Author: admin

Suffering from Allergies? Did you know…

Do you or someone you love suffer from asthma or asthma-related attacks?

It’s estimated that 26 million Americans are affected by asthma or asthma-related conditions. It’s proven that these attacks have a direct link to air quality — and air sealing your home can help.

In the lungs of asthma sufferers, swollen airways become extra sensitive when the individual is exposed to asthma triggers such as pollen, smoke, pet dander, dust, mold, chemicals in the air and more. To make things worse, an American Lung Association study indicated too many people in the United States live in areas where the air is unhealthy for them to breathe.

Sealing a home’s air leaks can help improve indoor air quality by lowering the number of asthma triggers that can enter the inside of a home or building.

Spray foam insulation is a great option to both insulate and seal air leaks in one step. In fact, one of the key benefits of spray foam is improved indoor air quality. The material provides an exceptional air seal, works as a thermal barrier (insulator) and helps control moisture issues. This improved air-tightness provides better control of indoor humidity, which reduces mold inside the home. It also dramatically reduces the number of pollutants that can enter the home (pollen, dust, etc.) and allows a home to have proper mechanical ventilation to filter the air and keep the interior air clean.

By reducing these asthma triggers, anyone affected by asthma or other breathing issues will benefit.

Interested in learning more about air sealing and the benefits to you and your family? Contact us for a quote today.

Five Tips When Choosing a Shower Door

Whether you are remodeling your bathroom or it’s simply due for maintenance, choosing a shower door can feel like a complicated and tedious task. A shower door is designed to contain water and steam and also is a significant component of bathroom design. Choosing a shower door is often the final piece of a bathroom design or remodel – and it’s a big decision! Here are five things to consider when choosing a shower door:

  1. Function
    Think about how your shower door will function. Is the door for a stand-alone shower or for a bath/shower combination? Is your shower designed to include steam? Where is your shower or tub located in the bathroom? What types of studs are available to support the shower? These questions can impact the weight of the glass, type of frame and more.
  2. Space
    The layout of your shower or shower/tub unit can determine the type of shower door. How much space is available inside the shower or shower/tub unit? Choosing the right door for the shower can maximize the feeling inside the shower. How much space is available outside the shower? The layout of your bathroom can impact type of door (sliding, pivot, etc).
  3. Care and Maintenance
    Different shower door materials require different levels of maintenance and care.  For example, sealed glass doors help keep moisture in the shower and also require more cleaning than other types of shower doors. Find the balance that’s right for your lifestyle and meets your needs.
  4. Style
    This is the fun part! There are endless options for shower door glass, doorframe, hardware and more. When choosing shower door glass, consider how much light is needed inside the shower and the amount of privacy desired. This can help determine whether clear glass door or a translucent finish is best.
  5. Budget
    Project cost can help make the final decision about the type of shower door for your bathroom. If you have a budget in mind before considering design, that should be one of your first considerations. Either way, be sure to choose a shower door company that provides free estimates. With so many shower door options, you can have the shower door you want at a cost that works in your budget

Are you looking for a shower door to complete your bathroom remodel or simply replace your outdated one? Contact our office to discuss your project and schedule your free estimate!

Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes

It’s no secret our area of the country has been faced with cold temps! We’ve been receiving an influx of calls from homeowners and builders dealing with frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are inconvenient and can cause significant damage. When the temperature of a water pipe drops below freezing, water in the pipe can expand up to 10% in volume. This creates additional pressure on water pipes and valves, causing pipes to burst.

It’s important to keep pipes from being exposed to cold temperatures. Here are some ways to protect pipes during extreme cold:

  • Add insulation to walls that affect water pipes. This can include adding dense packed fiberglass, injection foam or spray foam insulation to exterior walls.
  • Cover exposed pipes in crawl spaces or attics. Applying foam insulation can protect water pipes from cold temperatures, and its water resistant properties make it ideal for use on water pipes.
  • Seal gaps around basement rim joists or seal your crawl space. This will help keep cold air away from pipes. This also will help the main floor of your home feel more comfortable.

If your home has frozen water pipes or you want to prevent future damage, contact our office to schedule your free estimate. Our team will review your home and make recommendations for ways you can help reduce the risk of your pipes freezing.

What You Need to Know About Attic Insulation

When it comes to home insulation, the first area that comes to mind is the attic. Building airflow moves from ground to sky, naturally pulling conditioned indoor air up and out of a structure. Proper attic insulation helps keep conditioned air inside your home and helps keeps your home comfortable. Keeping conditioned air inside your home can also reduce wear and tear on your heating system and help keep energy bills in line.

There are three common methods used to insulate attics – blown-in fiberglass, blown-in fiberglass with air sealing, and spray foam insulation. Here’s what you need to know about each:

Blown-in Fiberglass

Insulating attics with blown-in fiberglass insulation is a quick and easy way to add R-value. This is a basic method of attic insulation and a cost-effective option to upgrade attics of existing homes or insulate attics in new homes.

Blown-in Fiberglass with Air Sealing

Combining blown-in fiberglass insulation with air sealing dramatically increases a home’s energy efficiency. This method helps keep conditioned air inside the home and adds R-value. In an existing home, attic insulation is removed and penetration points around the attic floor are sealed. After air sealing is complete, a fresh blanket of blown-in fiberglass insulation is installed. In a new home, penetration points around the attic floor are sealed before blown-in insulation is installed.

Spray Foam Insulation

Installing spray foam insulation in the attic of a new or existing home provides optimal energy protection. In an existing home, insulation is removed from the attic and spray foam is installed along the roofline. In a new home, spray foam insulation is installed along the roofline as part of the construction process.

Proper attic insulation combined with air sealing is one of the most cost-effective ways to save money on monthly energy bills. Wondering if your home could benefit from additional attic insulation? Ready to discuss insulation for your new home project? Contact our office today! 

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.

Looking to Save Money on Energy Bills? Check Your Basement

For most homes, basement rim joists and box sills are a major source of energy loss. These areas are located around the perimeter of the basement ceiling, where the walls of the home meet the foundation.

This is one of the thinnest points in a home’s exterior, which allows outside air to easily leak into the basement. This area is also a convenient way for pests to enter a home. Spiders, bugs and other creatures can easily find their way from the ground outside your home into your home through penetration points left behind around HVAC, electrical and plumbing access points around the basement ceiling.

Spray foam is an ideal product to both insulate and air seal the rim joists and box sills. Spray foam insulation is a two-in-one product that both seals air leaks and insulates – and it goes beyond what a homeowner can do on their own.

Insulating and air sealing your rim joists and box sills will make your basement (and entire home) more comfortable, help keep out pests and help reduce your energy bills. Contact us to schedule your free estimate!

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.