House Talk Today Radio Show Newsletter                  January, 2013


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In This Issue
Join us
We are excited
Great apps
Home energy audits
Staining concrete slabs
Useful tools we like
Mark your calendars
Our sponsors and advertisers
Quick Links

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We are really excited about all the great possibilities in 2013.  Whether you are building or buying a new home or updating your existing home, we want to be your source of information.   
Our goal is to provide you with our professional experience and research based information to help with your projects through our show, this newsletter and on facebook. 
This newsletter expands on a number of questions and information we have discussed with you on our show -- apps, energy audits, staining concrete, tools and our Home & Garden Show schedule.  We would love to know what you would like included in future newsletters.  


If you have a home building, maintenance, repair or remodeling question, please join us on House Talk Today from 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. every Saturday in the DFW area on 660 AM The Answer and in the Houston area on NEWS 92 FM.


You are invited to give us a call during our show at 800-281-8255 and let us know how we can help you.  Can't call? Then email us anytime.


Please feel free to share this newsletter with others. Also, please join us on facebook for more information and tips. 


Chris Miles                                  Alex Guthrie 

Great apps for the DIYer

Houzz - A popular design and decorating site. Great for ideas. It's free for Android and iPhones.


IHandy level - free for iPhones - turns your phone into a level for just about everything.


Carpet and floor Calculator - free for iPhones.


ID Wood - Identifies 160 kinds of woods - $4.99 for iPhones.


Photo Measure - Let's you take a photo of a room or object and add the measurements - $4.99 for iPhones.


My measure - same action as Photo Measure except for android phones.

What can you expect from a home energy audit?*

You have heard us talk about a home energy audit on the show. What is a home energy audit? When there is no written standard that is actually followed,it's pretty much what you and your auditor agree on.         When searching for a home energy auditor:

  • make sure they are Resnet and/or Texas Hero certified.
  • make sure you are clear about what you will receive from the audit. You need a written report. Ask if you will get it while they are onsite or when?
  • ask what software they are using. RemRate is one of the most trusted software used today and is the one used for Energy Star compliance.
  • be sure to convey all your concerns about your house and energy consumption to the person performing the audit.
  • confirm the auditor can handle your concerns before you hire him. Many auditors do not have the necessary equipment or certifications to make certain diagnosis.
  • check references with the local Better Business Bureau and ask for a referral from friends who have had it done.  

What to expect: The home energy audit will involve gathering data on your home, such as orientation, types of windows, amount of glass, number of occupants, energy factors on existing equipment such as the dishwasher, water heater, etc.


In addition, a series of tests will be done to establish your home's Infiltration Rate and the Duct Leakage. Both air infiltration and duct leakage can affect your indoor air quality and create breathing issues in your home. They can also be the source of dust and other unwanted pollutants. The Building Tightness Limit test (BTL) reveals infiltration or air leaks into your home. The test of the ducts that deliver your hot and cold air checks for leakage to the outside of the ducts. These tests are a major part of the audit.


Once all the data and tests results are compiled, it's entered into a software program which will produce an "improvement analysis report". This report will give you a "typical list of priorities" which you can now follow as you make plans to upgrade your home to be more efficient, comfortable, and to create a healthier indoor environment.


Now, you are armed with audit information from an unbiased third party. By educating yourself before you let a technician or salesperson come into your home, you will be prepared and know what you are looking for. This should help you make a better decision about your home energy upgrades.


Typically, a good auditor will have strategic relationships with qualified contractors to help you during this process. It's always prudent to get bids for comparison.


Now that the audit is complete, you have your "pre" numbers. This is where the term Performance Based Contracting comes in. If you follow the recommendations from your audit results, you should now enjoy the benefits of those upgrades.


Once the project is complete, your auditor will return and do a third party verification of the results. This time, you will see the audit numbers improved from the first testing results.  

In summary, your audit will provide:   

  1. unbiased PRE-testing results from a third party.
  2. a prescriptive path to follow to improve the efficiency.
  3. a report in writing you can be assured is "official".
  4. suggested qualified contractors who can perform the necessary upgrades.
  5. an unbiased POST-test to confirm the results of the work done.   

Submitted by Larry Wallace, Advanced Energy Solutions
More information:

Is your concrete slab a candidate for staining?

A number of our listeners have expressed interested in staining the concrete floors in their existing homes.  


When building new homes, the slab is prepared for the bare, stained process. They are protected from paint, chipping, etc. during construction unlike slabs that are intended to be covered by carpet, tile, or wood. 


To determine if an existing slab can be left bare with a stained finish, check out these tips from the concretenetwork.comTo make a quick check, remove the existing flooring in several places and check for:

  • paint drops or spills
  • evidence of an acceptably smooth surface
  • grease and oil
  • taping compounds
  • caulk
  • other surface contaminants like a sealer.

These will need to be removed prior to staining.       


For more information and a list of contractors in your area, check this website:
Useful tools to we really like
  • stud finder. Eliminate multiple holes in the wall trying to find a stud to hang heavier items. 
  • laser level line. It will light up a horizontal or vertical line on a surface where you lay the level line. It's perfect for putting up wallpaper, installing shelves, and hanging groupings of pictures and art objects.
  • Black & Decker Gyro Motion Sensing Screwdriver #BDCS40G.  Just grab the handle, then rotate your hand in whatever direction you want the driver to spin. It's magic.  No switches. The tool simply responds on its own. 
  • Ryobi 18 Volt ONE+ LITHIUM+ 6-Piece ULTIMATE Combo Kit. Comes in a bag containing a 6" circular saw, cordless drill, reciprocating saw, two interchangeable batteries  and a charger. 
Mark your calendars now and join us!

Home & Garden shows are great places to find ideas and talk to service providers and contractors for your new home or remodeling project.  


Here is the schedule for January and February. HouseTalk Today will broadcast live from the Milgard Windows & Doors booth at the Los Colinas show.  We will also broadcast live from the Houston show and will let you know where to find us soon.  Come to the shows and say hello.  


Las Colinas:

Texas Home & Garden Show - HouseTalk Today Live
Milgard Windows & Doors booth

Irving Convention Center
January 11-13 Fri, Sat, Sun


Fort Worth:

Fort Worth Home & Garden Show
Fort Worth Convention Center
February 8-10 Fri, Sat, Sun


Texas Home & Garden Show - HouseTalk Today Live
Location to be announced

Reliant Center
February 8-10 Fri, Sat, Sun


For more information on the home and garden shows, go to

 Links to our great sponsors and advertisers 

We invite you to check out our great sponsors and advertisers as you plan your home building or remodeling projects.  


We welcome our new network sponsor Milgard Windows & Doors.  Also welcome to our newest advertiser Advanced Energy Solutions.
Our returning network sponsors: Demilec, LP Building Products and Nichiha Fiber Cement.


Our advertisers: Advent Air Conditioning, Blooming Colors Nursery & LandscapingNARI Greater Dallas Chapter, StoneCoat Natural Blown Limestone, Total Air & Heat Co. and Whiz-Q Stone