Archive for the ‘energy saving ideas’ Category

Insulation and Home Renovations

Monday, April 14th, 2014

When it comes to enhancing the value and comfort of a home, most homeowners will chose to address the cosmetic features of a home when completing a renovation project. Yet, it’s often the things that homeowners don’t consider that can have the biggest impact on the value of a home.

Across the country, the cost of heating and cooling a home has sharply increased. The price of gas, oil and electricity has driven up the cost of living for many homeowners. With this in mind, more homeowners are seeking budget-friendly solutions that provide not only consistent performance over the long-term, but also help keep costs down. 

Before beginning a home improvement project, homeowners should consider the whole building envelope rather than just the cosmetic features such as chrome fixtures or granite countertops. High-efficiency windows are an excellent investment for any home to help drive down excessive energy waste and high utility costs. The U.S. Department of Energy suggests that traditional windows contribute as much as 10 percent of the total air escaping from a typical home, while improperly sealed doors can contribute 11 percent. 

Investing in an effective insulation solution also can make a significant impact on reducing utility costs. Building experts suggest that homeowners completing a home improvement project should be as involved as possible in determining the best insulation type for their home. This means that homeowners should actively research the types of materials available and how well they perform over the long term. While building code requirements and standards were much less beefy in the past, recent amendments to the building code mandates that homes must meet certain criteria for insulation levels, heating management and carbon emissions. 

One insulation solution that can meet and exceed the newest building code requirements is spray foam insulation. As a modern insulation solution, the benefits of spray foam insulation can have a significant and positive impact on a home. Available in a variety of densities, spray foam insulation combats against air leakage, moisture absorption, weather seal, and works well in all types of homes across the country, regardless of climate. More information on the effectiveness of spray foam insulation is available online at

Traditional insulation materials are overly permeable allowing moisture and fluctuations in temperature to pass through the home’s envelope easily. Yet, spray foam insulation both air seals and insulates to keep allergens and irritants at bay and eliminates air leakage to keep the conditioned air inside without the HVAC system working overtime to compensate.

Spray foam insulation performs for the life of the property, ensuring that homeowners can enjoy comfortable indoor temperatures year-round without overrunning their heating and cooling equipment. Insulation experts from Icynene note that quality spray foam insulation can noticeably reduce heating and cooling costs, in some cases by as much as to 50 percent.

For help reviewing your insulation systems alternatives or any questions please call us at 609-654-2329 or email at

Heat & Cool Efficiently

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

As much as half of the energy used in your home goes to heating and cooling. So making smart decisions about your home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) system can have a big effect on your utility bills — and your comfort. Take these steps to increase the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. For more information, see the Guide to Energy Efficient Heating & Cooling PDF (708KB).

Change your air filter regularly

Check your filter every month, especially during heavy use months (winter and summer). If the filter looks dirty after a month, change it. At a minimum, change the filter every 3 months. A dirty filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool — wasting energy. A clean filter will also prevent dust and dirt from building up in the system — leading to expensive maintenance and/or early system failure.

Tune up your HVAC equipment yearly

Just as a tune-up for your car can improve your gas mileage, a yearly tune-up of your heating and cooling system can improve efficiency and comfort. Learn more:

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat is ideal for people who are away from home during set periods of time throughout the week. Through proper use of pre-programmed settings, a programmable thermostat can save you about $180 every year in energy costs.

Seal your heating and cooling ducts

Ducts that move air to-and-from a forced air furnace, central air conditioner, or heat pump are often big energy wasters. Sealing and insulating ducts can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20 percent — and sometimes much more.

Focus first on sealing ducts that run through the attic, crawlspace, unheated basement, or garage. Use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed (foil) tape to seal the seams and connections of ducts. After sealing the ducts in those spaces, wrap them in insulation to keep them from getting hot in the summer or cold in the winter. Next, look to seal any other ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled part of the house.  See the Duct Sealing brochure PDF (1.13MB) for more information. 

Consider installing ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment

If your HVAC equipment is more than 10 years old or not keeping your house comfortable, have it evaluated by a professional HVAC contractor. If it is not performing efficiently or needs upgrading, consider replacing it with a unit that has earned the ENERGY STAR. Depending on where you live, replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with ENERGY STAR qualified equipment can cut your annual energy bill by nearly $200. But before you invest in a new HVAC system, make sure that you have addressed the big air leaks in your house and the duct system. Sometimes, these are the real sources of problems rather than your HVAC equipment.

Ask about Proper Installation of your new equipment

Replacing your old heating and cooling equipment with new, energy-efficient models is a great start. But to make sure that you get the best performance, the new equipment must be properly installed. In fact, improper installation can reduce system efficiency by up to 30 percent  costing you more on your utility bills and possibly shortening the equipment’s life. Learn more.

For help doing your heating/cooling system assessment or any questions please call us at (609) 654-2329 or email at

Energy Saving Tips for Winter

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Rising fuel costs mean higher energy bills. As everyone knows, the cost of fuel has gone up significantly over the past few years and dramatically over the past few months.

Now is a good time to consider energy-efficient improvements to reduce your overall energy use and save you money this winter.

ADD WEATHER-STRIPPING:  You can save money by keeping the warm air inside with weather stripping. To check seals, light an incense stick and move it around the edge of your doors and windows. If the smoke moves horizontally, there is an air leak.

INSULATE ATTICS, WALLS AND FLOORS:  According to the Department of Energy, you can reduce your heating needs by as much as 30 percent by adding just a few hundred dollars worth of new insulation. The extra cushion between your interior space and the outdoors pays for itself over time. Although the tendency may be to just focus on the attic, don’t forget other key places such as crawl spaces, ceilings, basement walls, and around recessed lighting fixtures (just make sure those fixtures are designed for direct insulation contact).

THINK LANDSCAPING:  In the winter, cold, blustery winds can reduce the temperature inside your home by as much as 20 percent. Plant deciduous trees (ones that lose their leaves in the winter) on the south side of the house to allow the sun to heat the south side. Plant evergreen trees or large shrubs (ones that don’t lose their leaves in the winter) on the north side of the house to block the winter winds.

INVEST IN A CEILING FAN:  Ceiling fans are a cost saving way to reduce energy use since they use 98% less energy than most central air conditioners. Since the fans will provide extra air circulation, the air handling unit will come on less frequently saving you money. Hot air rises so running the ceiling fan with the air blowing down is an effective way to reduce heat stratification in the winter.

For assistance in implementing these energy saving ideas, contact us at: or 609-654-2329.