March 10, 2014
Mad as a March Hare? We tend to get a bit cagey at the end of the winter ready for spring to well, spring. At least there’s college basketball! It’s great to see these teams move their way through the roster towards April, warmer weather and the Final Four!
Guard against foul weather and center your home with the slam dunk of comfort, efficiency, health and safety. It’s what every home should be!
February 28, 2014
Nobody wants to hear about rising energy costs. For utility customers in New York, prices have going up this winter. Some of it was an accounting error, but increased demand for Natural Gas due to the swerving polar vortex helped.
Propane costs have gone up too, article from Kansas Cityreferences pricing as high as $5 a gallon. All of this reminds me of the days when crude oil prices were all over the proverbial road, never mind a little swerving polar vortex.
It’s not just about heating and cold winters. California is experiencing a lack of winter which sounds kind of nice coming from the Northeast. They are also seeing a drought and I’d expect a long hot summer which means an expensive cooling season ahead.
We can’t control fuel prices, but we can take control of our homes. There’s a great thing in being able to “weather the storm”. In our homes, that means comfort, but also peace of mind that we are protected from the elements. Integrating resilience, in our homes is as simple as insulating a home well and air sealing it properly. It is like preparing for a long voyage across the sea, and helps when weather or high fuel costs hit us broadside. Batten down the hatches!
February 14, 2014
Since this month is American Heart Month and it seems an appropriate metaphor for our homes. I’ve mentioned some of the similarities already, but here is a big one…
Think of your heating and cooling system as your home’s heart. The ductwork or piping can be like arteries and when it all works well, you stay comfortable.
But there’s a lot more to it than that, the body is a system where all the parts work well together. Homes are like that too. Heating, cooling, distribution, ventilation, roofing, siding, air sealing and insulation all come together and when it works great things can happen. We stay warm or cool comfortable and healthy.
Clearly it can be a complicated system, and I won’t say our advisors are doctors, but they sure know homes and how to make them work at their best. One thing’s for sure, we make house calls!
February 7, 2014
Heart disease is a significant issue for many Americans and encompasses a number of conditions. The American Heart Association is a great resource to start with if you have concerns. February is American Heart Month and you may ask what that could possibly have to do with a home.
Where do you start when it comes to a healthy heart? Your doctor is a good place. Being diagnosed with cardiovascular disease means a change, but it is change you won’t be working at alone, that’s why we visit one doctor for physicals and see a specialist if need be.
We take the same type of scientific approach to diagnosing homes and making recommendations. We start out as a general practitioner would in your home looking at everything. When we find something that needs special attention we can bring in the specialists. It might be the ductwork or the cooling system. Maybe it’s the insulation in the attic. But you won’t know until you get that physical and you won’t get better until you take action!
We know Home is Where the Heart is and this month help yourself and your family to a check up for your heart’s sake and also for your home!
January 29, 2014
How do you turn a nuclear warhead into a source of power that lights your living room? The answer came from Dr. Thomas L. Neff who conceived of, and carried out, the atomic recycling program called Megatons to Megawatts. You can read more about Dr. Neff in this The New York Times article. It’s quite poetic if you ask me, cold war era weapons meant to destroy our American cities if need be, in the end powering them.
I love hearing stories of triumph and ingenuity, embracing adversity and making the best of it. The “sword” of nuclear warheads being repurposed into “plowshares” we could harvest light heat and cooling from in our homes, should inspire all of us. While we don’t often encounter “swords” like this in our daily energy life, we do have the opportunity to make a change. Reduce. From the same NYT article Dr. Neff was quoted, “The lesson of the story, he remarked in an interview, is that ‘private citizens can actually do something’”. You can too, right at home.
Reducing the need for any energy source by creating a home that is energy efficient does a few things. It creates more affordable energy bills, makes you more comfortable and it allows our limited resources to last that much longer. The Megatons to Megawatts program expired in 2013, although there are other programs on a smaller scale in the works. We can run out of warheads, oil, gas, coal, or any other non-renewable resource. Do something at home, we can help.
January 23, 2014
This time of year our homes are often closed up tight and we can get a little stir crazy by it.
Dr. Smith, pictured in the print, subjected himself to this voluntarily, we find out in a text book on ventilation printed in 1891. His little home was made of lead and the window was there so he could break out if no one would let him out. A more trustworthy assistant would have been nice.
The door was weather stripped with an India rubber tube. Funny how over 100 years later we still could use doors on our homes that work as well as his did!
Well Dr. Smith discovered that fairly quickly the room got unpleasant and moist. He lasted for 100 minutes and then “three persons then went in and at once, pronounced the air to be very bad.” Not sure this counts as science, but it works for me. If it smells bad it is bad. Good enough.
Ironically even today there are ongoing arguments about how much ventilation is needed but we need it. I’ve written about controlling the airways and it’s a good idea to have your ventilation strategies worked out too. Expert advice is only a call away. Don’t worry at GreenHomes America, we don’t use lead rooms and emergency glass.
image comes from a google book in the public domain
January 17, 2014
Even though we’ve had a warm spell, and the Polar Vortex seems long ago winter’s not over! It’s still that time of year that freezing and thawing in many parts of the country means ice dams. We have a great resource found here that will answer your questions about common household problems including ice dams.
There are some solutions to take care of them immediately but know the long term solutions are not from the outside but from the inside of your home. It has to do with proper air sealing and insulation.
Ice on your roof may be normal, in fact sometimes it’s unavoidable. Don’t accept roof damage, dangerous icicles and roof rakes as just another fact of winter. Have your home looked at by an energy auditor that can recommend solutions for the long term.
January 13, 2014
Does the gym membership only last as long as the trial period? Do snacks grow in size and frequency? Ah, if self control was so easy! Good health is a great thing to strive for, and if self control is not one of your better assets, maybe a little help is in order.
Consider some small steps. An energy assessment of your home is a small step which can lead to great things. It’s about protecting one of your important investments your home, and you. We spend a lot of time indoors (for better or worse) and the cooking and heating equipment we use can create health issues if we are not careful. A home ought to be comfortable and safe.
I won’t lie, an assessment of your home is a great step, but its not the only one. First make sure it’s the right one and find a BPI certified contractor. The next step is acting on an energy audit’s recommendations. That will bring in the New Year with energy savings, better indoor air quality and greater comfort. Here’s to a no sweat resolution it might not help you lose weight but it will help you lose some of your excess energy bills! Maybe next year, i’ll get around to reading the book.
December 23, 2013
In the rapid fire rush of holidays this time of year, we often forget to pay attention to some of the smaller details. Like how dark it’s getting! When the days are shorter we tend to turn on the lights sooner. It’s no wonder a number of holidays this time of year are focused on lights!
Since I’ve recently weathered an ice storm and power outages here in the Northeast, this thought is fresh in my mind: one candle may produce tens or a maybe hundreds of Btu’s of energy depending on its size and wax make up. But what does this little light and the few Btu’s produced mean?
An average household in the U.S. uses 90 million Btu’s for lighting, heating and cooling. During this time of year a lot of this is lighting! Think of all those tens or hundreds of Btu’s you use in your home no matter what the “candle” really is!
While I’m not sure there is a more energy efficient candle, (makes me think of a more efficient Flintstone’s car), we can change light bulbs and strings of lights that offer safety and savings all in one. This is a festive time of year, turn on the lights, keep yourself warm and give yourself the gift of energy efficient “candles” whatever they may really be.
Happy Holidays from all of us at GreenHomes America!
December 19, 2013
One of our newest locations, Buckeye Heating and Cooling, was featured on the news in Columbus Ohio. Technician Jeff Walsh spent some time performing a home energy audit and using the infrared camera. Nice work Buckeye Heating and Cooling! I think central Ohio just got a little warmer! Not in Ohio, find a location near you!
You can view the Buckeye energy audit video here.