July 17, 2014
In these hot summer months we love our fans of all kinds, desk fans, ceiling fans, clip on fans, the list goes on. Naturally, if we are in a warm room we turn on the ceiling fan to help cool the room. When we leave the room, we leave the fan on so it can continue cooling. If it cools us, it will cool the room, right? Wrong. Fans have fooled us all. The U.S. Department of Energy reminds us that fans cool people, not rooms. How? They create a wind chill effect by moving air over our skin. As far as the room goes, the fan will actually create more heat in the room because of its motor. Not only that, but by leaving it on, you are increasing your electric bill. Sounds pretty counterproductive, doesn’t it?
You aren’t without options though. Sure, cool off with a fan while you are in the room and turn it off when you leave. That would be using fans efficiently. Or, get an energy audit to see why that room is so warm in the first place. This would help you to use your home more efficiently.
Feel free to share with your fellow homeowners, we can’t let anyone else get fooled by the fan.
Thanks for stopping by!
Picture Source: “My House – New Orleans – Kitchen 2010” by Alex Castro – Flickr: My House – New Orleans – 2010. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
July 10, 2014
As summer continues to heat up, we all end up desperate for a cool down. Nothing is more frustrating than running the AC constantly and still having hotspots in our homes or hot rooms! I won’t even mention those high utility bills. Good news! There are options to look into that can help even out the temperatures in your home, reduce your utility bill and give you that cool down you are looking for.
- Get an energy audit – Here’s a video to help explain.
- Do the improvements – We usually start with Air Sealing. You could save 5 to 30 percent on your energy bill by making efficiency upgrades that a home energy audit can identify. (U.S. Department of Energy)
- Enjoy your comfortable home – Go ahead, picture it.
We all need a break from the heat, sometimes a cool drink or a scoop of ice cream just doesn’t cut it. Give yourself a more lasting cool down, keep the heat outside. Relax, save money and be cool in the comfort of your own home.
Feel free to share this post with your fellow homeowners. Let’s not leave anyone desperate for a cool down.
Thanks for stopping by!
July 3, 2014
America isn’t just in our name; it’s who we are and where we work. Here at GreenHomes America, we spend a lot of our time serving homeowners all across America. We are privileged to meet a lot of different people in different regions. This Friday as we celebrate Independence Day and our freedom, we want to celebrate each of you, the people who make up this great nation.
Thank you for inviting us into your home. We are honored to help and serve you and your families.
We wish you and yours a safe and happy 4th of July!
June 24, 2014
If you have plans to travel this summer, ensure your home will be in good shape when you go. The sun is out and you should be too, but keeping your home safe and energy costs down is important. Here are a few tips:
- Use a programmable thermostat. Depending on where you live, programmable thermostats can help regulate the temperature and humidity in your home. When programming it, remember you don’t need to cool your home as much when you are away and no one is home.
- Check your insulation. Believe it or not, having enough insulation and duct work that works properly can help reduce your energy costs. Let us explain, watch this short video.
- Leave a light on, but only if it’s a CFL or LED. It’s good to leave a light on or two maintain the appearance of being home. Save money and energy by using CFL’s or LED’s. Changing your lightbulbs is an easy thing to do. More facts about lightbulbs can be found here.
- If no one’s using hot water, turn it off. If you plan on being gone for a while, think twice about leaving your electric water heater on. Turning it off at the breaker will help you reduce energy costs. Your water heater might even have a vacation setting too.
Have a safe trip!
Photo from MrJack on http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sonnenaufgang_Frankreich.JPG
June 17, 2014
Safety is a top priority for us in the work we do in your home. We stress it every day. In fact an energy audit is only partially about saving you money. It is also about keeping you and your family safe. As part of our audit, we check for gas leaks on the combustion equipment in your home like your furnace or gas stove.
While we keep you safe inside, here are a few tips to keep you safe outside as summer closes in:
- Watch out for Bugs! Mosquitoes and ticks are the most common. Repellants are helpful for both. If ticks are an issue in your area there are some simple landscaping efforts you can do to help deter them.
- Enjoy the sunshine, but cover up! Hats, sunscreen and shade are encouraged.
- If it gets too hot inside your home and even hotter oustide, maybe energy efficiency improvements are what you need for safety’s sake!
Photo by Steffen Flor from wikimedia commons
June 12, 2014
This summer you might be spending some time on the road. It’s a great time to vacation. Seeking fuel efficiency in your vehicle means going easy on the pedal, but how do we keep cool on the hot summer road trips? Do we drive with the windows down or blast the AC? Apparently keeping your windows down is more efficient than blasting the AC. We can safely argue that it is not as efficient as keeping the windows up and not using the AC. I wouldn’t recommend this for a summer trip unless you want to know what that bug feels like under the magnifying glass! Cranking up the AC at home means comfort of course, and for some it’s a matter of health and safety especially when it gets hot. We wouldn’t think of not using the AC when the temperature is soaring outside, but like your car, you can run your home more efficiently. How? Keep your AC tuned up! Regular maintenance helps avoid unexpected repairs. While you are at it, tune up your house too. Recommendations from an energy audit help you keep the cool where you want it, inside and the hot where you like it, outside. In fact air sealing and insulation improvements can reduce the amount of cooling you need. Thanks, Jason Photo from Nicholas A. Tonelli under creative commons license
May 23, 2014
We’ve talked about the bad venting set up for this furnace and water heater and also about what it sits on in past posts. I’m not quite done with indoor air quality, and I’d like to draw your attention to another area of the duct work that is right out in the open.
While we look at this system in the garage, you can see that there was an attempt to insulate and to seal the duct work. The un-faced fiberglass wrapped around most of the duct work is stained in a number of places. This would be from the garage air being drawn into the system every time it runs. The mystery regarding duct tape is why we call it that, since it doesn’t seal ducts and It was on parts of this system.
Keep in mind that all of the observations were just from the garage, the area of the home you may walk through every day. Never mind what we found in the attic.
The happy ending to this story is that this homeowner was given a list of solutions to the problems we found. With a new system, measures were taken in the home as well that will mean lower energy bills, better comfort, and most important of all a healthier and safer home.
May 15, 2014
We spend much of our time indoors in this country. For those who suffer from Asthma this can be a problem especially when our indoor air can trigger attacks. I’ve been talking about Asthma Awareness this month, and I want to draw attention to some triggers in more detail.
Improving a home with insulation and air sealing brings more than comfort and energy savings. It can reduce the amount of dust generated as well. Shutting down pathways to the outside can help reduce other pests and the influence of the outside as well. Sometimes the great outdoors isn’t so great for those of us who suffer from Asthma.
Air sealing can reduce connections to other spaces as well, such as your garage where chemicals and fuels are kept. It can also reduce connections to crawlspaces and basements where things can get moldy.
Consider an energy audit as a way to help increase the quality of your indoor air.
May 7, 2014
Last week I showed you a venting system that wasn’t quite right, and mentioned the importance of having a certified technician review your HVAC and water heating systems. I wanted to cover a few more issues we discovered.
An important part of heating and cooling air is getting it to and from the home. This is what duct work is all about. In this system’s case, the plenum, or box where the return air from the home comes back to the furnace, also acts as a platform for this furnace and water heater to sit on.
Because it is where the furnace draws the air from the home, it is as you might imagine, connected to the inside of the house. And, as you can see in the second picture where the technician is looking into this plenum, there is a nice structural chunk of pressure treated wood, concrete floor and some moisture damage.
Pressure treated wood probably isn’t the best thing to have in your duct system, nor is dry rotted plywood, and this plenum is very much a part of the duct system.
It’s also not sealed. That means the garage is connected to the duct system and, therefore, to the home. Indoor air quality is important, and it should start with the air handling system. Stay tuned till next time!
May 7, 2014
Hard to breathe? One of our advisors after working in an attic!
Remodeling and home improvement is done for many reasons but health doesn’t usually come to mind first, but maybe it should. This is Asthma awareness month , indoor air quality and health seems a fitting subject.
It may not be clear why some suffer from Asthma, but reducing triggers can sure help make it more manageable. It just so happens that some of those triggers are the same concerns we have in everyone’s home. Dust, mold, by products from combustion, and chemicals stored in the home can all cause problems.
We’ve talked about it in the past and improving the indoor environment may help you keep the outdoors out since that can be a trigger too.
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