How to Tell If Your Home Needs a New Roof

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the first things people see when pulling into a home is the roof. A good roof is solid and attractive with no dips, weaknesses or missing shingles. Replacing the roof on your home is a major expense costing thousands of dollars. Replacing a roof is something we know we need to do someday but it is something we’d rather do at our convenience rather than because it has to be done this month! One way to tell if your roof needs replaced is to do a home heating inspection.

A home heating inspection tells you several things including how much heat is being lost through your roof. A good home heating inspection also tells if there are issues with the heater itself, checks for gas line safety, carbon monoxide safety checks for furnace recalls, chimney inspection and other issues that can keep your heating system working efficiently. This helps your home work more efficiently and when heat loss increases through the roof then there is little question a new roof is in order.

When considering a new roof is there a clause in home owners associations or area requirements for a historical roof or a certain color? This is a factor in the final cost as not all roof replacements are the same. Typically a new roof has a warranty but some advise even a good roof that is maintained has a 15-20 year lifespan.

A few questions come up with the lifespan being a factor. When was the roof last replaced? If there is a corner damaged you might repair just that corner but if it’s been 20 years then it might be a better use of dollars to get a new roof. How much do you want to change the look of your home?

Your new roof might be metal, asphalt shingles, wood shakes, slate, clay or fiber cement. Consider all parts of your situation from a safety standpoint as well as a home safety one. If you live in a dry area and use wood heat, combined with dry wood shakes on your roof this could result in a fire. Use extra caution.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYour home’s roof withstands hot summer sun as well as hail, storms and in some places snow and ice. An effective inspection looks at the amount of insulation in the roof not just for heating but cooling as well. Does your home have areas of the roof that appear weakened or sag? Is there perhaps a section covered by a tree that stays damper and creates additional wear on the roof? One way to tell at a glance if the insulation is effective and the roof protected is during the snow how much snow is on the roof? If the snow sits there then you probably have enough insulation and a solid roof. When the snow melts off quickly this can indicate that heat is escaping from the roof, melting the snow. Check the attic or upper level to insure there is no leaks or bad spots from the inside also.

If there is missing or torn shingles then it can call for replacement of a roof. Thoroughly check the walls on the inside of the roof line. Are there areas where there is water damage or moisture, blistered paint or other indications of water coming into the home? If this is visible it indicates a new roof is needed as soon as possible before additional, more expensive damage is done to the home.

If the design or materials of the roof are inferior the roof might not last the expected 15-20 years and may show signs of home distress in 10 years. If this is indicated and the roof needs replaced don’t go just on the time since it was done last. Obviously if there has been storm damage, fire or other damage to the roof then a new roof is in order. This part of your home protects the rest of the home and contents. Look carefully at a home heating inspection recommendation and at the condition of the roof itself. If you need a new roof get a quality one and hopefully it’ll be the last one you need to get!

Heating Without Gas

A while back I was reading a copy of “Out Here”, a magazine put out quarterly by Tractor Supply Co., and it mentioned more than 600,000 homes in North America use wood pellets for heat. I kept reading…then thought about that in perspective.

We have public complaining about reducing demand for gas. We want independence and no relying on gas from other countries. And yet most of the country completely disregards DOING something to actually reduce using gas. We have so many alternatives here – not only passive solar systems but other alternatives. Another issue is the amount of waste – landfills absorbing yard waste and other biodegradable byproducts. Those can be used to reduce fuel consumption.

A couple hundred dollars you can put a solar heating in which uses the sun – free. Even if it raises the temperature just 20 degrees – that’s 20 degrees heated without burning gas. This option is discussed in further detail in the current “Mother Earth News”.

But there’s other options also. Wood pellets are made from sawdust, a “waste” product which otherwise could go to landfills. The basic process is drying the sawdust then compressing it into a pellet at a rate of 21,000 pounds per square inch. The pellets then are bagged and can be used for heating – reducing waste and reducing gas consumption. Pellet stoves have advantages beyond this. There is little ash left because the pellets burn completely. They produce virtually no creosote which is the cause of many chimney fires and a 40 pound bag can heat a home for a day. Instead of a one month $500 bill for gas – this could be your total winter’s supply in pellets!

There are stoves available that have another option still – corn stoves. These can use not only the pellets but when pellets are harder to find you can burn corn. Corn we can produce here in the US on an annual basis…so it further helps farmers by creating a demand for their product, which sometimes is otherwise unused. There is in years of drought a problem with a fungus on corn which prevents it from being used for food or animal food – but doesn’t stop the use of it for fuel.

There are stoves which can burn not only corn and pellets but other “waste” – cherry pits for example. There’s a cost to purchase of the stoves, and it does require electric to run the auger that brings the fuel to the fire…but remember, this is all US GROWN. We can grow corn…we can use waste from flooring and furniture manufacturing (among others) to make wood pellets. We don’t need to buy gas from overseas markets.

Some states have tax incentives for adding alternative energy systems as well as federal incentives.

There is not just stoves available but furnaces that attach on to existing heating ductwork. http://www.ruralenergyproducts.com/ is one of many sites that have both of these options.

Inventive readers of Farm Show magazine – www.farmshow.com – have had featured in the magazine their LARGE heaters which burn as a source of fuel large bales of hay and corn stalks.

With any of these heating system there is some maintenance to do – removing a small amount of ash and the “clinker”. Is it worth cutting costs in half to do this? Is it worth giving a market to our farmers and taking it away from oil companies? If you have room to grow corn your costs are further reduced…most don’t have the capacity to refine oil. This could be a boon to the small farmers trying to compete against major companies…and a means of independence.

We have the technology to improve several issues in the US with one solution – alternative energy produced here at home to heat our homes.

<From the archives>

Did you know?

According to Plunkett Research 41% of the US energy consumption in 2004 was by Petroleum, with an additional 22% and 23% in coal and natural gas respectively. In contrast only 6% used renewable sources.

10 Awesome Farm and Home Sites

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAre you looking for information about farming online? Would you like a source for accurate information to learn more? Would you like to make your household more efficient? Read on!

The amount of websites that come up when you do a search for “agriculture” is staggering. Each has links to follow as well and there’s a wealth of information to be found.

1. agriculture.com – from classifieds to farming information to a forum this site has a great deal of information and links. There’s a section solely for women in agriculture, there’s forum sections for animals, crops, small business and many other things affecting modern agriculture families and residents.

2. progressivefarmer.com – another great farm orientated site. There is offers to subscribe to the magazine of the same name, as well as information on a wide variety of agriculture, from traditional farms to much more.

3. almanac.com – The Farmers Almanac has long been a resource for farmers and non-farmers alike. This site expands that – with a section on weather, natural information, cooking and baking and much more. There are so many links on this site for information it’s easy to get sidetracked – but much good information and a chance to share recipes with others.

4. AmericanLivestockBreedsConservancy – This organization is dedicated to fanciers of rare livestock breeds, some that are critically endangered. There’s many links to information, merchandise, books and much more for animals.

5. cattle.com – information, sales, breeding and much more information about cattle on this site. Heavy stress on beef breeds but dairy cattle included. There is some of the profiles still under construction – but a good site useful to those interested in cattle.

6. creativehomemaking.com – This is a site to bookmark – with much information and articles about home management, gardening, cooking and much more. Decorating on a budget has information of use to those even not on farms.

7. organizedchristmas.com – This site and the sister site have a great deal of information to make the holiday season enjoyable, with less stress. The organizedhome site also is extensive in information. Efficiency in planning and running the home can save money and frustration, and allow us to do more with less.

8. ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/ – Oklahoma State offers a wonderful complete site for livestock enthusiasts. There’s information, links, photos on common livestock breeds such as Hereford and Angus cattle as well as less common breeds such as Hereford hogs and many more. Look through rare breeds as well as get information on animals that might fit your farm or homestead.

9. farmshow.com – Another site sponsored by a magazine. For anyone who loves tinkering – making things from scraps and nothing, finding unique solutions to problems, this site and the magazine is a must read! Extra income opportunities are included as well as new products and reusing things. There’s a whole book on other uses for school busses, for example.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA10. gardeningbythemoon.com/signs.html – The moon affects tides and many other earthly things. With garden tips, moon phases and information on planting in those phases and signs, which many have done via various farmers almanacs for years, this is a site chock full of information.

While many abhor the internet as a source of information, and it’s true there is much misinformation on the internet as well, these sites have much information and it’s changing – there’s so often something new to see when looking a week later than what was there previously. The next rainy, dreary afternoon when there’s not much to do – or when it’s too hot to accomplish much outdoors, spend some time planning, organizing and making your household and farm more efficient. So often a few little changes can save so much!

Novice Beekeeping Factors to Consider

If you are considering bees as a hobby or in the same way as a sideline business, there are things you may well want to think about before making that choice. Because there are numerous things involved together with earning with the honeybees products, you may perhaps like also consider doing it as a hobby. There is a considerable sum of capital in the start-up of beekeeping for business.

Before investing whatever amount of cash in your beekeeping project, you may perhaps want make contact with beekeepers in your region. As a rule, they will more than glad to reveal their know-how with you. Most beekeepers like keeping bees and to them it is only a “hobby”, still they may possibly provide you some insight into beekeeping. Take lots of notes. There is a good probability that you would apply them in the long run.

In making the choice of becoming a beekeeper, you will want to think about the safety of love ones, pals, and neighbors. You wouldn’t want somebody to get stung that is allergic to bee stings. It is better to ask your friends and neighbors beforehand if they are allergic to bees. You would likewise be able to know if there may well be someone who would not want beehives so close to their proximity. You will also want to check with the county you live in. You would want to understand in relation to any regulations or rules forbidding beekeeping.

You would also want to think about whether you have a place that will be advantageous to keeping bees. You would also want to be concerned about where the bees would have to fly to retrieve nectar and pollen. Maintaining plant life they like in close proximity is not a bad idea as well. Since bees require water day after day, you might want to have water intended for them close at hand. You don’t like them going to the neighbor’s swimming pool. Here is a list of places undesirable to the wellbeing of the bees.

How many months of the year would pollen and nectar would be easily accessible to the bees?

Will you need to feed them in order for them to survive and how much of the year?

Is there a water reserve existing throughout the year intended for the bees? They require water day after day.

You would need to keep in mind what would be beneath the bees as they fly to get the nectar and pollen they need. The bees will defecate as they are airborne and their feces will leave spots on the whole thing under them. The feces may perhaps even spoil the exterior of a car. There are ways to utilize to make the bees to fly at a higher height, like a high hurdle or thick lofty plant life in close proximity to the hive.

If you would like to discover about more things that you ought to do prior to starting your beekeeping pastime or business, you can read more in relation to them in the Beginner Beekeeping Guide

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(ArticlesBase SC #2486141)

Michael Lundy

Michael LundyAbout the Author:
Visit http://www.thebeekeeper.info for additional articles in addition to information concerning how to begin beekeeping as a leisure pursuit.

Large Farms, Small Farms, Labels & Options

The media and special interest groups alike make much of small farms vs “corporate farms”, “factory farms” and “big Ag.” With individuals also jumping on this bandwagon it, like ‘natural’, ‘organic pet food’ and ‘free range’ doesn’t really mean much.

In one forum a small farmer, a couple dozen chickens and a dozen rabbits, was deemed “big Ag” because of the idea that all farmers are needed – including large ones to feed the volume of people in the USA and beyond. That is simply fact. The majority of people don’t grow their own food, won’t grow their own food and can’t afford custom raised or certified organic.

When people move to the country it’s often to find peace of mind, to be able to raise at least a portion of one’s own food. If you live next to a 500 cow dairy, get along with the farmer and enjoy the open space does that make your 5 or 10 acres “big ag”? Of course not!

Is too much made of it? When it creates division between neighbors, peers, agriculture and other divisions does it matter?