Diamond Certified Blog

Tag Archives: Insulation

Video: Energy-Efficient Attic Improvements

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on maximizing home insulation. One of the aspects mentioned was eliminating heat loss by improving attic air sealing and insulation. To learn more about what this entails, watch this informative video by Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Greg Sutliff of Alcal Specialty Contracting, Inc.

 Leave a comment

Posted in Diamond Certified Experts, Home improvement | Tags: , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Experts: Keeping in the Heat

Adequate home heating is crucial during the winter, but an equally important concern is keeping in the heat. Photo: Bell Products, Inc. (2016)

Adequate home heating is crucial during the winter, but an equally important concern is keeping in the heat. Photo: Bell Products, Inc. (2016)

One of the biggest concerns during winter is maintaining a comfortable climate inside the home. However, if your home lacks sufficient insulation, this can get expensive. Heat is an expert escape artist, which means the more escape routes your home contains, the more money you’re going to spend replenishing what you lose. To address this, we’ve asked seven Diamond Certified Experts to give their advice on keeping in the heat during the winter months. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Keeping in the Heat” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Experts, Home improvement, Home Tips, Window Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,

Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Attic Improvements

If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your home’s energy efficiency, the best place to look is up. While steps like upgrading interior lighting or installing a “smart” thermostat can lower energy usage, an even more beneficial measure is to make improvements to your attic space. By augmenting attic insulation, air sealing and other related aspects, you can make a substantial impact on comfort and energy savings in your home.

One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to improve attic sealing and insulation. Photo: McHale’s Environmental Insulation, Inc. (2014)

One of the most effective ways to boost your home’s energy efficiency is to improve attic sealing and insulation. Photo: McHale’s Environmental Insulation, Inc. (2014)

1. Maximize attic insulation. One of the most basic yet effective ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency is to bring your attic insulation up to current standards. Over the years, building code changes have called for higher grades of insulation, which means if yours hasn’t been upgraded for a few decades, it’s probably under-performing. Continue reading “Maximizing Energy Efficiency with Attic Improvements” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 1

Summer has given way to autumn, and people throughout the Greater Bay Area are starting to get ready for the upcoming holiday season. However, amidst your fall decorating and holiday shopping, it’s important to remember another key seasonal measure: preparing your home for imminent winter weather. With its chilly temperatures and heavy rainfall, winter can take a toll on any home, but with proper preparation, you can fortify yours against the elements and avoid common problems.

fall-home-maintenance-winter

While the Bay Area isn’t subject to the extreme conditions found in other states, winter weather can nonetheless take a toll on local homes. Photo: American Home Renewal, Inc. (2014)

Weatherproof your exterior
Whether to keep out water or cold air, weatherproofing your home is a vital preparatory measure during winter. Not only can weatherproofing prevent costly water intrusion issues, it can also improve home energy efficiency by keeping the heat in and lowering utility costs. Here are a few important proactive steps: Continue reading “Preparing Your Home for Winter with Fall Maintenance: Part 1” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Benefits of Adding Insulation to Interior Walls

Adding insulation to interior walls can go a long way toward improving in-home comfort and energy efficiency. Photo: Rogers Remodel Inc. (2014).

Adding insulation to interior walls can go a long way toward improving in-home comfort and energy efficiency. Photo: Rogers Remodel Inc. (2014).

While insulating exterior walls is standard procedure in residential construction, this isn’t always the case with a home’s interior walls. Actually, many homebuilders neglect to insulate interior walls altogether, which often results in second-rate efficiency and poor soundproofing. For this reason, adding insulation to interior walls can be an inexpensive yet effective way to improve both the comfort and energy efficiency of your home. Continue reading “The Benefits of Adding Insulation to Interior Walls” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Improve the Efficiency of Your HVAC System

As much as half of the energy used in the average home goes to heating and cooling, so making smart decisions about your HVAC systems can have a measureable effect on both your comfort and utility bills. To increase the efficiency of your heating or air conditioning system, consider the following tips:

Annual tune-up
Just like a car, your HVAC system needs to be professionally maintained at least once a year in order to operate as efficiently as possible. Have an HVAC contractor conduct a maintenance test before the peak heating and cooling seasons begin. If you don’t know which elements to address, Energy Star’s website has a “HVAC Maintenance Checklist” that offers many useful suggestions. Continue reading “Improve the Efficiency of Your HVAC System” »

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , ,

Air Conditioning is So Expensive!

 Guest Expert Michael McCutcheon, owner of McCutcheon Construction, tells us about less costly ways to cool your house on hot days.
______________________________________________________

Air conditioning is still the best way to cool a building during hot weather, although in very dry climates, one can use evaporative coolers (“swamp coolers”) instead, which use the cooling effect of evaporating water. While they consume some water, they use less energy. They also don’t reduce humidity, and don’t work in humid climate zones since the evaporative effect is so much less in a humid atmosphere.

Presuming you’re in the mixed climate of the Bay Area and need Air Conditioning (as opposed to evaporative cooling), as with any energy device, the first thing to do to lower the cost is to reduce the load. In this case, just as with heat loss in winter, insulation and weather-stripping are key. Adding insulation to your attic will be a big help. Another suggestion is to use a light colored, reflective roof (a “cool” roof). This will reduce the amount of heat rays that penetrate into your home. Alternatively, you can install a radiant barrier, which is a reflective layer under your roof. This reflective layer bounces back the infrared rays to keep your attic and home cooler.

Another good idea is to install double pane windows with Low-E glass. This Low-E glass has a coating (a “low emissivity” coating), which reduces the passage of heat rays (infra-red) while allowing most of the visible light to pass through. If replacing the windows is too expensive, try having window coatings installed. Low-E films applied to the inside of your glass reflect a certain amount of the heat away. However, our experience is that double pane windows (combined with a well-sealed, insulating wood frame) with the Low-E glass are considerably more effective than applied films on single pane glass.

Again, just as with heating loss for winter, make sure your house is well sealed against air leakage. You can have your house tested for leaks by a Home Performance Contractor who will use a Blower Door to measure the amount of air leaking from your home. The less air leakage the better, and you can use sealants, caulking, weather-stripping, etc. to plug any leaks you may have.

Once you’ve done all the load reduction you can, it’s time to take a look at your AC unit. Ideally, it’s Energy Star labeled and is at least 14 SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio), which means you’ll use less electricity to run the unit. Make sure it’s been serviced recently, and ask the service provider what the efficiency rating is. If your unit isn’t up to snuff, consider upgrading to a more efficient one.

Finally, I suggest you try to locate the condensing unit to a shady spot around your home if possible. Often I see the condensers sitting on the roof or baking on the West or South side of homes, which means they have to work that much harder to cool the home. Best to put them in the shade—North or East.

These ideas can help you stay cool, save money, and help the planet, all in one stroke.

 

 Leave a comment

Posted in Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , ,