Bay Area Community Helps Elderly Man Fix His Roof After a Neighbor Asked for Help on Facebook Post...

Even the most able-bodied individuals probably find replacing a roof to be exhausting, especially when doing the job alone. But that didn’t stop 75-year-old Richard Dubiel from climbing on top of his house every day to replace old shingles. His neighbor, David Perez, didn’t know Dubiel by name but he saw, through his living room window, that the man was dedicated. For the past three months, he watched Dubiel climb onto the roof and replace shingles for at least a few hours each day. The two men live at the end of a cul-de-sac on Murphy Court, located in Fremont in the Bay Area. The searing summer heat and the heavy work involved did not allow for Dubiel to make much progress. Despite the major drought in California, weather experts are starting to talk about the impending rainy season — and Dubiel was still working to patch up the holes in his roof from last year’s storms. Perez told NBC that although he had no roofing expertise himself, he still wanted to help the old man. “I just kept thinking, at that age, if that was my dad, I wish somebody would help,” Perez explained. So, he did what any rational person would do in these circumstances: he took a photo of Dubiel working on the roof, and then uploaded the picture to Facebook and asked his friends if anyone would be willing to help. “I’m trying to reach anyone [who] has roofing experience,” Perez posted on Monday, August 24. “I have a neighbor, the man on the roof in this picture, name unknown. He is about 80 years old and climbs onto the roof trying to finish putting the shingles on by himself. I feel sorry for him but I have no roofing...

This Device Could Cut Your Air Conditioning Bills By 30%...

With summers growing hotter each year, scientists predict that global air conditioning use will skyrocket over the rest of the century. And like many of life’s luxuries, air conditioning certainly isn’t free. To help lessen the financial pressure of staying cool and comfortable during the hottest days of the year, a Texas-based startup has unveiled the Mistbox: a device that can slash an air conditioner’s energy consumption by an amazing 30% or more. According to a June 11 Tech Hive article, Mistbox’s energy savings are greater than its cost, meaning the device pays for itself in just one season. And because it’s a solar-powered system, its users qualify for an impressive 30% federal tax credit. It wasn’t hard, then, for Mistbox to reach its funding goal when its Kickstarter campaign began late last year. So how does it work? Mistbox is a smart device outfitted with sensors that can detect when to spray a cool mist toward air entering the air conditioning unit, a process known as evaporative cooling. This mist effectively saps heat from the air surrounding the air conditioner, cutting the air’s temperature by about 30 degrees and greatly reducing its workload in the process. Another simple way to start cutting your household energy costs? Replacing your old air conditioning unit. Simply upgrading to a high-efficiency air conditioning system can slash energy costs by 20 to 50%, saving hundreds of dollars every year without sacrificing comfort. Thanks to its smart features, Mistbox offers a unique way to stay on top of household energy use. The device relays data related to air conditioner power consumption and savings over WiFi; users can look at this data via an app on their smartphones. While Mistbox’s starting retail value is currently $449, there’s no denying the...

North Dakota Housing is Booming — As is Its Homeless Rate...

As new residents flooded into North Dakota to ride out its current shale oil drilling boom, the state saw more new home constructions than any other state during the years between 2010 and 2014, a new report reveals. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recent annual report shows that North Dakota’s housing rate saw a 10.4% growth between 2010 and 2014, far outpacing other states. Second-place Texas, for example, saw growth of just 4.5%. “We’ve seen families move into North Dakota from around the country, and the majority are coming because of the influx with the oil boom,” Kim Schneider, executive officer with the North Dakota Association of Builders, said. Newly-built homes have a good chance of being bought soon after construction ends. In one recent Harris Poll study, 41% of American home buyers would prefer a new home over an existing one for the same price. Most of North Dakota’s housing growth took place in the western regions where oil drilling is most prevalent, such as Williams County and Stark County. Cass and Grand Forks counties, located in the eastern part of the state, also enjoyed growth that exceeded 3% between mid-2013 and mid-2014. Yet while new housing constructions are undoubtedly on the rise, the state’s homeless rate continues to be an area of concern. According to the Washington Times, the number of homeless people in North Dakota rose to 1,305 this year, up from 1,258 at the same time in 2014. However, the homeless rate still hasn’t reached its record high of 2,069 in 2013, which the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People attributes to more affordable housing and an improving economy. As North Dakota’s housing market continues to enjoy a historic upswing, it’s important to remember...

Could Your Air Conditioning System Be Making You Sick?...

People all across the country are gearing up for another hot summer — and to help stay comfortable in sky-high temperatures, many of us are going to be relying on our air conditioners. In fact, air conditioning is the No. 1 protective factor against heat-related illness and death, the Centers for Disease Control reports. But what if these same air conditioners are making us sick while keeping us cool? According to a recent KCTV report, health experts are warning people everywhere to watch out for the health risks of using an air conditioning unit that hasn’t been properly inspected. This is because air conditioners, despite their seemingly-innocent appearances, can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria, fungus and mold. Moisture easily accumulates in the unit’s coils and fan blades, creating the perfect environment for these bacteria and spores to thrive. If left unchecked, air conditioners will blow air filled with mold and fungus spores into a home. It doesn’t just sound gross — mold and fungus spores are highly dangerous to humans when inhaled. These spores and bacteria have been linked to a number of breathing problems such as Legionnaire’s disease, and can even bring the onset of fatal infectious pneumonia. Air conditioners can also make you more prone to something called sick building syndrome, a condition characterized by dizziness, dry throat, itchy eyes and nausea. So how can you minimize the health risks associated with air conditioning in your own home? First, every homeowner should make it a priority to regularly change out the air filters in their air conditioning systems. Ideally, these air filters should be changed once every 90 days, and even more frequently during peak usage times. Not only will this keep the air within your home clean and contaminant...

Ductless Technology: a Breath of Fresh Air Into the Heating and Cooling Industry...

As more homeowners across the U.S. are finding out about the benefits of ductless heating and air conditioning, a rapidly-growing number of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) companies are adding ductless technologies to their product offerings. According to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration News, the ductless HVAC market now boasts an impressive double-digit year-after-year growth, as well as a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 14% between 2013 and 2020. “It’s, without question, one of the fastest-growing segments in North American HVAC,” said Tom Lahutsky, senior product manager at Lennox Intl. Inc. With no end in sight to the growth of ductless heating and cooling, this technology will undoubtedly be a major boon to the $71 billion HVAC industry in the U.S. But what exactly is ductless heating and cooling — and why is it becoming so popular? According to Care2.com, ductless systems deliver warm or cool air directly into different zones or rooms in a home, rather than routing the air through a network of ducts first. Ductless heating and cooling systems are extremely energy-efficient, saving as much as 30% each month in household energy bills. Additionally, they are easy to install and don’t require invasive work within a home’s structure. Because ductless systems quickly pay for themselves in energy savings, homeowners are flocking to these heating and cooling products. This form of HVAC technology is highly versatile, performing well in both residential and commercial environments. And as more manufacturers begin to produce ductless products, these HVAC systems will soon come equipped with advanced features like WiFi smart controls, improved low ambient operation and more attractive aesthetic value, the ACHR News reports. Given the massive growth it has displayed since its introduction into the HVAC market, it’s clear...

Colorado City Council Approves Incentives to Attract Home Buyers and Builders to the Area...

The Brush, CO City Council is looking at new ways to boost home construction in the area while simultaneously reducing the number of vacant lots in the city. The solution has come from several recently approved incentives that will help entice buyers to the city. New residential home builders will also see incentives if they choose Brush as a place to construct new houses. In order to get more companies to come to Brush, the city council passed a policy that will decrease the cost of building permit fees by 50%. The city’s Water Plan Investment Fee and Wastewater Residential Connection Fee have also been cut in half. Because the area has a housing shortage overall, builders can see more than $3,900 in savings on a project that costs $150,000, with potential to save more when building more. The incentives apply to builders who are constructing single family homes on existing residential lots, including the 26 vacant lots around the city. Building permits must be issued by the end of 2015, and the Certificate of Occupancy has to be issued by the end of 2016. Getting a new home is one of the best ways for buyers to also see greater energy efficiency and even take advantage of federal tax credits. One survey of home buyers found that 94% want Energy Star-rated appliances in a new home. Location is also a factor: in addition to wanting to live within certain school district boundaries, home buyers also want larger homes on larger lots. In Henderson, NV, one custom home building company will develop 300 estate homes to attract buyers looking for the ultimate in modern home design. Lot sizes will range from half an acre to six acres. The minimum house size? About 4,500 square...