Washers & Dryers: A Buyer's Guide

Today’s washers run the gamut. From conventional top-loading machines that have a center-post agitator, to high-efficiency top-loaders without the center post agitator, as well as front-loader washers. Consider the pros and cons of each type of washer when making a purchase decision.

Top-loading washing machines

Once the only option in washing machines, top loaders come in two varieties. The standard washer with a center-post agitator produces the necessary friction to wash and rinse your clothing. Standard top-loaders tend to be your least expensive choice in washing machines, and they use more water and energy than front-loaders. Buy an energy-efficient ENERGY STAR top-loader model, however, and you can save water and electricity.
High efficiency top-loading washing machines don’t have the post agitator, but instead possess an impeller or rotating mechanism on the floor of the drum that circulates water for washing. This type of system is gentler on clothing and uses half the water of standard variety machines. High efficiency top-loaders also come in energy-efficient models.
Special features offered in top-loading machines are the various capacities, including king-size, and water sensor models that automatically fill the drum according to the amount of laundry you’ve added. Some models boast as many as 16 cycles and four temperature settings.

Front-loading washing machines

Reportedly cleaning the best and most efficiently of all washing machines, front-loading washers generally have an ENERGY STAR label from the U.S. Department of Energy, which indicates that the washer is highly energy efficient. A front-loading washer uses one-third the amount of water than a top loader. Such models are also gentler on clothing, and the spin cycle in such machines is very fast, extracting more moisture and making drying clothing less time-consuming.
Although front-loading machines are generally the most expensive option in washing machines, prices have dropped some in recent years, making these machines more in line with other types.
Special features found in front-loading machines include many types of settings that perform a wide variety of functions, from cleaning heavily soiled items to delicates. These machines are also so “intelligent” that you can simply set a machine according to fabric type and the washer will automatically set the run time, cycle type, spin speed, water-level setting and temperature. Some machines even possess their own water heaters and start delay timers.


Dryers come in gas and electric models. If gas is available and your usage is high, it’s often best to choose such a dryer, because they tend to cost less to operate over the life of the dryer.
Since all dryers work the same by tumbling clothing in heated air, they tend to use similar amount of energy and are therefore not officially rated for energy efficiency, according to the California Energy Commission. Dryers come in several sizes, from compact to oversized, and vary in price according to capacity and features.
Special features in dryers include moisture sensors that cause the machine to shut off once the clothing is dry, saving your clothing and energy. Some dryers also possess a permanent-press cool-down period before shutting off and a wide variety of temperature controls from which to choose. Dryer racks also come with some models, allowing you to dry items like shoes and sweaters.
Now that you know the various options when it comes to washers and dryers, you can choose the best machines for keeping your laundry squeaky clean.

The original article can be found here.

Six Easy Home Repairs to Save you Money

While staying on top of home repairs is an ideal way to ensure that your house remains in tip-top shape, occasionally some costly home repairs are overlooked. Save money and the integrity of your home by considering these six easily overlooked home repairs.

1. Leaky faucets
Seemingly insignificant dripping faucets cost you higher water bills. According to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Science School, one faucet that drips 20 drips per minute results in 694 wasted gallons of water per year. A leaky faucet is often caused by a worn down rubber seal or washer. Simply replace these items and the faucet stops dripping.

2. Leaking water heater
A leaking or faulty water heater can cause extensive damage to your home, both in the long term if it is a slow leak or over the short term if it is a major leak. Water damage can lead to dry rot, mold and mildew build-up. Fixing a leaking water heater can save you a substantial amount of money in repairs. Leaks involving valves or piping can generally be fixed at minimal cost, but if the leak is occurring because of corrosion of the tank itself, it’s necessary to replace the entire water heater.

3. Roof leaks
Small roof leaks often go undetected until they turn into larger problems. The best way to prevent a small problem from becoming a large one is to do a roof inspection. Get up on top of the roof or have a roofer do so to detect any torn or missing shingles or broken tiles. Minor repairs now will cost you very little compared to major repairs later.

4. Damaged windows and siding
Like a leaking roof, damaged siding and windows with worn out seals can lead to slow water leaks that become big leaks over time. Prevent the insidious and devastating effects of water damage by resealing windows every five years or so and fixing any cracked or warped siding as soon as you notice the problem.

5. Worn-out caulking
The caulk surrounding your bathtub walls, sinks and countertops wears down over time. Even minor cracks in caulk can let in moisture, which can lead to water damage and rot in your walls and surrounding areas. Re-caulk anywhere you have running water, including bathrooms and kitchens, every three to five years.

6. Peeling paint
Besides looking unsightly, peeling and flaking paint on the exterior of your home exposes wood to the elements, which can lead to rotting and splitting. Protecting the exterior surface of your home by painting at the first signs of wear and tear keeps your home protected and looking its best. If there are only a few areas that contain peeling paint and the rest of the paint appears to be intact, you can do some spot painting. If you no longer have the original paint or it has dried, take a one-inch-square piece of peeling paint to the paint or hardware store and have it matched so that you get a seamless look when you paint.

Performing these necessary home repairs does take some time, but the result of a well-protected and maintained house is well worth the effort.

Original article can be found here.

Local Home Services Company - House Cleaning, Yard Clean up, Holiday Lights, Gutters

Do you have some fall house cleaning that needs to be done? Maybe you want your windows washed or the leaves removed from your yard? Whether it's interior house cleaning or yard cleanup, I would recommend Spectrum Home Services of Colorado Springs. They have a Fall Cleanup Special ~ see the details below.

Local: 719.598.7080
Email: ddueber@spectrumhomeservices.com
Web: www.spectrumcoloradosprings.com
Licensed, Bonded & Insured

Fall Cleanup
$25 off with a 2 hour minimum service
  • Fall Leaf Removal
  • Fall Yard Cleanup
  • Plant Bulbs
  • Clean Rain Gutters
  • Seal Windows and Doors
  • Outdoor maintenance & Repairs
  • Interior/Exterior Window Washing
  • Holiday Light Installation
  • Christmas Tree Delivery/Removal
  • Interior/Exterior Decorating
  • Deep Cleaning Services
Custom Services to Fit Your Needs
One Time * Weekly * Monthly

Some homeowners regain equity according to Zillow

Home price increases helped more homeowners regain some equity in their homes during the second quarter, according to an analysis by Zillow.
Zillow's Negative Equity Report estimates that 30.9 percent of homeowners with mortgages owed more than their homes were worth at the end of June, down from 31.4 percent at the end of March. That translates into 15.3 million underwater homes -- about 400,000 less than three months before.
The report -- which compares Zillow's automated home valuation "Zestimates" for individual homes with actual mortgage loan balance data from TransUnion --  showed all but one of the 30 largest markets tracked by Zillow saw a quarter-over-quarter improvement in their negative equity rate.
Metro areaQ1 2012 negative equity rate (homes with mortgages)Q2 2012 negative equity rate (homes with mortgages)Difference in rate from Q1 to Q2
United States31.40%30.90%-0.50%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Fla.46.40%43.70%-2.70%
Las Vegas71.00%68.50%-2.50%
San Jose22.70%20.30%-2.40%
San Francisco30.70%28.50%-2.20%
Riverside, Calif.53.40%51.20%-2.20%
Orlando, Fla.53.90%51.90%-2.00%
Sacramento, Calif.51.20%49.30%-1.90%
This excerpt was taken from Inman News and can be read in its entirety here.

Homebuilder confidence climbs to a six-year high | confidence, high, homebuilder - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO

Homebuilder confidence climbs to a six-year high | confidence, high, homebuilder - Colorado Springs Gazette, CO

Pikes Peak’s South Slope Expected To Open To The Public By 2014

For the first time in over 100 years the public is going to be allowed to recreate on the formerly forbidden south slope of Pikes Peak. Access to the pristine area has been restricted by Colorado Springs Utilities for decades, but now the Colorado Springs Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services has been awarded $400,000 in grants from the state of Colorado to help fund the development of a new park on the south side of the peak in the Seven Lakes Area.
The new south slope park has been in the planning stages for the past two years and hoped to be ready for public use by the summer of 2014.
The area in question, a proposed new 2,840 acre park on both sides of the Teller/El Paso county line, includes McReynolds Reservoir, Mason Reservoir and Boehmer Reservoir in the Seven Lakes area above Cheyenne Canyon and below the summit of Pikes Peak. 
Access into the area is from the Gold Camp Road, and concerns were raised about increased traffic on the dirt road, which is one lane in places and passes through narrow historic Cripple Creek Short Line Railroad tunnels. If traffic levels exceed 99 cars per day, the road will have to be improved to accommodate the additional use, but how this would be accomplished is not clear. Other concerns include an increase in the trash in the area, as some recreationists are slobs, and garbage can create wildlife conflicts, detract from the natural beauty, and lower water quality.
For further information and the complete article at The Mountain Jackpot, click here.

Mortgage Rates On The Rise - But Still Very Low

Mortgage rates ticked up from historic lows for the fourth week in a row as the bonds that finance most home loans continue to look overpriced to investors.
Some have speculated that the prospect of rising mortgage rates could spur homebuyers who have been sitting on the fence into action. But for now, mortgage rates are still well below historic norms, and there's speculation that the Federal Reserve could move as early as next week to keep long-term rates in check.
Here's what the rates look like as of today, September 17, 2012. If you or someone you know are interested in refinancing or buying ~ I am happy to refer you to several trusted loan officers for financing. And of course, if you are looking to sell your home or buy a new home, I can help you with that!
Rate Table
Average Rates Chart
All rates are subject to change and to lender fees