoke with Gaëlle Gagne, owner and vice president of Galeforce Home Services in Auburn, New Hampshire, to find out how to keep pipes safe in winter.

Steps to prevent pipes from freezing in winter:

  • Insulate pipes — at least those by windows and doors, and in unheated areas of the home.
  • Disconnect your hose from the outside hose bib (outside faucet).
  • If prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly — the theory is that running water does not freeze.
  • Keep the heat set no lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.7 degrees Celsius) when you are away.

Too late? Here’s what to do if a pipe freezes:

  • Turn on the tap of the frozen pipe and leave it open while treating the pipe.
  • Allow warm air to flow safely to the affected area — always use any heat source (electric heating pad, blow dryer, space heater) safely to avoid potential harm and damage to your home and its occupants.
  • If you’ve found one frozen pipe, check all the taps in the house — if only a drip comes out, there is likely another frozen pipe.
  • If you cannot access the frozen pipe, or if your efforts to thaw it do not work, call a licensed plumber.

Safely display holiday lights. Artful holiday light displays are one of the things that make the winter season magical. Light up your home while staying fire-safe by checking that all light strands and extension cords are UL-certified and designed for outdoor use. Plug lights into a ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlet, and do not run cords from outside to an indoor outlet.

How to Hang Your Holiday Lights

Image – 303 Magazine

Keep heating system running smoothly. If you notice any strange new noises coming from your heaters, or if one area of the house suddenly seems colder, have the system looked at right away, as these can be signs something is wrong. Wondering how to properly maintain your heating system? Gagne shares these tips:

  • If you heat with oil, have your furnace or boiler cleaned every year.
  • If you heat with gas, you can have it done every three years or so.
  • Make sure to change the air filters in your furnace regularly.
  • For high-efficiency heating systems, make sure that PVC vent pipes are cleared of snow and debris.

Thanks to Houzz for this great blog:

https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/55572864?utm_source=Houzz&utm_campaign=u6847&utm_medium=email&utm_content=gallery7&newsletterId=6847

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You’ll be ready for winter’s worst and head off expensive repairs when you complete this checklist of 10 essential fall maintenance tasks.

1. Stow the mower.LawnMower

If you’re not familiar with fuel stabilizer, you should be. If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts. Fuel stabilizer ($10 for a 10-ounce bottle) prevents gas from degrading.

Add stabilizer to your gasoline can to keep spare gas in good condition over the winter, and top off your mower tank with stabilized gas before you put it away for the winter. Run the mower for five minutes to make sure the stabilizer reaches the carburetor.

Another lawn mower care method is to run your mower dry before stowing it.

1. When the mower is cool, remove the spark plug and pour a capful of engine oil into the spark plug hole.

2. Pull the starter cord a couple of times to distribute the oil, which keeps pistons lubricated and ensures an easy start come spring.

3. Turn the mower on its side and clean out accumulated grass and gunk from the mower deck.

2. Don’t be a drip.

Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.

Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.

While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.

3. Put your sprinkler system to sleep.

Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

1. Turn off the water to the system at the main valve.

2. Shut off the automatic controller.

3. Open drain valves to remove water from the system.

4. Remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace.

If you don’t have drain valves, then hire an irrigation pro to blow out the systems pipes with compressed air. A pro is worth the $75 to $150 charge to make sure the job is done right, and to ensure you don’t have busted pipes and sprinkler head repairs to make in the spring.

4. Seal the deal.

Grab a couple of tubes of color-matched exterior caulk ($5 for a 12-ounce tube) and make a journey around  your home’s exterior, sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

Pick a nice day when temps are above 50 degrees so caulk flows easily.

5. De-gunk your gutters.

Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.

If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#5, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.

Your downspouts should extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; $10 to $20 each.


6. Eyeball your roof.

If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.

Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

Black algae stains are just cosmetic, but masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath. Call in a pro roofer for a $50 to $100 eval.

A plumbing vent stack usually is flashed with a rubber collar — called a boot — that may crack or loosen over time. They’ll wear out before your roof does, so make sure they’re in good shape. A pro roofer will charge $75 to $150 to replace a boot, depending on how steep your roof is.

7. Direct your drainage.

Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

Be sure soil doesn’t touch your siding.

8. Get your furnace in tune.

Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup.

An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.

Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.

9. Prune plants.

Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.

For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.


10. Give your fireplace a once-over.

To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.

Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. If you spot any damage, order a professional fireplace and chimney inspection. An inspection costs $79 to $500.

You fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/seasonal-maintenance/fall-checklist/#ixzz3qgVHxxhy

Follow us: @HouseLogic on Twitter | HouseLogic on Facebook

Our friends at House Logic have shared some tips on how to keep your home warmer this winter, while saving money.

WinterDoorWeather stripping on windows and doors protects the home from air leaks while increasing comfort and saving energy. But as weather stripping ages, it loses its effectiveness. Stay ahead of the game by checking for worn-out weather stripping and replacing it.

Identifying Worn Weather Stripping

  • Weather stripping deteriorates due to age, friction, and exposure to the elements. It also can be damaged by people, pets, and pests. At least once each year, inspect your windows and doors to check for air leaks that indicate your weather stripping isn’t doing its job.
  • Self-adhesive foam tape loses its grip over time, causing it to pull away from the door or window frame — or fall off completely. Foam also can lose its resilience, no longer springing up to fill the gap.
  • Rubber and vinyl weather stripping becomes dry, brittle, and cracked. Over time, it can also lose its shape and effectiveness.
  • Spring-metal V-shaped weather stripping bends out of shape, cracks in spots, and comes loose thanks to missing nails.

How to Remove Old Weather Stripping

For peel-and-stick-type weather stripping, simply pull the foam strips off the door or window by hand. Stripping that is fastened in place with nails or screws requires a more tedious process of locating and removing all the fasteners.

Options for New Weather Stripping

There’s no shortage of weather stripping options at hardware stores and home improvement centers. As is often the case, the cheaper and easier the product is to install, the less effective and durable it probably is over time.

Adhesive-backed foam tape is inexpensive — costing less than a buck a foot — and peel-and-stick types are easy as pie to install. It works best where the bottom of a window sash closes against a sill, or a door closes against a doorframe. It’s the compression that produces the seal. Don’t expect this product to survive longer than 3 to 5 years.

V-shaped weather stripping, sometimes called tension-seal weather stripping, is the best option for the side channels of a double-hung window or a tight-fitting door. This product springs open to close gaps and plug leaky windows and doors.

Inexpensive peel-and-stick V-shaped vinyl (as little as $0.50 per foot) is easy to install but won’t last much longer than foam tape. More expensive copper or bronze styles cost as much as $2 per foot and must be nailed into place, but they look better and will last decades.

Tubular rubber or vinyl gaskets prove the most effective for sealing large and irregular gaps, such as around an old door. These hollow tubes are large enough to plug big gaps but soft enough to compress nearly flat. Types that are nailed in place last longer than peel-and-stick varieties. Prices range from less than $1 per foot for peel-and-stick to $1.25 per foot for nail-in-place.

Prepare the Surface

Before installing any new weather stripping, start with a smooth, clean, and dry surface. Remove all old adhesive using an adhesive cleaner and perhaps a light sanding. Fill and sand old nail holes. If old screw holes can’t be reused, fill and sand those as well.

Installation Tips

  • Some peel-and-stick types should only be applied when the temps are at least 50 degrees. Check the product label.
    Start with one small area to make sure the door or window opens and closes without difficulty before completing the entire job.
  • Measure twice before cutting to prevent mistakes and waste.
  • Cut rubber and vinyl varieties with shears or a utility knife, and metal types with tin snips. Be careful not to bend the thin metal while cutting it.
  • Make sure to face the opening of V-shaped weather stripping out toward the elements to prevent moisture from getting inside.

Installing Weather Stripping

Adhesive-style weather stripping: Remove the backing and press firmly in place. Removing the backing as you go helps prevent the sticky part of the strip from accidentally adhering to something it shouldn’t.

Nail-in weather stripping: Fasten the strips in place by nailing through the pre-punched holes. For double-hung windows, you’ll need to install the lower half, drop the sash, and then install the upper half.

Article from: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/windows-doors/how-to-replace-weather-stripping/#ixzz3qgNocTcS

Most of us rely on our hot water heaters on a daily basis, but many of us don’t know the first thing about them, nor do we pay attention to them until our shower goes cold. In order to learn a bit more about where our hot water comes from, and in an effort to save money on our home energy costs, we take a look at these options, as described by our friends at Pillar to Post.

Storage (Tank) Water Heaters – These are by far the most common type of residential water heater. WaterHeaters

In these systems, cold water flows into a tank where it is heated by gas or electric power. Once the water in the tank reaches the desired temperature, the heater will cycle on and off to maintain the temperature of the water. As the hot water gets used, more cold water will enter the tank to be heated. Most of us know the phenomenon of running out of hot water after family members take one shower after another; this will occur if the tank’s storage capacity is insufficient to meet the demand. At other times of the day when relatively little or even no hot water is being used, the heater must still fire on and off to keep the contents of the tank hot. Unfortunately, it is quite inefficient to keep a tank of water hot all day, especially when the water isn’t needed.

 

Tip: Adding an insulating wrap to an existing water heater can boost efficiency and energy savings – these are inexpensive and can be installed by the homeowner. New U.S. standards introduced in 2015 include a requirement that manufacturers use an increased level of insulation in their storage water heaters.

Tankless

Tankless (Demand) Water Heaters – Tankless or demand water heaters are exactly what their name implies. Rather than being stored in a tank, the water is rapidly heated by gas or electricity once the faucet is turned on. For many homes, a tankless heater can be located close to the sink or shower to heat water on the spot. Because it reaches the desired temperature so quickly, much less water is wasted while waiting for hot water to flow through the faucet, however the results are not truly instantaneous. Tankless heaters powered by gas are usually much more efficient than electric heaters – in fact, electricity costs can sometimes negate much of the savings a tankless system might otherwise provide. Most tankless heaters will already meet the new 2015 energy efficiency requirements implemented in the U. S. Tankless systems normally cost more upfront than a conventional storage water heater, so homeowners should take that into account along with what type, size, and location makes the most sense for them.

 

Solar Water Heating – The basic concept of solar water heating is that the sun’s energy is used to pre-heat water for the home. The pre-heated water then flows into a solar tank that monitors temperature. Then it is piped into the regular hot water system, usually a storage water heater. If no water is turned on within a brief period of time, the water circulates through the system again, making it unnecessary to keep a large tank of water constantly hot. The pre-heating is done by one or two solar panels, usually installed on the roof. Solar water heating is becoming more and more popular as costs for the systems continue to decrease. By some accounts, including the California Energy Commission, a typical solar water heating system can pay for itself in as little as four to seven years.

No matter what type of water heating homeowners choose, it pays to do some research first to discover the ins and outs of various types for their specific situation. With efficiency and decreased energy use as a goal, the best choice of water heater depends on what pencils out in any given home.

This article originally appears here, courtesy of Ken Peter at Pillar to Post in Longmont.

While winter does not start officially for another two months, here in Colorado we are expecting some cold weather to arrive on the Front Range very soon.  In preparation for the pending dip in temperatures – and to be ready for the year’s first frost – take a look at this list of useful efficiency and safety tips, from Home Advice Expert, Bob Villa.

Windows and Doors

  • Check all the weatherstripping around windows and door frames for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
  • Replace all screen doors with storm doors.
  • Replace all window screens with storm windows.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.

 

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
  • Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
  • Remove attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.Snow
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.

 

Tools and Machinery

  • Bring all seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust.
  • Weatherize your lawn mower by cleaning off mud, leaves, grass, and debris.
  • Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
  • Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
  • Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work.
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.

Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

  • Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
  • Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly.
  • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
  • Clean your whole house humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
  • Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Remove air conditioners from windows or cover them with insulated liners, to prevent drafts.
  • If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
  • Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant to plug up any leaks.

 

Gutters, Roof, and Drains

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
  • Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
  • Clean leaves and debris from courtyard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

SaveMoney

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Article originally appears here.

 

October has always been my favorite month of the year, ever since I was a young girl. When I was in High School and College, October signified the middle of Cross Country Season (which I loved). The trees were turning colors, the mornings were brisk, and the days were warm. I used to love to run through the leaves that had fallen and hear the crunching beneath my feet.

While I have moved on from my youth and from my Cross Country days, my love for October has not wavered. October is still my favorite month of the year. I still love seeing all of the magnificent colors, and I love the start of the change in seasons. The days are still warm, while the mornings and evenings are brisk.

Sharing this love of October with my daughter and seeing it through her eyes has made my heart fill with so much joy. While my husband has been away, we have visited five pumpkin patches in the last week soaking up everything that Boulder in October has to offer.pumpkin

I’m excited to share my experiences with you, and to give you some insight into pumpkin patch family fun.

Here are my three favorite pumpkin patches in the Boulder area.

1. Anderson Farms – 6728 County Road, Erie, CO | 303-828-5210 | www.andersonfarms.com

Admission: Adults – Monday-Friday-$10; Saturday & Sunday $13; Children under 3 years-Free

Anderson Farms was the first pumpkin patch I visited. Driving up and parking I couldn’t help but notice how HUGE the property is! While we were at Anderson Farms we enjoyed a hayride (included with admission price) to pick out our pumpkins. The hayride was about 10 minutes long and my daughter loved being in the back of a truck with the wind blowing through her hair! She really loved being able to run through the pumpkin fields to pick out her very own pumpkin. (My advice is to wear boots or close toed shoes stable shoes. I wore flip flops-which was a mistake.)

PonyIncluded with admission price is the barnyard 500 pedal carts, which looked like a ton of fun, barrel train – perfect for my two-year-old, feeding the farm animals, playing on “tire mountain”, and a 30-acre corn maze which is open all day and night, and an awesome playground!

There are a few things that are offered at Anderson Farm at an extra price that my daughter insisted on, such as pony rides ($5). She loved this! Picking a pumpkin (cost is by the size of the beast). Gem Mining, Gourd launching, Private Campfire Sites, Face Painting, and Paint a Pumpkin Junction are all also offered at an extra price.

For the older kids/adults they offer “Terror in the Corn” and Zombie paintball. You can check that out here.

There is a darling general store on site that offers fun trinkets and food. We did have a bite to eat at the little restaurant on site, and our meal included apple juice, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and chips. If you are gluten free or require a special diet, bring your own lunch.

 

2. Cottonwood Farms – 1535 N 75th Street Boulder, CO 80303 | 720-890-4766 | www.cottonwoodfarms.com

Admission: FREE

wagon2

If you are looking for a mellow time at a pumpkin patch and are not looking to spend a small fortune, this is the place to go. Admission is free which is AWESOME! The first thing that we did after we parked was collect a little red wagon to go on our search for the perfect pumpkin. My daughter jumped in her wagon and we took our time out to the pumpkin patch to check out the fenced in animals which included a donkey, a pony, some chicken, kittens, and bunnies! There is a corn maze for the little ones that seemed like fun. My daughter was a little small for that so we didn’t try it. Hay rides are an extra $3 but we enjoyed the walk out to the pumpkin patch. And she really loved picking out her own pumpkin.

 

3. Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch | 9057 Ute Hwy, Longmont CO 80503 | www.rockymtnpumpkinranch.com

Admission: Free | Activities: $1 per ticket
Weekdays: Self guided tours and Organic Farmers Market; Saturdays and Sundays: Fall Festival

If you want your sprightly toddler to sleep 12-13 hours at night then take them here during the Fall Carnival, which is every Saturday and Sunday through October 31st. My daughter had the time of her life with everything offered at this small and inviting ranch. We did it all!

train
Jumpy Castle – Check. Pony rides – Check. Petting Zoo – Check. Pick-a-duck for a prize (six times!) – Check. Barrel Train Ride – Check. Paint a Pumpkin – Check. Face Painting – Check. The only things we didn’t do were the things that she was too small to do, like ride the mini roller coaster. Parents beware: everything costs money. Rides typically cost three tickets ($3). Pony rides are five tickets. It all adds up quickly! I think by the end of my day at the Ranch I had spent $40! I was a bit surprised, especially at how quickly it went! But I felt like it was worth every penny. My two-year-old daughter had the time of her life!
Food: We brought a small lunch but we enjoyed some of the food from the food truck that was on site. I especially loved their fresh squeezed lemonade and snow cones. The downside to the ranch is that after 11am it gets REALLY busy. Be prepared!

Enjoy your October and if you know of any other awesome Pumpkin Patches, let me know – we are always on the hunt!

Quince

completely remodeled home on 1/4 acre in north boulder. this amazing property includes open floor plan concept with granite countertops, butcher block island, stainless appliances, and huge farmhouse sink. situated on corner lot near wonderland lake open space this location offers endless hiking trails with convenience of lucky’s market/diner and shopping center across street.

Priced at $674,900

CALL ME TO SET UP A SHOWING: 303-717-6069

PROPERTY LISTING DETAIL

MLS # 763214

Listed with Fourstar Realty & Prop. Mgmt.