Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Importance of Sufficient Attic Insulation

Sufficient insulation in the attic minimizes the transfer of air between the attic and the living areas of a home. Warm air naturally moves into cooler zones, so this progression can negatively impact a house during both winter and summer without adequate protection in place.

Overview of Heat Transfer

Regardless of the season, warm air will always move warmer areas to cooler areas. In the winter, this means that warm air from living spaces will move into the attic, where it disappears. In the summer, the warm air in the attic will seep down into cooler living spaces. Both seasonal situations cause an HVAC system to run more to compensate for the heat transfer.

Lower Utility Costs

The United States Environmental Protection Agency estimates that homeowners can save about 15 percent on their heating and cooling costs by sealing homes and adding insulation to crawl spaces and attics. People living in northern areas will experience greater savings than those in the South because of climate factors, house construction styles, and the types of fuel used.

Maximizing Equipment

The average life expectancy of an HVAC system is between 15 and 20 years, but this time span could fall short for systems that need to run longer or more often due to insufficient protection. With tighter sealing and more layers in place, furnaces and air conditioners work less to maintain comfort. This translates into extended life for these systems, because they run for fewer hours and experience less wear and tear.

Environmental Impact

Running a furnace and air conditioner more often has a direct correlation on a home's overall carbon footprint because of the amount of greenhouse gases that enter into the air. Fiberglass insulation is an environmentally friendly choice because it can contain up to 60 percent of recycled content. Cellulose may contain up to 80 percent of recycled materials. Using recycled materials helps create space in landfills, and it reduces the amount of materials that enter the waste stream every year.

Construction standards have changed, especially since 1980. Anyone owning a home built before 1980 that has not been inspected for energy-efficiency is likely to have issues with insufficient weatherization. Installing additional insulation can have a positive impact.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Anyone living in a coastal area understands the importance of seasonal preparation in advance of the hurricane season. Having a generator is a matter of course for many homeowners and business owners in these locations to prevent power interruptions. An annual tune-up will ensure that equipment is functioning correctly and ready to use if needed.

An Overview of Generator Maintenance

Most generators sit in a garage or storage shed, unused for a large part of the year. Dust and dirt can settle on the unit, which may prevent it from running efficiently. To ensure that a generator will be ready to use, it's imperative to get it out, inspect it, and perform some basic maintenance.

Perform a full inspection of the generator, looking for any damaged or corroded parts, frayed wires, and loose components. Check the air filter to determine whether it needs changing. Excessive dirt and debris will require a fresh filter. Check the spark plug, and clean or replace it if necessary. Tighten or replace bolts to ensure that every component is tight.

Fill the tank with fresh gas. Adding a fuel stabilizer helps prevent any damage to the engine, which could result from using ethanol. It's also important to change the oil before the onset of the storm season.

Testing the Generator

Turning on the system when a storm hits may be too late. Instead, test the generator to ensure that it functions correctly before it's needed. With the generator running, utilize several small appliances in the home to make sure that the unit can handle the load. Allow the generator to run for about 15 minutes. Perform this test once each month during hurricane season.

Supplies to Have

When a storm hits and a generator must run to maintain power, specific supplies may be necessary. Homeowners should stock extra fuel, oil, oil filters, air filters, extension cords, and bolts. Having these supplies on hand enables extended use of the unit, as well as maintenance and repairs, if necessary.

As with any important home system, a generator requires ongoing maintenance to ensure that it functions properly when needed.