Spring season is now in full swing, and soon summer will be here. In our latest blog, we mentioned higher than average temperatures would engulf us these upcoming months. Consequently, higher energy costs. According to the Department of Energy, Americans spent an average of $2000 on energy costs in 2014. As climate continues to change, so can our energy expenses. But how can we stay cool and still save on these? Here are some ways we can keep our cool as the season heats up:
1. Keep Heat Out- Close blinds and curtains to prevent heat gain through the windows. About 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through the windows. Upgrade your windows; Use window covers, choose insulating window shades, or add new ones, install window awnings. Energy efficient windows can reduce energy costs by up to 25%. Enhance your doors, an energy efficient fiberglass door without a window is five times more insulating than a wooden door, and these energy efficient doors can save up to 15% on energy bills.
2. Keep Cool In- The choice of roofing material has been revealed as having a critical role in determining internal living temperatures. Roofs account for nearly 25% of heat loss for a typical house. Although changing your roof may not be at the top of your home improvement to-do list it is something worth looking into because as we mentioned, waves of heat are only expected to worsen. Choose a lighter color for your roof. Most efficient roofs can reflect more than 65% of solar energy away from your home and improve the insulation under the roof. Consider an alternative to asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are only 30% reflective. Improve the ventilation; your roof should have one square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of ceiling. Consider using metal roofs, metal roofs are incredibly durable and can last up to 100 years. A cool roof can lower the temperature of your roof by up to 50 degrees. Roofing that reflects the sun’s energy and releases it into the surrounding air keeps the upper floors of a home cooler, and less energy is required when cooling a home. Inside your home use ceiling fans when you are in the room to create a wind chill effect; you’ll feel a lot more relaxed, and your energy bill will thank you for it. Whether you’re ready to make the change or want to explore your options, our roofing experts are always prepared to provide your family with our free roof inspection.
3. Maintain Cooling System- Schedule a summer cooling system tune-up, If your central air conditioning unit is older than 12 years, consider replacing it. Change your filter every one to two months during the cooling season. Clear the area around outdoor condenser coils by removing debris and trimming. Ensure there are at least two feet around the condenser for proper airflow. For room or window air conditioners, inspect the seal between the air conditioner and frame to ensure the frame contacts the unit’s metal case. Upgrade your thermostat to a smart or programmable one to increase the temperature when you’re away and return it to a comfortable level before you’re home. This change can save you up to 10% per year on energy bills.
4. Take advantage of Technologically Advanced Appliances – Home appliances including washers, dryers, refrigerators, etc. can account for 20% of your electricity bill. Replacing your machine for an ENERGY STAR appliance can save you up to 10-50% on your bill. Though at first, you may be questioning this decision you’ll later notice the savings on it.
5. Small Steps Can Go a Long Way- More efficient technological advances to better building materials have facilitated a system in which energy efficient homes are more readily available than ever before but let’s also remember that any change begins with us. Other practical improvements that will save you are Weatherizing or sealing air leaks around your home. The most common source of air leaks into your home are vents, windows, and doors, prevent these leaks by ensuring there are no cracks or openings between the wall and vent, window or door frame. Consider switching to CFL or LED bulbs, disconnect any electronics, not in use, use smart power strips and overall, change your habits you more than anyone else has control of how energy is consumed at your home.
An energy-competent home saves money by reducing energy use, offers a higher level of comfort, and increases the resale value of the property, not to mention preserves the environment. The Department of Energy has developed the Home Energy Score providing homeowners, buyers, and renters measurable results about a home’s energy use. Visit https://betterbuildingssolutioncenter.energy.gov/home-energy-score to find out how to get yours and begin saving.
Storm devastation is unpredictable and whether it’s from heavy rains, high winds or hail our roofs are left with a short warning. Repairs following the destruction can be costly but luckily preventable.
In addition to the immediate precautions shared by your local authorities, we have compiled a set of pointers that will have you and your property ready for any disastrous natural event.
Know your roof, and what to look for to ready it for the disturbance. Your roof just like any system is composed of various elements working together to provide you with the protection and comfort your family needs.
Knowing your roof can begin by checking your attic and ceiling. In your ceiling, if you see any water stains, this could mean there is already a leak in your roof! Don’t let this worsen as this will only slow down the storm readiness process. When checking these water stains, you noticed the stains are fresh, if they are the damage can be from a pipe; however, if the water appears dirty, the casualty is coming from your roof. Now will now be a good time to inspect your attic then if there is also any daylight coming through roof boards; it is time to have it checked by a professional.
When walking the roof, you or your inspector notice a spongy feel and or trampoline bounce this means the underlayment decking is weakened from moisture. Roof underlayment is a water-resistant material directly installed onto your roof deck; it is the extra layer of protection that shingles alone can’t match.
Shingles are what sits on top of the underlayment and form the barrier against any harmful precipitation. Ensure they are properly nailed down and none are broken, cracked, curled or losing granules as this may mean they are past their life expectancy or are defective. Shingles with any of the mentioned signs are now susceptible to unwanted water damage inside and outside your property.
Checking your gutters will also help you determine the state of your shingles as the granules often clog them. Drain spouts and gutters are designed to direct the water away from your property to minimize wear and tear on the roof and to minimize the chances of pervasive water damage. Clogged gutters can also break away from the roof and drag pieces of the roof with it.
Flashings, metal or plastic waterproof liners are designed to divert water. Assure they are not cracked or damaged as this will not allow them to deviate precipitation away from your roof correctly.
If you spot any of the mentioned or you’re unsure if any other known damages pose an immediate threat, it’s time for a roof assessment and have one of our professionals assist you in determining the next plan-of-action to counter any further damage precisely during these times.
To avoid dealing with all or some of these problems maintain your property. Most roofs have a span of 25-30 years, and although you may only be thinking of preparing for the next storm during these times, you should also keep in mind that normal weather also deteriorates your roof as it is exposed to direct sunlight.
These tips are all things that are completed in anticipation. However, it is also essential to know that during the storm keeping all doors and windows closed is a must as the air pressure inside your house can rise leading it to potentially lift your roof upward and leave you in the worst scenario that you were in, to begin with.
Tree trimming is an effective way to maintain, shape, and cleanup trees surrounding your home. While this often results in a more beautiful appearance, it also helps protect your family as well as your home. Trimming helps maintain a tree’s health and longevity which means they are less likely to lose branches or fall down as a whole. There are serious repercussions to a tree falling near your home which could result in damage to your assets. According to the Department of Agriculture, trees need to be pruned first for safety, next for health and finally for aesthetics. Below is a list of each of these benefits.
Safety- Removing branches that may cause damage to property or people if they fall can be a primary reason for tree trimming.
Tree Health- Cutting dead or diseased branches may help benefit the overall health of the tree. In addition, pruning may also encourage trees to develop stronger core structures to help withstand elements.
Aesthetics- Trimming a tree may help accentuate the physical appearance of the tree and improve flower or fruit production.
How Often Should You Trim Your Trees?
It is suggested that pruning or tree trimming is done once per year during a dormant season. There are several circumstances such as the ones below that would prompt immediate tree trimming:
The growth obstructs visibility for pedestrians or vehicles
The tree’s growth may threaten your home or property. If you feel a tree needs to be pruned because it may cause damage to your home, it’s important to contact an arborist to discuss the trimming
With the Fall and Winter months quickly approaching, an additional safety consideration to make is for power lines that may stand around your property. Dead branches can get caught in wires and trees can fall on top of them, causing serious danger to your home as well as other homes in your neighborhood.
Overall, trees are constantly growing and evolving as seasons pass, ongoing care is essential to keeping everyone safe and keeping your yard looking beautiful.
After a storm, a huge obstacle homeowners face when looking to fix or replace their roof is choosing the right company to do the job. Time is of the essence, especially after a natural catastrophe occurs. However, that does not mean the process of picking the right contractor should be taken lightly. You need to be sure to do your research. Below are several rules to follow to ensure that you find a reputable contractor post-storm.
Get referrals. To avoid scams that are often caused by fly-by-night contractors, ask your friends, family, and neighbors for local, reputable companies. When you have compiled a decent list of contracting contacts, take a moment to research each individual company and investigate what they have to offer.
Licensed and insured. It is important that when you hire a roofing contractor, they are licensed and have worker’s compensation. Make sure that they provide you with proof. Not having proper insurance and workers’ comp can create liability for you if a contractor employee sustains an injury while working on your property. All of this can be avoided by hiring a legitimate company to do the job.
If you live in a state that requires contractors to obtain a roofing license, make sure the contractor you are choosing has one. As part of your due diligence, it is also important to check their company website as well as the National Roofing Association or Better Business Bureau. Look at online reviews to see how a company conducts themselves when a problem arises and what they do to solve them.
Pay your deductible. Any contractor who claims they can “waive” the fee without having the homeowner pay their insurance deductible is committing fraud and will be placing you as the homeowner at risk.
Know your choice of materials. You should always do a material and color select with the contractor that you choose to hire. A contractor who does not offer you different shingle options is not looking out for your best interest. If covered by insurance, this is the perfect opportunity to upgrade or pick a color/style that better suits your tastes.
Sign a written contract. It is always good to have everything written down in a contract before the work begins. The contract should include the duration of the work, materials used, cost, when the cost is due, who is responsible for the waste and clean-up form the job, and the length of your roofs warranty.