All posts by John Palmer

John Palmer is a Digital Marketing Director with a passion for all things dealing with home improvement. He specializes in explaining complicated home projects in a simplified manner.

What You Need To Know About Interior Door Styles

What You Need To Know About Interior Door Styles

Interior doors are a must for your home, adding privacy and stylistic touches. While doors may not be the first thing that you think about, they are design elements that add to your home’s overall look. It can be difficult to find the interior door that is perfect for your home. Entryways are commonly between 30 and 32 inches wide, leaving little room for changes. There are still many different interior door styles that can fit into the space that you have. If you remodel, you can also add more room for your interior doors. Here are some of the styles and materials that are available.

French doors

Interior French doors add elegance to your rooms. They swing outward so that the entry space is large. The panes of French doors may be glass to allow light in or closed for privacy.

Barn doors

Barn doors are a great choice if you prefer a rustic feel. Most people attach them to gliding hardware. They come in many different colors so that you can easily fit them in with a rustic design scheme.

Sliding doors

Sliding doors are a great way to avoid the annoyance of slamming doors. They are available in numerous glass and wood varieties that can complement your home. Sliding doors also save space. For example, pocket sliding doors recess into your walls so that small rooms appear larger and have more usable wall space.

Dutch doors

Dutch doors have horizontal openings, allowing the tops and bottoms to open separately from each other. They can be used to maintain privacy while also allowing additional light to come in. Dutch doors are great options for playrooms as well as to keep household pets out of certain areas. In some cases, Dutch door tops will have glass panels to allow extra light into your rooms.

Interior door materials

There are several materials that are available and popular, including glass, wood, and fiberboard. Here is what you need to know about each material type.

Glass doors

Interior glass doors are great for modern homes and for people who want to maximize light. Frosted glass can be used to give you privacy when it is used for bathroom or bedroom doors.

Wood doors

Wood doors have long been a popular choice for homeowners. They give a timeless look and are available in many different wood types and stains. Wood doors often come in classic six-panel styles, but there are other options that are available as well. In addition to solid wood doors, hollow-core wood doors are available for a similar look. You should be aware that hollow-core doors will not keep out noise and are not as durable.

Medium-density fiberboard doors

Medium-density fiberboard is a good choice for people who want a durable interior door. They are good choices for rooms where temperature and humidity changes frequently occur, including bathrooms and attics. They are easy to paint and can be changed to match your styles.

Door hardware

In addition to the styles and materials, it is important for you to consider the hardware for your interior doors. The right hardware can help to give a finishing touch to the look of your doors and make your home more accessible.

Door hardwareDoor knobs

By choosing the perfect door knobs, you can put the finishing stylistic touches on your home. There are many different types of knobs and levers in a variety of different materials.

Accessibility

Making certain that you choose a door that will be accessible for all members of your family is important. The Americans with Disabilities Association recommends that people have doorways that are at least 32 inches wide. Sliding doors may also be preferable for people who use walkers or wheelchairs. Choosing door levers instead of knobs may also make it easier for people to open doors in your home.

While people often don’t give too much thought to the doors in their homes, they may offer a huge change to the feel of your home. If you are ready to begin your remodeling project, call us today.

A New Way To Think About Your Wheel Chair Accessible Home Improvements

A New Way To Think About Your Wheel Chair Accessible Home Improvements

Your home should be a place in which all of your family members and friends can relax. If you or someone else in your family needs special home accommodations for a wheelchair, you may need to remodel to make your home more comfortable. It is possible to make your home accessible while also maintaining your design and style preferences. The Americans with Disabilities Act offers guidance for people to make their homes more accessible. Here are some ways that you can modify your home to make it easier for people who have disabilities.

Entryways

It can be hard to enter a home for a person who uses a wheelchair. For most people in wheelchairs, the first barrier that they face are steps leading up to the front door. A way to solve this issue is to install a wheelchair ramp. It is a good idea to choose a professional to install your ramp in order to make certain that it is done correctly and is safe.

Doorways

Doorways may present additional barriers to people who use wheelchairs. All of your doors should be wide enough for wheelchairs to easily roll through. The ADA suggests that people might want to have doorways ranging from 32 inches to 48 inches wide. Choosing levers instead of knobs will make it easier for people to open the doors. A terrific option is to install pocket sliding doors because they keep the doorways free from barriers.

Bathrooms

The first rooms that people commonly choose to remodel are bathrooms. The ADA recommends that bathrooms have a turning radius of 5 feet to accommodate wheelchairs. Roll-in showers with flat bottoms should be installed. Shower grab bars should also be installed as they are important for ensuring safety in the bathroom. There are many different grab bar styles that you can choose. You’ll want to install them at lower heights for good accessibility. Non-slip surface materials are important, and your toilet and sink are important as well. Try to keep your sink open, and choose a toilet that is between 17 to 19 inches tall.

Kitchens

Making the utilities in your kitchen accessible is one of the biggest challenges. Like bathrooms, kitchens should have a turning radius of 5 feet, making U-shaped kitchens optimal. Appliances and countertops need to be lower so that the kitchen is barrier-free. There should be plenty of clearance under the countertops and the sink for legs and feet.
In your kitchen, the smallest details can make the biggest difference. For example, cabinet pulls and slow-close drawers can make your kitchen much easier to use for people who have disabilities.

Other areas

In addition to all of the areas that we have already discussed, there are some others that you shouldn’t forget, including the following:

  • Closets may need to be changed to make them accessible by
  • lowering rods and installing pocket doors
  • Large furniture that blocks access in hallways should be removed
  • Smooth, durable flooring should be installed.
  • Paths to entryways should be smooth.
  • Light switches, thermostats and outlets should be reachable.

While it may seem like a daunting task, creating an accessible home may be accomplished so that all of your family and friends are able to enjoy it. By making some modifications, you can create the welcoming environment you desire. To schedule a consultation about remodeling your home, contact us today.

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages Of Solar Energy?

What are the Advantages and Disadvantages Of Solar Energy

Solar energy is a leading way that people are moving towards living green. Many homeowners who have good access to sunlight are choosing to install solar panels on their homes instead of opting to use expensive energy from their electric companies. If you are thinking about installing solar panels on your home, there are advantages and disadvantages of doing so that you should be aware of so that you can make a more informed decision.

Understanding solar power

When people use solar power, it is created by converting the sun’s energy into electricity. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electric energy that you can then use to power your home. Most home solar systems use photovoltaic cells to convert the sunlight into usable energy.

Advantages

The most obvious benefit of choosing solar power is the benefit to the earth. There are also a number of added benefits of solar panels.

1. Solar energy is renewable

At our current rate, the world will someday run out of oil. The U.S. consumes one-quarter of the world’s oil while only producing 3 percent. Unlike oil, the sun is a renewable energy source, and its output should remain dependable for a minimum of 40,000 years.

2. Solar power can be free after installation

While the installation is expensive, solar panels cost very little after the initial cost. The panels do not have movable parts, meaning that they are unlikely to be damaged. This means that you can expect minimal solar panel repair bills.

3. Solar power is good for the environment

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each household emits an average of 20 metric tons of pollution every year. If you install a solar power system, you can eliminate up to four tons of carbon pollution each year. While one home doesn’t really affect the global pollution problem, collective efforts around the world can help.

4. Solar panels offers a good return on investment

Installing solar panels offers a good return on investment. Studies have shown that solar systems offer better returns than do five-year CD accounts in almost 90 percent of the U.S.

5. Solar panels may offer tax incentives

In the U.S., there is a move toward making greener choices, and some states offer people who install solar panels some tax incentives for doing so. The incentives vary from state to state, and not all states offer them. You can determine if your state offers tax incentives by going to energy.gov.

6. You can sell the excess solar power that your panels produce

It is common for solar panels to produce more energy than is needed. Electric companies will pay people who have excess energy, which should factor into your return on investment. It also helps to reduce air pollution and to reduce energy costs for everyone.

7. Solar panels increase the values of homes

Installing solar panels raises the value of homes. If your home is in an area that is undergoing rising electricity costs, your home will likely see an even bigger increase in its value.

8. Solar panels are quiet

Solar panels make absolutely no noise, unlike such things as an HVAC system or a window air conditioner. This means that you can sleep better.

Disadvantages of solar panels

While there are many advantages to installing solar panels, there are also some disadvantages with doing so.

1. Expense of installation

Solar panel installation is expensive. On average, U.S. homeowners can expect to pay from $9,800 to $15,000 to install solar panels.

2. Sun requirements

Homes need to have a lot of sunlight in order to use solar panels. For places that do not have much sun, they may not make sense. Some homeowners use adjustable mounts to track the sun’s arc each day.

3. Bulkiness

It is important for your home to stay warm at night in the middle of the winter. When the sun goes down, solar panels use batteries that have charged up throughout the day. The batteries may be bulky.

4. Solar panels may need repairs

While repairs are rarely needed, it is important for you to understand what can cause damage and their potential costs. Weather damage is the primary cause of needed repairs, including damage from hail, wind and severe weather conditions. If the damage is very severe, it can cost a few thousand dollars to repair your panels.

The move toward living green is only increasing. Solar panels continue to be on the forefront of environmental choices for homeowners. If you want to learn more about installing solar panels on your home, call us today.

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

When your home is energy efficient, it will be cooler while also allowing you to enjoy lower utility costs. Installing a metal roof on your home can greatly impact your energy use while giving you a roof that may last for 50 years or longer. Metal roofs have become increasingly popular because they are highly durable and cost-effective. They are lighter in weight than asphalt and other roofing materials and are less likely to sustain damage from hail. Choosing to install a metal roof on your home can provide you with a fast return on your investment with ongoing energy savings for your roof’s life.

What is a cool roof?

Cool roofs are roofs that help to keep interior temperatures lower. They are typically light-colored or white, and they are designed to reflect heat rather than absorbing it. They have high solar reflectivity and thermal emittance. Since metal absorbs little heat and releases it quickly, it is ideal to use as a roofing material. On the other hand, asphalt roofs absorb heat, which leads it to build up rather than being released.

There are other features of cool metal roofs that help to keep the interior temperatures comfortable. They have protective coatings with a number of different reflective materials that work to help with deflecting the sun’s rays. The highest reflective coatings that are used can help to reflect as much as 90 percent of solar radiation away from your home.

Cool roofs, Energy Star & LEED ratings

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program allows cool roofs to be rated as Energy Star. For this rating, a roof must be a cool roof that helps to reduce heat effects. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum solar reflectance of 0.25 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be at least 0.15. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum reflectance of 0.65 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be 0.50.

LEED certifications are also used to help you to determine your home’s energy efficiency. The LEED certification is granted by the Green Building Council. Builders and designers earn points toward LEED certification by using certain designs and materials that meet a specified Solar Reflectance Index, or SRI. Cool roofs are materials that earn points because of their energy efficiency and because they are recyclable. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 29 for LEED certification. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 78. The roof must also cover a minimum of 75 percent of the surface area not counting skylights, equipment and parapets.

Sustainability

Most metal roofs are made out of steel, a highly sustainable material. It is 100 percent recyclable and may be made out of as much as 95 percent recycled steel. Using recycled steel to create new steel takes just 25 percent of the energy that it takes to create virgin steel.

Discounts and incentives

If you install a metal roof, you may receive a discount on your homeowner’s insurance because of its fire resistance and durability. You can also expect your utility bills to be reduced by as much as 40 percent each year. Finally, you may be eligible to claim tax credits for installing a metal roof.

Variety

Manufacturers are able to create cool roofs in the shade you want although light colors or white will be needed to obtain the highest solar reflectance. The roofs can be formed to look like a traditional shake or asphalt roof. You can also choose to use the standing seam style because it sheds water well and is perfect for an installation of solar panels.

Installation

You will need to make certain that the professional who you are considering is one who has the expertise that is required to replace your roof with a cool metal roof. Installing metal roofs requires specialized skills. The company you choose needs to be knowledgeable about metal roof materials, local codes and the standards in your area. It is possible to install a metal roof on top of shingles if it is needed because the metal roofs are light in weight.

As people have become more aware of the environmental impact structures can have, new green-living initiatives have been instituted. A metal roof is something that you should definitely consider for your home.

Why Metal Roofs Have Become So Popular: What you need to know

Why Metal Roofs Have Become So Popular What you need to know

Metal roofs have grown in popularity over the last few years. Metal roofs are most popular among peple in their 20s and 30s as well as those who are building or purchasing homes valued at $100,000 or more. Some of the reasons metal roofs are so popular may actually surprise you.

Life Expectancy of Roofing

One of the reasons metal roofs are becoming more popular is what is known as the roofing cycle or the life expectancy of roofing material. Despite the warranty on many types of asphalt shingles, the average roofing cycle for that type of roofing material is between 17 and 18 years. A tin roof that is installed properly can last between 40 to 50 years while galvanized steel can last as long as 60 years.

Cost of Roof Replacement

The cost to replace a roof is another reason why people are switching from asphalt to metal. If you plan to remain in your home 20 or 30 years, a metal roof is a good investment. Although it may cost more initially, the fact that it will not need to be replaced as quickly as other roofing materials makes it a better investment.

Energy Efficiency

Metal roofs are more energy efficient than other types of roofing material. Some homeowners report savings of as much as 20 percent on their energy costs after installing a metal roof. A metal roof that includes integral air space adds even more efficiency to your home. This also means you can reduce your carbon footprint as reducing energy dependency helps the environment. Metal roofs may also be made from recyclable materials, further increasing benefits to the environment.

Home Value

During the recent housing market downturn, homeowners with residences that required less maintenance were able to sell their home more quickly and at the price they wanted than those with homes that required more maintenance. Because metal roofs require little maintenance, they add value to your home, helping you justify a higher price than with other types of roofing materials.

There is no question that each home and homeowner are unique, so it is important to understand as much as possible about metal roofs before you make the decision to install one. You can learn more from the knowledgeable, helpful customer service staff at TriCounty Exteriors. Contact them by phone at 215-322-0110 or complete the simple form online if you are considering a metal roof for your home or business.

6 Common Household Things That Can Spark Dangerous House Fires

6 Common Household Things That Can Spark Dangerous House Fires

According to the American Red Cross, the frequency of house fires increases in the fall and winter. December and January are the months when residential fires occur the most often. In fact, the average person will deal with at least five fires in their lifetime. While most fires in the home are small and easily contained, they still cost over $7 billion each year in property damage. The good news is that most household fires are preventable. To help protect your home from fire, follow these simple tips.

Space Heater Precautions

Many homes, especially older houses built before energy efficient materials were available, have cold spots that furnaces may not reach. People who live in homes with cold spots often use portable plug-in heaters. However, portable heaters are one of the leading causes of house fires in the country. That does not mean you shouldn’t use space heaters, but you should follow some safety rules. Keep heaters three feet away from flammable items and plug the heater directly into an outlet, not an extension cord. Turn the heater off when you are sleeping as most space heater accidents occur when the heater is unattended.

Practice Cooking Safety

Unattended stove top cooking is another leading cause of residential fires. Most cooking fires happen in the first five minutes of cooking, and although it may be tempting to walk away from the stove, it is critical that you remain within reach of anything you are cooking should a fire develop. If you are baking, it is okay to leave the kitchen, but check back often. Be sure that flammable items like dish towels, paper towels or oven mitts are at least three feet from the stove. If a fire develops, turn off the stove, cover the pan with a lid and let it cool. Do not try to move the pan until it is cool to avoid spilling the contents. Keep a fire extinguisher near the stove at all times and it is a good idea to invest in elbow-length fire-resistant cooking gloves.

Reduce Use of Extension Cords

Extension cords can be very helpful when your cord does not quite reach the outlet. However, we tend to plug too much into extension cords, a problem that is especially frequent during the holidays. Overloaded or damaged extension cords cause 3,300 fires each year. Touch each extension cord. If it is warm, it is overloaded. Never run extension cords under rugs or across travel paths. It is also not recommended that you tape them to floors and never staple or nail them. Do not string several short cords together to make one long cord.

Avoid Fireplace and Wood Stove Fires

There is nothing more satisfying than a hot fire on a cold winter’s night or the glow of a wood stove when the weather outside is nasty. To avoid a fire getting out of hand in a fireplace or wood stove, have your chimney inspected several times each year. Be sure to put out any fires in fireplaces before you leave the house or go to bed. Keep flammable objects at least five feet from both fireplaces and wood stoves. Embers can smolder for up to two weeks, so be sure to empty ashes into a metal container and store them away from anything flammable for at least two weeks. Clean the fireplace and flue at least once each year.

Candle Safety

Candles have grown in popularity over the past few years but so have fires caused by candles. From 2009 to 2013, candles caused three percent of household fires. Never light candles sitting on tablecloths or near curtains. Only place lit candles on sturdy, stable surfaces away from children and pets. As candles soften, a hot candle can tip out of a holder, igniting things around it which is why you should never burn candles unattended. If possible, switch to electric candle warmers or battery-operated candles with scent.

Christmas Tree Precautions

Although it is more common for a live tree to cause a fire at Christmas time, artificial trees can also develop problems that can lead to fire. Check all bulbs and wires for damage before plugging them in. Do not use the old bubble lights on your tree even if they have been handed down through generations. Bubble lights are five watts each, so even if you only have 100 lights, that’s 500 watts of heat on a tree. Keep trees away from open sources of flame and do not overload sockets.

In addition to these tips to avoid house fires, be sure to install and maintain smoke detectors in your home. Learn how to use your fire extinguisher before there is a fire and create an escape plan with your family. Practice escaping the house using various escape routes as well. For more information on fire safety, contact us by phone at 215-322-0110 or visit us online.

Home Repairs That Should Be Fixed Imediately

Home repairs are never fun and exciting things to do. Many are expensive and take a considerable amount of time and energy. Because of this, we often put them off indefinitely. Things like squeaky floors or light switches that don’t always work may get pushed to the side so that you can concentrate on other things in the house. However, there are some home repairs that you should not neglect as they can lead to costlier repairs down the road or safety issues that could be deadly.

Roof Repairs

If you notice water stains on your ceiling or walls, you need to have your roof repaired immediately. Failure to fix a leaking roof can lead to mold growth, structural damage or even fire if the water connects with an electrical source.

Missing Shingles

After a storm that includes heavy rain and wind, you should inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. It is possible a loose shingle may not be visible from the ground, so climb on the roof to check for any that may have been damaged. Replace any missing or damaged shingles immediately to avoid roof damage as well as damage to the interior of your home.

Sagging Roof

If it appears that a section of your roof is sagging, you need to have it repaired as soon as you can. A sagging roof can allow moisture to build in your attic and could weaken the structure of the wood. This can lead to exterior wall cracks and poor ventilation in your attic.

Foundation Cracks

Over time, it is possible small cracks could develop in your foundation. If an inspection reveals small cracks, you need to repair them before they become large cracks or it could require a full foundation replacement. This can cost as much as $100,000. Cracks can also lead to leaks under your home and parts of the concrete could actually collapse. If your home is not supported properly, the results could be life-threatening.

Gas Odor

Propane and natural gas are heavier than air, leading them to pool in low areas of your home. If you detect a rotten-egg-like smell, vacate your home immediately and call the gas company. Open doors and windows before you leave the house to dissipate the gas as accumulated propane or natural gas can lead to an explosion.

Leaking Pipes

Water can cause significant damage to your home, including structural damage and mold growth. Mold can lead to health issues, some of which can be severe. If you use municipal water, a leak can cost you hundreds of dollars in extra water fees as well. Check under your sinks several times each year to be sure pipes are not leaking. You should also check exposed pipes in basements, attics and crawlspaces regularly. If you see any leaks, even small ones, contact a plumber immediately.

Mold and Mildew

There is really no “good” mold or mildew, so when you see evidence of mold growth, you need to deal with it as quickly as possible. Just eliminating the mold is not enough, however, as you need to determine what caused the growth in the first place. Minor mold and mildew growth, such as in a corner near a shower where a shower curtain has not been completely closed, can be easily treated with common household bleach.

Electrical Problems

Electrical issues cause more than 40,000 fires each year and many of them could easily have been avoided. Circuit breakers that kick unexpectedly, flickering lights or outlets that are warm to the touch are all symptoms of an electrical problem. Contact an electrician if you notice any electrical issues in your home.

Gutter Debris

Probably one of the least pleasant household chores is clearing debris from gutters. It may seem like a minor problem, but clogged gutters can lead to major problems in your home. Gutters pull rainfall from your home and if water cannot drain, it builds up in pools. This can lead to fascia rot or damage to your foundation when rainfall overflows the gutters and does not drain away from the home. In areas where there is extreme cold, clogged gutters can lead to ice dams that can damage your roof. Clean your gutters twice each year to allow water to flow properly away from your home.

Driveway Cracks

Although you may look at cracks in your driveway as nothing more than a cosmetic issue, your driveway is actually designed to pull water away from your foundation. Cracks could lead to water build-up which may damage your foundation. In addition, cracks could grow larger and become a tripping hazard to guests and family.

Damage to Decks

Worn or missing flashing, the thin layer of material designed to keep water from your home, can lead to water damaging the ledger board. It can also weaken the fasteners that keep yoru deck together. Weakened wood and connectors can have deadly consequences if the deck is overloaded. Worn and wooden boards can also be tripping hazards, so replace any damaged wood as soon as possible and check the flashing on a regular basis.

Dryer Vents

Cleaning the lint filter before each use may seem unnecessary, but it could actually save your home. It is also important to clear the vent, the hose that connects the dryer to the outside, of any debris or lint as well. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA, there are an average of 2,900 home clothes dryer fires each year, many due to build-up of dryer lint in the vents. The lint screen in the drum of your dryer only removes about 25 percent of the lint, with the remaining 75 percent traveling through the ducts and often getting trapped on the sides.

These simple but important tips can protect your home from significant damage and many of them will protect your family and friends from potential illness or injury. For more information on keeping your home safe, contact TriCounty Exteriors at 215-322-0110 or visit us online.

Pitched Roof or Flat Roof Which Is Better

Pitched Roof or Flat Roof: Which Is Better?

Your roof plays a key role in your home’s value as it protects it from the elements and offers insulation from hot or cold air.

When you are building a house, you may have the option of a pitched or flat roof but you may have no idea which option is better.

There are five main reasons why a pitched roof is the better option, even though they are often more expensive than flat roofs.

Longer Lasting

Pitched roofs have a longer life than flat roofs and are much easier to fix. Like everything in your home, your roof can suffer wear and tear, especially since it is exposed to the elements at all times. The materials used for pitched roofs tend to be more durable and resistant to weather. This means that, although flat roofs may cost less initially, a pitched roof is less expensive for the long term.

Better in Inclement Weather

In areas of the world that receive a significant amount of ice and snow, you will notice that the roofs are often steeply pitched. This allows snow, ice and rain to drain from the roof easily, preventing damage. Flat roofs do not drain as well and must be inspected regularly to be sure any drains installed are working properly.

Ground-Level Inspection

It is easier to inspect a pitched roof from the ground, allowing you to identify problems before they become big issues. Unseen roof damage can lead to extensive water damage inside your attic or around flashing that separates roofing materials from skylights, chimneys or other fixtures. However, if you do need to access the roof for inspection, a pitched roof is much more difficult to stand on than a flat roof. You may want to consider hiring a specialist to inspect the roof if yours has a steep pitch.

Better Storage Options

A pitched roof gives you the opportunity to include an attic in your home design. Most pitched roofs allow ample space at the top of the house for an attic or even a cozy loft bedroom or office. If you begin using the attic area for storage, it is not difficult to convert the space to finished room in the future.

Whether you choose a pitched for flat roof, there are many options available for roofing materials, including composition dimensional, asphalt and wood shingles. You can select a material that will not only protect your home but also match the design of your home’s exterior. If you are considering replacing your roof, contact us today to learn what options are available. You can speak to one of our friendly customer service representatives by phone or complete the simple form online to learn more about our roofing products.

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of your roof, preventing water from draining.

This can lead to leaks that can cause damage to your roof, walls, ceiling or insulation as the backup behind the dam forces water inside your home rather than draining from the roof as it should.

In order to prevent damage to the interior of your home, you need to understand how to prevent ice dams.

Keep Your Roof Cold

It may seem counterproductive, but one of the best ways to prevent an ice dam is to keep your roof cold. The underside of your roof should not be higher than 30 degrees Fahrenheit in order to allow snow to dissipate without creating large amounts of water. Check to be sure there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that allow warm air to exit the attic. Your attic also needs ventilation so that heated air escapes rapidly when cold air enters. The problem with a warm roof is that snow melts rapidly, but once it reaches the eaves, which are colder, the water freezes leading to ice dams.

Attic Furnaces

If your furnace is in your attic, it may be difficult to prevent ice dams. One of the best methods for preventing an ice dam if your furnace is in the attic is to add extra insulation between the roof rafters. Keep air space between the roof deck and the insulation to avoid condensation. Before adding insulation, install polystyrene rafter air channels that are available at home centers. Lay insulation batts or blankets over the heating ducts to help reduce heat buildup. If your ridge vents and gables do not dissipate the heat enough, add a motorized vent at one end to remove heat and another vent on the other end to draw in cold air.

Signs of an ice Dam

Even if you take all the precautions mentioned for how to prevent ice dams, it is still possible that one could develop. If you notice dark lines on the ceiling, it is possible you have an ice dam. Even with insulation in your attic floor the bottom of your trusses are often bare. Because they are exposed to low temperatures, they create a cold strip on the ceiling that allows condensation to form. The moisture traps dust and can lead to mold growth creating the lines which are called shadow lines. You can clean the mildew by washing the area in a bleach solution of one part bleach to three parts warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.

Learning how to prevent ice dams is critical to keeping your home from damage due to leaks. For more information about preventing ice dams, contact us by phone or visit our website to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members.

Important Attic Insulation Factors You Should Consider

Important Attic Insulation Factors Your Should Consider

Installing insulation is not a fun or glamorous home improvement, but it is one that should not be ignored.

Although insulation doesn’t get as much attention as a new coat of paint in your dining room or a new designer front door, it can save you a significant amount of money and make your home much more comfortable throughout the year.

Lower Energy Costs

If you live in an area that gets cold in the winter, you know that keeping your house warm can get pretty expensive. Although turning down the thermostat and wearing more clothing at home can help lower your energy costs, the problem might actually be your unfinished attic. Installing insulation is a project you can complete on your own in just one weekend and that little bit of extra work can save between 10 and 50 percent on your heating bill this winter. The even better news is that it also works for your air conditioning. If you live in areas where the temperature rises significantly, attic insulation can also lower your air conditioning costs by stabilizing the temperature in your home.

Don’t Use Your Attic for Storage

The best way to insulate your attic is to install it in the floor, but if you have covered the floor with plywood to use it for storage, you will have to limit how much insulation you can add. Consider removing the attic flooring and layer additional insulation on top of the old. Although this means you will have to find another location for your holiday decorations and clothes from three seasons ago, the energy savings will more than make up for relocating your stored items.

Choose the Right Insulation

If you are installing the insulation by yourself, you can choose either loose fill or blanket insulation, commonly called batt. Loose fill insulation is packaged in bags and then blown into place using machinery you can rent from a home center or a local rental agency. If your attic has unusual or nonstandard joist spacing or if there are many obstructions, this may be the best option. It is also recommended if you are topping existing insulation or in low-clearance attics. Batt insulation is sold in rolls of various thickness and widths. Batt works best in attics with standard joist spacing and few obstructions. It does not require any special machinery to install.

Tips Before Starting

Here are a few tips to follow before you get started on a do-it-yourself insulation installation.

  • Check to see what insulation you have installed already and remove any compressed, water-stained or moldy insulation.
  • If your home was built before 1900 and the insulation is lightweight, grainy with shiny flecks, it may contain asbestos.
  • Have it tested and if it contains vermiculite, you will have to have it professionally removed.
  • If you live in a warm climate, the Department of Energy recommends an R-30 value. In cold climates, an R-49 value is recommended. R-38 is recommended in temperate climates.
  • Check with your state’s energy office or your local utility to see if there are any rebates or other financial incentives for improving your insulation.
  • Measure the square footage of your attic to determine how much insulation you will need. Loose fill insulation lists the required depths on the bag and how many bags you will need to cover 1,000 square feet at those depths. Use the width and length of the product to determine how many batts or rolls you will need. Always purchase one extra bag or roll to account for errors or mistaken measurements.

These simple tips can help you save a significant amount on your air conditioning and heating bills just by adding insulation to your attic. For more information on insulation installation, contact us by phone or visit our website.