Whether it’s with a group of friends or by yourself, sitting in front of a fire is relaxing. The sounds, the smell and the look… I just love it. Thanks to Lowe’s Home Improvement and this helpful video, you can build a firepit right in your own back yard! Let’s get started!
Making you home energy efficient will save on the environment and your wallet. That all sounds good but exactly how do you do it? Here are 10 top ways to make that happen.
First, get an energy audit.
This is where a professional comes in and assesses your home and tell you what needs the most attention. Its a good idea because they know places to look that we wouldn’t even think of. FYI, We offer them here at Newhouse and Sun…
Second, Seal up doors and windows
Use caulking or other methods to seal around doors and windows. These are the number one way we lose energy in our homes. You can also check attics and basement for cracks and hole.
Third, insulate the attic
Half the homes in the US are under insulated. This is easy to do and you will notice the difference.
Fourth, seal your ductwork
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly a fifth of this air escapes through leaks. Use duct sealant to fix any leaks.
Fifth, install a programmable thermostat
These devices “save about 10 percent on your heating bills and your cooling bills in the summer, so they pay for themselves literally in a matter of months,” says Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy.
Sixth, install new windows
New windows can save you a bundle. They also add to the value of your home so its a win/win
Seventh, install energy efficient doors
Avoid hollow doors! I know they are cheaper but the air goes right thru them.
Eighth, install storm windows
This can be a cheaper option than window replacement if your interior windows are in good shape.
Ninth, replace old systems
Replacing your HVAC units can lower your monthly energy bills. Not to mention make the home overall more comfortable. Make sure you have done the other steps before you do this one though, otherwise you lose it all.
Tenth, install a new water heater
Water heating takes up 15 to 25 percent of the homes energy usage. Energy efficient water heaters can significantly lower that!
Now that you’ve done all of these your house should be free of drafts, be more comfortable and you should start seeing a drop in your energy bills. Energy is expensive! Here at Newhouse and Sun we offer all of the services listed above as well as solar panels…but that’s a different blog! Why not give us a call today? (978) 657-7274
Summertime is here and the days are longer. What better time to tackle some of those home renovations. Don’t know where to begin? Here’s some ideas…
The average bath remodel results in a 60% investment return. It doesn’t have to be grand. Just something up to date. You could even create a new half bath by converting a spare closet with have no additon to the home.
Installing central air results in greater cooling capacity and lower noise levels. Plus it’s just convenient. If you’ve ever had it, you’ll know what I mean.
Invest in the value of your home and improve its curb appeal with a fresh coat of paint. Plus, this is a great time to inspect your siding for damage and repair it.
The reason is simple. Energy costs are increasing and it’s more expensive than ever to heat & cool your home. By far one of the most dramatic things you can do to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to replace those old leaky windows.
The typical roof is designed to last about 20 years, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association. Maintenance can extend a roof’s life five to 10 years.Always make sure it’s in great condition and it will protect your house and help with resale.
There are so many more home maintenance projects but this should get you started. Good luck!
Summer time is here and it’s a time for cooking on the grill. Some would even say it’s an obsession and the only cure is to eat some. If you’ve never grilled before though, it can be a bit intimidating. Here is a video from Lowe’s that teaches you some valuable tips so that you too can become a master.
After all, if you can’t stand the heat…. then go get me a beer!
Now that you know how to grill, where do you begin? Here are some great recipes that will get you on your way.
Now call some friends over and get to it!
Anywhere you go these days you hear the word “green.” But what does it mean and how do I do it?
Webster’s dictionary defines GREEN as:
a often capitalized : relating to or being an environmentalist political movement
b : concerned with or supporting environmentalism
That’s all well and good but what does being GREEN look like and how do I do it? Well thankfully, there’s an app for that. As a matter of fact, there are several. Here are just a few…
The GoodGuide mobile app makes it fast and easy to find safe, healthy, green, and ethical products, instantly delivering the information you need, when you need it most — in a store and on the go.
Green Outlet helps you identify which of your household appliances are costing you the most to run so you can make informed decisions about your electric use.
iRecycle is the premiere application for finding local (United States Only), convenient recycling opportunities when you are on the go or at home.
LIGHT BULB FINDER is a free mobile phone application that makes it easy to switch from conventional light bulbs to energy-saving equivalents with the right fit, style and light quality.
Other apps on itunes include Green Genie, Carbon Tracker, Green Gas Saver, Find Green, Get Green, Green Me, and Green Charging.
It helps save the environment and your wallet. Check them out!
Webster’s dictionary defines a garage as a building or part of a building in which a car, truck, etc., is kept. Do you have a “garage” yet your car never sees the inside? Is that because it’s become more of a storage unit than a place to put your car? So many people are wasting the space in their garage and nothing drives this point home like cleaning the snow off of your car in FRONT of your garage! I know, I’ve done it! It doesn’t have to be that way.
Thanks to YouTube and Lowe’s, here is a short video with a few simple tips for organizing your garage now.
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Heating and cooling are two of the most expensive and energy consuming things in your home. The U.S Energy Information Administration states that the average U.S. power bill will be $395 per month from June through August. That’s A LOT!
Next to heating/cooling are HDTVs and computers. It may not seem like they use much, but over time these things can add up. Here are some simple steps to help you save the environment AND your energy bill.
Cover those windows!
Cellular shades, or “honeycomb” shades are a great way to keep the heat in in the winter and out in the summer. They look great and can save you money!
Beware of power vampires!
Things like HDTV’s, computers and even some appliances run constantly. According to the Energy Star website, even standby mode enables appliances and computers to continue to use energy. Power Vampires account for nearly 100 billion kilowatt hours of energy consumption on a yearly basis across the nation. Can you imagine?? Why not try shutting down your pc or tv or unplugging things when not in use? It could save you money.
Turn down your water heater!
All day every day you pay to keep your water heated to a certain temperature. Lowering that temperature will save you money and help lower your carbon footprint. What’s a carbon footprint? Well that’s next.
Know your carbon footprint!
A carbon footprint is the measure of the environmental impact of a particular individual or organization’s lifestyle or operation, measured in units of carbon dioxide. Basically, the amount of energy your family uses to keep them comfortable. The Nature Conservancy has a free tool to check your carbon footprint. That tool allows you to see how many resources it requires for our to live your life. Be forewarned though, finding out just how much you use can be shocking but it’s important to know when addressing energy conservation.
The incentive for reducing energy consumption is monies saved. Saving $50 a month represents a $600 savings each year. Over the life of a home, those savings equal $6,000 at year 10, $12,000 at year 20 and $18,000 after 30 years of reducing energy consumption. Now we’re talkin!!
Since the winter started, New England has had several feet of snow blanket the area. This winter wonderland is beautiful, but it brings with it many issues that homeowners have to deal with. Just driving around the area, it is easy to see which homes and buildings are losing heat. Long and dangerous icicles drape from the sides of buildings, showing that heat is escaping through the roof. This creates ice dams that damage a roof, causing costly repairs. The thing is, roofs are not meant to melt snow, and so what is a homeowner to do?
Until a homeowner knows where the heat is being lost, it is virtually impossible to fix the issue. The best way to find out where your heat is going is to scan your home utilizing an infrared thermal imaging tool used during an energy audit. Infrared thermal imaging works in ANY season when used by a skilled technician. With just a few-degree differential, the camera helps diagnose where insulation is not doing its job or if your home has moisture problems from a leaky roof. It detects how readily surfaces give off heat and can be used both outdoors and indoors with heating or air conditioning. And this infrared thermal imaging tool is used to actually SEE into wall cavities. It is used to reveal:
- compressed insulation where fiberglass loses as much as 60% of its R-value
- settled insulation producing gaps hidden within walls, floors and ceilings
- wet areas from rain or leaking pipes.
During an energy audit, the above picture was taken of a home where there is significant heat loss through the roof and around the windows. A skilled technician can make recommendations as to how to improve these areas which will help significantly improve your heating costs annually, as well as stop ice dams and icicles.
If we were to scan your home, would it look like the picture above? Now is the time to get the facts and fix the areas of heat loss before costly repairs are required.
At Newhouse and Sun Construction, we can find areas of heat loss and make recommendations as to how to improve them, saving a homeowner many thousands of dollars annually. If you contact us at 978-657-7274 or at firstname.lastname@example.org before the end of February 2011, we will give you 10% discount off our services.
How to Prevent Ice Dams if you Live in Massachusetts
Ice dams usually form close to the lower edge of the roof. Massachusetts building code states that the affected area for ice dams is 3 feet inside a heated wall. This is why today’s roofers install ice and water shield on all lower edges, on all new roofing installations in New England. Ice and water shield comes in a roll that is 3 foot x 50 feet. If you do not account for the soffit area, and only use the three foot length, you will leave the affected area exposed.
Why Ice Dams Form on Lower Roof Edges
Due to poor insulation and ventilation to0 much heat escapes the living space (poor insulation), then it gets trapped against the roof (poor ventilation). Once heat escapes the living space, it should be vented out of the house. Once the escaped heat melts roof snow, water hits established dams, or creates new ones, and water backs up under the shingles. Older roofs do not have ice and water shield underlayment, so the water comes into the dwelling.
Ice Dam Prevention
- Get the snow off your roof; do not allow it to sit there. Either remove the snow yourself, or hire a roofing company to maintain your roof.
- Remove the lower 6 rows of shingles and install ice and water shield.
- Make sure you have good air flow from your soffit to your ridge vent (good ventilation).
- Make sure you have adequate insulation, and that your insulation does not block your ventilation.
- Install metal standing seam roofing.
- Install rooftop de-icing system.
Other Common Areas Ice Dams Form
- Dormers: It is difficult to insulate and ventilate most older dormers, and they tend to be low sloped. These should be completely covered in ice and water shield.
- Bay and Bow windows: again for the same reason, poor insulation and ventilation.
- Walls: Older homes with blown in insulation, insulation settles and allows to much heat to escape through the siding.
As one of the nation’s leading distributors and installers of innovative and high quality rooftop de-icing products, we make problems with ice dams and icicles a thing of the past for homes and businesses in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. At Newhouse and Sun Construction, we create customer solutions that will prevent and get rid of ice dams and icicles on your home or building FOREVER. Adding more insulation, ventilating an attic, installing zig-zag cables, application of heat tape, or even putting on a new roof will not get rid of ice dams; it just puts a band-aid on the problem, and the ice dams will always come back.
If you would like to discuss your roof and ice damn issues, or would like an insulation and ventilation inspection, we would be glad to audit your home. Please call 978-657-7274 or email us at email@example.com