Year: 2017

Four Reasons to Have Your Fireplace Inspected

Is it time to have your fireplace cleaned and inspected? In general, the answer is yes.

To ensure proper operational efficiency and inspect for safety, fireplaces or inserts should be cleaned annually. Even though you may not see it, your fireplace is put under stress during each use – managing heat output, drafting exhaust up and out of the house, and more. An annual inspection helps keep your fireplace working properly and keeps your family safe.

During an inspection, a fireplace contractor will look for the following:

  • Buildup. Both gas and wood-burning fireplaces can have a buildup of debris. This can happen from ceramic logs that can deteriorate and clog vents, and from ash generated from a wood-burning fireplace.
  • Cracks. If the chimney exterior has a crack, moisture can enter the chimney. This can result in tiles inside the chimney falling off and breaking. Don’t assume that if you can’t see a crack, there isn’t moisture damage – the same happens as a chimney ages and mortar deteriorates.
  • Functional integrity. Over time, equipment in a gas fireplace ages and begins to wear out. This can affect how well and how safely your gas fireplace operates. Worn pieces have been known to cause injuries due to mechanical malfunction.
  • Ventilation. Making sure your chimney system is working properly and venting exhaust out of the home is critical. Carbon monoxide can back up into the home if the chimney isn’t properly ventilating. This can be a result of structural issues, cracks, animals that have nested or are nesting in the chimney and more.

It’s important to take your fireplace and chimney seriously to help ensure the safety of your home and family. Don’t wait until the last minute to have your fireplace inspected. Contact us right now to schedule your fireplace inspection.

Five Energy-Saving Projects for Fall

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.

Perform these upgrades and see your energy bills decrease! Ready go get started? We can help. Call today for a free insulation estimate.

What is Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality?

When we think of air quality, we most often think of outdoor air. Did you know that the air inside your home may have the biggest impact on your health? One estimate indicates the average person receives 72 percent of their chemical exposure at home (via The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency/USEPA).

Indoor air quality can be affected by many things – construction materials, materials used to manufacture furniture, cleaning products used in our homes, etc. If you would like to improve the air quality inside your home, here are some steps:

Change cleaning products – look for cleaning products, air fresheners, etc. that are made with natural ingredients or are low-emitting products.

Air seal your home – keeping out external pollutants helps maintain your home’s indoor environment. When external pollutants are kept out, your indoor air can be properly tested and maintained. Spray foam insulation effectively seals air leaks and insulates in one step.

Ventilation – After your home is air sealed, having a proper mechanical ventilation system will help remove indoor air pollutants.

Contact our office to learn about how spray foam insulation can help keep out external pollutants, help maintain your home’s indoor air quality, and help reduce your energy bills. We are happy to provide a free estimate.

Insulation or Windows? Where to Invest

When thinking of a home upgrade that will increase energy efficiency, homeowners typically consider two projects: insulation or windows.
There is a lot of confusion about which investment provides a better return on investment.

Building envelope

Your home’s envelope consists of the walls, floor and roof. When considering the total square footage of your home’s envelope, windows make up a very a small portion of it. By investing in upgrading the energy efficiency of a home’s attic and walls (more square footage), you’ll be maximizing energy efficiency across a greater portion of your home’s envelope and see a greater energy benefit.
Heat flow
Air inside a home naturally flows from ground to sky. A home loses 70% of energy through the attic and roof – far more than is lost through windows or doors. Upgrading attic insulation keeps the air you’ve paid to heat in your home. Adding air sealing further prevents conditioned air from seeping out around ducts, attics and more.
R-value
R-value is a measure of the amount of heat flow a certain product resists. The higher the R-value, the better it reduces heat flow. The R-value of windows can vary based on the number of panes, air space between panes, etc. Double pane windows have an R-value of 1.5 to 2. Upgrading insulation to current code would result in attic R-value of R-30 to R-38 in North Carolina. When you consider the difference in R-value and the natural heat flow in a home, it’s easy to see how a fresh blanket of insulation is a great investment.
Cost
When looking at bottom line, the choice is clear. According to Home Advisor the average cost to upgrade windows in the Charlotte area is $4,526. The same report shows the average cost to upgrade insulation in the Charlotte area is $1,124.
Ready to add insulation to your attic? Contact us to schedule your free estimate.

Why Air Seal

Building science is a new concept to some homeowners. Building science is the study of how buildings consume energy and taking a whole-house approach to energy savings. By looking at the home as one unit, a qualified contractor can make recommendations for overall energy improvements rather than targeting just one area of the home.

Building science research shows one powerful energy improvement that can benefit any home – air sealing. Air sealing is the process of sealing penetration points around the envelope (shell) of the home. Penetration points are a result of the construction process and can be found around vents, chimneys, windows, and more.

ENERGY STAR estimates that proper air sealing techniques and upgrading insulation can save a homeowner up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill). Air sealing has some additional benefits:

Reducing indoor allergens by helping to keep pollen and dust outside the home.
Helps create a more consistent indoor temperature, reducing hot or cold spots that result from air infiltration.
Reduce energy bills by keeping conditioned air inside the home, requiring heating and cooling systems to run less often.

If you are considering air sealing your home, spray foam insulation is the product to consider. With one application, spray foam insulation increases r-value and seals air leaks. This one application provides two benefits! Click here to learn more about spray foam insulation.

Have more questions or ready for a free estimate? Contact our office.

National World War I Museum and Memorial Project

Our company takes great pride in serving homeowners, builders, commercial contractors, and other customers. Every so often, we are called upon to handle interesting projects. The National World War I Museum and Memorial is one of those projects.

The Museum recently underwent renovations that included improvements to a lower level space used to house traveling exhibits. Since exhibits are delicate, climate and moisture control are of utmost importance. If the museum is unable to adequately maintain proper moisture levels, they would be suspended from accepting traveling exhibits.

Hayes Insulation was brought into the project to provide insulation and air sealing. Three members of our installer team worked for seven days to complete the work, all of which was performed after hours when the Museum was closed. Our work included installing two inches of Icynene closed cell spray foam over the walls and ceiling of the space as well as DC315 ignition barrier.

The job was a success and the general contractor was pleased with our work. Our installers and our entire team at Hayes Insulation were honored to work on this important project.

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How to Know if Your Attic Needs More Insulation

Even if your home is newer, your attic may be under insulated. Today’s building codes may be different than codes when your home was built. Your insulation may have settled. A hard wind entering your attic through your soffits may have compromised your insulation. These factors – and many others – can result in you spending more money on energy bills than is necessary.

If your attic has less than 12” of insulation, you may be wasting money on your energy bills. Today’s building codes require 12” of insulation (equivalent to R-38) to ensure your home is properly insulated.

Want to check your attic? Here’s how:

  • Open the access point to your attic. This may be found in the ceiling of a closet, a bedroom, or the garage.
  • If your home has two different rooflines (one section of the roof pitching one direction, one pitching another) be sure find the access point for each.
  • Place a ruler into the attic insulation with the one-inch mark at the bottom and make a note of insulation depth. With the required 12” of attic insulation, proper attic insulation depth should reach the top of a standard ruler.
  • Call us and tell us the results. We are happy to schedule a time to double check the depth and provide an estimate to upgrade your insulation.
  • Don’t forget – 12” is the minimum level! Building codes in our area say attic levels could be up to R-60, which is approximately 17” of insulation!

Adding insulation to your attic will increase comfort and reduce your energy bills. Have other questions about energy efficiency? Call us – we’re happy to help!

Why You Should Air Seal, and How Spray Foam Can Help

Air sealing is the process of reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of a home. It is an important step to reduce energy costs, reduce drafts and cold spots, help to keep out pests and allergens, and increase the overall air quality in your home.

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. For years, it was believed that air leaks created proper home ventilation. Today’s building science proves this isn’t the case. Uncontrolled air leaks can cause too much or too little air to enter or leave the home. Either situation can result in poor indoor air quality.

Although air sealing is a very important part of home energy efficiency, it doesn’t eliminate the need for proper insulation. Foam insulation is a perfect solution to both insulate and seal air leaks.

Foam insulation expands when applied and completely fills a cavity. The product is applied as a liquid and expands to 100 times its volume. This means that the product fills cracks and crevices in a cavity, and expands to seal these gaps. With one application, your home is insulated and air sealed!

Interested in learning more about spray foam and getting an estimate for your next project? Contact us today and learn more.

Tips to Save Energy This Summer

Are you looking forward to summer but are already sweating how much your energy bills will be? Don’t let the impact heat and humidity can have on your energy bills (and wallet) take the fun out of summer. Here are some tips to help save money on energy bills this summer and year ‘round.

  • Turn on Ceiling Fans. Keep your ceiling fans running to circulate conditioned air and keep the air moving. This will create comfort without putting extra strain on your HVAC system by circulating air that’s already cool and create a slight breeze.
  • Adjust your Thermostat. During the day, increase the temp on your thermostat and close window treatments. Keeping windows covered helps control indoor temps, and turning up the temp during the day prevents the air conditioner from running when people aren’t home. If your home doesn’t have a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your HVAC system, consider installing one.
  • Seal Leaks Around your Home. Air leaks exist in homes as a result of the construction process. Air leaks allow conditioned inside air to escape. You wouldn’t leave a window open when the air conditioning is running, would you? Not having your home air sealed has the same result. Having your home air sealed by a qualified contractor will help ensure the job is done right the first time.
  • Run Exhaust Fans. Run your bath fan and/or a kitchen fan. Running the bath fan will help remove warm, humid air after a shower or bath. Consider adding a timer to your bath fan to continually push warm air out of the house. Running your kitchen fan will also help remove warm air that results from cooking and has an added bonus of removing food odors from your home.
  • Add Insulation to your Attic. Most homes can benefit from additional insulation. Even if your home is newer, the insulation level in your attic may not meet current codes. Contact a qualified contractor to have insulation added to your attic. Increasing your attic insulation can save up to 30% on your energy bills!

Now is the time to make your home more energy efficient – before the heat and humidity of summer are here. Your wallet will thank you! Contact our office with questions about ways to make your home more efficient.

Another Exciting Project! Shari Flaming Center for the Arts at Tabor College

We love being selected to insulate unique projects in our community. Not only is it fun for our team and our installers, it’s one way we can contribute to the unique venues around our region.

Hayes Insulation recently completed work on the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts at Tabor College. The project called for a particular acoustical spray insulation that Hayes Insulation has worked with for years. K-13 acoustical spray insulation helps maximize interior sound and provides r-value.

The installation went well and the project is now complete. To learn more about the Shari Flaming Center for the Arts and the performing arts program at Tabor College, click here.