Category: winter

Quick fix for drafty windows

Like it or not, winter is here! If you own an older home you know that equals drafts. The best solution is replacement windows but that isn’t always budget friendly.  What you can do is protect your home with an easy-to-install window insulation film. They sell them at most stores and they drastically cut down on drafts and energy costs, saving you money. Who doesn’t like that?

How to Install a Smart Thermostat

Winter is here and with it comes an increase in energy costs. One way to cut down on those costs is to install a smart thermostat.

What is a smart thermostat?

Whereas a typical room thermostat just lets you change the temperature in your home using a dial or control panel, a smart thermostat gives you full control over your home’s heating.

Smart thermostats allow you to manage your home’s temperature based on the time of day and from a remote location, using your smart phone, tablet or desktop. Another key feature of some smart thermostats is that they learn and adapt to your behavior.

Most smart thermostats will also display your real-time energy consumption and even adjust this automatically based on factors such as humidity and weather conditions.

Why do I need one?

Here are 8 benefits to a smart thermostat!

Now that you have all of the information, how do you install one? It’s easy with this DIY video from Home Advisor. So grab your tools and let’s get to work!


Need an Ice Melt System?

December is here, and along with it comes ice and damage to your roof. It doesn’t have to be that way though….

ice dam bylin

If you are interested in having Newhouse & Sun Construction evaluate your home or business for a rooftop ice melt system, give us a call! We install the state-of-the-art Bylin/Raychem Rim2 panel system, and as long as the snow and ice hold off, we are installing!

Beat the 10-15% price increase coming for 2016 by acting NOW!


Maintaining Your Roof

Winter is on its way, and along with it comes snow and ice build up. Inspecting and repairing your roof now can reduce the risk of damage to your home due to ice dams.  Here is a short video with all of the things you should look for to make sure your roof is ready for winter.

If your roof is in good shape but you still find that your home is prone to ice dams, you may want to consider installing an ice melt system. Newhouse & Sun offers state-of-the-art ice melt systems. If your hurry, you still may be able to get one installed before the snow comes.


Understanding Ice Dams

Here is an informational video on how the Raychem Roof Ice Melt System efficiently and effectively prevents icicles and ice dams from building up on your roof eaves and valleys.

Raychem Roof Ice Melt Systems have successfully prevented ice dam and icicle formation on roofs across the country for over a decade. Unlike other solutions, such as a cold roof system or zigzag heating cable, Raychem’s RIM Systems are successful preventing ice dams and icicles in heavy snow regions as well as moderate snow regions. Raychem’s RIM Systems specifically target the ice dam and icicle prone areas of a roof regardless of the design, complexities, or snow load. Area Classifications, determine which Raychem Roof Ice Melt products are right for the job by identifying heavy, moderate, and light snow load areas.

The success of eliminating ice dam and icicle problems has led architects and contractors to specify the patented RIM system for their projects. In addition, hundreds of property owners have retrofitted their roofs with the RIM system. Over 480,000 feet (90+ miles) of roof eaves and valleys, throughout the United States and Canada, are protected from ice dams and icicles with Raychem’s Roof Ice Melt System


beforeice2     AFTER



Ice dams and icicles occur as a result of:

  • Snow buildup on the roof
  • Heat loss from the building
    • Through insulation
    • Through chimneys
    • Through roof vents
  • Winter temperature fluctuations – freeze/thaw cycles
  • Solar heating during winter days with below freezing nights

As roof snow accumulation increases, ice dam and icicle formation likewise increase. Subsequent water ponding can lead to roof leaks, internal building damage and possible mold issues. Falling icicles can create lower roof damage, deck damage and people safety issues.

  1. Winter storms build up snow on the roof.
  2. Heat from the building (through insulation, chimneys, and roof vents) and from the sun (solar gain) causes roof snowmelt.
  3. Melted snow runs down roof lines to valleys and eaves.
  4. The melted snow refreezes at the base of the valleys and at the roof eaves.
  5. As day/night time temperatures cycle up and down, the ice dams and icicles continue to grow.
  6. Icicles cause ‘people and property safety’ concerns.

 Protect your home. Call Newhouse & Sun today!


Preventing Ice Damage

Last year was one of the worst winters for ice damage to homes. It seems almost everyone I talked with had some form of damage. Whether it was damage to the roof itself, the gutters, the inside of the home, or a complete roof collapse, it was disheartening to see so many home owners suffer!

ice dam bylin

It doesn’t have to be that way. There are things you can do to try and prevent this from happening. Here are just a few…

1, Make sure your gutters are cleaned out. Leaves and debris can cause the gutters to back up and ice to form on your roof. Winter storms build up snow on the roof. Heat from the building (through insulation, chimneys, and roof vents) and from the sun (solar gain) causes roof snow-melt. Melted snow runs down roof lines to valleys and eaves. The melted snow refreezes at the base of the valleys and at the roof eaves. As day/night time temperatures cycle up and down, the ice dams and icicles continue to grow and cause damage to your home.

2, Make sure you remove excess snow from your roof throughout the winter. This cuts down on the amount of snow melting and as a result, less water in your gutter to freeze and build up. The best way to do this is with a roof rake. Scrape as much as you can off for the best results. You may want to get a roof rake now. Once the snowstorms start, they are next to impossible to find!

3, Install an Ice Melt System. Here at Newhouse & Sun, we offer state-of-the-art Roof Ice Melt Systems. For more information, visit our Ice Melt information page HERE or call us at (978) 657-7274


Is Your Home Green?

I’m not talking about color. I’m talking about lifestyle. “Going green” means to pursue knowledge and practices that can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.


There are several ways you can achieve this. Here are just a few…

Install a programmable thermostat

These automatically adjust for when you are away or asleep, saving you money.

Set your hot water tank to 120

Not only does higher temperatures increase risk of injury, it also increases energy costs as well.

Start a nightly routine

Go through the house and make sure all unused lights, appliances, ceiling fans, electronics, etc are all turned off.

Upgrade your appliances

Today’s appliances are so energy efficient. They come with ratings so you’ll know exactly what you are getting.

Seal, Seal, Seal!

Around windows, doors, basements, attics! Everywhere that cool air can get in and heat can escape. Also, if you have older windows, you may want to cover them with those shrinking plastic kits until you can afford to replace them.

Buy energy efficient light bulbs

These typically use about 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescent, saving you money and they last significantly longer!

One last thing I want to include is specific for Massachusetts home owners. Have you ever heard of Mass Save? It is an initiative sponsored by Massachusetts gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers. They work closely to provide a wide range of energy efficiency services to help residents manage energy use and related costs. They have rebates, incentives, tips, resources and more. There is even a place to take an online assessment to see where you could save more. It’s a great program and is worth checking out. Just click HERE!

Well, that’s it for now. Stay warm!

Winter Preparation Checklist

Winter is on it’s way! Being proactive, you will lower your energy bills, increase efficiency and the lifespan of your home. Here is a checklist to make sure you keep the warmth in and Old Man Winter out!!


Windows and Doors

Check all weatherstripping and replace if necessary. Install storm windows and doors. Check for drafts and caulk where necessary. Replace any cracked or broken glass.


Trim any branches that hang over wires in case of ice storms. Clean, dry and store all patio furniture. Bring in and store any decorations that are made of glass or stone. They can crack in the cold. Drain and remove hoses. Shut off valves to the outside. Check walkways and handrails to ensure ease of shoveling and decreased chances of falling.


Winterize your lawnmower. Bring in and store any other landscaping equipment. Move shovels and snowblower to the front of the garage. Get your roof rake ready as well as an ample supply of ice melt.


Remove window air conditioners. Inspect and clean fireplace. Replace the air filter in your furnace. Make sure smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Change the batteries if you haven’t in a while. Replace old thermostats with energy efficient ones. Change the position of the ceiling fans to circulate heat. Check the insulation in attics, basements and other places.


Check for any loose or damaged shingles and replace. Make sure the gutters are clean, secure and the downspouts drain far away from the house. Check the chimney flashing and seal where needed. Check all vents and openings for debris.

Now you’re ready for winter. Bring on the snow!


Is Your Snowblower Ready For Winter?

As much as we don’t want to admit it, Winter is coming! If you’re like most people, you don’t give your snowblower a second thought until the snow starts to fall and by then, it could be too late. Make sure your snowblower is ready to go with these simple steps….


  • Pull it out of the garage and give it a test start BEFORE the first snowfall
  • Put fresh fuel in it and add a fuel stabilizer
  • Check tire pressure to make sure the snowblower is sitting level
  • Check the condition of your scraper bar and replace if necessary
  • Grease all fitting as per owners manual
  • Change the oil and replace the spark plugs

If your snowblower still will not start it could be caused by a number of things. Old gas, build up on the carburetor or improper storage procedures. If you do not feel comfortable attempting your own repairs, please contact a professional.