If you live in Arizona like we do, your air conditioner is already getting a workout this week. Here are a few tips to make sure that your HVAC is running as efficiently as possible in order to keep you cool and comfortable in the high temperatures:
However, if you think that your AC unit isn’t working like it should be, call Green ID at (602) 926-1650 today to schedule a $59 AC tune-up.
So you’ve heard about spray foam insulation, but you live in a block home. This makes you wonder, is it even possible to have spray foam in a cement block home? What about in an older home?
The answer is YES!
The ideal way to install spray foam insulation in a cement block home is during construction. This allows our professional installers direct access to the empty concrete block cells that will be filled with the spray foam product.
However, even after construction is finished, or during a remodel or retrofit of an older home, we can get foam insulation into a block wall by drilling a series of holes near the top of the wall and filling the wall one vertical cell at a time.
Working from the inside face (or the surface most likely to be covered with a finish), contractors drill 5/8-inch or 7/8-inch holes into the face of the blocks about 4 feet up from the floor to fit an injection tube running from a “mixer” that combines a non-toxic liquid resin, a foaming agent, and air.
Once the foam starts to seep through the injection holes (indicating a full cavity encompassing several blocks), the process is repeated along the length of the wall every 4 feet, and then again along the top of the wall about a foot short of its full height.
Here is how that works: as one cell fills up, the foam will start to exit from the hole in the adjoining cell, signaling the installer to move the hose to the next cell and seal the hole that was just filled. One vertical cell is filled at a time, until the entire block wall is full of foam insulation.
Another option would be to fur out an interior wall with wood or steel studs and spray the foam directly into place over the face of the block wall and in between the studs. Be advised, this option would imply added material costs in the form of studs, sheetrock, etc…and it would result in a slight – although measurable – loss of interior square footage.
These are only two examples of how spray foam insulation can be retro-fitted to existing concrete structures. Spray foam is a highly adaptable material, and it can be used on nearly any project.
Here at Green ID, we have the needed experience and expertise to assist you with all of your insulation needs!
If you have any questions or concerns about whether our spray foam products can be used at your home, call us at (602) 926-1650.
Leaky windows and doors don’t just make your home drafty – they also make your monthly energy bill higher. Many leaks are easy to detect, but ones that are out of sight can be sapping heating and cooling out of your house and dollars out of your wallet.
Conserving energy at home is a great idea for many reasons. It cuts down on energy costs, and because most of the energy that we use comes from fossil fuels, using less is beneficial for the environment, too. A professional energy audit from Green ID will identify a home’s vulnerabilities for only $99, and experts say that whether an audit makes financial sense depends on how energy savvy you are.
In many ways, saving energy can be pretty simple. You can find dozens of different ways to conserve –such as turning up your thermostat in the summer or switching to more efficient light bulbs. But, most homes are so inefficient that even after you’ve done all of the easy home improvements, there are still dozens of ways to save money and energy.
Unfortunately, the improvements that save you the most energy over time tend to be expensive. Before you spend hundreds – or even thousands – of dollars on home improvements, such as buying a new furnace, installing insulation, or putting in new windows, it’s nice to know how much energy they’ll actually save. Just as important, you’ll want to know how long these home energy upgrades will take to pay for themselves and start saving you money.
Homeowners can check for infiltrations around windows, doors, and electric outlets, and can buy kits from home improvement stores to fill those areas. However, some things cannot be seen without specialized tools.
It is important to remember that deficiencies are not only present in older homes. In
Solar screens are a good way to reduce heat and light during the summer. They can either be a roller shade or fixed panels installed on a window, patio, balcony, or porch.
Solar screens are made of polyester or fiberglass coated and finished with different materials, which makes them durable and stable. Screens come in many colors and can be matched nicely with the exterior color scheme of the house.
Solar screens are one of the most inexpensive, temporary solutions to protect from the sun, heat, and glare, and to get some privacy.
Advantages of solar shades
In order to make the most of solar screens in the home, it is important to use them in locations most suited to this type of window treatment. Any room that receives lots of sunlight, for example, will be a prime candidate for solar shades. Many homeowners choose to put shades on south-facing windows because these will receive the most morning light and the most sunshine throughout the course of the day. Solar screens also create privacy when used on bathroom windows, and they can help to grant privacy in large sitting or living rooms without sacrificing views of the outside. For completely unobstructed views, however, using shades may not always be the best choice. Solar screens can be used on almost any window type as well as on glass patio doors, French doors, or sliding doors.
Choosing an openness level for solar screens
One thing that many homeowners do not realize about solar screens is that they come in varying ranges of light filtering and privacy. Since these shades are made from a mesh, the size of the holes in the mesh will dictate what is called the openness factor, or amount of natural light let in. Typically, the range of openness factors starts at 1 percent and goes up to 12 percent. At 1 percent openness, a screen will look almost black from the interior. It grants complete privacy and does a fantastic job of keeping the home cool, but it is the most detrimental to the view. Moving up to 3 percent reduces the dark color of the solar screen, but still provides almost complete privacy and sun protection. Shades with a 5 percent openness are among the most popular as they still offer relatively clear views without direct sunlight, but 10 percent is also a popular choice. Homeowners looking to buy their solar screens from a retail company rather than a custom-designer might find that most shades are available in 5 or 10 percent openness.
Factors that can increase the cost of a solar screen
There are a variety of factors that can increase or decrease the cost of solar screens. Size is the biggest influence on price, and large shades designed for doors will be much more expensive than the standard sized shades made for most windows. For the most part, the openness factor of screens does not factor into the price. The most expensive solar shades will be those that are custom-made to fit a particular window or door. These shades will have to be measured in advance and then manufactured by hand, which drives the price up substantially.
What homeowners should know about installation
With some DIY experience and the right tools, many homeowners can install their own solar screens. However, leaving it to the professionals ensures a sleeker fit and better insulation. One thing to think about before installing or even purchasing shades is whether the will be mounted inside of the recess of the window or above the frame itself. Whenever possible, installing shades inside of the window recess is a good idea that looks fantastic and blocks out the most sunlight.
For more information about solar screens, or to get started with installing them, call Green ID at (602) 926-1650 today!
Insulation can have a powerful impact on many aspects of your home and even though it plays a vital role in a home’s comfort it is often not placed correctly or up to expectations within a home. Things like insulation thickness and placement are often not up to Energy Star’s requirements of R-38. Making sure that insulation is up to standard increases your comfort and decreases your monthly expenses!
In Arizona especially, it’s very important to have insulation that is properly installed. Proper insulation can assure you that both your warm and conditioned air is staying inside the home and not seeping through the walls. Because having a home properly insulated means that the home is better able to hold hot or cold air inside the rooms it means that you won’t need to as much energy to maintain a comfortable and stable temperature. Decreasing your energy consumption in this way is an easy way to decrease your carbon footprint and your monthly bills! A properly insulated home also cuts down on the amounts of allergens and pollutants that would otherwise be able to come from outside of your home.
Insulation gives you the opportunity to maximize your energy usage, payments on monthly bills, and comfort within your home. It is often a fairly simple task to correct the existing insulation that’s already there whether that means adding to the thickness, replacing it, or adding to bald spots. Make sure your insulations doing the most it can for your home.
Making green upgrades to your home can majorly increase your comfort. Unfortunately, comfort and quick paybacks don’t always go hand in hand. Upgrades like window replacements, garage insulation and increasing insulation levels to assure they’re up to the R-38 standard, are all upgrades where the most cost effective solution may not align with your lifestyle conditions. For example, replacing single pane windows in good condition is not cost-effective but the price paid for one south or west-facing window may be well worth the cost if it cools down a hot office or reduces traffic noise at night. It’s clear that in some situations the lifestyle conditions may outweigh the cost or payback of upgrades.
Insulation changes are another popular upgrade that homeowners choose to make. Adding insulation can often times give homeowners greater temperature control in their home but not every home is the same in terms of insulation. If a home has already met a R-38 Energy Star standard adding more may still save you money on utilities but only by a small margin opposed to adding insulation to an aged home where the insulation has sank. In the later example the upgrade would most likely save the home owners much more on their utility bills. Often the more important issue is finding out how the insulation installed. A 5% defect in the installation will cut the R-value (its effectiveness) by 50%.
All considerations for upgrades can be discussed with an energy auditor who will give you their professional and unbiased opinion of the most cost effective upgrades you can be making in your home. It’s important to get a professional opinion when making investments that could save you money and increase your comfort.
Call it the Achilles heel of the HVAC industry, but AC contractors have all but ignored home performance even though it has huge impacts on the effectiveness of new and existing AC units. Air conditioning contractors are getting pushed out of their comfort zone with home performance. Now, not all AC contractors ignore the elephant in the room, but many small and large AC companies do. How do we know this? When you perform over 2000 home energy audits, you get to see all sorts of situations and get to fix all kinds of messes left over by HVAC contractors. Some homeowners have trusted AC contractors who are highly recommended and put on a well deserved pedestal but talk to them about home performance, the HVAC poster child can turn into the jealous step sister Drazella and can end up making themselves look like fools. We have seen countless homes that have had "energy audits" done by HVAC contractors and who were supposed to have done home performance work including duct sealing, air barrier sealing, air sealing and insulation realignment. I was shocked to discover duct board put in the wrong location to create a thermal boundary in the attic and the AC contractor charged the customer for this! Their home performance work was done all wrong.
What Practices Does Your Company Follow During My Installation?
For $99, you can add an energy audit to the inspection of your possible new home or to the home that you’re selling. Whether you’re buying or selling, having an energy audit done on the home can save buyers thousands of dollars in future operating costs or identify just how efficient the home is. Energy audits do this by pinpointing features of the house that need corrections that would improve the energy efficiency of the home. By finding these features, it can let you know that the home is either and energy guzzler or a sustainable home.
Energy audits have been around for quite some time now but they are still not utilized in the real estate field. According to HERS, almost all energy audits are done on new homes instead of existing/resold homes. This is unfortunate because knowing the energy status of a home can affect the overall pricing of the home. After having an audit completed many buyers say: lower the price, fix the problems or I’m not buying. But as a seller, showing that you have an efficient home can be a selling point.
So, in a world where energy efficiency is a growing concern, where energy costs are high on the list of ongoing expenses, and where energy upgrades pay for themselves in bill savings, why aren’t more energy audits performed on houses being sold? Neither buyers nor sellers ask! Sellers want to avoid giving purchasers a reason to make lower offers or demand repairs before closing and buyers may simply not know that there’s another option. It isn’t recommended to most buyers.
On the contrary to what most think though, having an energy audit done on the home, or making energy upgrades to the home, can help sell houses. If a home is proven to be more energy efficient it’s more desirable and if it isn’t, buyers feel comfortable in knowing what exactly they’re going to get.
Green ID is one of the top energy auditors in Arizona. We offer competent, experienced, certified auditors and a comprehensive report once the audit is completed. You can find Green ID at YourGreenID.com or by contacting us at (602) 926-1650.
Some People Call Them Canned lights, Recessed Lights, or Pot Lights... We Should be Calling Them a Waste of Energy!
Choosing a Smaller Home Builder to Build Your Energy Efficient Home in AZ Can Come with the Good and the Bad
The advantages of going with a smaller, custom home builder in Arizona are:
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