NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor contributes to the community conversation on housing issues through a weekly column in the Daily World titled "Nailing it Down."

 

 Since 1999, the "Nailing it Down"articles have been published in the Daily World and other countywide weekly newspapers. NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County has collaborated with local newspapers, elected officials and local experts to publish articles covering hundreds of topics.

 

 

Nailing It Down

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February 24, 2020

 If you have plans for a remodel or repair of your home – perhaps you hope to add a deck or patio, enlarge a room or replace the roof – this is the time of year you should be preparing for that project. Maybe you “just” plan to hire someone to paint the house or install new flooring.

When it comes to successful relationships with contractors a clear description of the work and a written contract head the list.

Last week we hit some of the high points on the formal relationship with someone you hire to work in your home. Today we’re going to talk more specifically about the written contract. Once again we’ll mention that we are not attorneys and don’t offer legal advice. Instead, think of us as your experienced neighborhood advocate who has worked with a lots of contractors and written contracts over the years.

  

MAKE SURE ITS IN WRITING

Besides your name, address and project address if different, a contract should name the construction company, all of its owners, all pertinent address...

February 16, 2020

Is this the year you are going to remodel the kitchen, add a bathroom or add a garage?

If so, you’ll want to think ahead and begin planning that project now. For one thing, if you need to hire a contractor to complete your project, you’ll want to get on their schedule as soon as possible!

Once you decide to enlarge the living room, add a bedroom, replace the deck, or put on a new roof, most folks want to jump in and get ’er done. Unfortunately and too often, they jump in without a written plan or the management tools to assure success.

We’ve overseen many such projects over the years and have some advice we’d like to share about reducing risk by using written scopes of work, hiring legitimate contractors, and using written contracts.

WHOM YOU HIRE MATTERS

Grays Harbor has plenty of solid, talented and trustworthy builders. However, we do hear evidence of others who are neither trustworthy, nor competent. If you hire the wrong person or company you can risk losing your money, precious constr...

February 10, 2020

The avid readers of this column know that we are currently on an energy-saving kick having spent the last few weeks talking about various energy-saving (and money-saving) programs sponsored by the Grays Harbor PUD.  We are continuing along in that same vein today, but concentrating on manufactured homes.

The Grays Harbor PUD is offering rebates to customers who purchase Northwest Energy Efficient Manufactured (NEEM) certified homes that are installed in the Grays Harbor PUD service area.

Northwest Energy Efficient Manufactured homes are Energy Star certified homes that meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These homes meet or exceed the same strict energy saving standards to which site-built homes are constructed. They typically cost a little more to buy, but because of their energy-saving abilities, the PUD offers rebates.

  

 Here are a few features of a NEEM home:

  • They have increased insulation levels in the ceiling, floor and...

February 3, 2020

When it comes to gaining comfort and cash, as well as having an environmental conscience, there’s nothing like making your home more energy efficient!

We’ve been talking the last few weeks about a variety of energy-saving programs offered through the Grays Harbor PUD, and we’ve got more to talk about today!

Last week we discussed the various rebates available for energy-saving appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, clothes dryers and heat pump water heaters. But did you know that the Grays Harbor PUD also offers rebates for heating system and weatherization projects for qualifying homes? That will be the focus of our column today.

While the no-cost ductless heat pump program that we’ve discussed recently requires residents to meet income eligibility, the energy efficiency rebate program – like the appliance rebate program – does not. However, we still strongly suggest you talk to Melinda James-Saffron, the director of the PUD’s Power and Energy Services, or her crew...

January 27, 2020

Are you planning to buy a new clothes dryer, washing machine, refrigerator or freezer sometime soon? Perhaps you are in the market for a new water heater. If so, we may have some good news for you!

The Grays Harbor PUD’s Power and Energy Services Department is offering rebates on qualifying Energy Star-rated appliances. They’ve done this for years, but it’s been a while since we’ve written about it. (They also offer rebates on smart thermostats and weatherization projects, but we’ll cover that in a future column!)

  

APPLIANCE REBATE PROGRAM

Let’s start with the appliance rebate program.

To receive the rebates, an itemized purchase receipt or invoice must accompany the one-page rebate application. And the applications must be received within 60 days of purchase or delivery date.

The whole point of this program is to encourage energy saving, so each appliance must be Energy Star rated.  Also, clothes washers must meet additional requirements that are outlined on the application form.

The...

January 19, 2020

How have you been fairing in all this cold weather? We’d love to see all Grays Harbor County residents warm and comfortable in their homes without having to pay a fortune to heat them!

One way we at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor are encouraging this is by partnering with the Grays Harbor PUD to offer free ductless heat pumps to income-qualified Grays Harbor residents. Maybe you – or some folks you know – are eligible!

Since 2016, we’ve been working with the PUD’s Power and Energy Services Department to provide this service, which fits nicely into our mission as a housing agency. And, with the help of local contractors, during these last four years we’ve installed about 350 ductless heat pumps, most totally free of charge, to Grays Harbor residents.

Not only do the residents receive a new heating source for their home at no cost to them, but they also typically save money on their monthly energy bill – sometimes a lot of money.

“This ductless heat pump program has had a large impact in the...

January 14, 2020

Is your heating system meeting your needs? Is it clean, inexpensive and effective?

In our last blog we compared a variety of different heating systems and noted the pros and cons of each. Those we discussed included baseboard heaters, heat pump/ air handler with ductwork, gas, pellet stove and wood stove. We also mentioned the ductless heat pump.

In this blog we are concentrating on our favorite choice – the ductless heat pump.  We really can’t say enough about this effective, inexpensive option to heating your home.

DUCTLESS HEAT PUMP PROGRAM

After you finish reading this blog, consider if you might be interested in installing a ductless heat pump. It’s a good choice for many different living situations. And, it might be a terrific choice for you, especially if you happen to be eligible for a program that installs free ductless heat pumps in the homes of people who qualify.

We will discuss the details of the free program in our next blog.  For now, read up on why we especially like this fo...

January 7, 2020

We are going to talk about heat sources over the next few weeks and hope it helps you make good decisions about your existing system and maybe its replacement. Is your current heating system meeting the needs of your family, your home, your budget?

If either the cost of operating your heating system or its efficiency or safety has you thinking about your options, this is the column for you!

WHAT DO YOU NEED IT FOR?

The right heating system depends on many things, including just why you are looking into a new heating system!

Usually it is because the old system is constantly breaking or underperforming. Maybe you’ve added on to the house and your existing system is under-sized. Perhaps you are planning to upgrade a component like the outside heat pump unit, but it isn’t going to be compatible with your current central air handler heating system. That could mean a large investment. Maybe you can’t afford to turn on those darn baseboard heaters or the stinky strip-heat furnace from the 1960s...

December 29, 2019

We hope you’ve enjoyed your Christmas celebrations and that you have some fun – and responsible – plans for Tuesday night and New Year’s Day. All of us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor wish you a safe, happy, healthy 2020!

  

REMINDERS FOR NEW YEAR’S

Here are a few safety reminders for your New Year’s festivities:

  • If it still is up, go water that Christmas tree right now, (and plan on taking it down soon). Don’t plan on burning it. Instead, recycle it for safety’s sake.

  • Do you have candles as part of your party?  Keep a close eye on them. (New Year’s Day is the third most frequent day that residence fires are started by a candle.)

  • Hectic kitchens can be a concern. Keep handles of pots on the stove and counters turned in away from traffic and kids, along with electric cords attached to cookers and fry pans.

  • When the bubbly is flowing, judgment gets weaker, so plan ahead to have a safe environment.

  • Make sure as you move furniture to accommodate guests for yo...

December 15, 2019

Do you have an impossible person to buy for on your Christmas shopping list? Or perhaps you’re looking for a crowd pleaser gift for an upcoming gift exchange. 

We here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor are the experts in most things housing – not necessarily in gift giving. However, we do have some gift ideas that fit right in with our goal to encourage home ownership and safe, affordable housing for all.

Many folks derail their budgets at Christmastime. We gave some tips in our last blog on how to avoid that. The following gift suggestions vary in price and are mostly in the “practical but thoughtful” category.

Perhaps you don’t have a hard-to-buy-for person, but YOU are that person. Maybe you will want to add one of the following to your wish list!

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GIFTS THAT ENCOURAGE SAFETY

We think these gifts express that you want your loved ones safe, warm and well in the New Year!

  • An All Hazard Weather Radio. They can be purchased at local hardware stores, box stores and online and have a...

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