The Two Best Energy Investments for Your Home

If you would like to increase your home’s energy efficiency, we recommend investing in two key projects…

Air sealing wall If you would like to increase your home’s energy efficiency, we recommend investing in two key projects – insulation/air sealing your home and your home’s heating/cooling system.

Since the home is one contained unit, each system directly affects the other system. By taking a whole house approach to energy efficiency, the homeowner can experience a greater improvement in efficiency and comfort. And upgrading two systems can qualify the homeowner for rebates and other incentives.

Home energy improvements start with a home evaluation. A contractor will inspect the interior and exterior of the home to determine where energy improvements are needed.

Each home is different and recommendations can vary. However, there are some recommendations that a contractor will frequently make:

Air Sealing and Insulating
Leaks around a home allow conditioned air to escape and unconditioned outside air to enter. Leaks are often found in attics and around the perimeter of the basement. Sealing air leaks can reduce wear on your home’s heating and cooling system and help maintain your home’s internal temperature. If your attic doesn’t have adequate insulation, your contractor will likely recommend adding insulation.

Upgrading HVAC Equipment
If your heating and cooling system is more than 10 years old your contractor may recommend replacing it with a new, more efficient model. According to ENERGY STAR, when installed correctly high-efficiency heating and cooling units can save the homeowner up to 10% on annual utility bills. In addition, installing and properly using a programmable thermostat can save the homeowner up to $180 per year on heating and cooling costs.

Controlling the air that enters and exits the home and conditioning it with efficient equipment are two key steps to increase your home’s efficiency. By addressing both improvements you’ll see greater energy savings and enjoy a more comfortable home. Contact us for a free air sealing and insulation estimate today.

 

Why the upper level of your home is unbearable during summer, and how we can help.

Everyone knows the basic principles of warm air and cool air – warm air rises, cool air sinks. You can see this in practice when a hot air balloon is filled with heated air and rises. When the air inside the balloon cools, the air becomes dense causing the balloon to lower.

This principle applies to the air inside your home. This results in something called Stack Effect. Here’s how it works and how it affects your home’s performance.

During winter months, indoor air that’s been warmed rises to the upper areas of the house. Due to natural penetration points in the roof of a home (e.g. around electrical penetrations, vents, etc.) this warm air leaks out of the home.

Losing air that you’ve paid to condition affects your wallet – and has an even greater impact. When heated air leaks from the upper level of your home, negative pressure is created in the home. Since air in the home wants to remain in balance, cold outside air is sucked in to the home through penetration points on the lower level (e.g. around windows, electrical outlets, basement box sills, crawl spaces, etc.)

During winter months, warm air inside the home is desired. What do homeowners do? They turn up the HVAC system. This creates a false sense of an efficient home because the heating system overrides any feeling of discomfort.

What about summer? During summer months, stack effect creates a much more uncomfortable living situation.

As the warm inside air rises in a home and escapes through upper level penetration points, warm outside air enters the home through lower penetration points. The home’s HVAC system will run to help cool the air inside the home. Since cool air is dense, the conditioned air will not reach the upper level of the home. This can create an unbearable living situation in the upper level of a home during peak summer months.

If you dread the upper floors of your home during summer months because of hot and uncomfortable air, your home needs air sealing and insulating. Contact us to discuss your home’s summer comfort issues and schedule a free estimate. 

Summer Energy Efficiency Tips

Summer Energy Efficiency - Delmarva Insulation

Are you ready for summer and secretly worrying about your summer energy costs? Many homeowners experience higher than necessary energy bills during summer. Saving money on energy bills and keeping your home comfortable isn’t as hard as you think. There are a few simple things you can do today to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.

Try some of these:

  1. USE THE GRILL. On the warmest days of summer, keep your kitchen and home cool by using an outdoor grill for your meals instead of the stove or oven. Not only will you reduce strain on your indoor HVAC system, you can turn any day into a backyard party!
  2. SWITCH ON THE CEILING FANS. Ceiling fans better circulate the cool air already blowing inside and the slight breeze keeps you cool too. Plus, using fans actually allows you to raise the temperature setting on your thermostat four degrees. This can help lower your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort. Bonus tip! Switch on your bathroom fans — they pull heat and humidity from your home which also improves comfort.
  3. SEAL AIR LEAKS. Low-cost caulk can be used to seal cracks, openings and other heat penetration points in your home. Air sealing keeps warm air out and conditioned air (air you’ve already paid to cool) inside your home. Need help or have a bigger job than you can handle? Contact us for a free estimate.
  4. MAINTAIN YOUR HVAC SYSTEM. Having your air conditioner serviced annually can help keep it running efficiently (and help prevent those mid-summer break downs). Check and replace your furnace filter regularly (which also helps keep your home clean), and don’t forget about your programmable thermostat! Setting your programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you are not at home can save an estimated ten percent on your energy bills annually.
  5. SEAL DUCTS. Air loss through ducts can lead to high utility costs. Leaky ducts keep conditioned air from getting to desired rooms in your home, and they force your HVAC system to work harder. Leaky ducts account for nearly 30 percent of an HVAC system’s energy consumption! Sealing those ducts can go a long way toward lowering your electricity bills.

Questioning high utility bills this summer? Give us a call for a free in-home estimate.

Five Ways To Save Energy This Fall

rake on leaves

Although energy efficiency is important all year, colder temps and the prospect of an uncomfortable home makes energy efficiency a priority for many homeowners. As fall temps move in and you are thinking about the energy efficiency of your home, check out these five areas of your home for any necessary upgrades.

  1. INSULATION
    Proper insulation levels can keep you warm and reduce your energy bills. Attics are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to winter energy loss, so prep yours for winter by upgrading your insulation now. And don’t forget about air sealing your attic! Air sealing your attic is an important energy upgrade.
  2. WINDOWS AND DOORS
    Sealing around windows and door frames can help prevent heat from escaping. Sealing around windows and doors is a very inexpensive project and easy to do!    
  3. HVAC SYSTEM
    Your HVAC system works all winter. When your heating system is properly maintained, it will run more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Servicing your system now will help make it through any unexpected cold snap.
  4. THE ROOF
    Make sure your roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and/or loose shingles. Addressing this spots now will help keep winter weather out of your home.
  5. CEILING FANS
    This is so easy – and so many homeowners forget to do this! Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft. This redistributes warm air from the ceiling back down into your living area (tip: before you do this, dust the blades).

Just these few areas of your home can increase your home’s comfort and decrease your energy bills. Ready to get started at the top of the list by upgrading your insulation? Contact us today for a free insulation estimate.

Five Energy-Saving Fall Projects

When temperatures begin to drop, it’s time to get your home ready for winter. Here’s a quick checklist to keep your house—and property—in peak condition this winter.
#1 Improve Your Windows
Old and inefficient windows leak conditioned air. Switch out your window screens for storm windows—if you have them—before the frigid temps kick in. This swap will save you money on energy costs, protect your window from the elements, and eliminate drafts throughout fall and winter. 
#2 Service Your Heating System
Check the pilot light, vacuum excess dust, and change the filter. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. While you’re at it, get your wood stove and fireplace in working order. Pay special attention to your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket to ensure a tight seal. Servicing your system now will help make it through any unexpected cold snap. 
#3 Caulk Windows and Air Seal
Air sealing around windows and door frames helps prevent heat from escaping. Caulking and sealing these openings is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs you can do. If left undone openings in the structure can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold buildup. Need more help than a tube of caulk? We can help!
#4 Inspect Your Roof
Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. Look for trouble spots now instead of in a few months when ice, rain, snow, and wind wreak havoc on existing problem areas.
#5 Check Your Insulation
While temperatures drop outside, you can still stay warm and keep your energy bills low with proper insulation. Attics are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to winter energy loss, so prep yours for winter by upgrading your insulation now.
BONUS TIP: Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. Fall is also a good time to prep your humidifiers. Be sure to clean them regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.

Energy Star estimates 10% savings on annual energy bills. We can help. Call today for a free estimate. 

Why You Should Choose the Blown-In Wall System

man insulating walls

When it comes to insulating walls, most people think of fiberglass batt insulation. For years, fiberglass batt insulation was the only way to insulate walls. Today’s construction technology has many other options! One cost-effective and energy-efficient option is the blown in wall system.

The blown-in wall system provides a high-efficiency energy blanket of insulation at a fraction of the cost of spray foam insulation. This system is installed in open cavities during the construction or remodeling process, and can be used in residential or commercial buildings. The blown-in wall system gives homes a seamless, thermally efficient blanket of insulation that completely fills any void in the wall cavity.

Here’s how it works:

  • Fabric mesh is installed across the open wall cavity. It is tacked to each stud in the wall assembly.
  • Loose-fill fiberglass insulation is blown behind the fabric mesh. It is installed at a density that fills all voids in the wall cavity.
  • The penetrations in the mesh are sealed to hold the product in place.

There are many benefits to installing the blown-in wall system in your next project. The blown in wall system offers:

  • Higher R-values than traditional fiberglass batt insulation, saving on heating and cooling expenses.
  • Reduced air infiltration. National laboratory tests have shown a 68% reduction in air infiltration when installing a blown-in wall system over fiberglass batt insulation.
    • TAKE ENERGY EFFICIENCY ONE STEP FURTHER! Air seal each wall cavity prior to installing a blown-in wall system to further increase efficiency!
  • Excellent sound control. Because loose fill fiberglass insulation completely fills the wall cavity, noise transfer is reduced.
  • Does not settle. Because the insulation is dense packed, there’s no chance of it setting and affecting r-value.

Interested in learning more about the blown-in wall system? Call us with questions or to schedule a free estimate.

New HVAC Rebates! Save even more on home energy upgrades!

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your home’s energy performance, you’re in luck! Effective August 15th, 2016, the HVAC program will be implementing an additional 10% increase to rebate incentives on approved HVAC equipment.

Here’s the technical language:

  • Customers can receive 10% higher rebates for HVAC equipment if the equipment is installed as part of a Home Performance with ENERGY STAR job.
  • To receive HVAC rebates through the Home Performance with ENERGY STAR Program, the equipment installation must be installed by an approved contractor in the utility-specific HVAC program
  • The rebate application must include shell measures and/or duct sealing as part of the scope of work. 
  • The HPwES application will also require the AHRI certificate matching the contracted HVAC equipment installation to be uploaded with the application.

That’s all great. But, WHAT DOES THIS REALLY MEAN?

  • If you’re going to replace your HVAC equipment, you can get an additional 10% rebate
  • To get the additional 10% rebate you must have performed insulation and air sealing upgrades first in accordance with findings from an energy audit
  • If you’ve not already had an energy audit performed on your home, this is the first step.
  • Combine the 10% HVAC rebate plus rebates from your local utilities and the savings really add up!

We know rebates can be confusing. We are here to help you take advantage of all the rebates available to you! Please call our office with questions (443-770-1111).

Save Money and Increase Comfort with an Energy Audit!

home energy thermometer

An energy audit is the first step – and arguably the most important step – to analyze and improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Here is why: Rather than focusing on a single problem (the heating or cooling system, insulation or ventilation), an energy audit looks at the home as one system. Audit results can quickly pinpoint the most energy-efficient improvements for your home.

Understanding the specific conditions that affect your home’s energy usage helps contractors make necessary adjustments. This is all so that you can enjoy the benefits that include:

Reduced energy bills. One look at your monthly energy bill and you’ll notice your home’s increased efficiency! Most improvements pay for themselves shortly after they are made through monthly energy savings – and energy upgrades can increase your home’s resale value!

Increased comfort. Air leaks exist throughout most homes – you’ll notice them as drafts and inconsistent temperatures. When air leaks are identified, they can be sealed which improves your home’s comfort.

Better indoor air quality. Air leaks allow outdoor pollutants to infiltrate your home. Sealing leaks can keep pollutants from affecting your home’s indoor air quality. Additionally, an audit can recommend ventilation improvements to your home which further offers further benefits.

Environmental benefit. Implementing the recommendations that come from an audit will reduce your home’s energy consumption. This will reduce your carbon footprint and your home’s impact on the environment.

Ready to schedule a home energy audit? Call us today!

Tax Credits for Going Green at Home

Tax Credits for Going Green at Home - Delmarva Insulation

In case you haven’t heard, the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit has been renewed! This is great news if you plan to make any energy efficiency updates to your home this year. It is also a great reminder to apply any updates you made last year to your taxes this year. You could be eligible for a tax credit up to $500!

Here is a list of product eligible for tax credits.
(To be eligible these projects must be complete by December 31, 2016.)

Building envelope improvements

  • Insulation materials and systems
  • Exterior doors and windows, including skylights
  • Roofs—pigmented roofs designed to reduce heat gain, and asphalt roofs with cooling granules

Heating, cooling, and water heating equipment

  • Advanced main air circulating fan
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler
  • Electric heat pump water heater
  • Electric heat pump
  • Central air conditioner
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil water heater
  • Biomass stoves

These products have specific requirements to qualify for the tax credit so make sure you review the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit requirements before making a claim on your taxes or planning a project for 2016.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
If you have set your sights on a larger renewable home energy project for this year like a solar energy system or even a geothermal heat pump, you’re in luck too! Those tax credits have been renewed as well. Be sure to read the details on the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit requirements before planning your project.

Have questions on how upgrading your insulation would apply to these tax credits? Give us a call!

Save Up To $500 By Adding Insulation!

Adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways a homeowner can save money on their annual energy bills! No matter the season, insulation helps to keep your heating or cooling bills in line. Thanks to the renewed energy tax credit, you can save both on your utility bill and your insulation investment!

Here is what you need to know to take advantage of the offer:

Have questions? Contact our office. 

Save Up To $500 By Adding Insulation - Delmarva Insulation