Kick the Tank? Conventional Water Heaters VS Tankless Water Heaters

If you’re like the average American, you treasure your hot showers in the morning and a hot rinse after your morning shave. With the heat comes energy, which leads to your energy bill. As a country, we spend about 30% of our average energy bill on heating water for such tasks. In order to provide a cost-cutting and energy efficient alternative, the market has been flooded in the past few years with tank-less water heaters. These heaters do not store water to be heated so they’re frequently advertised to provide a never-ending stream of hot water to households.  In addition to as much hot water as one can handle, they’re also touted as being much more energy efficient; 20-30% more efficient than a conventional water heater. Sounds awesome, right? But is tossing the tank the best option for your home?

What is not to like about an unlimited flow of water as hot as you can stand? Tank-less water heaters keep it coming, but where they can potentially fail is providing access to hot water at your fingertips. Need just a trickle of hot water for a warm rinse? Because the tank-less water heaters do not pre-heat any water, you might be waiting longer for the water to get to your sink, if the water gets there at all; the small flow from the sink might not be enough to trigger the water heater. Also, if you’re building on a budget, it is true that there is a definite energy savings over time with the tank-less, but the initial price might give you sticker shock; tank-less water heaters can cost twice as much, if not three-times the price of conventional water heaters Also, because of their highly efficient nature, the tank-less water heaters do require much more specialized maintenance over time. Though you will be satisfied with your energy bill every month, it can take 15-20 years for the energy savings to make up for the difference in price. Even then and with the need for more specialized installation and recommended annual care, the price of average maintenance and cleaning might swipe any savings you would receive from your tank-less water heater.

So, when it comes down to it, is a conventional water-heater better than a tank-less water heater? Should you automatically be turned off of using a tank-less water heater? Not necessarily, but it all depends on the household’s needs. Do you need a water-heater than won’t leave you in the cold after all your kids have used up your tank’s hot water? Are you environmentally conscious and energy efficiency isn’t just about monetary savings to you? Are you short on space and would rather make use of your bathroom closet or that nook under the stairs rather than have it filled with a giant water-heater tank?  If you answered “yes” to these questions, a tank-less water heater might pay off for your family; even if not monetarily, but over arguments about who’s been using up all the hot water. To finalize the decision, meet with your local water-heater professional and weigh the savings; money-wise, energy-wise, and family-function wise. 

Mini-Houses

Looking to move a larger house? During this housing crisis that wasn’t exactly helped by those seeking houses larger than their budgets could allow, there has been a fast-growing movement of those wishing to simplify their lives by minimizing their square-footage. Many are calling this the “small house movement” or even the “tiny house movement.” Some believe this move towards living much more simply than the average American homeowner is a direct backlash against materialistic excess and waste. Others will claim this move towards tiny living is for the more environmentally-conscious hoping to limit their carbon footprint. Just how tiny are these tiny houses? Some of these purposely-small house dwellers build 400 square foot homes while others scale their living spaces down as much as to a staggering 76 square feet! What possibly can the advantages of this be? Well, the answers can be fairly surprising.

Think for a moment how much of your house you supply heat, air conditioning, lighting, water, and other utilities to. Now, take a second to think about how much of that space you occupy at any single moment. Your dining room is probably a separate room from your living room. You probably read books in a different room than you entertain. Are you doing more than one of these activities at once? Well, the idea behind living in a tiny house is that one space has limitless possibilities for its usage. Want to entertain over a meal? Many tiny houses are equipped with a table that folds down from the wall and then folds back flush again; hidden from view. With the table out of the way, suddenly your dining room is a living space. With a much smaller living area, one must become more resourceful, but the savings from wasteful use translates to a savings from wasteful spending. Aside from the wasted space inside, there is rarely an issue with wasted space outside; as most forms of these tiny houses are built on street-legal trailers that allow the house to be taken to any destination.

Many of these tiny house-dwellers custom build their houses to their own specifications, but those who would rather leave the design and construction to someone else, there is exploding marketplace for smaller houses. For easily under $60,000, one can buy a fully-mobile, quality-built tiny house and have it delivered to their location. For no more than $700, one can buy the plans for a house of their choosing and build it with materials purchased from their local big-box hardware store at around half the price of a fully-built tiny home.

For the best in house construction, bigger is now not always better. Expand your thinking of home living and take a look at living tiny. 

Questions about Pole Barns and how they work? We have answers…

Q: What is the life span of the treated lumber used at Better Built?

A: Standard posts have a .60 CCA treatment. The manufacturer has a “Lifetime” rating and a 60 –year warranty, but the life span of the post should far exceed 60 years. Need extra protection from pesky bugs like termites? We have post protectors available to provide even more shielding from nature’s elements.

Q: How do i best ventilate my building?

A: Better Built offers customers a wide variety of options for proper and optimal ventilation. Need some input and pricing quotes? Give us a call!

Q: I have heard a rumor that skylights leak: Is that true?

A: Truth is, skylights require a large amount of maintenance to keep them in great working condition. Unlike the rest of your pole building, which is virtually maintenance free, skylights may need re-caulking every 3-5 years to prevent leaks during inclement weather. Should you decide to insulate the roof of the building, skylights should not be installed. Need some alternatives? We have your solutions.

Q: Does Better Built Structures do custom buildings on request?

A: Of course! In fact, we recently completed a life-sized gingerbread house for charity! Check it out along with our other projects at our Facebook page. We would love to help you bring your ideas to life at a price you can afford!

Trying to find a traditional food to enjoy this evening for Mardi Gras? Picking up a King Cake from the local bakery is a quick fix to help get in on the fun of Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras is a day of fun, indulgence and celebration leading up to Lent, a Christian holiday observing the liturgical year. Typically, observers will select a vice or indulgence to give up for 40 days to honor and observe this 40 day period, mirroring the story in the Bible documenting Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert, where he was tempted and confronted by the Devil but resisted.

Are you observing Lent? If so, what are you giving up for 40 days? We’d love to hear from you here at Better Built!

Savoring Every Bite

You don’t need to live in New Orleans to enjoy the local festivities of Mardi Gras and Fat Tuesday!  There is something so colorful and fun about the New Orleans’ King Cake that I have to make it every year just to feel like I’m celebrating right along with the folks in New Orleans. 

Fat Tuesday is right around the corner wrapping up the the Mardi Gras or Carnival Season that is so well celebrated in New Orleans.  The season begins on January 6, also known as “King’s Day” honoring the meeting of the Three Wise Men with the baby Jesus.  The hiding of the baby in the cake was to symbolize the finding of the baby Jesus.

Before my move to Florida, I had considered a relocation to New Orleans.  I made several trips there to look around and during those times, the city grabbed my heart.  The people there seemed…

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Before you pack away the storage boxes, sort through the clutter!

Storing items away when they’re not in use seems like a wise thing to do, but how much of what you are storing is junk you can either donate or throw away? Reconsider those stored items using some simple, easy-to-follow steps:

1. Gather your junk from each room or furniture piece into one starting pile.

2. Immediately pick out all of the trash – old receipts, paper, packaging leftovers, old boxes, anything you don’t need.

3. Find the items that already have a home…are there CDs that can go into a CD case, or maybe some pencils to put in your office desk or kids’ room?

4. Group similar items together. If you have duplicates, or haven’t used items in over a year, consider donating them, selling them in a garage sale, or simply tossing them. 

5. Your remaining items should be items you plan to use within the next year – pack them up in boxes that are clearly labeled to make spotting your stuff easy when you need to snag a box. 

Fast, easy steps to take to get less cluttered in Spring 2012. Still need more storage? We understand, and that is exactly why Better Built is always here to help provide quality structures that are as nice to look at as they are practical. Need some more tips on how to de-clutter before you wrap things up and prep for warm weather? We’re liking these additional easy tips: http://unclutterer.com/2009/02/17/instructions-for-decluttering-your-home-in-less-than-500-words/

Decorating no-no’s to avoid…

Depending on your needs, you may be wanting a Better Built structure like one of our Casita or Lofted Porch buildings – perfect for that cute little lakeside cabin or woodland getaway. So now what? We build every Better Built structure to your specifications, but you may be looking for decorating tips to help your additional space look perfect for any occasion. Below are some tips on what to avoid to help make the most of your Better Built structure:

1. Avoid area rugs that are undersized for the space – Teeny tiny rugs will only get annoying if you keep kicking them out of place or tripping on them while moving around. Try to find something that you can place furnishings on top of…at the very least, a rug that allows some parts of the furniture to rest on top of it. 

2. Avoid neck pain by hanging your artwork and wall accents at eye-level – Many art collectors don’t realize they may be hanging their art a bit out of visual reach by hanging it closer to the ceiling. Hanging pieces at eye-level allows you and your guests to enjoy the art!

3. Throw pillow addiction, begone! That’s right, too many throw pillows may seem like a great idea, until you try to sit down and have to spend five minutes moving all of those charming little accents. Select one or two fun additions and leave the pillow hoarding to others! On a secondary pillow note, try to select accent pillows that suit the furnishings they are being paired with. A tiny little pillow floating around helplessly on a giant armchair or couch will just look like a dog toy. And the dog might treat it as such!

4. Our most important piece of advice? Never, ever sacrifice comfort for style. If it feels good, but isn’t a current trend, don’t worry about the trend and just go with what feels good! It’s your space, make sure you feel great when you spend time in it!

Need more tips? We recommend checking out the About.com website for some fun tips!

Black History month in Sapulpa

While the nation celebrates Black History Month, Sapulpa is enjoying a continued deep connection with African American history in our city – roots that have been growing for well over 100 years. On February 24th, just ten days from Valentines Day, Sapulpa High School’s drama department is excited to host in partnership with our local NAACP chapter an assembly featuring readings of Dr. Martin Luther King’s words spoken by Rick Bruner. The assembly will also feature skits that showcase the talents of our local students, followed by an additional talent showcase. 

We are excited to share in the rich history of Sapulpa’s African American roots with our young students as they grow into compassionate activists for continued equality in our community. For more details about the assembly and other Black History Month events in our community, read more here: http://www.sapulpaheraldonline.com/articles/2012/02/11/news/doc4f36b18717391195141756.txt

Fast = Good for business!

Thinking about a new facility for your business? Perhaps you’re staring at the property you own, wondering what would work best for your needs? Traditional construction can take months. With one permit issue, a year could fly by and you’ll still be in construction mode! With pre-fabricated buildings and barns, your construction needs can be addressed and completed in rapid time, giving your business a chance to bloom faster than ever. Pre-fab has gone from basic to anything but…there’s a structure for every idea and every necessity – Better Built even customizes. Consider pre-fab for your next business build and you’ll find the speed and simplicity a breath of fresh air for your business. You can read more about this topic here: http://www.kfyrtv.com/News_Stories.asp?news=54443

Exterior colors

Does selecting the right color for your structure seem like a daunting task? We understand – not everyone is a born designer when it comes to color, and sometimes the biggest challenge is picking the right color without seeing it on the building itself! Maybe a bold color seems daunting in the paint can, but on the building it transforms the way the structure looks in the space. Whether you’re struggling to decide on the perfect shade of blue, or trying to figure out the best color combo for your walls and trim, there are a million ways to give your structure a beautiful, modern color wash without creating a neighborhood eyesore. Some of our favorite ideas and creative inspirations can be found here: http://architecture.about.com/od/paint/Paint_Your_House_Tips_For_Choosing_Exterior_Colors.htm