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Exterior doors

Posted by on Jun 29, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

door

Are you considering installing a new exterior door? Did you know that replacing your front door can pay for itself by increasing your home’s value, plus if you choose an energy efficient door you can reduce your energy bills by as much as 10%. If you have an annual utility bill of $2,000 that’s a savings of as much as $200 a year.

So how do you know which door is right for your home? Select a door by comparing the three main materials available for exterior doors which are steel, fiberglass, and wood.

 

– Steel

Steel offers the strongest barrier against intruders, although its advantage over fiberglass and wood is only slight.
Steel’s typical life span under stress is shorter than both fiberglass and wood. A steel door exposed to salt air or heavy rain may only last about 5-7 years. Despite steel’s reputation for toughness it actually didn’t perform very well in “Consumer Report’s” testing against wood and fiberglass for normal wear and tear.
With heavy use it can dent and the damage can be difficult and expensive to repair. If your door will be heavily exposed to traffic or the elements you may be better off choosing a different material.

 

– Fiberglass

Fiberglass doors come in a wide variety of styles many of which have the look of real wood. Plus if limited maintenance is your ideal fiberglass may be your best bet. Fiberglass doesn’t expand or contract as the weather changes. In a reasonably protected location a fiberglass door can last 15-20 years. Although fiberglass feels light to the touch it has a very tough coating that’s difficult for an intruder to breach plus its foam core offers a good amount of insulation.

 
– Wood

Wood is considered the go to choice for high end projects. It’s luxurious look and substantial weight can’t be flawlessly duplicated. If your looking for for a stunning entry way with a handcrafted touch, wood may be the best bet for you. Wood is usually the most expensive choice and requires the most maintenance, although it’s easier to repair scratches on a wood door than dents in steel or fiberglass. Wood doors should be repainted or refinished every 1-2 years to prevent splitting and warping. If you would like a wood door but are concerned about the environmental impact as well as its energy efficiency, you can purchase a solid wood door certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which assures you that the wood was sustainably grown and harvested.

 

*Note
Choosing a energy efficient door depends on several factors besides the material a door is made of. Make sure you look for the Energy Star label when comparing doors.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing an exterior door.
C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Shopping for a new water heater?

Posted by on Jun 23, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

water heater

Trying to find the right water heater can be a bit over whelming these days. When you are trying to decide on a new water heater for your home you will want to choose one that not only provides you with enough hot water but also does so as energy efficiently as possible saving you money. This task includes considering the different types of water heaters that are available and determining the right size and the fuel source for your home.
When you are selecting the best type water heater for your home make sure you consider the following:

– Fuel type, availability and cost.

The fuel type or energy source that you use for heating your water will not only affect the water heater’s annual operation costs but also the size you need and it’s energy efficiency.

– Size.

To make sure you provide your household with enough hot water and to maximize efficiency you need a properly sized water heater.

– Energy efficiency.

To maximize your energy and your cost savings you will want to know how energy efficient a water heater is before you purchase it.

– Cost.

Before you purchase a water heater it’s also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and compare those costs with others that are less or more energy efficient

It is also important to consider what fuel type or energy source you will use. This also includes the availability and the cost. The fuel that is used by a water heating system will not only affect annual operation costs but also the water heater’s size and energy efficiency. The following is a list of water heater options by fuel or energy source:

– Electricity

As you may already know electricity is widely  available in the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or demand-type, and heat pump water heaters. It also can be used with combination water and space heating systems which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.

– Fuel oil

Fuel oil is available in some areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems.

– Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is available throughout the United States to those who will have or already have a geothermal heat pump installed in their homes for space heating and cooling.

– Natural gas

Natural gas is available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or instantaneous water heaters, and combination water and space heating systems.

– Propane

Propane is available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or instantaneous water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems.

– Solar energy

Solar energy is available throughout the United States but is most abundantly available in the Southwest for solar water heaters.

 

Last you need to consider the type of water heater that is best for your home. The following is a list of each water heater type:

 

– Conventional storage water heaters

This is a single family storage water heater that offers a tank from 20 to 80 gallons of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water that was released cold water enters the bottom of the tank making sure that the tank is always full.

Since water is constantly heated in the tank energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn’t running. This is called standby heat loss. Only tankless water heaters such as demand type and tankless coil avoid standby heat losses. Some storage water heater models have a heavily insulated tank which will significantly reduce standby heat losses and lower annual operating costs. Look for models with tanks that have a thermal resistance or R-Value of R-12 to R-25.

 
– Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters also known as demand type or instantaneous water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When the hot water tap is turned on cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element will heat the water. As a result tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water and you don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a tankless water heater’s output limits the flow rate. A tankless water heater provides hot water at a rate of 2–5 gallons per minute. Gas fired tankless water heaters can produce higher flow rates than electric ones but sometimes even the largest gas fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous multiple uses in a large household. For example taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a tankless water heater to its limit. To overcome this problem you will need to install two or more tankless water heaters connected in parallel for simultaneous use of hot water. You could also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances such as a washing machine or dishwasher which use a lot of hot water.

Tankless water heaters can save you a good bit of money though. For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily it is 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8%–14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water about 86 gallons per day. You can achieve even greater energy savings of 27%–50% if you install a tankless water heater at each hot water outlet. ENERGY STAR estimates that a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater.

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs which can offset the higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In contrast storage water heaters only  last about 10–15 years.

 
– Heat pump water heaters

These water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore they can be 2-3 times more energy efficient than conventional water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse. While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and dispenses it into the surrounding room, a heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and dispenses it at a higher temperature into a tank to heat the water.

Heat pump water heaters require installation in locations that remain in the 40º–90ºF (4.4º–32.2ºC) range year round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet of air space around the water heater. Cool exhaust air can be exhausted to the room or outdoors. Heat pump water heaters will not operate efficiently in a cold space and because they remove heat from the air any type of heat pump system works better in a warm climate.

You can also install a geothermal heat pump  which draws heat from the ground during the winter and from the indoor air during the summer for heating and cooling your home. For water heating, you can add a desuperheater to a geothermal heat pump system. A desuperheater is a small auxiliary heat exchanger that uses superheated gases from the heat pump’s compressor to heat water. This hot water then circulates through a pipe to the home’s storage water heater tank.

 
– Solar water heaters

There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t.

There are two types of active solar water heating systems:

– Direct circulation systems

Pumps household water through the collectors and into the home. They work well in climates where it rarely freezes.

– Indirect circulation systems

Pumps a non-freezing, heat transfer fluid through the collectors and a heat exchanger. This heats the water that then flows into the home. They are popular in climates prone to freezing temperatures.

Passive solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than active systems, but they’re usually not as efficient. However, passive systems can be more reliable and may last longer.

There are two basic types of passive systems:

– Integral collector-storage passive systems

These work best in areas where temperatures rarely fall below freezing. They also work well in households with significant daytime and evening hot water needs.

– Thermosyphon systems

Warm water rises as cooler water sinks as it flows through the system. The collector must be installed below the storage tank so that warm water will rise into the tank. These systems are reliable, but are usually more expensive than integral collector-storage passive systems.

 

– Tankless coil and indirect water heaters

Tankless coil water heaters provides hot water on demand without a tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on water is heated as it flows through a heating coil or heat exchanger. Tankless coil water heaters are most efficient during cold months when the heating system is used regularly but can be an inefficient choice for many homes especially for those in warmer climates.

Indirect water heaters are a more efficient choice even though they require a storage tank. An indirect water heater uses the main furnace or boiler to heat a fluid that’s circulated through a heat exchanger in the storage tank. The energy stored by the water tank allows the furnace to turn off and on less often which in turn saves energy. An indirect water heater if used with a high efficiency boiler and well insulated tank, can be the least expensive means of providing hot water.

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about purchasing or installing a water heater.

 

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Window materials

Posted by on Jun 16, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

window frame

 

Trying to decide which type of windows to install can sometimes be overwhelming. To help you take the confusion out of window shopping we listed the pros and cons of each type of window material below:

 

 
Fiberglass

Pros:
Fiberglass windows are very durable with good thermal performance. They are low maintenance and can be painted to any color you desire.

Cons:
Fiberglass windows don’t have many drawbacks except for cost as these windows can be a little bit pricey.

 
Vinyl

Pros:
Vinyl windows are low cost and low maintenance. They also offer good thermal protection.

Cons:
Vinyl windows are not very strong and don’t have good expansion and contraction abilities. They are also not able to be painted so your choice of color is limited.

 
Clad wood

Pros:
Clad wood windows have the look and feel of real wood and have many color choices. The interior is also paintable so it can match your decor and has low exterior maintenance.

Cons:
Clad wood windows can be pricy and the quality can vary. Even though this material has low exterior maintenance it does require interior maintenance.

 

Wood

Pros:
Wood windows have a good thermal performance. The exterior can have architectural detail and there are a wide variety of color choices.

Cons:
Wood windows can have a high cost if you want good quality. They also require exterior maintenance.

 

Composite

Pros:
Composite windows are unique in that they combine different strengths together. They have a wide variety of color choices and are low maintenance.

Cons:
Composite windows do have a high cost. There are a limited number of manufacturers and durability may vary.

 

Aluminum

Pros:
Aluminum windows are very strong and durable. They are low maintenance and have a variety of color choices.

Cons:
Aluminum windows have a very low thermal performance and the quality of the window can vary.

 

Steel

Pros:
Just like aluminum steel windows are extremely strong and durable. They have a variety of color choices and narrow sight lines.

Cons:
Steel windows have a low thermal performance and a high cost. They also have a commercial look and can often feel cold.

 

 
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about window frame material.

 

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Low E Glass vs. Window Film

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

low e

Did you know that according to the U.S. Department of Energy 25% to 35% of energy is wasted in buildings due to inefficient windows. Imagine the annual savings you could have by installing energy efficient windows! Below we will explore both low E glass and window film to help you decide which one option is best for your home:

 
Low E Glass

When deciding on energy efficient windows, make sure you look for two key performance indicators: the U-factor and the solar heat gain co-efficient. The U-factor is what  indicates a window’s overall insulating value; and the solar heat gain co-efficient is what measures how well a window deflects incoming solar heat. An efficient window should be rated at 0.30 or below in both measurements. A rating of 0.30 would mean 70% of the room’s heat is reflected back into the room during the winter and during the summer it reduces non solar heat gain.

The low E glass products that use an argon gas filling in between the glass are the best options. For hotter climates it is suggested that you install window glass with three low emissivity coatings already built in. With LoE3 the triple stack coating goes on the exterior plate of the inside surface of the glass. This protects the window from the elements and prevents it from tarnishing.

Although this glass is pricey experts say the investment will pay for itself over time with the energy savings you will have.

 
Window Film

When compared to low E windows, the cost of installing tinted film on clear glass is less expensive overall. However heat blocking window film won’t provide the efficiency of the newest LoE3 coatings that are sprayed onto the glass at the factory and then cooled to create a bond.

If you are considering applying a film. Note that when applied to single pane glass it works fine to block infrared and ultraviolet light, but it’s not a good idea with dual pane glass because the film is applied to the inside of the window. Because of this the heat energy that is passed through the dual pane glass is reflected back inside the insulated glass which can cause excessive heat buildup resulting in condensation. Also be aware that applying film to a window may void the glass manufacturing company’s warranty because the film can sometimes cause seal failure in the glass.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about installing low E glass windows or window film.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Window brands and ratings

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

 

window
When shopping for new windows how do you know which brands are best? Below we have complied a list of the most popular  brands, the styles and materials they offer, and the 2014 J.D. Power ratings to help you narrow down your search for the right brand.

American Craftsman by Andersen

American Craftsman windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: double hung, single hung, gliding, casement, awning, hopper, bay, bow, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 2 out of 5

Andersen

Andersen windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, and vinyl. These styles include: casement, double hung, bow, bay, picture, awning, gliding, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 3 out of 5

Champion

Champion windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: double hung, casement, sliding, picture, bay, bow, garden, and shaped.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Jeld-Wen

Jeld-Wen windows and are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: double hung, single hung, awning, fixed, sliding, casement, bay, bow, garden, and tilt and turn.

J.D. Power rating 2 out of 5

Kolbe

Kolbe windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, single hung, sliding, tilt and turn, folding, and shaped.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Lincoln

Lincoln wood windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, gliding, bay, bow, and speciality.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Marvin

Marvin windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood and clad. These styles include: double hung, single hung, casement, awning, gliding, bay, bow, tilt and turn, hopper, shaped, and round top.

J.D. Power rating 3 out of 5

Milgard

Milgard windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles includes: awning, bay, bow, casement, double hung, single hung, garden, sliding, picture, skylight, and round top.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Pella

Pella  windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, single hung, sliding, bay, bow, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Ply Gem

Ply Gem windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood, clad, vinyl, and aluminum. These styles include: casement, awning, double hung, sliding, bay, bow, and speciality.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Reliabilt

Reliabilt windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: single hung, double hung, and sliding.

Did not make the J.D. Power rating list in 2014.

Simonton

Simonton Vinyl windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: picture, awning,double hung, sliding, casement, shaped, garden, bow, and bay.

J.D. Power rating 4 out of 5

Weather Shield

Weather Shield windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of wood clad. These styles include: double hung, casement, awning, sliding, and speciality.

J.D. Power rating 3 out of 5

Window world

Window world windows are available in multiple replacement and new construction in several styles of vinyl. These styles include: double hung, sliding, casement, awning, bay, bow, hopper, picture, and garden.

J.D. Power rating of 5 out of 5

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about window brands and styles.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Shopping for a new fridge?

Posted by on May 18, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

fridge

Refrigerators are often thought of as boxy and boring, having no style and serving no purpose other then keeping your food cold. Times have changed though and manufacturers are now thinking outside the box to try to redefine what the modern refrigerator is really capable of. Today you will find an increasing range of color and style options, cleverly designed units designed to disappear into your kitchen decor, and a wide variety of new smart features.

With the reinvention of the refrigerator finding the perfect model to fit your needs and budget is no easy task. Fortunately we have an overview that is designed to assist you in narrowing down the countless options. Finding the right refrigerator is all about understanding your needs. So let’s get started:

What type of style do I need?

Style wise you have four options to choose from and figuring out which one is best for you is the first step towards making a final decision.

Top freezer

Chances are good that this is the style that immediately pops into your head when you hear the word refrigerator. The bottom two thirds are dedicated to fresh food storage and the freezer is sitting on top. Tastes have changed since this style was first created, so if you’re looking for something modern and high end then a top freezer model probably isn’t for you. However, if style isn’t a big concern then you will find that top freezers offer some of the best bargains on the market. Plus there are still enough of them being made to offer a solid variety of choices.
Bottom freezer

If you’re looking for something more on the simpler side and want a little better access to your fresh foods, then a bottom freezer model might be right for you. Bottom freezer models aren’t much different from top freezer models except for the fact that the freezer is located on the bottom. This means that you won’t have to bend over while looking for commonly used food. However, it does mean that frozen foods will be located around your ankles. Although a majority of models now come with drawer style freezer doors which can make getting frozen food out a little easier. Bottom freezer models do tend to be just slightly bigger than top freezers, but there is also less variety of models to choose from.
Side-by-side

Side-by-side units split your refrigerator in half, offering you frozen food on the left and fresh food on the right. Some models offer equal space for both sections and others allow an extra couple of inches for the fridge. This can make for a narrow freezer section, so if you need a wide freezer space you might want to consider something a little less limiting. Side-by-side models come in a wide variety and tend to showcase more features than horizontal ones. Many of these features are aimed at saving space, especially when it comes to the shelving inside the doors. Side-by-side units also require much less clearance to open the doors, making them ideal for narrow spaces.

 
French door

The very popular french door models combine the drawer of a bottom freezer with the low clearance doors of a side-by-side model. This means that you will have a full width, double door refrigerator with plenty of storage space. Some models come with two separate freezer drawers with the top one located about waist level. This will keep you from bending down not quite as far as you would with a bottom freezer. With the high demand for French door refrigerators you’re sure to find a huge variety of options, including models with top of the line smart features that you won’t find with other styles. You can also upgrade the look of your refrigerator to match your decor or even camouflage it entirely among your cabinets.

 
What size refrigerator do I need?

This can vary but a general rule of thumb is that you will want about 4 to 6 cubic feet of refrigerator space per person in your household along with a little bit of extra room. Full size refrigerators range from 10 to 32 cubic feet so this means that a family of four probably won’t want anything less than 20 cubic feet, and might even prefer something a little bit bigger. That being said a bigger refrigerator means a bigger energy bill so be careful not to splurge on extra space that you won’t actually need as you will be paying more both upfront and down the line. If you are looking for something on the smaller side you will probably want to stick with a top freezer model as none of the other types of refrigerators come in sizes much smaller than 20 cubic feet.

 
Do I need a cabinet depth refrigerator?

Cabinet depth refrigerators are simply refrigerators that are designed to align perfectly with the edges of your cabinets, leaving only the refrigerator door sticking out. This gives your refrigerator the appearance of an expensive, custom made unit that’s built directly into your cabinetry without it actually being custom built. It won’t give you any extra storage space but they are more fashionable than standalone units.

 
What features do I need?

Refrigerators have come a long way since the days of the egg holder and the butter bin. These days you will find a wide variety of features designed to bring a whole new level of functionality to your refrigerator.
Take care of your food

Do you always want a variety of fresh ingredients on hand? Many models offer sectional climate controls for the different compartments in your refrigerator that can help you keep your foods fresher for longer. For example LG’s Push & Seal Crisper Drawer goes so far as to vacuum the air out of your produce bins whenever you close them.

Do you live off of frozen food? Look for advanced defrosting features such as GE’s Frost Guard which is designed to help eliminate freezer burn.

Do you love a nice glass of Chardonnay? Look for a refrigerator with a built in wine rack.
Multitasking  features

Some features are designed to make your refrigerator more functional. Just look at in door water dispensers for example.  Refrigerators have been dispensing water for years but now GE boasts a PreciseFill smart dispenser on several of its models that will dispense the exact amount you need or automatically detect when your cup or water bottle is full. Other models have water dispensers designed to easily accommodate tall or bulky containers. Some will even dispense hot water. Samsung recently teamed up with SodaStream unveiling a refrigerator capable of dispensing fresh seltzer water. LG has started producing models with blast chillers capable of making  your warm drink icy cold in minutes and if you’re constantly making runs to the gas station to pick up a bag of ice for your cooler look for a unit with an ice maker capable of dispensing ice in bulk.

 
Other extras

– Quieting models  that make for less humming and buzzing

– Anti bacterial interior coatings to help keep your food germ free

– LED lighting

– Steel reinforced hinges to support heavy  storage in your door

– Spill proof shelving to help keep messes from dripping through your refrigerator

– Touch screens and built-in Wi-Fi
Should I get a smart refrigerator?

Simply put smart refrigerators are not cheap and whether or not the cost is worth it is really up to you. For some people smart technology gives refrigerators a whole new cool factor and the fact that we use our refrigerators every day makes these features an investment.

Smart energy efficiency

If you are looking for a greener kitchen and lower power bill you will likely enjoy smart features that are aimed at making your refrigerator more energy efficient. Many new models can track their own energy consumption and some even go a step further delivering the information straight to your smartphone and even allowing you to monitor usage or change the temperature remotely. If energy efficiency is an important factor in your buying decision but a top of the line smart refrigerator doesn’t fit within your budget don’t worry there are plenty of other features available that will help you go green without breaking the bank. At least one model comes with a sensor that detects when the door isn’t fully shut and others will allow you to access commonly used ingredients without ever opening the refrigerator at all using a door within a door compartment or a sliding panel. Features like these are small but a big difference when it comes to your energy usage.

 
Communication

Smart refrigerators don’t just share usage data with you. Some Whirlpool models are equipped with 6th Sense Live technology that will send you texts letting you know when the water filter needs to be replaced or alerting you to a power outage. Other models are equipped with intuitive features  that kick in whenever something isn’t working helping you to identify the problem and troubleshoot a solution. There are even models that will offer suggestions on what to make for dinner if you’re willing to take the time to tell your refrigerator what ingredients are inside of it.

 

Entertainment

Some of the most talked about smart features have been focused on entertainment. More than one manufacturer has introduced models with Wi-Fi, integrated speakers, and LCD touch screens built  into the door. Samsung has even incorporated popular apps like Google Calendar and Twitter into its high end models. Do you want to check the weather? Know what’s happening on the morning news? Looking for step by step recipes? Want to stream your favorite Pandora station while cooking? With an entertainment minded smart refrigerator all of this is possible with just a tap.

 

If you decide that a smart refrigerator might be something you would be interested in make sure to shop around. Different manufacturers have different visions for where smart technology is headed so you’ll want to be sure to find a brand that emphasizes the specific type of technology and features that you are looking for. So far it seems that Samsung has focused almost exclusively on entertainment, while Whirlpool’s features are geared more towards energy efficiency. LG has taken a broader approach with its high end refrigerators offering a mixture of smart technology. Other brands such Kenmore and GE are more conservative focusing less on entertainment and connectivity and more on subtle design and engineering upgrades. Though your choices might be limited to two or three models per manufacturer, the variety is definitely there. Whatever your decision is do a little homework, shop around to get the best deal, then buy with confidence.

 

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about finding a new refrigerator.

 

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Fiber cement d log siding

Posted by on May 12, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

Fiber-cement-siding

Fiber cement siding is a cost effective material that can look just like wooden d log. It is low maintenance, termite proof and provides fire protection too. This siding offers several advantages over wood and will add value and elegance to your project.

When compared to other siding materials fiber cement siding offers superior resistance, stability, moisture resistance and it is pest resistant too. One of the most important attributes of the fiber cement siding is that it can withstand many variations in weather conditions such as snow, ice, heat and freezing temperatures without decaying. Fiber cement siding requires little to no maintenance when compared to vinyl siding which needs to be cleaned and washed and wood siding which needs to be painted and treated to maintain its beauty.

Fiber cement siding can also be combined with weather barriers and insulation to increase the energy efficiency in your home.  This product has also been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for its durability and sustainability.

Fiber cement siding is not affected by localized heat, that normally melts or damages vinyl siding. Fiber cement siding holds paint very well and trim board is available in several sizes. It has the durability of cement and usually offers a class 1A fire rating.

Wood insects will not eat or damage it, it does not rot, and is resistant to deterioration from salt and ultraviolet rays. Most companies will warranty their product for about 50 years which is proof of its durability.

Fiber cement doesn’t have many drawbacks unless you are considering using vinyl siding as fiber cements installation and handling costs are higher when compared.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or you may have about installing fiber cement siding.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Septic tanks

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

septic tank Septic tanks are an alternative treatment of wastewater compared to sewer. Septic tanks are often used in rural areas such as the North Georgia Mountains in order to deal with the small amount of sewage created by a single household. The septic tank is part of a septic system. The way the septic system works is one line will enter the tank on one end and exit on the other. By the means of bacteria breaking down the solids, almost everything turns into a liquid. The liquid then flows into the drain field and is absorbed into the groundwater and is cleaned naturally. There is only a little sludge that sinks to the bottom of the tank and stays there. It’s almost like sand.

Installation

The supernate from a septic tank is not as clean as the water released by wastewater treatment plants.  This supernate would pollute streams and the groundwater if it came in contact with them before trickling down through the soil.  As a result soil permeability must be carefully tested before installing a septic system. The term permeability refers to how easily water can trickle down through soil. Septic systems do not work well in clay soils since clay is a relatively impermeable soil and does not allow the supernate to soak in.  So if a septic system is installed in clay soil the supernate often rises to the surface of the ground producing a very unsanitary situation.  The Health Department has established soil testing procedures which must be followed before a septic tank can be installed.  These procedures test the permeability of the soil.  The procedure is outlined below:

1. A 2 feet deep hole is dug in the soil.

2. The hole is saturated with water.  Then the hole is filled with water to a known depth.

3. The water is allowed to sink into the soil for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes the depth of the water in the hole is then measured. Once the soil has been tested and the Health Department has issued a permit the septic system can be installed. The first factor to be considered when you are ready to install is the size of the tank.  The size you need depends upon the size of the family and the type of use.  For example a larger family will create more waste and will require a larger tank. Households which use their tanks for garbage disposal will also require a larger tank. The amount of available land will also influence which tank size is chosen.

In non permeable soil up to 60% of the water can come to the top of the ground and will be dispersed through transpiration or breathing of plants.  The other 40% will become groundwater.

The last consideration when installing fill lines is that the supernate must be distributed evenly across the ground. When the ground is sloped  then the lines should be connected in parallel or in series to provide efficient removal. The lines should also be placed so that they are perpendicular to the slope of the land.  Another way of saying this is that the fill lines should be parallel to the contour lines of the land.

Maintenance

The need for only minimal maintenance is one of the major benefits of having a septic system. Preventing plant growth on the septic field is the most intensive maintenance required after installation. Trees must not be allowed to grow over your septic tank system as the leaves can clog the septic lines. Grass must be mowed above the septic field.  This prevents brush and small plants from growing in the field as the plants could sink their roots down into the septic lines and break them. Also don’t allow anyone to drive or operate heavy machinery over any part of the septic system and don’t build anything over the septic field. Good septic system operation and maintenance include conserving water, being careful that nothing harmful is disposed of through the system, and having the system inspected annually and pumped regularly. By educating everyone in your household about what is and what isn’t good for septic systems you can begin to develop good maintenance habits.

What is harmful

What you put into your septic system can greatly affect its ability to to its job properly. Remember that your septic system contains living bacteria that digest and treat waste. As a general rule do not dispose of anything in your septic system that can be just as easily put into the trash. Your septic system is not designed to be a trash can and solids can build up in the tank and will need to be pumped. The more solids that go into the tank the more frequently the tank will need to be pumped and the higher the risk for problems to arise.

In the kitchen avoid washing food scraps, coffee grinds, and other food items down the drain. Grease and cooking oil can contribute to the layer of scum in the tank and should also not be put down the drain.

The same approach used in the kitchen should also be used in the bathroom. Don’t use the toilet to get rid of plastic, paper, towels, facial tissue, tampons, sanitary napkins, cigarette butts, dental floss, diapers, kitty litter, etc. The only things that should be flushed are waste-water and toilet paper.

When used as recommended by the manufacturer most house hold cleaning products will not affect the operation of your septic system. Drain cleaners however are an exception to the rule and should not be used as they can kill the bacteria and disrupt the operation of the septic tank. Cleaners such as bleach, disinfectants, and toilet bowl cleaners are ok as long as they are used in moderation and in accordance to the product label.

In order to avoid permanently damaging your septic system do not dispose of hazardous household chemicals such as paint, varnish, paint thinners, oil, anti-freeze, pharmaceuticals, antibacterial soaps, gasoline, pesticides, etc. Even a small amount of these chemicals can destroy the helpful bacteria and pollute the ground water. If you need to wash paint or stain from brushes and rollers squeeze out all the excess paint on several layers of newspaper and get as much out as you can before rinsing.

While many products out there claim to help septic systems work better the truth is that most engineers and sanitation professionals believe that commercial septic additives are at best useless and at worst harmful to your system. There are two types of additives: biological (bacteria, enzyme,and yeast) and chemical. Biological additives are harmless but some chemical additives can harm the soil in the septic field and contaminate the ground water.

Appliances

A few appliances can also harm your septic system. They are garbage disposals, hot tubs, and water softening systems .

Garbage disposals can increase the amount of solids in the tank up to 50% and should not be used at all. Because a garbage disposal grinds kitchen scraps into tiny pieces once they reach the septic tank they are suspended in the water and get pumped out with the liquid waste into the soil. It also significantly increases the amount of sludge and scum in your septic tank. Many states require a larger minimum size tank if there will be a garbage disposal in the house.

Hot tubs are very common to have today and while the soothing waters may be good for your body the large amount of water that drains from the hot tub is harmful to your septic system. Emptying large amounts of water into your septic system can cause an overload, stir the solids in the tank causing them to be pushed out into the septic field, and eventually cause the system to fail. Instead of draining the water into your septic system the hot tub water should be cooled and drained on to grass or other areas of your yard away from the septic system.

Some water softening systems pump hundreds of gallons of water into the septic tank all at once. This again can stir the solids in the tank causing them to be pushed out into the septic field, and eventually cause the system to fail. Water softeners also remove the hardness by using a salt to initiate an ion exchange. This flushes pounds of used salt into the septic system and can affect the digestion in the tank and reduce the permeability in the soil of the septic field. If you are going to use a water softening system you should have alternative routing installed.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have about installing or maintaining a septic system.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Using a two-way mirror to conceal your TV

Posted by on Apr 27, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

two way mirror

Are you tired of seeing your TV when it’s not in use? Do you want a TV in places like the bathroom but think you don’t have the space? That’s where two-way mirrors come in! TVs can be concealed behind two-way mirrors and only show through the mirror when the TV is on. The only downside to using a two-way mirror though is that when the TV is off the mirror isn’t quite as reflective as a traditional mirror would be and when the TV is on it is behind the glass so it might not have quite as clear of a picture.

Below you will find the necessary steps to take in order to conceal your TV behind a two-way mirror:

1) Find a place to hide your TV which should be a flat screen model. The best place is a wall that has enough depth to hold your TV.

2) Cut a hole in the wall that is large and deep enough for your TV and place the television inside. Make sure the inside of the hole is completely dark. It is recommended to add venting before sealing the TV inside the wall. This will add ventilation and keep the TV from over heating.

3) Run the wire from your TV off to the side through another hole or cut a hole through the back of the wall and run the wires out there. How you hide the wires depends on how your room is situated and how neat you want it to look.

4) Install an ordinary two-way mirror or a specially made television mirror. (Companies such as HiddenTelevision.com have mirrors made specifically for TVs.) Put the mirror inside a frame and mount it over the hole.

5) Make sure you take extra care that the TV can be seen through the reflective part of the mirror. Turn on the TV and make sure the light from it will pass through the mirror. When you turn off the TV the mirror will bounce light off of it again becoming reflective and hiding the TV from the rest of the world.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about mounting TVs and installing two-way mirrors.
C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.

Home Security

Posted by on Apr 12, 2015 in blog_commentary | 0 comments

security

Did you know in 2014 the property crime rate in Blue Ridge Ga was 33.47% while the national average was 27.3%? What is most alarming about these numbers is that the crime has moved from the streets and other public areas into more suburban and residential areas. This implies that the places which should be kept safest for us and our families are now targets for home robberies.

A residential security system is becoming extremely important due to the increasing rate of crime and theft. Security cameras are able to provide us with video footage either live or recorded of our property. In fact the presence of surveillance systems have led to the incarceration of many criminals and have helped in deterring crimes and theft.  Through the years security surveillance cameras have become a lot more affordable. For this reason more and more households and businesses are being equipped with security cameras with the hopes of protecting their properties.

Home security cameras are one of the most popular gadgets that people can equip their homes with these days. Having a security camera in your home may not always prevent your home from being robbed but it does offer a certain level of ease knowing that everything happening in your home is being recorded. With a home security camera no one can go in and out of the house unnoticed and no movement goes undetected and unrecorded. Installing a home security camera in full view can also be one way of warding off and discouraging robbers as security camera footage can be transmitted to local security receiving stations and monitored by people who can immediately respond to unwanted incidents. Furthermore it can also discourage robbers from pursuing the crime as security camera footage can now be used in court as evidence of a crime.

Due to the advancements in technology security cameras now come in many different shapes and sizes. There are also wired and wireless versions of these security systems as well. Security cameras that are internet ready are a good way of monitoring your home while you are away. They can be viewed from almost any location that has a computer with a internet connection. There are also surveillance systems that can notify you through email when movement has been detected in your home. Security cameras that are equipped with motion sensors give them the capability of detecting movements. Even the slightest movement can trigger these motion sensors to start the video recording process. They also have digital security surveillance cameras which are much smaller then normal security cameras.  Despite their size these cameras are capable of recording video for long periods of time. The images and videos they record can be saved and edited in your computer. They have gained in popularity because they have eliminated the need for video tapes to record.

You might be asking yourself how many security cameras do I need in my home?
The specific number of cameras that you will need can depend on many factors such as:
– The size of your property.
– The size of your home.
– The number of rooms.
– The number of entrances and exits.
– How extensively you want every corner monitored.
The number of cameras that you have monitoring your home should not be your one and only consideration though as your home’s security does not stop there. Keep in mind that four home security cameras per room would still be useless if these cameras are not backed up by a solid home security system with people who can monitor and respond appropriately to incidents should the need arise.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about installing a new security system or adding surveillance cameras to your home.

C&H Construction is a licensed general contractor and Custom Home builder located in Blairsville, Union County Georgia serving Towns County Georgia, Fannin County Georgia, Gilmer County Georgia and the North Georgia Mountains.