This is how the new law will affect you. Congress and the Department of Energy have decided they do not want any 80 percent furnaces installed after May 1, 2013. If you have a 80% now and you do nothing besides routine yearly maintenance, then you should be fine. If you are paying for service calls more than once a year, you may want to replaced. You can still replace it with a 80 until May 2013. The ones that are hoping to get one more year out of it will be the main ones affected.
The differences in the systems is dramatic, the 90 percent-plus systems will save you money on your electric and gas bills, so they definitely are a benefit to you, however the installation will cost more, due to retrofitting, depending on the water heater. If you have a finished basement this could be costly to get the pipes to the outside.
How do you tell if you have a 80% furnace?
Do you have pvc pipes coming through a wall to the outside, then this is a 90%.
You have a metal pipe coming through your roof, then this a 80%.
If you would like us to evaluate your furnace and give you a idea of the savings please give us a call 815-756-9779.
Have you heard of the term LowE? This is a film that is installed on the surface of one of the panes of glass. It gives that appearance of a very slight tint, compared to clear glass. This film helps keep the warm air inside in the winter, and will also let some heat transmitted from the sun. In the summer time with the higher angle of the sun, it’s heat is not generated through as much.
Typical windows, no matter if wood or vinyl will have two panes of glass. In between the panes, usually ½” to as much as 1” will be filled with an argon gas. Window frames also have improved with technology. There are spacers that create a thermal break. Frames can account for a large portion of energy loss. Wood, vinyl and fiberglass are all options for frames. In vinyl windows, hollow chambers are created to help the transfer through the jamb.
Did you know that you can refinish fixtures in your bathroom (tub, toilet, sink, or countertop)? Maybe you accidently chipped your toilet, or if there is nothing wrong with your fixtures besides the cosmetic look, it can be a very efficient way to save, time and money, let alone the inconvience of replacing or with being without one of them for a couple of days.
You can finish them in about any color you please. If are replaceing some of your fixtures, but not all of them, the colors can be matched to your new fixtures. Just about any material can be refinished, cast iron, fiberglass, or acrylic.
Air sealing is one of the most significant energy efficiency improvements you can make to your home. Air sealing will not just reduce energy costs; it will also improve your home's comfort and durability. Any air sealing efforts will complement your insulation efforts, and vice versa. Proper moisture control and ventilation strategies will improve the effectiveness of air sealing and insulation, and vice versa.
Air leakage, or infiltration, occurs when outside air enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. It can also let the warm air out of your house. I am geeky when it comes to this. I am always scanning roofs when there is a heavy frost.
Properly air sealing such cracks and openings in your home can significantly reduce heating and cooling costs, improve building durability, and create a healthier indoor environment.
It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation because it can't be controlled. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it's warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter. Air infiltration also can contribute to problems with moisture control. Moldy and dusty air can enter a leaky house through such areas as attics or foundations. This air in the house could cause health problems
Where do you get your ideas for freshening up your home? Magazines are a great source, but lets face it, with all the pictures on the internet, it is hard not to get caught up in imagining what you could do to your home.
Two great sites for looking for home decorating or design ideas are Pinterest and Houzz.
Pinterest, I believe this is the 3rd largest social network, this site has just about anything that you need from recipies to art projects for kids, to how to plan....,to home design. For this we will stay with the home design and decoration. You can simply enter your keywords into the search box and flip through the pictures. You can "pin" pictures your own pictures or from other sites, or you can "repin" other "pinners" pictures or videos. You can sort your "pins" into different catagories that you create, such as bathroom design, kitchen decorations, creative deck ideas....
Houzz is a site that design professionals share and show off their work. Start by entering your search terms. Start very specific to become overwhelmed with all the ideas, and go out from there. Each professional will use "idea books". Also, depending on your market you can search for architects, designers, and remodelers, and see their portfolio ahead of
time. In our rural area, I believe we are the only remodeling company in DeKalb, IL listed. You will definatly find a very broad array of pictures.
Do you use either one of these? If so what do you like best?
It is that time of year when the leaves start falling and we get the fall rains. Depending on the trees in surrounding your home,in some cases the trees could even be your neighbors, this could cause your gutters to become full of debris. This causes gutters to overflow, leak at the seams, and could cause damage if left through the winter and freeze.
Gutter protection comes in all shapes and sizes it seems. Which is best? I am not sure there is a best, however some have benefits over others.
"Get the ladder out and clean". this is the kind where you spend part of a Saturday cleaning out the gutter, getting all the debris out.
"Plastic Drop in" from the big box store.These can be installed by homeowners, however these will usually have the shortest life span. Stay away from the plastic types as these will crack and crumble. Also they do not have a great seal against the gutter, they will usually slide under the shingles. These can be removed if needed to get access to the gutters are are shingling.
"Insert" Some are a material made to set on the inside of the gutter to fill the space so debris cannot get in, but letting the water through. These can be a foam or brush like material. We do not have any experience with this, so we cannot comment on the performance of this.
"Metal Drop in" These come in different types and if you are installing them on your existing gutters will have a flap to seal the back. If you are installing them while installing new gutters they can be fastened to the back of the gutter. These also can be removed for easy access. In my opinion these are the best value for the dollar.
"Gutter Cap" These are rolled on sight with the gutter. You've seen these advertised where the water rolls of the front. These will do a great job of keeping debris out, however there is not access to the gutter if needed to remove or if it is damaged by a limb. These are typically the most expensive.
Whichever type you choose, make sure to check the warranty and always be careful if you are installing them yourself!
There are alternative ways to get hot water or to heat your home. Although the initial investment may give you a little sticker shock, there are incentives that are available through your state and the federal goverment.
How does solar hot water heat work?
- Panels, usually on a roof trap the heat.
- There are tubes with water that are then warmed and taken to a holding tank.
- The water will sit in the tank until it is needed, and passes through your existing hot water heater for a warm up if it is needed.
- This will help extend the life of your existing hot water heater since you are not using it as often.
- Can cost around $7,500 to install.
How can you heat your house with solar water?
- Two ways, either by radiant floor heat or passing through a furnace fan.
- The radiant floor heat basically the same way as the hot water heater, except it runs through hoses in the floor. With this system, it will be instant heat, or when it gets too hot, it takes a while to cool.
- With the fan system, it can be used to warm the rooms quickly.
Are you thinking of under cabinet lights in your kitchen? There are basicly 4 types of under cabinet lights. Each are at different price levels, and also have different functions. Most are able to be dimmed. LED are the new kid on the block, and are adding new styles.
Fluorescent under cabinet Lighting
- The least expensive
- The have a even light
- They are supposed to have a long life span
- Most cannot be dimmed
- Have similar light to halogen, however they are not as warm
- The bulbs are able to be dimmed
- They usually will have a remote transformer
- Very bright light
- They can be wired to a dimmer.
- They are warm, they can melt some items such as chocolate in the cabinet
- The bulbs have a short life span compared to others
LED under cabinet lighting
- These are the most energy efficient
- The are very long lasting bulbs
- You can have options for warm or cool light
- These are the most expensive, although consider no need for bulb changing and energy use.
Typically September, homeowners start thinking about getting their house ready for the holiday entertaining. Sometimes this can be too late, or cause a rush. Most remodelers will have a back log and will need time to work with you on the details of your project.
Planning with a remodeling contractor can take between 2-4 weeks depending on the project. If it is a basic bathroom fixture update, or kitchen update it would be the shorter time frame. The time frame for this could be as quick as a week to get completed.
A major remodel such as a total kitchen remodel with new cabinets, flooring, and counters can take 4 or more weeks for planning alone. Time frame for the project can take 6 weeks. Granite, quartz, or solid surface counters will have to be templated after the cabinets are in, so this takes a week or so.
Also, in the Northern climates the cooler fall air reminds us that maybe the windows should be replaced. Remember that it could take up to 3 weeks to get windows from when they are ordered, plus the time to have your contractor install them.
Some contractors will also have a special or discount in January, since this is typically a slower month, and also you will not have to worry about all the stress of planning your holidays and your project!
Who would have thought there would be choices to make when choosing what screen to use in your porch or room?
Standard Fiberglass Window Screen is a flexible, economical and easy to install screening. Fiberglass screen does not crease, dent, or unravel. The most commonly used window and door screening for new construction and replacement window screens. Charcoal color is the most popular as it has the best outward visibility.
Aluminum Wire Window Screen is a strong and durable insect screening that resists rust and will not sag. A protective finish prevents corrosion and strengthens the weave. Charcoal and Black aluminum screen finish reduce glare for greater outward visibility.
Copper Bronze Window Screen is Comprised of 90% copper and 10” zinc. Premier window screening offering superior strength and durability in a bright gold finish that will oxidize to a patina that protects the copper screening from corrosion.
Pet Screen is perfect for rescreening that door or window that the dog or cat keeps tearing up. Ultra strong screening resists tears and damage by dogs and cats yet still offers superb outward visibility.
One other thing to keep in mind or to ask your contractor is the spline size. You will need to know this if you are rescreening framed windows or doors, not if it is attached directly to the framing and covered with a trim board. There are 3 standard sizes .115, 120, and .125.