Friday, November 22, 2013

Chimney Cleaning Tip

If you have a woodstove, it should be cleaned every year or so. You can hire a Chimney Sweep to do it for you which is great if you can afford it and don't want to get up on the roof. You can purchase a chimney brush with the fiberglass extensions and clean it yourself. A more simpler method is to get a long tow chain, remove the chimney top, lower the chain into the pipe as far as you can and make circular motions for a minute or two. You will hear the creosote breaking loose and falling down the pipe. In the older woodstoves, it will fall into the fire box. In the newer stoves, you will need to remove the black pipe closest to the stove and suck the debris out with a shopvac. Good Luck! "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try." –Beverly Sills

Friday, November 8, 2013

Home Kit Comparisons

We are asked many times a month about how our kits compare to our competitor, a large material supplier here in Alaska. Up until now we have never published the difference, and there is a big difference. Their kits look similar to ours but there are several major differences. 1. Our kits come with bigger floor joist, bigger rafters, and are framed 16" on center instead of 24". The larger rafters and floor joist allow for higher R values in the insulation. 2. Our kits are designed to meet the residential and energy code. 3. We can make any change the customer wants including windows, doors, decks, arctic entries and any other feature requested. Their kits are not changeable. 4. We have a toll-free hotline for customers to call for assistance in building. Since we are a licensed General contractor, we can actually send out a carpenter or two to help out if you get in a bind. 5. We offer training in advance of construction to all of our customers who want to participate. 6. We send an instructional DVD with the kit. (They do as well now that they saw us do it) 7. We carry optional leveling devices for homes and cabins built on unstable soils. We are not saying they don't have a good product, just pointing out some differences. "Never run down your competitor, especially when they are your major supplier." (Anonymous Alaskan General Contractor)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Extreme Conditions Kit Options

We are in the process of developing three insulation options for your DIY kits to meet the needs of rural Alaskans. Our standard kit consists of the framing shell and includes foundation, framing, windows, doors and metal roof. The standard kits do not include wiring, plumbing, insulation or drywall etc. We have found that many in bush Alaska need more energy efficient options. With oil prices as high as $9.00 per gallon and even more in some areas, it makes good sense to spend the money up front for energy efficiency. On the road system, fuel prices are quite reasonable in comparison so the payback on energy efficient upgrades may not warrant the extra cost for super insulation which is quite costly. Naturally, there are many ways to make a home more energy efficient and we are starting out by offering three options for the DIY kits. We are in the process of building a price list for the super insulated kits right now. If you would like pricing on a particular model you can email or call and we can get the pricing for you very quickly.