Wednesday, November 15, 2017

What You Need To Know About Insulation

Is too much cold air finding its way into your house in the winter? Are you wondering if your home needs better insulation? Want to know if there is anything you can do to lower your energy costs?

Quality insulation is a key factor to having a living space that’s easily maintained at a comfortable temperature. Lacking insulation can lead to soaring utility bills, uneven temperatures throughout the house, overworked A/C units and furnaces, and poor temperature control generally. As important as insulation is, you’ll often find houses are inadequately insulated, especially if they were built in the 1980s or earlier. 

What do you need to know about insulation to make sure your home is protected and efficient? 

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As experts in heating Ann Arbor homes, we’ve put together a list of tips and facts about insulation to help make you more comfortable at home:

  1. Insulation can be made from fiber glass, rock wool, rigid foam boards, or cellulose. 
  2. Depending on where it’s applied, insulation can be installed in batts, rolls, and sheets, as a spray, or as foam boards. 
  3. Insulation quality is measured in R-values, which take into account material and thickness of the insulation product. 
  4. Recommendations for R-values are made by the U.S. Department of Energy and differ across the country. 
  5. Not only does insulation prevent air leaking in and out of your house, it also helps keep your home quieter. 
  6. You can easily increase the insulation of your house by adding rolls to the floor of your unfinished attic.
  7. Adding insulation to finished walls can be expensive, but should be considered if your home is often uncomfortable, unevenly heated or cooled, or sees very high utility bills. 
  8. Crawl-spaces can sometimes be insulated, but don’t need to be if the floor above is already insulated. 
  9. If your home is drafty, check for air leaks around windows, doors, light fixtures, outlets and switches, utility penetrations, ducts, and etc. 
  10. You can also apply insulation to your hot water pipes to avoid heat loss and potentially increase water temperature 2-4 degrees F at the tap. 

Insulation may live mostly in the dark inside the walls of your home, but it doesn’t have to be mysterious! With this helpful guide, you may now feel more confident about the insulation in your home, or know how to tackle a problem if you have one. 

If you want to know more about insulation or heating your Ann Arbor home, give us a call. We are ready to help with any heating and cooling projects you have in your home. 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

How Cold Weather Threatens Your Water Heater

Wondering how much colder weather takes a toll on your water heater? Curious about how much harder your water heater works in frigid temperatures? Not sure your water heater will last another winter?

We rely on our water heaters nearly every day we’re in our homes. From dishes, to laundry, to showers, we expect reliable hot water regardless of the temperatures outdoors. As the red in thermometer disappears, you might not think your demand on the water heater increases much, but truthfully, colder weather puts a significant strain on your water heater.

Check out the top cold weather threats to your water heater:
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1. Colder Water Incoming

No matter the temperature outside, your water heater will continue to heat water to its set point. The difference is, during the winter, incoming water is colder and will require the heater to work longer to bring to temperature. This is an added strain on the heater that goes on all winter long.

2. Using Water for Warmth

Have you ever taken a really long, really hot shower in the winter to warm up? Or held your hands under the hot, running water even after all the soap was rinsed away just to thaw them out? These are things we all do once in a while as the days grow chillier, and they put an extra strain on the water heater which can really add up. 

3. Too Cold To Go Out

We tend to stay in more in the winter months, which can cause a strain in more than one area, but also on your water heater. Staying in means you’ll probably be washing more dishes under hot water, washing hands more often, maybe taking more showers, baths, and other activities all adding demand on your water heater. 

4. More Layers, More Laundry

You wear more clothing in the winter than you do in summer. That means you wash more, too. If you’re washing clothes in hot or warm water, you’re putting more pressure on the water heater. 

All the added usage multiplies across the weeks and months of cold weather and can take its toll on your water heater. Tank water heaters will see a greater increase in sediment with this added usage which can create problems and shorten its lifespan. If your water heater is older, the hard work of the winter might be enough to finish it off. 

If you’re worried about your water heater this winter, call the experts in heating Ann Arbor homes to assess your appliance and provide an estimate for its remaining life. We can also help make sure your water heater and furnace are running efficiently or assist you in any other heating needs in your home. Give us a call today!