Three Reasons to Seal and Insulate Your Crawl Space Before Winter

Winter is around the corner. Unless you’ve invested this year in home energy improvements, your home will be as inefficient and uncomfortable this winter as it was last winter.

Winter is around the corner. Unless you’ve invested this year in home energy improvements, your home will be as inefficient and uncomfortable this winter as it was last winter.

If your home has a crawl space, sealing and insulating your crawl space can dramatically improve your home’s comfort, reduce energy bills and improve the quality of air inside your home.

Today’s building science proves that what’s beneath your home affects the comfort inside your home. A home’s natural airflow is from bottom to top (from the ground to sky). As your home naturally breathes, air is drawn up from the basement or crawl space, through the living area and out through the attic. This natural airflow means air from a moist crawl space (and everything in the crawl space air) flows up and into your home’s living area.

Here are three reasons to insulate your crawl space before winter:

  1. Improved Air Quality
    Crawl spaces are naturally damp. As your home breathes, air from your crawl space flows into your home’s living space through penetration points around wiring, plumbing holes and more. This means the air in your crawl space is mingling with the air you breathe every day. Not only is this distasteful, it’s unhealthy. Air sealing and insulating your crawl space will improve the air quality and help keep pollutants out of your home.
  2. Lower energy bills
    Does your furnace run more than you’d like during winter? This is a result of your HVAC system heating air from the crawl space that’s mingling with the air that’s already been heated. This means your HVAC system is continually working to maintain your home’s internal temperature. This results in higher energy bills – and more wear and tear on your HVAC system.
  3. A more comfortable home
    An unfinished crawl space affects your home’s everyday comfort. Are your floors cold? Is your main living area significantly cooler than an upper level of your home? Sealing and insulating your crawl space will help. After a short time in an uncomfortable home, you’ll wish you’d invested in upgrading your crawl space insulation.

You may have other questions about your crawl space. We welcome you to contact us to discuss your specific situation. Ready to upgrade the insulation in your crawl space? Contact us to schedule a free crawl space estimate.



Five Ways To Save Energy This Fall

Although energy efficiency is important all year, colder temps and the prospect of an uncomfortable home make energy efficiency a priority for many homeowners.

rake on leaves

Although energy efficiency is important all year, colder temps and the prospect of an uncomfortable home make 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 these issues 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 down into your living area (tip: before you do this, dust the blades).

Addressing 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.

 

Three Reasons to Insulate Your Attic

When you think of upgrading insulation, attic space is the first thing that comes to mind. Here are three key reasons…

Blown-in fiberglass insulation in atticWhen you think of upgrading insulation, attic space is the first thing that comes to mind. Here are three key reasons to upgrade your attic insulation and seal attic air leaks:
  1. Air movement through a home is from ground to sky (and out through the attic and roof). By adding insulation and sealing air leaks in your attic, you can lower energy costs by preventing conditioned air from escaping your home.
  2. On the flip side, insulating and air sealing your attic can prevent unconditioned outside air from coming into your home. This means your HVAC system doesn’t have to work as hard to maintain your home’s optimal inside temperature.
  3. Heating and cooling costs can total 50% to 70% of the energy used in an average home. In fact, in late 2016 the Energy Information Administration predicted natural gas users would see a 22% climb in their heating bills over the 2015-2016 heating season. Every day that passes is one more day you are spending too much money on energy bills.

Adding insulation to your attic is one of the most cost effective ways to save money on your energy bills each month. Wondering if your home could benefit from additional attic insulation? Contact us today for a free attic insulation estimate.

 

Five Tips to Bring Down Summer Energy Bills

Are high summer energy bills affecting your summer fun? There are many ways to help manage your summer energy bills – some so easy you won’t believe it! Here are five tips to help improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.

  1. GRILL OUT.
    If you need another reason for a summer cookout, this is it! Grilling meals outdoors can help keep your home cool by keeping excess heat out of the home.
  2. SEAL AIR LEAKS.
    Sealing air leaks helps keep cool air in and keeps warm air out. Once air leaks are sealed this pays off year round by keeping cold winter air out and warm air in. This also can help minimize stack effect, which can cause the upper level of a home to be excessively warm. Contact our office to schedule an estimate for air sealing.
  3. TURN ON CEILING FANS.
    How easy is this! Turning on ceiling fans will help circulate the cool air inside your home. It also can create a slight breeze that will make the room more comfortable. Take this one step further by running your bath fan. Adding a timer to your bath fan will allow it to run at regular intervals and help pull humid air out of your home.
  4. TUNE UP YOUR HVAC SYSTEM.
    Schedule a service appointment with a qualified contractor to check that the system is running efficiently. Also consider setting your programmable thermostat to a higher setting during the day which can save roughly ten percent on annual energy bills. Don’t have a programmable thermostat? Get one.
  5. SEAL YOUR HOME’S AIR DUCTS.
    Leaky ducts in a home can make it hard for conditioned air to reach each room in your home. This can result in uneven temperatures in your home. As a result you may need to adjust your thermostat, which can affect your energy bills.

Let this be the last summer that your energy bills are high and your home is uncomfortable! Contact our office with questions on these tips or to schedule a free air sealing estimate.

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. 

HPWES Rebates Are Changing! Here’s What You Need to Know.

The utility rebate program that has been available through Home Performance with Energy Star is changing next month. If you have not yet taken advantage of rebates, please read on.

The rebates will soon shift to focus on electric savings, which in most cases will affect the amount of your rebate.

Here’s are the basics you need to know:

  1. If you have a home heated with natural gas, propane, or oil, the dollar amount of your available rebate WILL BE DECREASING.  In order to move your project through the existing program with the higher rebate amount, you will need to ACT QUICKLY.  All work through the old program will need to be complete through DeVere Insulation Home Performance by July 15th for us to meet the rebate program deadline for the old rebate program.
  2. If you have an all-electric home, the rebate amounts are going to be fluctuating as well. In some cases they will go down and in others, they will go up.  Call DeVere Insulation Home Performance to discuss your options and determine the best timing to do your project to maximize your rebate.
  3. If you plan to replace your current HVAC system AND do air sealing and insulation work, there will now be additional rebates available to you. Call DeVere Insulation Home Performance to discuss.  This applies to homes with natural gas heating, electric heating (heat pump), and all homes with central air conditioning.

Contact us to learn more.

Local rebates at your fingertips!

http://www.dsireusa.org/Energy upgrades are a great way to save money on your energy bills and make your home or business more comfortable. While the investment saves money over the long term, the initial investment can cause people to hold off on performing these upgrades.

There are a variety of local rebates available to offset the cost of energy upgrades. Rebates are available through local utilities including BGE, Pepco and Potomac Edison. There may be other rebates available to you – and we have a resource to help you find these.

DSIRE is a resource available through the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University. Funded by the Department of Energy, DSIRE provides a comprehensive list of rebates and incentives available by zip code. Simply enter your zip code to access a complete list of rebates and incentives available to you.

In addition these programs, you can finance your energy upgrades and make the investment even more reasonable.

Have questions? Ready to get started on your upgrades? Contact our office today!

 

Steps to Take Today to Prepare Your Home for Winter

thermometer in snow

It’s easy to overlook preparing your home for winter – but it can cost you in high energy bills, equipment malfunctions, home pest issues and more.

If you are looking for a reprieve in your energy bills, don’t expect one this year. In mid October, the Energy Information Administration predicted natural gas users will see a 22% climb in their heating bills this year over the 2015-2016 heating season. If you’ve been thinking of improving your home’s energy efficiency, now is the time. Here are steps to take today to get your home ready for winter.

  • Seal Air Leaks
    Air sealing is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to reduce energy loss and keep energy bills lower during winter. A leaky home can waste approximately 10 to 15 percent of a home’s heating dollars. Air leaks are found around doors and windows, penetration points in the attics (can lights, chimney chases, etc.).
  • Check and Upgrade Your Attic Insulation
    Many of today’s homes are under insulated when compared to today’s building codes. After sealing air leaks, adding a layer of blown-in fiberglass insulation to your attic space can further reduce your energy bills and help keep your home comfortable.
  • Seal and Insulate your Crawl Space
    Crawl spaces can cause a variety of headaches for homeowners. Because they crawl spaces have direct contact with the earth, they become damp. This is a great breeding ground for mold and mildew, and provides an ideal living space for pests.
  • Check Your Heating System
    Now is the time to schedule your routine inspection of your home’s heating system. By confirming it’s in good working order, you’ll know it’s working as efficiently as possible – and you’ll help avoid a mid-winter break down.
    And don’t forget to change your air filter! Changing it often throughout the year can help your system run more efficiently – and help reduce dust in your home.
  • Change your Light Bulbs
    Take a quick inventory of the bulbs throughout your home. Upgrading to LED bulbs can reduce your energy bills, especially during winter’s shorter days and lights are on more than any other time of year. The investment in LED bulbs will pay off quickly!

Interested in air sealing, upgrading your insulation or sealing your crawl space? Contact us to schedule your free 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. 

 

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).