Monday, May 8, 2017

Beat the Arizona Heat

Whether you have survived decades of summers in Arizona, or you are preparing for your first, there are a few tips to staying cool.  It is always a good idea to spend time in water, maybe a river, a lake, or your backyard pool.  Planning a few weekend getaways to anywhere else less hot can significantly increase your sanity through the summer months. 

Although these ideas should be implemented by every family, there are more crucial components of a successful summer survival plan.  Obviously, you cannot chill in water the entire summer because you may have to go to work or the grocery store.  But you might be thinking that both the grocery store and your workplace have great A/C, and you would be right. Almost any public place ensures their units are operating well to combat the extreme temperatures of the outside.

Then you go home to continue the battle with the heat. Now for some homeowners it is an easy response to crank up the A/C and pay the bill. For more cost-conscious people, the solution to beat the heat is not as simple though. During the summer, cooling costs can change exponentially with each degree difference.

So, the cost to cool your house to 78 degrees Fahrenheit versus 80 degrees Fahrenheit could be twice as much. You may be thinking that’s impossible, but with an inefficient house, that is a potential reality.  Although that may sound unhelpful, the good news is still to come.

If you insulate your house properly, and seal all of your ductwork, will ensuring you have quality doors and windows it is not too expensive to make your house comfortable. In fact, you could keep it at 78 degrees Fahrenheit for less money than you were spending for 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you don’t believe it, do some research yourself. There are plenty of sources out there that will explain how a house loses a certain percentage, usually between 15-30, of all energy because of heat loss/gain.  So if you would like to stay cool this summer, without spending a fortune, you should consider some energy efficient improvements for your home.

If you are interested in learning more about energy efficient improvements for your home give us a call. We would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Why Energy Efficiency Rebates?

Did you know about the Energy Star program in Arizona that will help homeowners pay for improvements to their house? Well you are about to know! APS and SRP have teamed up with Energy Star to provide a Home Performance program with significant refunds for a variety of energy efficient upgrades to your existing home.  Although the monthly savings of improving your home should already be a good enough reason to make your home more energy efficient, the program adds more of an incentive with rebates.

There is a wide variety of rebates for your home you may be eligible for and some that may apply to items already on your to-do list.  Upgrading your AC before the summer heat, or replacing your old pool pump are just two options the program promotes. Click here to see a complete list and to learn more about the program.

If you are still wondering to yourself if this is real or maybe you are asking why in the world would an energy company want you to spend less money on buying their product? Well that is a great question, a question that I use to ask before I was let in on the secret. 

So here it is, the reason energy companies in Arizona are giving away free money; they want more money. I guess it’s not a secret, but let me explain how it works.

The less a company spends the more they take home. And just like any business, APS and SRP have expenses every month. They may not have to “pay” to keep the lights on, but there are many other bills they must pay on a regular basis. This may sound obvious, but the largest expense is not a typical monthly item. Rather it is something they would rather put off for as long as possible: a new power plant.  A new plant will easily cost APS or SRP millions of dollars if not a billion dollars.

What that means if they can gain more customers without increasing the required energy load, they can make more money. If every homeowner in Arizona was 15% more energy efficient, APS could gain 180,000 customers, and SRP could gain 150,000 customers.

So, the rebates help the energy companies more than they help you, but don’t let that stop you from saving money.  Call us today to learn more about saving money with rebates today! We would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Fountain Hills Home – Spray Foam

When was the last time you went to a friend’s house for dinner and admired their premium insulation? Let me guess… never? Even as insulation contractors, we never look at insulation if we don’t have to.  So why would you want to spend extra cash on something that no one ever appreciates?  Well, have you ever had guests complain that your spare bedroom is hotter than the rest of the house? Or have you noticed that you’re A/C has a more difficult time keeping up than it used to? Or maybe your energy bill is a lot higher than your neighbors? 
House in Mesa

If you answered yes to any of these questions you should consider insulating your house with the best of the best.  Spray foam insulation can solve many problems and offer benefits that other products cannot.  It may not be granite counter tops, but homeowners are getting more excited about it.  Peter and Linda Volny are extremely pleased with the spray foam insulation installed in their Fountain Hills home!

Peter explains that most of their neighbors with traditional insulation have much higher electricity bills. He also loves the pest protection that spray foam insulation provides. Since the home was built he has only seen 3 scorpions in his home, compared to the several dozen a year that his neighbors suffer.  Although they love their home for many other reasons, Peter and Linda love the comfort that spray foam insulation provides every day. 
Spray Foam Insulation Install

So if you are interested in spray foam but have several questions, we are here to answer them. We would love to help you create more savings and better comfort in your home. 

Call us today for a free estimate. We would love the opportunity to earn your business!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spray Foam Proof

Spray Foam Insulation

In a society where everything is checked and monitored, it makes sense that you would ensure the effectiveness and safety of any product for your home. Appliances, tiles, fixtures, furniture, and every other aspect of a home take careful consideration.  It should be the same with building materials that go into the skeleton of your home.  The right type of wood and quality screws and nails may not sound like the most exciting choices in comparison to interior design, but the building envelope is just as important.

Often overlooked by homeowners, is how to insulate the home. After the drywall is hung, nobody notices the insulation so why does it matter? Well, In Arizona, it is especially important to pick the right insulation.  Since we have consistently hot summers and crazy monsoon storms, insulation is the major barrier between the weather outside and the comfort of your home.  Understanding that key fact should incite a closer look at what type of insulation.

Take the advice of architects from all over.  Spray foam is gaining recognition as the no-brainer choice for builders all over the world. China, Ireland, Scotland, Czech Republic, Canada, and more are starting to use spray foam more prominently because of its long lasting benefits.  We have many articles that lay out why spray foam is such a effective material to insulate buildings, but not this post.

Spray foam insulation cathedral Ireland

Many parts of the U.S. still have specific codes that make installing spray foam more difficult and more expensive.  Want to know some good news? Arizona has embraced the benefits of spray foam insulation and made it affordable to install, even in existing homes.  You don’t live in Arizona? I have good news for you too, we are still accepting applications for 2017.

So take advantage of the great product of spray foam insulation in your home today. Still unsure of the advantages? Check them out here!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Arizona Home Remodel

Whether you are a real estate investor or simply looking to upgrade your house, a return on investment (ROI) should be a constant calculation for each project. Even if you do not plan to sell your house any time soon, you should still plan as if you are so you can keep as much money as possible. And although everyone likes money, some of us our not very good with it.  So, if you are going to tear your house apart, you probably have a plan about putting it back together. And although we are not a remodeling contractor, half of our work is for remodels. Thus, we have seen where things have gone well and things have not. 

Usually problems occur when a project goes over budget and minimizes the potential profit causing stressful quick thinking.  To help you make the decisions a little quicker, as well as plan ahead a little better we have a list of home improvements that will give you the most bang for your buck!

Although we want you to notice the entry about insulation, the entire list is helpful for other home improvement projects. We are avid remodel fans, because it takes something old and makes it beautiful again. We also understand that insulation lacks flare, like a newly surfaced kitchen boasts, but it is still a great improvement to make.

Upgrading your insulation means saving money long-term, because of energy efficiency. It also makes your home more comfortable, which is the goal of most projects. Your house will also be one step closer to selling, since insulation is a point on the home inspection list.

Regardless of your decision to insulate or not, you should always remember to look at the cost-value relationship of any home improvement especially when planning a large remodel.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss insulation for your next remodel, give us a call. We would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Air Barrier – Dusty Arizona

Wild West Old Saloon

Old time wild west movies are often portrayed in our beautiful desert state. Tumbleweeds and cacti usually set the scene for a cowboy to walk into a dusty old saloon.  Although a John Wayne film would not be complete without the saloon, I would suggest the dust plays an almost equal role in telling the story. In fact, Arizona can still provide that dusty old time feel.  Unfortunately, we do not always want our homes looking or feeling like a wild west movie.  We would prefer a clean house where we can watch a movie with a dust-filled saloon.

Most home owners do not consider dust when they or buying or designing a house, but we do.  Although it may sound weird that an insulation company is cognizant of making your house cleaner it is one thing we enjoy about our job. Saving money and the planet with energy efficient improvements are a main reason we love spray foam insulation, but it also makes your house cleaner and safer. 

Arizona Home - Upgrade Insulation

Unlike traditional insulation like cellulose or fiberglass, spray foam creates an air barrier in addition to a thermal barrier. This is important because spray foam insulation prevents the transfer of heat through the materials of your walls and ceiling and through the gaps between materials where air can penetrate your home.  Think of it like this, if you were to wear a light sweatshirt on a very windy day, you would likely be chilled to the bone. Similarly, if you were to just wear a windbreaker in below freezing temperatures, you too would be freezing.  But if you were to wear a snow jacket that combines the warmth of a sweatshirt and the wind resistance of a windbreaker you would stay much warmer.

Spray foam is the best insulation value, and not just because it controls the transfer of heat.  It can also stop dust from getting into your house as easily.  Spray foam insulation stops air movement through any surface where it is applied, so the only vulnerability is open windows and doors.  Keeping out the dust is not only cleaner, but it also prevents allergens and other air pollutants from creeping into your house.  Your home is also protected against pest problems because of the tight envelope that spray foam provides.

In conclusion, spray foam insulation is the new sheriff in town, serving and protecting the good people of Arizona. If you have a dust problem and need a gun slinging hero to save you from the desert’s antics, give us a call.  We would love the opportunity to earn your business.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Don't DIY (Don't Do Insulation Yourself)

In today’s culture of DIY everything, it appears no task is too big or too complicated. There are endless how to videos and guides online that will walk you step by step through any project you may want to tackle.  And in the defense of the world-wide web, many of the projects can in fact be done by you and your family on a Sunday afternoon. We just don’t think installing insulation is one of the projects you can complete effectively without some expertise. 

Regardless of what type of insulation you use for your home, proper installation is key to effectively controlling the temperature of your home (higher R-value) as well as ensuring the best efficiency (lower energy bills).  An R-value is the measure of an insulation’s ability to resist heat flow, which means the higher the R-value the better.  That is not the only factor to consider, because the R-value of insulation quickly diminishes when there are holes and gaps from installation. Just a 5% error in application can reduce your R-value by more than double.  And with more error, the negative effect is exponentially worse.

So, when evaluating the cost vs. value relationship of installing insulation on your own, you might want to consider hiring a pro who can ensure proper installation.  With that being said, there are some insulating materials that can be installed in your free time.  Thick floor length curtains can accentuate any room and provide extra protection from the outside temperature by preventing heat movement through windows.

I am not telling you stop being the best DIY family on the block, but I am simply advising you to pick your battles.  Go repaint your living room, or redo your bathroom, but maybe let a professional fix your HVAC system and install new insulation.

Here is a home where we recently improved the comfort and energy efficiency. If you would like more information on insulation for your home, check us out or give us a call! We would love the opportunity to earn your business.