Saving Energy and Money With Effective Heating and Air Conditioning

Did you know that heating and air conditioning can make up for half of your total energy bill? That’s a lot of money and a lot of energy use. If your heating and air aren’t working properly they can’t effectively use that energy and that costs you money and sends more greenhouse gases into the environment. Below we will list a few ways you can keep your energy bill low and your heating and air systems running smoothly and efficiently.

Limit Use

Use the seasons to your advantage and limit your use of heating and AC. Close your blinds in the summer to keep the sun from working against your air conditioning and open the curtains in the winter time to have the sun help your heating.

Consider if your thermostat has a feature that can be set on a timer so you can limit the use of your heating and air conditioner when no one is in the house or at night. These seem like simple things but they can reduce your costs significantly when done regularly.

Regular Maintenance

Don’t forget to do regular maintenance to ensure your HVAC system is working efficiently. Simple things like changing you air filters can make a huge impact on how well your heating and air conditioning runs. Have a professional come at least once a year to check for any problems you may miss and ensure everything is OK.

hvac-repair

Your contractor should measure the voltage of your motors and tighten electrical connections. They should also check for drainage that may cause water damage to your home. These regular check ups also ensure your systems are running properly and safely.

Sealing Ducts and Leaks

Ducts are responsible for distributing the air around your home. However, about 20 percent of air is lost through leaks and poorly connected ducts. This means you’ll be pumping up the AC to no affect and losing money in the process.

Sealing leaks that are visible in the attack, crawl space, or basement of your home is as easy as buying a sealant or tape meant for insulating your ducts. Check for and seal any visible leaks or poor connections. If you prefer to stay away from dirty attics or crawl spaces a contractor can easily do this for you as well.

Insulation

Insulating your home can save you up to 10 percent on your annual energy bill and make your home comfortable all year long. The attic is an ideal place to add insulation to your home and when done correctly can save the most money and energy. Also consider your windows and doors.

Heating and cooling can easily escape through old doors and windows making your system inefficient. Have a contractor look at these places in your home and see if they can help insulate your home so it can run comfortably.

These are just a few examples of ways you can make your home more energy efficient thus saving your wallet and giving a little help to the environment. Find a contractor like Empire HVAC that can look at your home and determine the best route for your house. Different systems have different needs and a professional can tell you everything your house needs to keep you comfortable, regardless of weather  conditions.

Eco-friendly Benefits of Fiberglass Insulation For Metal Buildings

Fiberglass insulation was first put on the market in 1938, and in all the years since, no alternative has really challenged its preeminent position as the most effective choice for insulation on both commercial and residential construction projects. Fiberglass insulation improves a structure’s energy efficiency, reduces heating and cooling costs, and makes occupants more comfortable. These are just a few of the advantages that make it the insulator of choice, even in the latest eco-friendly projects. Below are  additional benefits of fiberglass insulation:

1) Moisture Resistance

Fiberglass insulation does not absorb or retain water according to www.cyclonebuildings.com who utilise it in some instances. It can still be contaminated or compromised by moisture; insulation that has gotten wet needs to be inspected and dried to ensure that it does not lose its insulating properties.

Wet insulation can be successfully re-installed and deliver its full R-value as intended by the manufacturer so long as installers confirm that the insulation and the area around it in the structure have not been compromised by water.

In order to provide full insulating value, fiberglass insulation requires a vapor barrier. When properly selected and installed, a vapor barrier catches condensation before it can penetrate the building envelope and reach the insulation. The vapor barrier’s perm rating must be appropriate to the structure and the local climate, and it must be sealed into place with a proper adhesive so that it does not leak.

2) Fire Resistance

Fiberglass insulation is inherently non-combustible because the materials from which it is made – sand and/or recycled glass – are non-combustible themselves. Fiberglass insulation does not need to be treated with chemicals to make it fire-resistant, and it does not become any more combustible as it ages.

In many areas, local building codes even allow the use of fiberglass insulation as an effective fire stop in wall assemblies made of wood or steel.

3) Sound Dampening

Fiberglass insulation absorbs sound, and this means it reduces sound transmission through walls, ceilings, floors, and HVAC ducts where it is used. As a general rule of thumb, one inch of fiberglass insulation increases the sound transmission class, or STC, of a building assembly by three or even four points. Additional inches of fiberglass insulation each add two more points to the STC rating.

4) Use Of Recycled Materials

The manufacture of fiberglass insulation has come to rely on incorporating a significant amount of recycled material. Between 1992 and 2000, insulation manufacturers used over 8 billion pounds (3.6 billion kg) of recycled glass from pre and post-consumer sources. Using this material productively saved millions of cubic feet in landfill space.

The total amount of recycled material used in fiberglass insulation varies from brand to brand and product to product, but some products are made with as much as 80 percent recycled glass. Fiberglass insulation also requires the use of silica sand, which is an abundant and naturally-renewing resource.

Bottom Line

Fiberglass insulation remains a highly competitive and attractive insulation option, even when considered according to environmentally-friendly “green” priorities. In the decades it has been used, it has proven time and again to be a reliable and effective material.

What Determines the Price of a Home Solar Panel Installation?

People are leaning toward installing solar panels to have a “green” source of energy that would eventually cost them nothing. However, the price point is one of the major concerns that worry homeowners. People feel more inclined to check the price tag on solar panels to decide whether they are going to go for them or not. Just like any renewable source of energy, the initial cost may sound very expensive, however, afterwards, the fuel price comes down to zero. The average cost swings between $15k and $25k, this gap in the range of prices depend mainly on the solar panel size.

But other than the size of solar panels, what other factors affect the price of installation?

The Size Of Solar Panels

The cost of solar panels is calculated by dollar per watt depending on how much electricity you need to generate. A bigger system requires more work to install and that’s how the size affects the cost of installing solar panels. 2kW would averagely cost around $4k, while solar panels that would generate 25 kW costs $53k. Crunching the numbers, it does sound that solar panel cost a lot more than average electricity bills paid per month, thanks to low-interest installment plans, buying big solar panels won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Variation Of Price Between States

Solar panel prices may seem like they’re all the same across all states, however, you can use the same exact solar panels at two different states and you will get different costs. The reason behind these variations depends on the cost of electricity in every state. Let’s take Washington, for example, the cost of 6kw generated from a solar panel will cost around $9k, while the same in New York will cost $12k.

Solar panels are becoming more accessible, for homeowners and businesses

The prices definitely seem costly, however, if one thought about the overall cost of electricity from solar energy and normal sources, solar is definitely cheaper.

The Quality

Prices differ according to the manufacturer brand; prices can range from $13k up to $17k. The local Sandbar Solar not only provides high-quality panels, complex commercial and residential setups, but also cares about the community by sponsoring many events with their eco-friendly Solar Trailer.

Other than the panel brand you are going to choose, other factors must be kept in mind; the experience of the installer, racking equipment, and the location also affects the prices. So, when you are choosing the brand for the installation project, you need to be careful and consider all the factors and aspects.

Clean Energy

Choosing a renewable source of energy is the best thing one can do these days. The greenhouse effect that is caused by coal, petroleum, and gas will put an end to the earth at some point. It’s our responsibility to go “green” to save the Earth for a better world. Other than that, even if you don’t care about the environment, a clean source of energy that depends on wind or the sun, would definitely cost you a big amount at the beginning, but in the long run, they are cheaper sources of electricity.

Tips to Choose the Budget-Friendly System of Energy for Your New Home

Newly arrived at your new home, the first thing is to make sure that you are going to pay the bill for the area that is in your use. That’s why the first day in your new home is advisable to take the meter reading. Good time to introduce yourself to the president of the community … or whoever wants to keep the keys of the accounting room. This advice also applies to gas, water, and other supplies whether it’s new construction or used housing, you should take a meter reading.  Look for iselect energy website! When moving, the first thing is to take note of the different counters (light, water, gas) in order to take responsibility only for what you are going to consume.

Your freedom of choice is sacred

It is very important that you know that you are always entitled to choose your electric company freely. You decide you send.  You have bought a house, or you are renting, this is a right of every consumer to choose the budget-friendly ways for electricity consumption. It is so legitimate that you are interested in changing or continuing with the electric company that you are hired.

What can you choose?

 The company that will send your electricity bill, that is, the electric energy trader.

What can you not choose?

The company that is responsible for providing the energy to your home, that is, the distributor. You do not choose it because you have to choose the one that corresponds to your place of residence.

When you arrive at a new house, it may happen that:

  1. The light is discharged, and both the power and the rate seem appropriate:

If so, and if you want to continue being a client of the same marketer, all you have to do is change the owner of the contract. This procedure is simple, fast and free.

  1. The light is discharged, but the power seems excessive or insufficient

You will have to make a change of power. This procedure costs money, although lowering the power can save a lot on your bill.

  1. The electricity connection is registered, but you want to change the tariff

When you arrive, you can “inherit” a contract with a certain company and a certain rate. If what you find does not convince you, you are free to change your electric energy provider. It is your choice, which service you want to choose for your home.

  1. The light has no connection to the electricity network

If your supply point has not been used for more than 3 years, this procedure costs money. The contract of registration is processed with the distributor, but it is the distributor that installs the meter and activates the supply. For this reason, the payment of this procedure will be made to the distributor in the first invoice.

The payment procedure for the efficient electricity providers is very simple and easy for the consumers. You can pay your bills and others online via credit and debit card.

Termite Infestation: Essential Steps on Eliminating Termites

Getting professional termite control services can be very expensive, that goes without saying. Because of this, many people out there are beginning to wonder whether they can eliminate termites by themselves and whether choosing this route will be effective or not. If killing termites are something you’re considering then you happen to be exactly where you need to be right now. Out of the numerous rodents, critters, insects and other pests, the termite is arguably among the most dangerous of them all.

Termite is a pest that has the ability to completely destroy the foundation of your house in just a couple of years or so. And that’s not even the worst part, which is for the first few years they’re basically unnoticeable. What this means is that they attack with no warning at all. Horrible no? Anyway, let’s take a look at a few ways you can get rid of termites and eliminate infestation.

  1. Poisoned Bait

If you happen to be the type that’s a bit cautious of having large amounts of pesticides being sprayed all over your home then you might want to consider trying out this technique. With poisoned bait, you won’t have the need to use pesticides. The bait you set will attract termites that are foraging around and these termites will eventually carry this bait back to where the colony resides. You can place this bait in and around the whole house.

Some products go as far as having a detecting system as well aside from the bait itself. When installed, these types of bait systems will alert you when the bait is consumed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. The costs of professional services vary and mytermitetreatmentcosts.com can help you determine the different costs available to you. Oh, and pest control professionals also employ the use of bait systems sometimes.

  1. Liquid Termite Barrier

This method may not have the ability to kill the termites already infesting your home, however, it happens to be a fantastic way of preventing them from getting in. The idea behind this technique is to surround your home completely in a pesticide barrier that’ll poison any termites upon contact. While many commonly use it around the foundation of the house, you can also use it around certain wooden structures, tree stumps and wood piles.

Termidor happens to be one of the most effective of them all when it comes to products of this nature. Termites can’t detect it at all and it is very hard for them to avoid something they can not see nor smell.

  1. Direct Chemical Treatment

While both poisoned bait and liquid barrier treatment are very effective when handling the outside of the house, there use isn’t really practical for the inside of the house itself. Yes, they can kill termites but they can’t be used directly within the house.

When you spot termites inside crevices found in your walls, rafters or attic, you’ll probably need something that can handle these annoying little critters right there and then. In such cases, direct chemicals will usually be your best bet. Most of these products come in a foam or spray, sprays being the ones that are most commonly used around the globe. With this method, all you need to do is locate the crevices and voids where the termites are and then spray the chemical or apply the foam.

  1. Boric Acid

An ‘in-between’ solution that many people consider to be the best when it comes to the debate of natural solutions vs pesticides in pest control is boric acid. This method works on a number of insects, including the termite, It is theorized that this acid attacks the insect’s metabolic and digestive system. After the initial contact, it is known to take from around three to seven days before the exposed termite dies. And while it’s not exactly a natural solution, it happens to have much lower toxicity levels as compared to most of the other pesticides found on the market.

Borax, as it’s also commonly referred to, is widely available and is often found in powder form. However, you can also find it as a borate solution. When in powder form all you need is a good quality powder duster and then apply it by dusting the affected areas.

Your home is undoubtedly a very precious thing and pests should in no way be the cause for you to re-investment in it. They shouldn’t be the ones to decide for you whether you need to put in money into fixing it up again. Hopefully, these few methods highlighted in this article will help you ensure that this does not happen to you.

Creating a Sustainable and Energy-Efficient Home on a Budget

In the US, the typical home and family spend an average minimum of $2,200 on energy costs per year, according to the US Department of Energy. Understandably, homeowners are aiming to cut costs and seeking to save oodles of money down the road. With that being the case, it isn’t surprising to find that more and more people are turning to smart home technology. What about those that can’t exactly afford all the tech-led bells and whistles, however?

Think Long-Term Package

Instead of looking at the things to put in a home, it’s smart to consider the entirety of the home itself—from conceptual plans to layouts and building materials. Planning and choosing a home that is affordable and fashioned to be conducive to a sustainable and energy-efficient build will save you thousands of dollars in the future.

For example, you can try living in a mobile home. Lenders and lending institutions like mobile and manufactured homes so you won’t have trouble securing a loan. These types of homes come in a wide gamut of sustainable materials to choose from like recycled steel. So it provides a good marriage between budgets and sustainability.

Enforcing Helpful Practices

Beyond having a home that’s built to be conducive for sustainability and energy-efficiency, you need to take a long hard look at the habits of the people in the home. When you’re on a budget, fancy things like smart thermostats can be a tad out of reach. So what can you do? You can try enforcing helpful practices.

For example, lowering the water heating temperature can lower your energy consumption by 22% annually. Other good practices are sealing any air leaks so you can avoid any excessive use of heating. Not only will these help you save money but they’ll help keep everyone on the same page when it comes to being energy-efficient.

Seek Sustainable Technology

All the savings you get from a well-built home and sustainable practices will eventually give you more options. Sustainable technology can help boost your home’s energy efficiency. While tech like solar panels can be expensive, it is always worth noting that there are Federal Tax Credit plans that allow homeowners to claim at least 30% of installation costs, according to NerdWallet. Other good options are biogas digesters and active recycling posts on the property.

When it comes to creating a sustainable and energy-efficient home, there are always a lot of options to choose from. It is all a matter of doing the right research to find which solutions help you best with the budget that you presently have. Always remember that whatever you spend now toward sustainability will eventually mean triple in savings and more down the line.

Weather-Resistant Building Materials for 2020

Homeowners are always wary of extreme weather conditions such as flooding, severe rain, excess heat, and extreme coastal surges. Extreme weather can either damage the exteriors of a home or make the indoor temperatures too hot or too cold to bear. That leads to expensive repairs or high costs of energy. To protect a home from extreme weather, the best thing to do is build using water-resistant materials and to elevate your house in a way that surging floods don’t sweep your house away. If you have resolved to build a new home in 2020, here are some of the most weather-tolerant materials to consider:

1. Concrete

Concrete is one of the strongest building materials out there, particularly when it comes to withstanding pressure and stress. This material can be pre-casted to become water-resistant, it doesn’t expand or contract in extreme weather, and when reinforced with rebar and pre-stressed, it can be extremely durable. What’s more, concrete is readily available all over the world at very affordable prices. You can use it to build your basement walls or a slab foundation for your home or rental property by hiring services of specialized companies.

2. Wood

Wood is one of the oldest building materials. I mean, it was used to build shelters in the mid-stone age. You can use wood as a primary siding material or reinforce it with concrete or metal to make it stronger and more durable. Wood is also a bad conductor of heat, making it an ideal material to use in areas that experience extremely hot or extremely cold seasons.

However, wood has one key disadvantage: It can decay when exposed to excess water for a prolonged period. It can withstand moderate moisture for a decade or two especially when there is an occasional sun to dry it up, but it will eventually decay. The positive thing is that wood can be painted and treated to prevent it against moisture damages.

3. Vinyl

Vinyl is a great siding installation due to its ability to shed rainwater away. It is not 100% water-resistant, but it has superior water resistance than wood. In most cases, vinyl is installed in a standard interlocking horizontal wall, so it does not retain much dampness or snow after a rainy season. Modern vinyl panels are made with “weep holes” that aid in channeling away excess water in order to keep the siding wall dry at all times, consequently increasing its durability.

You can also reinforce it with an insulation board so as to keep away any stubborn moisture that refuses to dry away through the weep holes. A house wrap is also a great secondary reinforcement- it ensures that moisture doesn’t penetrate the sidings, consequently keeping your interiors warmer than the exteriors.

4. Metal roofing

For the homeowners who live in hailstone-prone areas, metallic hail-resistant roofing shingles are your best bet. Such roofing will withstand storm damage and remain intact even when high winds blow through your region. If you want a hail-resistant roofing option that is also stylish and contemporary, you can try the stone-coated metal roofing tiles.

5. Fire-resistant materials

There are areas that are more prone to fire outbreaks than storm damages. California, for example, experience lots of wildfires during summer months than they experience storms during winter. If you live in such an area, then you need to use building materials that make your home as fire-resistant as possible. Sometimes it is hard to avoid these acts of nature, but your contractor can help you mitigate their effects.

You can, for example, install fire-rated roofing that resists ignition even when exposed to extremely high temperatures. There are also windows that don’t shatter in heat. Even if these materials won’t be salvaged after the fire, they will at least prevent your interiors from the fire. You will only need to do minor rehabilitations to your home’s exteriors once the fire subsides.

6. Stone

Most ancient buildings world over are made of stone. This material is durable and can withstand almost every extreme weather condition you can think of. It is also classy and readily available.

Conclusion

There are many weather-resistant materials to check out in 2020. More new materials will be invented going forward, and the existing ones will continue being reinforced in order to increase their durability and strength. The six materials discussed above will get the job done. If you need more, make sure you research widely and talk to as many homeowners in your area before settling for a material.

Making Your Home More Green in 2020

Several years ago and nobody had quite caught onto the phenomenon. Now, climate change is completely real – and everyone is attempting to take responsibility for their own impact on the world.

Home-occupiers certainly don’t fall outside of this category and there are umpteen ways in which you can make your home greener if you put your mind to it. Let’s not forget that this doesn’t just benefit the environment, but it should also have a healthy impact on your back pocket as well. Bearing this in mind, let’s now take a look at some of the easiest ways to make your home green in 2020.

Plan your renovations accordingly

If the media are to be believed, we’re in the era of renovations. In other words, homeowners are preferring to stay hold of their home and improve or remodel it, rather than move somewhere else.

However, there are good and bad renovations when it comes to staying green. We’re not talking yet about doing the right amount of planning and if you will consider storing your belongings, but other practical issues.

For the purposes of an example, let’s look into the notion of open plan living and being aware that this is going to have significant heating ramifications. This is something that a lot of people forget, and they find that their radiators are working overtime in a bid to heat their new space.

Always dry line your clothes

Sometimes, the best new technology isn’t actually that beneficial for the environment. This is certainly the case when it comes to drying your clothes.

For example, while great strides have been made with washing machines and energy efficiency, the same can’t be said for dryers. They can use five times more electricity, and little else needs to be said on the matter.

Instead, line-dry your clothes, and the benefits are there for all to see.

Make the most of the rain

Next, it’s onto the garden. This is something that is often not thought of when it comes to sustainability, but particularly if you are based in a country where it rains frequently you can make a difference. Rainwater collection tanks might not be overly fashionable, but they can collect enough water over time which can allow you to maintain your garden without tapping into the mains water supply.

A lot of the modern options allow you to hook the tank up to your guttering system as well, meaning that it becomes all-too easy to collect any water that accumulates around your property’s roof.

Use your kitchen intelligently

How many times have you left the fridge door open as you venture across the room to grab another ingredient? Or, how about leaving the oven door open for similar reasons?

Put simply, this is resulting in a lot of lost energy. It might be small at the time, but it does build up and it can result in your home becoming a lot less green than it really should be.

NatHERS – A Tool To Maximize Sustainability of Your Future Home

Short for the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme, NatHERS uses a 10-star rating system which is able to easily access the thermal performance of buildings within Australia. Though a NatHERS certification is required for all new developments with multiple dwellings, it is essential for all residents to obtain an assessment to be able to easily evaluate the thermal assessment of their development.

At Certified Energy, our years of experience distinguishes us from our competitors. We work with each client separately, to ensure that each individual project thrives in terms of cost, efficiency and the preservation of design concepts.

We strive to minimize your costs whilst maximizing the sustainability of your future home.

Why is NatHERS assessment required?

NatHERS as outlined above is the Nationwide House Energy Rating Scheme which is able to evaluate the thermal performance of any dwelling. Though this may seem irrelevant and unnecessary when outlining the overall performance of the building, it is a necessity to get a NatHERS assessment in order to ensure a sustainable future for our environment.

Not only this, but NatHERS is essential when obtaining a BASIX assessment. BASIX is a NSW Government initiative striving to improve the environmental sustainability. It comprises of three factors: water, thermal and energy. The thermal component of BASIX can be easily completed through a NatHERS assessment with its thorough, accurate and flexible approach to addressing thermal performance.

Thus, a NatHERS assessment is required not only to contribute towards a sustainable future for the environment but also as a necessity under the BASIX initiative led by the NSW Government.

What does a NatHERS assessment include?

A NatHERS assessment can be obtained by a specialised company that has NatHERS Accredited Software which can be used to determine the thermal efficiency of your home. Within the assessment, each resident will be provided a copy of the key design features and the building materials and the scope used to generate the dwelling’s star rating.

The star rating, also known as the Energy or Thermal Efficiency star rating, is an accurate indicator of the level of heating or cooling your building requires to not only make you feel comfortable, but to ensure that it doesn’t have a detrimental impact on the environment. By following the recommendations and guidelines that will be included in your report, you will also be on the path of having lower energy expenses, by using the appropriate amount of electricity.

How does Certified Energy do it differently?

At Certified Energy, there are two main certification solutions that will help you achieve the lowest cost with the highest efficiency rating. These include the essential solutions (House Energy Rating Scheme, Elemental Provision) or alternative solutions (Verification Using a Reference Building and State Specific Energy Protocols).

In order to give you the best catered advice as per your personal needs, Certified Energy will guide you through the various approval pathways that will help your project achieve energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

How an Eco-friendly House can Boost ROI When Selling

Greening your home isn’t only beneficial for the environment and reducing energy costs, if you are thinking of selling it in the future, environmental upgrades can also help your ROI. Some improvements have a better ROI than others (think solar panels), and doing your research before your start any project can help you get the most bang for your buck. We’ve outlined a few of the best options that you might want to consider when determining the ROI of eco-friendly homes:

Tankless water heater

One of the easiest and least expensive upgrades you can make to take your home in an eco-friendly direction is buying a new water heater, especially if it hasn’t been changed in the last decade. Water heating is responsible for 16% of a typical home’s energy costs and swapping out an old, inefficient water heater, for a tankless version could cost a couple thousand dollars, and will save you money every month. It will also be an attractive selling point for your home.

Upgraded windows

If your home has drafty windows, they are the next feature that you want to turn to for an energy-efficient upgrade. The cost of windows will depend on the size of your home and the quality that you go for, but there is no doubt that this is likely worth your investment.

The Department of Energy says heat gain and loss through older windows is responsible for 25 to 30% of energy usage for heating and cooling. According to Consumer Reports, Energy Star-certified windows can lower your home’s energy bills by up to 15%, and that translates to attractive savings for a potential buyer.

Solar panels

Solar panels can save you money, but not right away, so they may not have the best ROI if you are planning to sell soon. That’s because installing solar panels have major upfront costs. The good news is that homes with solar energy systems typically garner higher selling prices than homes with other types of systems. One study found that homebuyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000, and, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, homes that feature solar panels may also sell faster than homes that derive their energy from fossil fuels.

However, determining the ROI of installing solar is complicated. According to Energy Informative, a five-kilowatt system — the average size of a system in the United States — can cost around $20,000. But the exact size of the system you’ll need will depend on how big your home is and how much power it uses.

Another consideration is your home’s location, as there may be state rebates (such as in California, Arizona, and Colorado), in addition to federal tax credits. Evaluate the number of years that you intend to stay in your home, and compare the average monthly savings of using solar with how much of the system you’ll have paid off by your projected moving day.

With one or more of these strategies in mind, you will be well on your way to greening your home to make it more attractive to potential buyers.