Monthly Archives: November 2013

Don’t spend Black Friday shopping for plumbers

One of the busiest days for plumbers is the day after Thanksgiving.

What brings the plumbers out? All that animal fat, cooking grease and poultry skin that ends up down the drain or in the garbage disposal. Those extra helpings of scraps and grease clog pipes and extra house guests put additional pressure on the plumbing system.

If it’s too late to heed that warning, the state Department of Labor & Industries is telling consumers to take their time when choosing a plumber.

L&I says state law requires plumbers to be certified for jobs inside buildings. Plumbers also must work for a company that’s registered as a general contractor or a specialty plumbing contractor. Registration ensures the contractor is bonded and insured if something goes wrong.

Here are some more tips from L&I:
•    Get three bids for the job.
•    Before calling plumbing companies, check whether they’re registered contractors at
•    Ask each company for the name of the plumber who will do the work. See if the plumber is certified at Plumbing certification isn’t required for workers pumping out septic systems.
•    Ask to see a certification card when the plumber arrives.
•    If it’s a trainee, the worker must have an active trainee card and must be supervised by a certified plumber at the jobsite.

L&I recommends people find a good plumber before an emergency, then keep the contact information handy.

DJC profiles the Apple Cup of construction


Just in time for the Apple Cup football game, the DJC has put together a special section profiling construction projects at the UW and WSU.

Included is a list of the top 10 projects at each school. Who gets bragging rights? If you go by dollar volume, the nod goes to the Huskies, with just over $900 million. That’s more than twice the value of WSU’s top 10.

UW also has the top project: the second phase $186.3 million expansion of the UW Medical Center. WSU’s top project is the $96 million Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building. Of course, WSU’s list of projects includes a $23 million Wine Science Center stocked with 3,500 bottles of wine.

For those wanting to watch football, the Apple Cup will be held Nov. 29 at Husky Stadium – another new project!

Crank out green kilowatts with wind turbines

The following post is by Liz Nelson :

When it comes to renewable energy sources, the first two that are predominately on the minds of many is the use of solar panels and wind turbines. For wind turbines, the principle is the same that you see in every gasoline guzzling car. Each of those vehicles are using an alternator to turn torque power into electric current to charge the battery. The wind turbine is no different. It is using the wind to turn the generator to produce large amounts of electricity in the same fashion as the automobile – minus the gas guzzling engine.

Depending on the area you live in, the wind may be constantly blowing. As there may be no resistance to hold the wind back, it is free to blow. Home-based wind turbines don’t have to stand at 200-feet in order to harness some of the wind that is blowing. As long as there is a deep cycle battery connected, any amount of wind could help reduce your energy expenses and could possibly remove your dependence from the grid. What are some of the features that are tied in to a wind turbine for residential and business locales?

1. Sizes – Various sizes are available for wind turbines, so you don’t have to assume it’s going to stand 200-feet tall with blades longer than your house. In fact, there are smaller units that can produce up to three kilowatts of energy from wind speeds of approximately 25 miles per hour that can fit in your garage next to your car. Devices like the Aleko WG3KW has a security feature that will throttle itself back at speeds of 40 mph in order to prevent damage from overcharge or burning the motor out.

2. Inexpensive – Compared to other renewable energy developments, wind power can be less expensive to produce similar results. For less than $2,000, you can assemble the small Aleko unit featured above and cover a large portion of your energy needs. Typically, a large family home could utilize 5,000 to 7,000 kilowatts of power requiring a few of these devices. However, the cost for implementing solar could be four to five times that amount if you installed it yourself.

3. Zero Emissions – The only source required by a wind turbine to generate power is wind. As there are no consumable fuels going into power generation, there are no emissions. The generator is simply powered by the wind spinning the blades of the unit. Although skeptics may point out that there are emissions being created by the vehicles used to ship the items, the point is moot. Unlike coal and oil based power plants, there are no other fuels being consumed to create energy. Tens of thousands of tons of coal are shipped annually to various power plants.

4. Combined Efforts – If you discover that a single unit isn’t supplying the power you need, additional units can be erected and tied into your power. This allows you to purchase turbines as you need them and not have to worry about coming up with a lot of money in order to be energy efficient.

Renewable energy sources are being developed and utilized all over the globe. What was once thought as a passing fancy has turned into a quest for continued efficiency. Whether you are a household of five or need to supply power to your business, wind turbines can offer an affordable solution to help reduce your bills and help conserve energy from the grid for other uses.

Liz Nelson of is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. She can be reached at