613 E 40th St Houston TX, 77022 – Heat Pump Systems

613 E 40th St Houston TX, 77022

613 E 40th St Houston TX, 77022 – Heat Pump Systems

Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners for all climates. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house.  During the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your house into the outdoors. Because they transfer heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can efficiently provide comfortable temperatures for your home.

Ducted Air-Source Heat Pumps

There are three main types of heat pumps connected by ducts: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside.

Air-Source Heat Pumps

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. Today’s heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. Air-source heat pumps have been used for many years in nearly all parts of the United States, but until recently they have not been used in areas that experienced extended periods of subfreezing temperatures. However, in recent years, air-source heat pump technology has advanced so that it now offers a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions.

Ductless Air-Source Heat Pumps

Ductless Heating

For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. In addition, a special type of air-source heat pump called a “reverse cycle chiller” generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant floor heating systems in heating mode.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heating

Geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pumps achieve higher efficiencies by transferring heat between your house and the ground or a nearby water source. Although they cost more to install, geothermal heat pumps have low operating costs because they take advantage of relatively constant ground or water temperatures. Geothermal (or ground source) heat pumps have some major advantages. They can reduce energy use by 30%-60%, control humidity, are sturdy and reliable, and fit in a wide variety of homes. Whether a geothermal heat pump is appropriate for you will depend on the size of your lot, the subsoil, and the landscape. Ground-source or water-source heat pumps can be used in more extreme climates than air-source heat pumps, and customer satisfaction with the systems is very high.

Absorption Heat Pumps

Absorption Heat Pump

A relatively new type of heat pump for residential systems is the absorption heat pump (AHP), also called a gas-fired heat pump. Absorption heat pumps use heat or thermal energy as their energy source, and can be driven with a wide variety of heat sources such as combustion of natural gas, steam solar-heated water, air or geothermal-heated water, and therefore are different from compression heat pumps that are driven by mechanical energy. AHPs are more complex and require larger units compared to compression heat pumps. The lower electricity demand of such heat pumps is related to the liquid pumping only.

Advanced Features to Look for in a Heat Pump

A number of innovations are improving the performance of heat pumps.

Unlike standard compressors that can only operate at full capacity, two-speed compressors allow heat pumps to operate close to the heating or cooling capacity needed at any particular outdoor temperature, saving energy by reducing on/off operation and compressor wear. Two-speed heat pumps also work well with zone control systems. Zone control systems, often found in larger homes, use automatic dampers to allow the heat pump to keep different rooms at different temperatures.

Some models of heat pumps are equipped with variable-speed or dual-speed motors on their indoor fans (blowers), outdoor fans, or both. The variable-speed controls for these fans attempt to keep the air moving at a comfortable velocity, minimizing cool drafts and maximizing electrical savings. It also minimizes the noise from the blower running at full speed.

Some high-efficiency heat pumps are equipped with a desuperheater, which recovers waste heat from the heat pump’s cooling mode and uses it to heat water. A desuperheater-equipped heat pump can heat water 2 to 3 times more efficiently than an ordinary electric water heater.

Another advance in heat pump technology is the scroll compressor, which consists of two spiral-shaped scrolls. One remains stationary, while the other orbits around it, compressing the refrigerant by forcing it into increasingly smaller areas. Compared to the typical piston compressors, scroll compressors have a longer operating life and are quieter. According to some reports, heat pumps with scroll compressors provide 10° to 15°F (5.6° to 8.3°C) warmer air when in the heating mode, compared to existing heat pumps with piston compressors.

Although most heat pumps use electric resistance heaters as a backup for cold weather, heat pumps can also be equipped in combination with a gas furnace, sometimes referred to as a dual-fuel or hybrid system, to supplement the heat pump. This helps solve the problem of the heat pump operating less efficiently at low temperatures and reduces its use of electricity. There are few heat pump manufacturers that incorporate both types of heat in one box, so these configurations are often two smaller, side-by-side, standard systems sharing the same ductwork.

In comparison with a combustion fuel-fired furnace or standard heat pump alone, this type of system can also be more economical. Actual energy savings depend on the relative costs of the combustion fuel relative to electricity.

614 Merrill St. Houston TX, 77009 – How to Read Residential Electric & Natural Gas Meters

614 Merrill St. Houston TX, 77009

614 Merrill St. Houston TX, 77009 – How to Read Residential Electric & Natural Gas Meters

Residential Meters

You can read your own residential meters to help monitor your electric or gas energy use. During the heating season, your energy use should be compared to the number of heating degree days for the same time period; during the cooling season, compare your energy use to the number of cooling degree days.

Heating and cooling degree days are a simple measure of the effect of weather on your energy needs: using the average temperature for each day, each degree Fahrenheit below 65°F is counted as one heating degree day, and each degree Fahrenheit above 65°F is counted as one cooling degree day. Your heating and cooling use should be proportional to the number of heating and cooling degree days for the time period in question.  A comparison can be made against the same time period from the previous year.

You may also wish to contact your local utility companies for more information about reading your meter. If monthly information is good enough, your utility bills could have all the information you need. Just be sure the bills are based on actual, not estimated, meter readings, and be aware of when the meter was read, because the time period between readings can vary. Contact your local utility if you are uncertain about this.

Electric Meters

An electromechanical electric meter on the side of a house. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/epantha

The basic unit of measure of electric power is the watt. One thousand watts are called a kilowatt. If you use one thousand watts of power in one hour you have used a kilowatt-hour (kWh). Your electric utility bills you by the kWh.

The standard electric power meter is a clock-like device driven by the electricity moving through it. As the home draws current from the power lines, a set of small gears inside the meter move. The number of revolutions is recorded by the dials that you can see on the face of the meter. The speed of the revolutions depends on the amount of current drawn — the more power consumed at any one instant, the faster the gears will rotate.

When reading an electric meter, read and write down the numbers as shown on the dials from right to left. When the pointer is directly on a number, look at the dial to the right. If it has passed zero, use the next higher number. If it has not passed zero, use the lower number. Record the numbers shown by writing down the value of the dial to your extreme right first and the rest as you come to them. Should the hand of a dial fall between two numbers, use the smaller of the two numbers.

Natural Gas Meters

A natural gas meter on a house. | Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto/fstockfoto

Natural gas is commonly measured by the cubic foot, and you are billed by the thousands of cubic feet (MCF) or hundreds of cubic feet (CCF). You may also be billed by the term, which is approximately the same as a CCF or 100 cubic feet. To measure the amount of electricity or gas that you use, the utility installs a meter between the incoming electric power or gas lines and the point of distribution at the house.

A gas meter is driven by the force of the moving gas in the pipe, and also turns faster as the flow increases. Each time the dial with the lower value makes one complete revolution, the pointer on the next higher value dial moves ahead one digit.

When reading a gas meter, read and write down the numbers as shown on the dials from left to right (opposite of an electric meter). It is important to note that on both types of meters, the hands of adjacent dials turn in opposite directions to each other.

Digital Meters

Digital Electric Meter

Note that some newer electric and gas meters use digital displays instead of dials. The difference between one month’s reading and the next is the amount of energy units that have been used for that billing period.

621 Avenue I Houston TX, 77587 – Dehumidifying Heat Pipes

621 Avenue I Houston TX, 77587

621 Avenue I Houston TX, 77587 – Dehumidifying Heat Pipes

In order to make a room comfortable in hot, humid climates, an air conditioner must lower the indoor humidity level as well as the air temperature. If an air conditioner fails to lower the humidity adequately, the air will be cool, but will feel uncomfortably damp. Inappropriately sized air conditioners are prone to this problem; large units quickly cool the air, but cycle off before they can properly dehumidify it. In extremely humid climates, even correctly sized air conditioning equipment could fail to maintain a home at a comfortable humidity level.

One technology that addresses this problem is the dehumidifying heat pipe, a device that enables an air conditioner to dehumidify better and still efficiently cool the air. The heat pipe is ideal for hot, humid environments.

A dehumidifying heat pipe resembles two heat exchangers, located on either side of the air conditioner’s evaporator coil. Several tubes connect the two sections. A refrigerant inside the tubes pre-cools the incoming supply air by absorbing the heat from it. This causes the refrigerant in the tube to evaporate. The air conditioner evaporator cools it further, extracting up to 91% more water vapor than a conventional evaporator would. After the refrigerant in the tubes changes into a vapor, it flows to the condensing section at the other end of the system. There, it releases its heat into the air stream and returns to its liquid state again. Gravity then causes the refrigerant to flow to the evaporator end of the pipe to begin the cycle again.

Some models of commercial heat pumps and central air conditioners can be retrofitted with dehumidifying heat pipes. You can choose either a replacement cooling coil that incorporates the heat pipe, or add-on heat pipes for the unit’s ventilation system. You may also want to consider a complete air-conditioner unit that incorporates the heat pipe.

Although the heat pipes don’t use any electricity directly, they cause the conditioned air to leave the system slightly warmer than it would have in the absence of the heat pipe, so it takes more energy to cool your home. The system also consumes more fan power to blow air past the heat pipe. However, in some instances, the thermostat can be set higher with the lower humidity air, allowing a net energy savings.

4603 Farmer St. Houston TX, 77020 – Radiant Cooling

4603 Farmer St. Houston TX, 77020

4603 Farmer St. Houston TX, 77020 – Radiant Cooling

Radiant cooling cools a floor or ceiling by absorbing the heat radiated from the rest of the room. When the floor is cooled, it is often referred to as radiant floor cooling; cooling the ceiling is usually done in homes with radiant panels. Although potentially suitable for arid climates, radiant cooling is problematic for homes in more humid climates due to condensation on the panels when their temperature is below the dew point of the air in the room.

Most cooling home applications in North America have been based on aluminum panels suspended from the ceiling, through which chilled water is circulated. To be effective, the panels must be maintained at a temperature very near the dew point within the house, and the house must be kept dehumidified. In humid climates, simply opening a door could allow enough humidity into the home to allow condensation to occur.

The panels cover most of the ceiling, leading to high capital expense for the systems. In all but the most arid locations, an auxiliary air-conditioning system will be required to keep the home’s humidity low, adding further to the capital cost. Some manufacturers do not recommend their use in homes.

In addition, the limited use of radiant cooling in the United States U.S. creates concerns about the quality and availability of professionals to install, maintain, and repair a residential system.

Despite these caveats, there may be cases where cooling is appropriate for homes, particularly in the arid Southwest. Radiant cooling systems have been embedded in the ceilings of adobe homes, taking advantage of the thermal mass to provide a steady cooling effect.

Homes built on concrete slabs are prime candidates for radiant heating systems, and radiant floor cooling takes advantage of the same principle using chilled water. This is particularly economic in homes with existing radiant floor systems. Again, condensation is a concern, particularly if the floor is covered with heavy carpeting, and the effect is intensified by the tendency of cool air to collect near the floor in stratified layers. This limits the temperature to which the floor can be lowered.

Despite that limitation, a study performed by DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory found that some early morning cooling of a home’ s concrete slab, combined with nighttime ventilation, could shift most of the cooling loads for a house to off-peak hours, reducing the peak demand on electric utilities.

1439 W 25th #E Houston TX 77008 – Air Conditioning

1439 W 25th #E Houston TX 77008

1439 W 25th #E Houston TX 77008 – Air Conditioning

Three-quarters of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of about $29 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year. To learn more about air conditions, explore our Energy Saver 101 infographic on home cooling.

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. Refrigerators use energy (usually electricity) to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings of your home; likewise, an air conditioner uses energy to transfer heat from the interior of your home to the relatively warm outside environment.

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AC

An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils.

The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and cooling your home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid, giving up its heat to the outside air flowing over the condenser’s metal tubing and fins.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, nearly all air conditioners used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as their refrigerant, but because these chemicals are damaging to Earth’s ozone layer, CFC production stopped in the United States in 1995. Nearly all air conditioning systems now use halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as a refrigerant.  The latest HCFC, HCFC-22 (also called R-22), began to be phased out in 2010 and stopped entirely in 2020. However, HCFC-22 is expected to be available for many years as it is removed and reused from old systems that are taken out of service. As these refrigerants are phased out, ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are expected to dominate the market, as well as alternative refrigerants such as ammonia.

5215 Gano St Houston TX, 77009 – Evaporative Coolers

5215 Gano St Houston TX, 77009

5215 Gano St Houston TX, 77009 – Evaporative Coolers

In low-humidity areas, evaporating water into the air provides a natural and energy-efficient means of cooling. Evaporative coolers, also called swamp coolers, rely on this principle.  By passing outdoor air over water-saturated pads, the water in the pads evaporate, reducing the air temperature by 15°- to 40°F-before it is directed into the home.

Evaporative cooler

When operating an evaporative cooler, windows are partially opened to allow warm indoor air to escape as it is replaced by cooler air. Unlike central air conditioning systems that recirculate the same air, evaporative coolers provide a steady stream of fresh air into the house.

Evaporative coolers cost about one-half as much to install as central air conditioners and use about one-quarter as much energy. However, they require more frequent maintenance than refrigerated air conditioners and they’re only suitable for areas with low humidity.

Sizing and Selection

Evaporative coolers are rated by the cubic feet per minute (cfm) of air that they deliver to the house. Most models range from 3,000 to 25,000 cfm. Manufacturers recommend providing enough air-moving capacity for 20 to 40 air changes per hour, depending on the climate.

Installation

Evaporative coolers are installed in one of two ways: the cooler blows air into a central location, or the cooler connects to ductwork, which distributes the air to different rooms. Central-location installations work well for compact houses that are open from room to room. Ducted systems are required for larger houses with hallways and multiple rooms.

Most evaporative coolers for residential buildings are installed in a down-flow arrangement on the roof.  However, many experts prefer to install ground-mounted horizontal units, which feature easier maintenance and less risk of roof leaks.

Small horizontal-flow coolers are installed in windows to cool a room or section of a home. These portable evaporative coolers work well in moderate climates but may not be able to cool a room adequately in hot climates. Room evaporative coolers are becoming more popular in areas of the western United States with milder summer weather. They can reduce the temperature in a single room by 5° to 15°F.

Small, portable evaporative coolers on wheels are now available as well. Although the units have the advantage of portability, their cooling ability is limited by the humidity within your home. Generally, these units will provide only a slight cooling effect.

Operation

Evaporative cooler

An evaporative cooler should have at least two speeds and a vent-only option. During vent-only operation, the water pump does not operate, and the outdoor air is not humidified. This lets you use the evaporative cooler as a whole-house fan in a residential application during mild weather.

Control the cooler’s air movement through the house by adjusting window openings. Open the windows or vents on the leeward side of the house to provide 1 to 2 square feet of opening for each 1,000 cfm of cooling capacity. Experiment to find the right windows to open and the correct amount to open them. If the windows are open too far, too much hot air will enter. If the windows are not open far enough, humidity will build up in the home.

You can regulate both temperature and humidity by opening windows in the areas you want to cool and closing windows in unoccupied areas. Where open windows create a security issue, install up-ducts in the ceiling. Up-ducts open to exhaust warm air into the attic as cooler air comes in from the evaporative cooler. Evaporative coolers installed with up-ducts will need additional attic ventilation.

Optional filters remove most of the dust from incoming air — an attractive option for homeowners concerned about allergies. Filters can also reduce the tendency of some coolers to pull water droplets from the pads into the blades of the fan. Most evaporative coolers do not have air filters as original equipment, but they can be fitted to the cooler during or after installation.

Evaporative Cooler Maintenance

Save yourself a lot of work and money by draining and cleaning your evaporative cooler regularly. Build-up of sediment and minerals should be regularly removed. Evaporative coolers need a major cleaning every season and may need routine maintenance several times during the cooling season.

The more a cooler operates, the more maintenance it will need. In hot climates where the cooler operates much of the time, look at the pads, filters, reservoir, and pump at least once a month. Replace the pads at least twice during the cooling season, or as often as once a month during continuous operation.

Some paper and synthetic cooler pads can be cleaned with soap and water or a weak acid according to manufacturer’s instructions. Filters should be cleaned when the pads are changed or cleaned. Be sure to disconnect the electricity to the unit before servicing it.

Two-Stage Evaporative Coolers

Two-stage evaporative coolers are newer and even more efficient. They use a pre-cooler, more effective pads, and more efficient motors, and don’t add as much humidity to the home as single-stage evaporative coolers. Because of their added expense, they are most often used in areas where daytime temperatures frequently exceed 100°F.

Drawbacks of Evaporative Coolers

Evaporative coolers should not be used in humid climates because they add humidity to the air in your home. Also, they do not cool your house down as low as an air conditioner would, and they require simple maintenance about once a month. If the evaporative cooler is installed on the roof, there is some roof deterioration caused by routine maintenance trips. A sunlit rooftop cooler will be about 1°F less effective than a shaded cooler. Rooftop maintenance also requires using a ladder, which may be an inconvenience.

By their nature, evaporative coolers also continually use water. In areas with limited water supplies, homeowners may be concerned about the water-use impact of adding an evaporative cooler.

1442 Gardenia Dr. Houston TX, 77018 – Cooling with a Whole House Fan

1442 Gardenia Dr. Houston TX, 77018

1442 Gardenia Dr. Houston TX, 77018 – Cooling with a Whole House Fan

Cooling using a whole house fan can substitute for an air conditioner in some climates. Whole house fans combined with ceiling fans and other circulating fans provide acceptable summer comfort for many families.

How Whole House Fans Work

The whole house fan pulls air in from open windows and exhausts it through the attic and roof. It provides good attic ventilation in addition to whole house cooling. Whole house fans should provide houses with 15 to 23 air changes per hour (varies with climate, floor plan, etc.—check with a professional to determine what is appropriate for your home). The air-change rate you choose depends on your climate and how much you will depend on the whole house fan for cooling.

Installing and Using a Whole House Fan

Whole House Fan

Installing a whole house fan is tricky and should be done by a professional. An experienced professional should take your attic measurements and install your dedicated circuit wiring and, if needed, your new attic vents.

Attic ventilation will usually need to be increased to exhaust the fan’s air outdoors. You’ll need 2 to 4 times the normal area of attic vents, or about one square foot of net free area for every 750 cubic feet per minute of fan capacity. The net free area of a vent takes into account the resistance offered by its louvers and insect screens. More vent area is better for optimal performance.

If your fan doesn’t come with a tight-sealing winter cover, you should either buy one or build one. If you switch between air conditioning and cooling with a whole house fan as the summer weather changes, build a tightly sealed, hinged door for the fan opening that is easy to open and close when switching cooling methods.

Be cautious when operating these large exhaust fans. Open windows throughout the house to prevent a powerful and concentrated suction in one location. If enough ventilation isn’t provided, the fans can cause a backdraft in your furnace, water heater or gas-fired dryer, pulling combustion products such as carbon monoxide into your living space.

Drawbacks

Whole house fans can be noisy, especially if improperly installed. In general, a large-capacity fan running at low speed makes less noise than a small fan operating at high speed. All whole house fans should be installed with rubber or felt gaskets to dampen noise. You can set a multi-speed fan to a lower speed when noise is a problem.

Call us today! 832-661-6154

1115 Aubert St Houston TX 77017 – Fans for Cooling

1115 Aubert St Houston TX 77017

1115 Aubert St Houston TX 77017 – Fans for Cooling

Fans for Cooling

Circulating fans include ceiling fans, table fans, floor fans, and fans mounted to poles or walls. These fans create a wind chill effect that will make you more comfortable in your home, even if it’s also cooled by natural ventilation or air conditioning.

Ceiling Fans

Ceiling fans are considered the most effective of these types of fans, because they effectively circulate the air in a room to create a draft throughout the room. Ceiling fans can help improve comfort year round.  In the summer, operate the ceiling fan in a counterclockwise direction.  In the winter reverse the direction of the ceiling fan to operate clockwise and set on a low speed to move warm air from the ceiling to the living levels of the space.  And be certain to turn off ceiling fans when you leave a room.

If you use air conditioning to cool your home, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. In temperate climates, or during moderately hot weather, ceiling fans may allow you to avoid using your air conditioner altogether. Install a fan in each room that needs to be cooled during hot weather.

Ceiling fans are only appropriate in rooms with ceilings at least eight feet high. Fans work best when the blades are 7 to 9 feet above the floor and 10 to 12 inches below the ceiling. Fans should be installed so their blades are no closer than 8 inches from the ceiling and 18 inches from the walls.

Larger ceiling fans can move more air than smaller fans. A 36- or 44-inch diameter fan will cool rooms up to 225 square feet, while fans that are 52 inches or more should be used in larger rooms. Multiple fans work best in rooms longer than 18 feet. Small- and medium-sized fans will provide efficient cooling in a 4- to 6-foot diameter area, while larger fans are effective up to 10 feet.

A larger blade will also provide comparable cooling at a lower velocity than a smaller blade. This may be important in areas where loose papers or other objects will be disturbed by a strong breeze. The fan should also be fitted to the aesthetics of the room—a large fan may appear overpowering in a small room.

A more expensive fan that operates quietly and smoothly will probably offer more trouble-free service than cheaper units. Check the noise ratings, and, if possible, listen to your fan in operation before you buy it.

When buying ceiling fans, look for the ENERGY STAR® label. Ceiling fans that are Energy Star certified are up to 40% more efficient, on average, than conventional models.

Window Fans

Window fans use little energy and can provide effective cooling in many climates. Window fans are best used in windows facing away from the prevailing wind and exhausting hot air from your home. To cool as much of your home as possible, tightly close windows near the fan and open windows in rooms far from the fan, preferably on the windward side of your home. Windows near cooler shaded outdoor areas provide the best intake air.

In multi-level houses, the fan should be located on the upper level, if possible, and the open windows should be located on a lower level. If that’s not practical, you may want to independently ventilate each level of your home with separate fans.

Depending on the layout of your home, you might want to use several window fans working together to pull the air through your home. For instance, fans in several upstairs bedrooms will assure that each bedroom is cooled and will work together to pull air in through the rest of your home.

918 Bay Oaks Rd Houston TX 77008 – Ventilation Systems for Cooling

918 Bay Oaks Rd Houston TX 77008

918 Bay Oaks Rd Houston TX 77008 – Ventilation Systems for Cooling

Ventilation is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with methods to avoid heat buildup in your home. In some cases, natural ventilation will suffice for cooling, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, and window fans. For large homes, homeowners might want to investigate whole house fans.

Interior ventilation is ineffective in hot, humid climates where temperature swings between day and night are small. In these climates, natural ventilation of your attic (often required by building codes) will help to reduce your use of air conditioning, and attic fans may also prove beneficial. However, an alternate approach is to seal the attic and make it part of the conditioned space in your house, putting the insulation on the inside of the roof rather than on the floor of the attic. Sealed attics are more feasible in new home construction but can be retrofitted on an existing house.

Principles of Heating and Cooling

It is important to understand the roles of conduction, convection, radiation, and perspiration.

Avoiding Heat Buildup

Keeping the outside heat outside, avoiding heat-generating activities, and using spot ventilation can help keep your home cool during hot days.

To avoid heat buildup in your home, plan ahead by landscaping your lot to shade your house. If you replace your roof, use a light-colored material to help it reflect heat. Insulate your house to at least the recommended levels to help keep out the heat and consider using a radiant barrier.

On hot days, whenever outdoor temperatures are higher than the temperature inside your house, close tightly all the windows and exterior doors. Also install window shades or other window treatments and close the shades. Shades will help block out not only direct sunlight, but also radiated heat from the outdoors, and insulated shades will reduce the conduction of heat into your home through your windows.

Cooking can be a major source of heat within a home. On hot days, avoid using the oven; cook on the stovetop, or better yet, use only a microwave oven. For stovetop or oven cooking, use the spot ventilation of your oven hood to help remove the heat from the house (this will suck some hot outside air into your home, so don’t overdo it). Outdoor grilling is a great way to avoid cooking indoors, and of course, going out to eat or ordering take-out work as well.

Bathing, washing laundry, and other activities can also pump heat into your home. When you shower or take a bath, use the spot ventilation of a bathroom fan to remove the heat and humidity from your home. Your laundry room might also benefit from spot ventilation. If you use an electric dryer, be sure it’s vented to the outside (for safety, gas dryers should ALWAYS be vented to the outside). If you live in an older home with a sump that your laundry drains to, drain the sump after running any loads in hot water (or better yet, avoid using hot water for your laundry).

Finally, avoid any activities that generate a lot of heat, such as running a computer, burning open flames, running a dishwasher, and using hot devices such as curling irons or hair dryers. Even stereos and televisions will add some heat to your home.

Natural Ventilation

In some parts of the United States, natural convection and cool breezes are sufficient to keep homes cool.

Ceiling Fans, Window Fans, and Other Circulating Fans

Ceiling fan

Fans that circulate air within your home can improve your comfort level. Window fans use relatively little electricity and provide sufficient cooling for homes in many parts of the country.

Whole House Fans

For larger homes in moderate or dry weather, a whole house fan provides excellent ventilation to achieve lower indoor temperatures. For homes with ducts, an alternative approach uses those ducts to supply ventilation air throughout the home.

114 Eastgate St Houston TX, 77012 – Home Cooling Systems

114 Eastgate St Houston TX, 77012

114 Eastgate St Houston TX, 77012 – Home Cooling Systems

Your first thought for cooling may be air conditioning, there are many alternatives that provide cooling with less energy use. A combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, daylighting, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a minimum of energy use in all but the hottest climates. Although ventilation should be avoided in hot, humid climates, other approaches can significantly reduce the need to use air conditioning. Before choosing a cooling system, you may want to familiarize yourself with the principles of heating and cooling.

Home Cooling Tips

  • Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer and raise the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.
  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. See the efficiency standards for information on minimum ratings and look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing new products.

We will be going more into Home Cooling Systems in more detail and blog posts. Call us today for more information or to schedule an energy assessment today. 832-661-6154

111 Clifton St. Houston TX, 77011 – Minimizing Energy Losses in Ducts

111 Clifton St. Houston TX, 77011

111 Clifton St. Houston TX, 77011 – Minimizing Energy Losses in Ducts

Minimizing Energy Losses in Ducts

Minimizing energy losses in ducts by seeing if the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated. That could tell you why your energy bill in high. Your air ducts are one of the most important systems in your home, and if the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated, they are likely contributing to higher energy bills.

Your home’s duct system is a branching network of tubes in the walls, floors, and ceilings; it carries the air from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner to each room. Ducts are made of sheet metal, fiberglass, or other materials.

Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills, but you can reduce that loss by sealing and insulating your ducts. Insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost-effective. Existing ducts may also be blocked or may require simple upgrades.

Designing and Installing New Duct Systems

In new home construction or in retrofits, proper duct system design is critical. In recent years, energy-saving designs have sought to include ducts and heating systems in the conditioned space.

Efficient and well-designed duct systems distribute air properly throughout your home without leaking to keep all rooms at a comfortable temperature. The system should provide balanced supply and return flow to maintain a neutral pressure within the house.

Even well sealed and insulated ducts will leak and lose some heat, so many new energy-efficient homes place the duct system within the conditioned space of the home. The simplest way to accomplish this is to hide the ducts in dropped ceilings and in corners of rooms. Ducts can also be located in a sealed and insulated chase extending into the attic or built into raised floors. In both of these latter cases, care must be taken during construction to prevent contractors from using the duct chases for wiring or other utilities.

In either case, actual ducts must be used — chases and floor cavities should not be used as ducts. Regardless of where they are installed, ducts should be well sealed. Although ducts can be configured in a number of ways, the “trunk and branch” and “radial” supply duct configurations are most suitable for ducts located in conditioned spaces.

 

Illustration of supply ducts shows four configurations. The trunk and branch configuration consists of two large ducts extending in opposite directions from the air source, with many smaller ducts attached at right angles to the large ducts. The radial design features many small ducts extending radially out from the central air supply. The perimeter loop design again features radial ducts, but they connect to a loop that runs along the perimeter of the house, with vents located along the loop. The spider design features a few large ducts extending radially from the central air supply, then connecting to mixing boxes from which several smaller ducts branch out.

 

Air return duct systems can be configured in two ways: each room can have a return duct that sends air back to the heating and cooling equipment or return grills can be located in central locations on each floor. For the latter case, either grills must be installed to allow air to pass out of closed rooms, or short “jumper ducts” can be installed to connect the vent in one room with the next, allowing air to flow back to the central return grilles. Door undercuts help, but they are usually not sufficient for return airflow.

You can perform a simple check for adequate return air capacity by doing the following:

  1. Close all exterior doors and windows
  2. Close all interior room doors
  3. Turn on the central air handler
  4. “Crack” interior doors one by one and observe if the door closes or further opens “on its own.” (Whether it closes or opens will depend on the direction of the air handler-driven air flow.) Rooms served by air-moved doors have restricted return air flow and need pressure relief as described above.

 

Illustration of return air techniques shows supply air returning through grilles in doors and walls, under gaps beneath undercut doors, through offset 'transfer grilles' that use the wall cavity to carry return air, and through a 'jumper duct' that runs over the ceiling to connect grilles in two rooms.

Maintaining and Upgrading Existing Duct Systems

Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic or vented crawlspace. If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air can be forced out of unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints.

Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, qualified professionals should seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces to ensure the use of appropriate sealing materials.

Aside from sealing your ducts, the simplest and most effective means of maintaining your air distribution system is to ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers, and to vacuum the registers to remove any dust buildup.

Existing duct systems often suffer from design deficiencies in the return air system, and modifications by the homeowner (or just a tendency to keep doors closed) may contribute to these problems. Any rooms with a lack of sufficient return airflow may benefit from relatively simple upgrades, such as the installation of new return-air grilles, undercutting doors for return air, or installing a jumper duct.

Some rooms may also be hard to heat and cool because of inadequate supply ducts or grilles. If this is the case, you should first examine whether the problem is the room itself: fix any problems with insulation, air leakage, or inefficient windows first. If the problem persists, you may be able to increase the size of the supply duct or add an additional duct to provide the needed airflow to the room.

Minor Duct Repair Tips

  • Check your ducts for air leaks. First, look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then look for obvious holes.
  • Duct mastic is the preferred material for sealing ductwork seams and joints. It is more durable than any available tape and generally easier for a do-it-yourself installation. Its only drawback is that it will not bridge gaps over ¼ inch. Such gaps must be first bridged with web-type drywall tape, or a good quality heat approved tape.
  • If you use tape to seal your ducts, avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesive duct tape — it tends to fail quickly. Instead, use mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes. Look for tape with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo.
  • Remember that insulating ducts in the basement will make the basement colder. If both the ducts and the basement walls are not insulated, consider insulating both. Water pipes and drains in unconditioned spaces could freeze and burst if the heat ducts are fully insulated because there would be no heat source to prevent the space from freezing in cold weather. However, using an electric heating tape wrap on the pipes can prevent this. Check with a professional contractor.
  • Hire a professional to install both supply and return registers in the basement rooms after converting your basement to a living area.
  • Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of the insulation on cooling ducts to prevent moisture condensation.
  • If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or other appliance or an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor to alert you to harmful CO levels.
  • Be sure to get professional help when doing ductwork. A qualified professional should always perform changes and repairs to a duct system.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are required in new buildings in many states. They are highly recommended in homes with fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters, and space heaters. An alarm signals if CO reaches potentially dangerous levels.

405 Elm Lake Dr Huffman TX 77336 – Programmable Thermostats

405 Elm Lake Dr Huffman TX 77336

405 Elm Lake Dr Huffman TX 77336 – Programmable Thermostats

Programmable Thermostats

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

Learn how to set your home thermostat to keep your home comfortable and save energy and money.

Thermostat Operation

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.  You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to around 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away, and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you are at home and need cooling and to ensure humidity control if needed.

Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.

During winter, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning. Check out our home heating infographic to learn more about how heating systems and thermostats interact.

Limitations for Homes with Heat Pumps, Electric Resistance Heating, Steam Heat, and Radiant Floor Heating

Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost-effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

The slow response time — up to several hours — of steam heating and radiant floor heating systems leads some people to suggest that setback is inappropriate for these systems. However, some manufacturers now offer thermostats that track the performance of your heating system to determine when to turn it on in order to achieve comfortable temperatures at your programmed time.

Alternately, a normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

Choosing and Programming a Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Other Considerations

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to prevent “ghost readings” or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. To operate properly, a thermostat must be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. It should be located where natural room air currents–warm air rising, cool air sinking–occur. Furniture will block natural air movement, so do not place pieces in front of or below your thermostat. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

12206 Mossycup Dr. Houston TX, 77024 – Landscaping

12206 Mossycup Dr. Houston TX, 77024

12206 Mossycup Dr. Houston TX, 77024 – Landscaping

A well-designed landscape not only can add beauty to your home but also can reduce your heating and cooling costs. A well-placed tree, shrub, or vine can deliver effective shade, act as a windbreak, and reduce your energy bills. Carefully positioned trees can save up to 25% of the energy a typical household uses.

Climate

How you landscape to conserve energy depends on where you live. The United States can be divided roughly into four climate regions — temperate, hot-arid, hot-humid, and cool. See the map to find your climatic region. Below you’ll find landscaping strategies listed by region and in order of importance. In all regions, be sure to choose trees, plants, shrubs, and landscaping techniques and practices that are well suited to your local climate zone and conditions.

Temperate Region

  • Maximize warming effects of the sun in the winter.
  • Maximize shade during the summer.
  • Deflect winter winds away from buildings with windbreaks of trees and shrubs on the north and northwest side of the house.
  • Tunnel summer breezes toward the home.

Hot-Arid Region

  • Provide shade to cool roofs, walls, and windows.
  • Allow summer winds to access naturally cooled homes.
  • Block or deflect winds away from air-conditioned homes.
  • Choose native and drought tolerant landscaping to reduce outdoor watering needs.

Hot-Humid Region

  • Channel summer breezes toward the home.
  • Maximize summer shade with trees that still allow penetration of low-angle winter sun.
  • Avoid locating planting beds close to the home if they require frequent watering.

Cool Region

  • Use dense windbreaks to protect the home from cold winter winds.
  • Allow the winter sun to reach south-facing windows.
  • Shade south and west windows and walls from the direct summer sun, if summer overheating is a problem.

Microclimate

The climate immediately surrounding your home is called its microclimate. When landscaping for energy efficiency, it’s important to consider your microclimate as well as your regional climate.

Your home’s microclimate may receive more sun, shade, wind, rain, snow, moisture, and/or dryness than average local conditions. If your home is located on a sunny southern slope, for example, it may have a warm microclimate, even if you live in a cool region. Or even though you live in a hot-humid region, your home may be situated in a comfortable microclimate because of abundant shade and dry breezes. Nearby bodies of water may increase your site’s humidity or decrease its air temperature. Microclimatic factors also help determine what plants may or may not grow in your landscape.

1937 Lynnview Dr. Houston TX, 77055 – Air Sealing Your Home

1937 Lynnview Dr. Houston TX, 77055

1937 Lynnview Dr. Houston TX, 77055 – Air Sealing Your Home

Air Sealing Your Home

Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.

Save on heating and cooling costs by checking for air leaks in common trouble spots in your home.

Air Leakage

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters, and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Relying on air leakage for natural ventilation is not recommended. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also can contribute to moisture problems that affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability. Sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.

The recommended strategy is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed. Before air sealing, you should first:

You can then apply air sealing techniques and materials, including caulk and weatherstripping. If you’re planning an extensive remodel of your home that will include some construction, review some of the techniques used for air sealing in new home construction and consider a home energy assessment to identify all the opportunities to save energy and money in your home.

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

  • Hire an energy assessor or other weatherization expert to test your home for air tightness.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  • Inspect dirty spots on any visual insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
  • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists and caulk them.
  • Replace single-pane windows with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the Windows section for more information.
  • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
  • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
  • Replace exterior door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
  • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
  • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

Fireplace flues are made from metal, and over time repeated heating and cooling can cause the metal to warp or break, creating a channel for air loss. To seal your flue when not in use, consider an inflatable chimney balloon. Inflatable chimney balloons fit beneath your fireplace flue when not in use, are made from durable plastic, and can be removed easily and reused hundreds of times. If you forget to remove the balloon before making a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate within seconds of coming into contact with heat. A reasonably capable do-it-yourselfer can create an inexpensive, reusable fireplace flue plug by filling a plastic trash bag with fiberglass batt scraps and jamming it into the flue. Attach a durable cord with a tag that hangs down into the fireplace to (1) remind you the flue is blocked and (2) provide an easy plug removal method.  If you want to save money on fireplaces, replace them with an EPA-certified insert, installed by a certified professional.

Note that air sealing alone doesn’t eliminate the need for proper insulation to reduce heat flow through the building envelope.

Call us today to schedule your HVAC Duct Leakage Test and Blower Door Test.

832-661-6154

2142 W Main St. Houston TX, 77098 – Doors

2142 W Main St. Houston TX, 77098

2142 W Main St. Houston TX, 77098 

Your home’s exterior doors can contribute significantly to air leakage, and can also waste energy through conduction, especially if it’s old, uninsulated, improperly installed, and/or improperly air sealed. Weatherstripping can reduce the energy losses due to air leakage.

Types of Doors

One common type of exterior door has a steel skin with a polyurethane foam insulation core. It usually includes a magnetic strip (similar to a refrigerator door magnetic seal) as weatherstripping. If installed correctly and not bent, this type of door needs no further weatherstripping.

The R-values of most steel and fiberglass-clad entry doors range from R-5 to R-6, excluding a window. For example, a 1-1/2 inch (3.81 cm) thick door without a window offers more than five times the insulating value of a solid wood door of the same size.

Single-pane glass or “patio” doors, especially sliding glass doors, lose much more heat than other types of doors because glass is a very poor insulator. Models with several layers of glass, low-emissivity coatings, and/or low-conductivity gases between the glass panes are a good investment. Most modern glass doors with metal frames have a thermal break, which is a plastic insulator between inner and outer parts of the frame. When buying or replacing patio doors, swinging doors generally offer a tighter seal than sliding types. Look at NFRC labels to find air leakage ratings. A door with one fixed panel will have less air leakage than a door with two operating panels.

It’s impossible to stop all the air leakage around the weatherstripping on a sliding glass door and still be able to use the door. In addition, after years of use the weatherstripping wears down, so air leakage increases as the door ages. If the manufacturer has made it possible to do so, you can replace worn weatherstripping on sliding glass doors.

Installation

When you buy a door, it will probably be pre-hung. Pre-hung doors usually come with wood or steel frames. You will need to remove an existing doorframe from the rough opening before you install a pre-hung door. The doorframe must be as square as possible, so that the door seals tightly to the jamb and swings properly.

Before adding the interior trim, apply expanding foam caulking to seal the new doorframe to the rough opening and threshold. This will help prevent air from getting around the door seals and into the house. Apply carefully, especially if the frame is wood, to avoid having the foam force the frame out of square.

New, pre-hung exterior doors should have weatherstripping already installed. Check the weatherstripping on your exterior doors annually to see if it needs replacement.

Storm Doors

Adding a storm door can be a good investment if your existing door is old but still in good condition. However, adding a storm door to a newer, insulated door is not generally worth the expense, because you won’t save much more energy.

If you plan to purchase a storm door, consider features that improve the energy efficiency.

Storm door frames are usually made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, or wood (painted or not). Wooden storm doors require more maintenance than the other types. Metal-framed storm doors might have foam insulation inside their frames for added strength.

High-quality storm doors use low-emissivity (low-e) glass or glazing to increase energy efficiency. Other features may include screens with self-storing pockets, full-length screens with removable glass panels, and screens and glass that slide past each other. All of these features add convenience and cost.

A glass storm door could trap heat against an entry and cause damage if the exterior door gets more than a few hours of direct sun each day. Low-e glass will reduce the heat gained. Check the door manufacturer’s recommendations if this is a concern.

Storm doors for patio doors are hard to find, but they are available. Adding one to a new, multi-glazed low-e door is seldom economic. Insulating attachments such as cellular shades, when closed for the night in winter or on sunny days in summer, are also a good idea.

 

RESNET National Rater Test

The RESNET National Rater Test is an on-line 55 question multiple-choice test. The test is open book and raters have two hours to complete the test. The test is based on building science concepts and rating procedures. Raters receive the results from the test immediately after completing the test. The passing threshold is 40 out of 55 questions. The test must be administered by a RESNET accredited Rater Training Provider. The testing fee is $125.00.

https://natresnet.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/providers-cta-image-1.jpg

RESNET Rater Test Categories

The RESNET National Rater Test’s questions are divided into the key categories of building science and home energy ratings. The following are the categories of the test questions and the percentage of questions in each category that are contained in the test:

General 7.7%

Health and Safety 10.0%

Building Science Topics 9.7%

Insulation 9.7%

Heating and Cooling Systems 9.7%

Domestic Water Heating Systems 7.7%

Appliances and Lighting 7.0%

Air Leakage 10.7%

Conditioned Air Distribution Systems 9.7%

Ventilation 8.7%

RESNET Rating System 9.7%

How the RESNET Rater Test Was Developed

Early in the process, every item in RESNET’s question bank was edited and reviewed by volunteer Subject Matter Experts (SME) with the guidance of a psychometric consultant. This step alone Improved the test by simply eliminating poorly worded question stems and using plausible-but-definitely-not-correct distractors.

Once the item bank was updated with new and improved questions, RESNET’s psychometric consultant created three new fixed-form exams. This is a change from the previous test methodology, in which question items were randomly assigned (weighted by category) from a database. The primary reason for moving away from this method is that with a random collection of questions, one Candidate may draw a more difficult set of questions than another. For the new test, passing scores were determined through a Pass Point Study consistent with procedures adopted in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME, 1999) and with standards published by the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA). With training and guidance from the psychometric consultant, volunteer SMEs applied the Modified-Angoff procedure to rate the difficulty of every item in the bank by responding to the following question: “What percentage of candidates who are just barely qualified for certification will answer this item correctly?” After statistical analysis of the SME responses, the passing score of 40 was recommended by the psychometric consultant for all three test forms.

RESNET Rater Test Study Guide Outline

All of the questions in the national rater test were supported by publications and web sites. The following are source documents for the national rater test:

Handbook of Fundamentals, ASHRAE

Manual J, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)

Residential Energy, John Krigger

ACCA Standard 12

Minneapolis Duct Blaster and Blower Door Manuals, The Energy Conservatory or Retrotec Blower Door and Duct Testing Manuals

RESNET website, especially the links to:

Energy code compliance 2015 or 2018 IECC

RESNET Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating Standards

ANSI/RESNET/ICC Standard 301-2014

ANSI/RESNET/ICC Standard 380-2016

Formal Technical Interpretations

Please remember, this is a national test and may cover topics that are not addressed in detail in a particular state’s program.

Retest Policy

In the event of failure of the Rater Standard Exam, please note our policy regarding retesting below:

First failure: User will be blocked for 7 days before being able to try again.

Second failure: User will be blocked for 14 days before being able to try again.

Third failure: User will be blocked for 45 days before being able to try again.

 

Call us today for more information

832-661-6154

1816 Kipling St. Houston TX, 77098 – Energy Efficient Home Design

1816 Kipling St. Houston TX, 77098

1816 Kipling St. Houston TX, 77098 – Energy Efficient Home Design

Before you design a new home or remodel an existing one, consider investing in energy efficiency. You’ll save energy and money, and your home will be more comfortable and durable. The planning process is also a good time to look into a renewable energy system that can provide electricity, water heating, or space heating and cooling. You may also want to explore your options for financing an energy-efficient home.

In an existing house, the first step is to conduct a home energy assessment (sometimes referred to as an energy audit) to find out how your home uses energy and determine the best ways to cut energy use and costs. To learn more about home energy assessments and find free tools and calculators, go to Your Home’s Energy Use, the Residential Services Network, and the Building Performance Institute.

Whole-House Systems Approach

If you plan to design and build a new home or do an extensive remodel on an existing house, optimizing home energy efficiency requires a whole-house systems approach to ensure that you and your team of building professionals consider all the variables, details, and interactions that affect energy use in your home. In addition to how you use energy, the conditions of where your home is situated, and the local climate, these include:

Before making upgrades, you may also want to work with an energy assessor to use the Home Energy Score.  The Home Energy Score is a national rating system, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, which provides a rating of your home’s current efficiency, as well as a list of improvements and potential savings.  The Score reflects the energy efficiency of a home based on the home’s structure and heating, cooling, and hot water systems. The Home Facts provide details about the current structure and systems. Recommendations show how to improve the energy efficiency of the home to achieve a higher score and save money.

Ultra-Efficient Homes

Ultra-efficient homes combine state-of-the-art energy-efficient construction, appliances, and lighting with commercially available renewable energy systems, such as solar water heating and solar electricity. By taking advantage of local climate and site conditions, designers can often also incorporate passive solar heating and cooling and energy-efficient landscaping strategies. The intent is to reduce home energy use as cost-effectively as possible, and then meet the reduced load with on-site renewable energy systems.

Advanced House Framing

If you’re building a new house or adding on to an existing one, consider using advanced house framing (also known as optimum value engineering), which reduces lumber use and waste and improves energy efficiency in a wood-framed house.

Cool Roofs

Cool roofs use highly reflective materials to reflect more light and absorb less heat from sunlight, which keeps homes cooler during hot weather.

Passive Solar Home Design

Passive solar home design takes advantage of climatic and site conditions to provide heating in the winter and cooling in the summer.

 

4402 Aledo St A Houston TX, 77051 – Energy Efficient Windows

4402 Aledo St A Houston TX, 77051

4402 Aledo St A Houston TX, 77051

Replacing Old Windows
Traditional window materials used in houses across the United States – old single glass pane and later double-pane clear glass – do a poor job of keeping out the cold and excessive heat. If you have these windows in your home, you are likely spending hundreds of dollars a year more in home heating and cooling costs than you would with the latest ENERGY STAR-qualified windows. Replacing old windows represents a significant investment, but the payback in terms of improved thermal comfort, reduced energy usage, and money saved over the long term makes replacement a smart choice. Upgrading to ENERGY STAR-qualified
models can save you as much as 7%-15% or more on annual household energy bills, depending on your geographic location and the type of window being replaced. Before replacing your windows, be sure you have already properly insulated, and air sealed your home. Please see the Energy Saver Guide to Home Insulation and Energy Saver Guide to Air Sealing under Further Reading for more information.

Window Installation Essentials
Even the most energy-efficient windows can result in a drafty house and moisture condensation if they are not properly installed. Make sure to follow manufacturer instructions, seek out trained installers, and watch for lead dust. Most homes built before 1978 contain lead paint, which can pose a serious health hazard during home renovation.

Purchasing ENERGY STAR Windows
Follow these steps when purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified windows:
1. Look for the ENERGY STAR label when buying new windows. The label shows the climate zones where that window will perform best.
2. Determine U-Factor and SHGC ENERGY STAR standards based on your climate zone. The ENERGY STAR climate map below shows four climate zones for the United States.
3. Consider window orientation. Enhance your savings by selecting specific windows for different sides of the house.
4. Ask about ENERGY STAR options that are eligible for the federal tax credit and other incentives. New windows can be a considerable investment with potentially an extended payback period. On average, homeowners recoup about 78% of the cost when the home is sold. You may be able to defray part of the cost upfront. Use the ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder (under Further Reading) to see if your local utility also offers incentives.

Factors to Consider for Energy Efficient Windows
When purchasing ENERGY STAR-qualified windows, look for the U-Factor and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SGHC). The U-Factor measures how well the window insulates. While the U-Factor can take any value, in general for windows it ranges from 0.20 to 1.20. The lower the U-Factor, the better the window insulates. The SHGC measures how much of the sun’s heat comes through the window. It can range in value from 0 to
1. The lower the SHGC, the less solar heat the window lets in.

ENERGY STAR STANDARDS
ENERGY STAR-qualified windows meet strict performance standards established under the ENERGY STAR program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. ENERGY STAR-qualified windows feature:
• Double or even triple panes of glass with inert gases such as argon between them that vastly improve the ability to insulate against unwanted heat flow into or out of the house, depending on the time of year.
• Window frame materials designed to improve the window’s insulating abilities.
• Spacers that keep a window’s glass panes the correct distance apart to reduce heat flow and help prevent condensation.
• Special coatings to create low emissivity (“low-E”) glass. Such low-E glass reflects heat energy either into or out of the house, further enhancing insulation. It also reflects ultraviolet (UV) light away from the house and can protect your household furnishings from (UV)induced fading by as much as 75%

Call us today: 832-661-6154

2434 Brooktree Houston TX, 77008 – Weatherstripping

2434 Brooktree Houston TX, 77008

2434 Brooktree Houston TX, 77008 – Weatherstripping

You can use weatherstripping in your home to seal air leaks around movable building components, such as doors or operable windows. For stationary components, caulk is the appropriate material for filling cracks and gaps.

Before applying in an existing home, you will need to detect the air leaks and assess your ventilation needs to ensure adequate indoor air quality.

Choosing

Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes — up and down, sideways, or out. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely.

Choose a product for each specific location. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Vinyl, which is slightly more expensive, holds up well and resists moisture. Metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) last for years and are affordable.

You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space. Also take durability into account when comparing costs.

Applying

To determine how much weatherstripping you will need, add the perimeters of all windows and doors to be weather stripped, then add 5% to 10% to accommodate any waste. Also consider that weatherstripping comes in varying depths and widths.

Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical.

Here are a few basic guidelines:

  • it should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C).
  • Measure the area to be weather stripped twice before making a cut.
  • Apply snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.

When weatherstripping doors:

  • Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors.
  • Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.
  • Apply one continuous strip along each side.
  • Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.
  • Use a thickness that causes it to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut.

For air sealing windows, apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. The strip shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window.

Find an Energy Auditor

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Weatherization Assistance

Weatherization assistance is offered by states; eligibility requirements vary. Find out how to apply for weatherization assistance.

2231 Kottayam Dr. Missouri City TX, 77489 – Air Sealing Your Home

2231 Kottayam Dr. Missouri City TX, 77489

2231 Kottayam Dr. Missouri City TX, 77489 – Air Sealing Your Home

Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.

Save on heating and cooling costs by checking for air leaks in common trouble spots in your home.

Air Leakage

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Relying on air leakage for natural ventilation is not recommended. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also can contribute to moisture problems that affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability. Sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.

The recommended strategy is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed. Before air sealing, you should first:

You can then apply air sealing techniques and materials, including caulk and weatherstripping. If you’re planning an extensive remodel of your home that will include some construction, review some of the techniques used for air sealing in new home construction and consider a home energy assessment to identify all the opportunities to save energy and money in your home.

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

  • Hire an energy assessor or other weatherization expert to test your home for air tightness.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  • Inspect dirty spots on any visual insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
  • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
  • Replace single-pane windows with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the Windows section for more information.
  • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
  • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
  • Replace exterior door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
  • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
  • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

Fireplace flues are made from metal, and over time repeated heating and cooling can cause the metal to warp or break, creating a channel for air loss. To seal your flue when not in use, consider an inflatable chimney balloon. Inflatable chimney balloons fit beneath your fireplace flue when not in use, are made from durable plastic, and can be removed easily and reused hundreds of times. If you forget to remove the balloon before making a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate within seconds of coming into contact with heat. A reasonably capable do-it-yourselfer can create an inexpensive, reusable fireplace flue plug by filling a plastic trash bag with fiberglass batt scraps and jamming it into the flue. Attach a durable cord with a tag that hangs down into the fireplace to (1) remind you the flue is blocked and (2) provide an easy plug removal method.  If you want to save money on fireplaces, replace them with an EPA-certified insert, installed by a certified professional.

Note that air sealing alone doesn’t eliminate the need for proper insulation to reduce heat flow through the building envelope.

1843 Flowing Springs Trl Houston TX, 77080 – Insulation

1843 Flowing Springs Trl Houston TX, 77080

1843 Flowing Springs Trl Houston TX, 77080 – Insulation

Insulation in your home provides resistance to heat flow and lowers your heating and cooling costs. Properly insulating your home not only reduces heating and cooling costs, but also improves comfort.

How It Works

To understand how insulation works it helps to understand heat flow, which involves three basic mechanisms — conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is the way heat moves through materials, such as when a spoon placed in a hot cup of coffee conducts heat through its handle to your hand. Convection is the way heat circulates through liquids and gases, and is why lighter, warmer air rises, and cooler, denser air sinks in your home. Radiant heat travels in a straight line and heats anything solid in its path that absorbs its energy.

Most common insulation materials work by slowing conductive heat flow and convective heat flow. Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain. To be effective, the reflective surface must be in contact with an air space.

Regardless of the mechanism, heat flows from warmer to cooler areas until there is no longer a temperature difference. In your home, this means that in winter, heat flows directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, and especially to the outdoors. Heat flow can also move indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors–wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house.

To maintain comfort, the heat lost in the winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in the summer must be removed by your cooling system. Properly insulating your home will decrease this heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.

Types of Insulation

To choose the best insulation for your home from the many types of insulation on the market, you’ll need to know where you want or need to install the insulation, and what R-value you want the installation to achieve. Other considerations may include indoor air quality impacts, life cycle costs, recycled content, embodied carbon, and ease of installation, especially if you plan to do the installation yourself. Some insulation strategies require professional installation, while homeowners can easily handle others.

Materials

Insulation materials run the gamut from bulky fiber materials such as fiberglass, rockwool, cellulose, and natural fibers to rigid foam boards to sleek foils. Bulky materials resist conductive heat flow in a building cavity. Rigid foam boards trap air or another gas in their cells to resist conductive heat flow. Highly reflective foils in radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems reflect radiant heat away from living spaces, making them particularly useful in cooling climates. Other less common materials such as cementitious and phenolic foams and perlite are also available.

 

1511 Wipprecht St. Houston TX, 77020 – Heat Pump Systems

1511 Wipprecht St. Houston TX, 77020

1511 Wipprecht St. Houston TX, 77020 – Heat Pump Systems

Heat pumps offer an energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners for all climates. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to transfer heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house.  During the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your house into the outdoors. Because they transfer heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can efficiently provide comfortable temperatures for your home.

Ducted Air-Source Heat Pumps

There are three main types of heat pumps connected by ducts: air-to-air, water source, and geothermal. They collect heat from the air, water, or ground outside your home and concentrate it for use inside.

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Air-Source Heat Pumps

The most common type of heat pump is the air-source heat pump, which transfers heat between your house and the outside air. Today’s heat pump can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months. Air-source heat pumps have been used for many years in nearly all parts of the United States, but until recently they have not been used in areas that experienced extended periods of subfreezing temperatures. However, in recent years, air-source heat pump technology has advanced so that it now offers a legitimate space heating alternative in colder regions.

Ductless Air-Source Heat Pumps

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Ductless Heating

For homes without ducts, air-source heat pumps are also available in a ductless version called a mini-split heat pump. In addition, a special type of air-source heat pump called a “reverse cycle chiller” generates hot and cold water rather than air, allowing it to be used with radiant floor heating systems in heating mode.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

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Geothermal heating

Geothermal (ground-source or water-source) heat pumps achieve higher efficiencies by transferring heat between your house and the ground or a nearby water source. Although they cost more to install, geothermal heat pumps have low operating costs because they take advantage of relatively constant ground or water temperatures. Geothermal (or ground source) heat pumps have some major advantages. They can reduce energy use by 30%-60%, control humidity, are sturdy and reliable, and fit in a wide variety of homes. Whether a geothermal heat pump is appropriate for you will depend on the size of your lot, the subsoil, and the landscape. Ground-source or water-source heat pumps can be used in more extreme climates than air-source heat pumps, and customer satisfaction with the systems is very high.

Absorption Heat Pumps

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Absorption Heat Pump

A relatively new type of heat pump for residential systems is the absorption heat pump (AHP), also called a gas-fired heat pump. Absorption heat pumps use heat or thermal energy as their energy source and can be driven with a wide variety of heat sources such as combustion of natural gas, steam solar-heated water, air or geothermal-heated water, and therefore are different from compression heat pumps that are driven by mechanical energy. AHPs are more complex and require larger units compared to compression heat pumps. The lower electricity demand of such heat pumps is related to the liquid pumping only.

Advanced Features to Look for in a Heat Pump

A number of innovations are improving the performance of heat pumps.

Unlike standard compressors that can only operate at full capacity, two-speed compressors allow heat pumps to operate close to the heating or cooling capacity needed at any particular outdoor temperature, saving energy by reducing on/off operation and compressor wear. Two-speed heat pumps also work well with zone control systems. Zone control systems, often found in larger homes, use automatic dampers to allow the heat pump to keep different rooms at different temperatures.

Some models of heat pumps are equipped with variable-speed or dual-speed motors on their indoor fans (blowers), outdoor fans, or both. The variable-speed controls for these fans attempt to keep the air moving at a comfortable velocity, minimizing cool drafts and maximizing electrical savings. It also minimizes the noise from the blower running at full speed.

Some high-efficiency heat pumps are equipped with a desuperheater, which recovers waste heat from the heat pump’s cooling mode and uses it to heat water. A desuperheater-equipped heat pump can heat water 2 to 3 times more efficiently than an ordinary electric water heater.

Another advance in heat pump technology is the scroll compressor, which consists of two spiral-shaped scrolls. One remains stationary, while the other orbits around it, compressing the refrigerant by forcing it into increasingly smaller areas. Compared to the typical piston compressors, scroll compressors have a longer operating life and are quieter. According to some reports, heat pumps with scroll compressors provide 10° to 15°F (5.6° to 8.3°C) warmer air when in the heating mode, compared to existing heat pumps with piston compressors.

Although most heat pumps use electric resistance heaters as a backup for cold weather, heat pumps can also be equipped in combination with a gas furnace, sometimes referred to as a dual-fuel or hybrid system, to supplement the heat pump. This helps solve the problem of the heat pump operating less efficiently at low temperatures and reduces its use of electricity. There are few heat pump manufacturers that incorporate both types of heat in one box, so these configurations are often two smaller, side-by-side, standard systems sharing the same ductwork.

In comparison with a combustion fuel-fired furnace or standard heat pump alone, this type of system can also be more economical. Actual energy savings depend on the relative costs of the combustion fuel relative to electricity.

922 E 14th St. Houston TX, 77009 – Air Conditioning

922 E 14th St. Houston TX, 77009

922 E 14th St. Houston TX, 77009 – Air Conditioning

Three-quarters of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of about $29 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year. To learn more about air conditions, explore our Energy Saver 101 infographic on home cooling.

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. Refrigerators use energy (usually electricity) to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings of your home; likewise, an air conditioner uses energy to transfer heat from the interior of your home to the relatively warm outside environment.

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AC

An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils.

The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and cooling your home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid, giving up its heat to the outside air flowing over the condenser’s metal tubing and fins.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, nearly all air conditioners used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as their refrigerant, but because these chemicals are damaging to Earth’s ozone layer, CFC production stopped in the United States in 1995. Nearly all air conditioning systems now use halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as a refrigerant.  The latest HCFC, HCFC-22 (also called R-22), began to be phased out in 2010 and stopped entirely in 2020. However, HCFC-22 is expected to be available for many years as it is removed and reused from old systems that are taken out of service. As these refrigerants are phased out, ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are expected to dominate the market, as well as alternative refrigerants such as ammonia.

916 Highland St. Houston TX, 77009 – Programmable Thermostats

916 Highland St. Houston TX, 77009

916 Highland St. Houston TX, 77009 – Programmable Thermostats

You can save money on your heating and cooling bills by simply resetting your thermostat when you are asleep or away from home. You can do this automatically without sacrificing comfort by installing an automatic setback or programmable thermostat.

Using a programmable thermostat, you can adjust the times you turn on the heating or air-conditioning according to a pre-set schedule. Programmable thermostats can store and repeat multiple daily settings (six or more temperature settings a day) that you can manually override without affecting the rest of the daily or weekly program.

Thermostat Operation

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.  You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to around 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you are at home and need cooling and to ensure humidity control if needed.

Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.

During winter, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning. Check out our home heating infographic to learn more about how heating systems and thermostats interact.

Limitations for Homes with Heat Pumps, Electric Resistance Heating, Steam Heat, and Radiant Floor Heating

Programmable thermostats are generally not recommended for heat pumps. In its cooling mode, a heat pump operates like an air conditioner, so turning up the thermostat (either manually or with a programmable thermostat) will save energy and money. But when a heat pump is in its heating mode, setting back its thermostat can cause the unit to operate inefficiently, thereby canceling out any savings achieved by lowering the temperature setting. Maintaining a moderate setting is the most cost-effective practice. Recently, however, some companies have begun selling specially designed programmable thermostats for heat pumps, which make setting back the thermostat cost-effective. These thermostats typically use special algorithms to minimize the use of backup electric resistance heat systems.

Electric resistance systems, such as electric baseboard heating, require thermostats capable of directly controlling 120-volt or 240-volt circuits. Only a few companies manufacture line-voltage programmable thermostats.

The slow response time — up to several hours — of steam heating and radiant floor heating systems leads some people to suggest that setback is inappropriate for these systems. However, some manufacturers now offer thermostats that track the performance of your heating system to determine when to turn it on in order to achieve comfortable temperatures at your programmed time.

Alternately, a normal programmable thermostat can be set to begin its cool down well before you leave or go to bed and return to its regular temperature two or three hours before you wake up or return home. This may require some guesswork at first, but with a little trial and error you can still save energy while maintaining a comfortable home.

Choosing and Programming a Programmable Thermostat

Most programmable thermostats are either digital, electromechanical, or some mixture of the two. Digital thermostats offer the most features in terms of multiple setback settings, overrides, and adjustments for daylight savings time, but may be difficult for some people to program. Electromechanical systems often involve pegs or sliding bars and are relatively simple to program.

When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up. If you prefer to sleep at a cooler temperature during the winter, you might want to start the temperature setback a bit ahead of the time you actually go to bed. Also consider the schedules of everyone in the household. If there is a time during the day when the house is unoccupied for four hours or more, it makes sense to adjust the temperature during those periods.

Other Considerations

The location of your thermostat can affect its performance and efficiency. Read the manufacturer’s installation instructions to prevent “ghost readings” or unnecessary furnace or air conditioner cycling. To operate properly, a thermostat must be on an interior wall away from direct sunlight, drafts, doorways, skylights, and windows. It should be located where natural room air currents–warm air rising, cool air sinking–occur. Furniture will block natural air movement, so do not place pieces in front of or below your thermostat. Also make sure your thermostat is conveniently located for programming.

Call us today! 832-661-6151

407 Elaine St. La Marque TX, 77568 – Blower Door Test

407 Elaine St. La Marque TX, 77568

407 Elaine St. La Marque TX, 77568 – Blower Door Test

Home energy professionals use a blower door as a diagnostic tool to determine how much air is entering or escaping from your home.

Professional energy assessors use blower door tests to help determine a home’s airtightness. Our blower door instructional video illustrates how a blower door test is performed, and how your contractor utilizes the diagnostic information provided to identify areas of air leakage in your home and make energy-saving improvements.

These are some reasons for establishing the proper building tightness:

  • Reducing energy consumption from excess air leakage
  • Avoiding moisture condensation problems
  • Avoiding uncomfortable drafts caused by cold or warm air leaking in from outside
  • Controlling outdoor contaminants, pests, and odors from entering your home.
  • Determining proper sizing and airflow requirements of heating and cooling equipment.
  • Determining whether mechanical ventilation is needed to provide acceptable fresh air and maintain indoor air quality in your home.

Blower Doors: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A blower door is a powerful fan that a trained energy professional temporarily mounts into the frame of an exterior doorway in your home. After calibrating the device, the fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed gaps, cracks and openings such as gaps, cracks, or wiring penetrations. If conditions do not allow for lowering the pressure in the home, the fan may also be operated in reverse, with air pressure increased inside the home.

While the blower test is being conducted, the analyst may use an infrared camera to look at the walls, ceilings, and floors, to find specific locations where insulation is missing, and air is leaking. The analyst may also use a nontoxic smoke pencil to detect air leaks in your home. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of your home, which is recorded on a laptop or tablet.

The blower door test is conducted as part of the energy assessment of your home. Your contractor may also operate the blower door while performing air sealing (a method known as blower door assisted air sealing), and after to measure and verify the level of air leakage reduction achieved.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a digital pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, which are connected to a device for measuring airflow, known as a manometer.

There are two types of blower doors: calibrated and uncalibrated. It is important that auditors use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air flowing out of the house through the fan.

Uncalibrated blower doors can only locate leaks in homes. They provide no method for determining the overall tightness of the home.

The calibrated blower door’s data allow your contractor to quantify the amount of air leakage prior to installation of air-sealing improvements, and the reduction in leakage achieved after air-sealing is completed.

Preparing for a Blower Door Test

Your home energy professional will perform the blower door test, including a walk-through of your home, setting up the blower door, and conducting the test. The following steps will help prepare your home for a blower door test:

  • Plan to do a walk-through of your home with the auditor. Be prepared to point out areas that you know are drafty or difficult to condition comfortably.
  • Expect the auditor to request access to all areas of your home including closets, built-in cabinets, attics, crawl spaces, and any unused rooms.
  • The auditor will need to close all exterior doors and windows, open all interior doors, and close any fireplace dampers, doors, and woodstove air inlets.
  • If you heat with wood, be sure all fires are completely out – not even coals – before the auditor arrives. Remove any ashes from open fireplaces.
  • Expect the auditor to set controls on all atmospheric fossil fuel appliances (e.g., furnace, water heater, fireplaces, and stoves) to ensure that they do not fire during the test. The auditor should return them to the original position after the test.
  • Expect the test to take up to an hour or more, depending on the complexity of your home.

5538 Wyandott Blvd Houston TX, 77040 – Storage Water Heater

5538 Wyandott Blvd Houston TX, 77040

5538 Wyandott Blvd Houston TX, 77040 – Storage Water Heater

Storage Water Heaters

Conventional storage water heaters remain the most popular type of water heating system for the home. Here you’ll find basic information about how storage water heaters work; what criteria to use when selecting the right model; and some installation, maintenance, and safety tips.

How They Work

A single-family storage water heater offers a ready reservoir — from 20 to 80 gallons — of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water, cold water enters the bottom of the tank through the dip tube where it is heated, ensuring that the tank is always full.

Conventional storage water heater fuel sources include natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and electricity. Learn more about fuel types available when selecting a new water heater.

Since water is heated in the tank until the thermostat setpoint temperature is reached, energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn’t running due to standby heat losses, which result from the tank losing heat to the surrounding environment. Only tankless water heaters — such as demand-type water heaters and tankless coil water heaters — avoid standby heat losses. Some storage water heater models have heavily insulated tank, which significantly reduce standby heat losses and lower annual operating costs. Look for models with tanks that have a thermal resistance (R-Value) of R-24 and above to avoid adding an insulation blanket (electric water heaters only).

Gas and oil water heaters also have venting-related energy losses. Two types of water heaters — a fan-assisted gas water heater and an atmospheric sealed-combustion water heater — reduce these losses. Visit the Energy Basics site to learn more about how conventional storage water heaters work.

For low energy bills the best choice to consider are heat pump water heaters and solar water heaters. These water heaters are usually more expensive but they have significantly lower annual operating costs that result in short payback periods.

Selecting a Storage Water Heater

The lowest-priced storage water heater may be the most expensive to operate and maintain over its lifetime. While an oversized unit may be alluring, it carries a higher purchase price and increased energy costs due to higher standby energy losses.

Before buying a new storage water heater, consider the following:

Installation and Maintenance

Proper installation and maintenance of your water heater can optimize its energy efficiency.

Proper installation depends on many factors. These factors include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas- and oil-fired water heaters. Therefore, it’s best to have a qualified plumbing and heating contractor install your storage water heater. Be sure to do the following when selecting a contractor:

  • Request cost estimates in writing
  • Ask for references
  • Check the company with your local Better Business Bureau
  • See if the company will obtain a local permit if necessary and understands local building codes, etc.

If you’re determined to install it yourself, first consult the water heater’s manufacturer. Manufacturers usually have the necessary installation and instruction manuals. Also, contact your city or town for information about obtaining a permit, if necessary, and about local water heater building codes.

Periodic water heater maintenance can significantly extend your water heater’s life and minimize loss of efficiency. Read your owner’s manual for specific maintenance recommendations.

Routine maintenance for storage water heaters, depending on what type/model you have, may include:

  • Flushing a quart of water from the storage tank every three months
  • Checking the temperature and pressure valve every six months
  • Inspecting the anode rod every three to four years.

Improving Energy Efficiency

After your water heater is properly installed and maintained, try some additional energy-saving steps to help lower your water heating bills. Some energy-saving devices and systems are more cost-effective to install with the water heater.

Call us today! 832-661-6154

2058 Johanna St. Houston TX, 77055 – Whole-House Ventilation

2058 Johanna Dr. Houston TX, 77055

2058 Johanna Dr. Houston TX, 77055 – Whole House Ventilation

Energy-efficient homes — both new and existing — require mechanical ventilation to maintain indoor air quality. There are four basic mechanical whole-house ventilation systems — exhaust, supply, balanced, and energy recovery.

EXHAUST VENTILATION SYSTEMS

Exhaust ventilation systems work by depressurizing your home. The system exhausts air from the house while make-up air infiltrates through leaks in the building shell and through intentional, passive vents.

Diagram of an exhaust ventilation system, showing a side view of a simple house with an attic, living space, and basement. In the attic is horizontal duct work leading into a box labeled the central exhaust fan. A duct extending vertically from the central exhaust fan and through the roof is labeled the exhaust air outlet. Arrows show air flow going into the house through vents in the walls, moving through the living space, and moving into the central exhaust fan and out of the house through the exhaust air outlet. Minus symbols show that the living space has negative air pressure. Air infiltration into the living space through the attic, the basement, and the exterior walls is indicated by arrows

Exhaust ventilation systems are most appropriate for cold climates. In climates with warm humid summers, depressurization can draw moist air into building wall cavities, where it may condense and cause moisture damage.

Exhaust ventilation systems are relatively simple and inexpensive to install. Typically, an exhaust ventilation system consists of a single fan connected to a centrally located, single exhaust point in the house. A better design is to connect the fan to ducts from several rooms, preferably rooms where pollutants are generated, such as bathrooms. Adjustable, passive vents through windows or walls can be installed in other rooms to introduce fresh air rather than rely on leaks in the building envelope. Passive vents may, however, require larger pressure differences than those induced by the ventilation fan to work properly.

One concern with exhaust ventilation systems is that — along with fresh air — they may draw in pollutants, including:

  • Radon and molds from a crawlspace
  • Dust from an attic
  • Fumes from an attached garage
  • Flue gases from a fireplace or fossil-fuel-fired water heater and furnace.

These pollutants are a particular concern when bath fans, range fans, and clothes dryers (which also depressurize the home while they operate) are run when an exhaust ventilation system is also operating.

Exhaust ventilation systems can also contribute to higher heating and cooling costs compared with energy recovery ventilation systems because exhaust systems do not temper or remove moisture from the make-up air before it enters the house.

SUPPLY VENTILATION SYSTEMS

Supply ventilation systems use a fan to pressurize your home, forcing outside air into the building while air leaks out of the building through holes in the shell, bath, and range fan ducts, and intentional vents (if any exist).

Diagram of a supply ventilation system, showing a side view of a simple house with an attic, living space, and basement. In the attic is horizontal duct work labeled the central supply fan. A duct extending vertically from the central supply fan and through the roof is labeled the fresh air inlet. Arrows show air flow going into the house through the fresh air inlet, moving through the central supply fan into the living space, and out of the house through vents in the walls. Plus symbols show that the living space has positive air pressure. Air infiltration out of the living space through the ceiling, floor, and the exterior walls is indicated by arrows.

Like exhaust ventilation systems, supply ventilation systems are relatively simple and inexpensive to install. A typical supply ventilation system has a fan and duct system that introduces fresh air into usually one — but preferably several — rooms that residents occupy most (e.g., bedrooms, living room). This system may include adjustable window or wall vents in other rooms.

Supply ventilation systems allow better control of the air that enters the house than exhaust ventilation systems do. By pressurizing the house, supply ventilation systems minimize outdoor pollutants in the living space and prevent back drafting of combustion gases from fireplaces and appliances. Supply ventilation also allows outdoor air introduced into the house to be filtered to remove pollen and dust or dehumidified to provide humidity control

Supply ventilation systems work best in hot or mixed climates. Because they pressurize the house, these systems have the potential to cause moisture problems in cold climates. In winter, the supply ventilation system causes warm interior air to leak through random openings in the exterior wall and ceiling. If the interior air is humid enough, moisture may condense in the attic or cold outer parts of the exterior wall, resulting in mold, mildew, and decay.

Like exhaust ventilation systems, supply ventilation systems do not temper or remove moisture from the make-up air before it enters the house. Thus, they may contribute to higher heating and cooling costs compared with energy recovery ventilation systems. Because air is introduced into the house at discrete locations, outdoor air may need to be mixed with indoor air before delivery to avoid cold air drafts in the winter. An in-line duct heater is another option but increases operating costs.

BALANCED VENTILATION SYSTEMS

Balanced ventilation systems, if properly designed and installed, neither pressurize nor depressurize your home. Rather, they introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.

Diagram of a balanced ventilation system, showing a side view of a simple house with an attic, living space, and basement. In the attic is horizontal duct work (labeled room air exhaust ducts) leading from an exhaust fan into the living space rooms. A pipe extending vertically from the exhaust fan and through the roof is labeled the exhaust air outlet. A box in the basement (labeled the supply fan) has two ducts leading into the living space and one duct leading to the outside, labeled the fresh air inlet. Arrows show air flow into the house through the fresh air inlet in the basement, moving through the supply fan into the living space, through the room air exhaust ducts, into the exhaust fan in the attic, and out of the house through the exhaust air outlet in the roof.

A balanced ventilation system usually has two fans and two duct systems. Fresh air supply and exhaust vents can be installed in every room, but a typical balanced ventilation system is designed to supply fresh air to bedrooms and living rooms where occupants spend the most time. It also exhausts air from rooms where moisture and pollutants are most often generated (kitchen, bathrooms, and perhaps the laundry room).

Some designs use a single-point exhaust. Because they directly supply outside air, balanced systems allow the use of filters to remove dust and pollen from outside air before introducing it into the house.

Balanced ventilation systems are appropriate for all climates. Because they require two duct and fan systems, however, balanced ventilation systems are usually more expensive to install and operate than supply or exhaust systems.

Like both supply and exhaust systems, balanced ventilation systems do not temper or remove moisture from the make-up air before it enters the house. Therefore, they may contribute to higher heating and cooling costs, unlike energy recovery ventilation systems. Also, like supply ventilation systems, outdoor air may need to be mixed with indoor air before delivery to avoid cold air drafts in the winter.

ENERGY RECOVERY VENTILATION SYSTEMS

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Ventilation

Energy recovery ventilation systems provide a controlled way of ventilating a home while minimizing energy loss. They reduce the costs of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside exhaust air to the fresh (but cold) outside supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce cooling costs.

There are two types of energy-recovery systems: heat-recovery ventilators (HRV) and energy-recovery (or enthalpy-recovery) ventilators (ERV). Both types include a heat exchanger, one or more fans to push air through the machine, and controls. There are some small wall- or window-mounted models, but the majority are central, whole-house ventilation systems with their own duct system or shared ductwork.

The main difference between a heat-recovery and an energy-recovery ventilator is the way the heat exchanger works. With an energy-recovery ventilator, the heat exchanger transfers a certain amount of water vapor along with heat energy, while a heat-recovery ventilator only transfers’ heat.

Because an energy-recovery ventilator transfers some of the moisture from the exhaust air to the usually less humid incoming winter air, the humidity of the house air stays more constant. This also keeps the heat exchanger core warmer, minimizing problems with freezing.

In the summer, an energy-recovery ventilator may help to control humidity in the house by transferring some of the water vapor in the incoming air to the theoretically drier air that’s leaving the house. If you use an air conditioner, an energy-recovery ventilator generally offers better humidity control than a heat-recovery system. However, there’s some controversy about using ventilation systems at all during humid, but not overly hot, summer weather. Some experts suggest that it is better to turn the system off in very humid weather to keep indoor humidity levels low. You can also set up the system so that it only runs when the air conditioning system is running or use pre-cooling coils.

Most energy recovery ventilation systems can recover about 70% to 80% of the energy in the exiting air and deliver that energy to the incoming air. However, they are most cost-effective in climates with extreme winters or summers, and where fuel costs are high. In mild climates, the cost of the additional electricity consumed by the system fans may exceed the energy savings from not having to condition the supply air.

Energy recovery ventilation systems usually cost more to install than other ventilation systems. In general, simplicity is key to a cost-effective installation. To save on installation costs, many systems share existing ductwork. Complex systems are not only more expensive to install, but they are generally more maintenance intensive and often consume more electric power. For most houses, attempting to recover all of the energy in the exhaust air will probably not be worth the additional cost. Also, these types of ventilation systems are still not very common. Only some HVAC contractors have enough technical expertise and experience to install them.

In general, you want to have a supply and return duct for each bedroom and for each common living area. Duct runs should be as short and straight as possible. The correct size duct is necessary to minimize pressure drops in the system and thus improve performance. Insulate ducts located in unheated spaces and seal all joints with duct mastic (never ordinary duct tape).

Also, energy recovery ventilation systems operated in cold climates must have devices to help prevent freezing and frost formation. Very cold supply air can cause frost formation in the heat exchanger, which can damage it. Frost buildup also reduces ventilation effectiveness.

Energy recovery ventilation systems require more maintenance than other ventilation systems. They need to be cleaned regularly to prevent deterioration of ventilation rates and heat recovery and to prevent mold and bacteria on heat exchanger surfaces.

Call now! 832-661-6154

1900 Vermont St. Houston TX, 77019 – Ventilation Systems

1900 Vermont St. Houston TX, 77019

1900 Vermont St. Houston TX, 77019 – Ventilation

Ventilation is very important in an energy-efficient home. The “appropriate” amount and type of ventilation varies from home to home and from occupant to occupant. Different households have different occupancy levels (people and pets), schedules, activities, health concerns, and other preferences that will influence appropriate ventilation systems and operation. Ventilation also helps control moisture, thus reducing the chances of mold growth and structural damage. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) specifies how a home’s living area should be ventilated in ASHRAE Standard 62.2.

There are three basic ventilation options —natural ventilation, spot ventilation, and whole-house ventilation.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation is the uncontrolled air movement in and out of the cracks and small holes in a home. In the past, this air leakage usually diluted air pollutants enough to maintain adequate indoor air quality. Today, we are sealing those cracks and holes to make our homes more energy-efficient, and after a home is properly air sealed, ventilation is necessary to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. Opening windows and doors also provides natural ventilation, but many people keep their homes closed up because they use central heating and cooling systems year-round.

Natural ventilation is unpredictable and uncontrollable—you can’t rely on it to ventilate a house uniformly. Natural ventilation depends on a home’s airtightness, outdoor temperatures, wind, and other factors. During mild weather, some homes may lack sufficient natural ventilation for pollutant removal. During windy or extreme weather, a home that hasn’t been air sealed properly will be drafty, uncomfortable, and expensive to heat and cool.

Spot Ventilation

Spot ventilation can improve the effectiveness of natural and whole-house ventilation by removing indoor air pollution and/or moisture at its source. Spot ventilation includes the use of localized exhaust fans, such as those used above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms. ASHRAE recommends intermittent or continuous ventilation rates for bathrooms of 50 or 20 cubic feet per minute and kitchens of 100 or 25 cubic feet per minute, respectively.

Whole-House Ventilation

Ventilation

The decision to use whole-house ventilation is typically motivated by concerns that natural ventilation won’t provide adequate air quality, even with source control by spot ventilation. Whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled, uniform ventilation throughout a house. These systems use one or more fans and duct systems to exhaust stale air and/or supply fresh air to the house.

There are four types of systems:

  • Exhaust ventilation systems work by depressurizing the building and are relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
  • Supply ventilation systems work by pressurizing the building and are also relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
  • Balanced ventilation systems, if properly designed and installed, neither pressurize nor depressurize a house. Rather, they introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.
  • Energy recovery ventilation systems provide controlled ventilation while minimizing energy loss. They reduce the costs of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the fresh (but cold) supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs. Compare whole-house ventilation systems to determine which is right for your home.

Ventilation for cooling is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with techniques to avoid heat buildup in your home. In some climates, natural ventilation is sufficient to keep the house comfortable, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, window fans, and—in larger homes—whole-house fans.

Ventilation is not an effective cooling strategy in hot, humid climates where temperature swings between day and night are small. In these climates, however, natural ventilation of your attic (often required by building codes) will help to reduce your use of air conditioning, and attic fans may also help keep cooling costs down.

Call now! 832-661-6154

1812 Harding St Pasadena TX, 77502 – Caulking

1812 Harding St. Pasadena TX, 77502

1812 Harding St. Pasadena TX, 77502 – Caulking

 

 

 

Caulk

Caulk is a flexible material used to seal air leaks through cracks, gaps, or joints less than 1-quarter-inch wide between stationary building components and materials. For components that move — doors and operable windows, for example — weatherstripping is the appropriate material.

Before caulking air leaks in an existing home, you will need to detect the leaks and assess your ventilation needs to ensure adequate indoor air quality. In addition to sealing air leaks, caulking can also prevent water damage inside and outside of the home when applied around faucets, ceiling fixtures, water pipes, drains, bathtubs, and other plumbing fixtures.

Applying caulk to a window frame to prevent air leakage. This caulk is white when applied and dries clear.

Selecting Caulking

Most caulking compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit in half-barrel caulking guns (if possible, purchase one with an automatic release). Some pressurized cartridges do not require caulking guns.

When deciding how much caulking to purchase, consider that you’ll probably need a half-cartridge per window or door and four cartridges for the foundation sill of an average home. Caulking compounds can also be found in aerosol cans, squeeze tubes, and ropes for small jobs or special applications.

Caulking compounds vary in strength, properties, and prices. Water-based caulk can be cleaned with water, while solvent-based compounds require a solvent for cleanup.

Applying Caulk

Although not a high-tech operation, caulking can be tricky. Read and follow the instructions on the compound cartridge, and remember these tips:

  • For good adhesion, clean all areas to be caulked. Remove any old caulk and paint, using a putty knife, large screwdriver, stiff brush, or special solvent. Make sure the area is dry, so you don’t seal in moisture.
  • Apply caulk to all joints in a window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall.
  • Hold the gun at a consistent angle. Forty-five degrees is best for getting deep into the crack. You know you’ve got the right angle when the caulk is immediately forced into the crack as it comes out of the tube.
  • Caulk in one straight continuous stream, if possible. Avoid stops and starts.
  • Send caulk to the bottom of an opening to avoid bubbles.
  • Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack or seam.
  • Release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid applying too much caulking compound. A caulking gun with an automatic release makes this much easier.
  • If caulk oozes out of a crack, use a putty knife to push it back in.
  • Don’t skimp. If the caulk shrinks, reapply it to form a smooth bead that will seal the crack completely.

The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45°F (7.2°C). Low humidity is important during application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and adhere to the surfaces.

2909 Delano St. Houston TX, 77004 – Air Sealing Your Home

2909 Delano St. Houston TX, 77004

2909 Delano St. Houston TX, 77004 – Air Sealing Your Home

Air Sealing Your Home

Reducing the amount of air that leaks in and out of your home is a cost-effective way to cut heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air-sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment, often one year or less. Caulk is generally used for cracks and openings between stationary house components such as around door and window frames, and weatherstripping is used to seal components that move, such as doors and operable windows.

Save on heating and cooling costs by checking for air leaks in common trouble spots in your home.

Air Leakage

Air leakage occurs when outside air enters, and conditioned air leaves your house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Relying on air leakage for natural ventilation is not recommended. During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house. When it’s warmer and less windy, not enough air may enter, which can result in poor indoor air quality. Air leakage also can contribute to moisture problems that affect occupants’ health and the structure’s durability. Sealing cracks and openings reduces drafts and cold spots, improving comfort.

The recommended strategy is to reduce air leakage as much as possible and to provide controlled ventilation as needed. Before air sealing, you should first:

You can then apply air sealing techniques and materials, including caulk and weatherstripping. If you’re planning an extensive remodel of your home that will include some construction, review some of the techniques used for air sealing in new home construction and consider a home energy assessment to identify all the opportunities to save energy and money in your home.

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

  • Hire an energy assessor or other weatherization expert to test your home for air tightness.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  • Inspect dirty spots on any visual insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
  • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists and caulk them.
  • Replace single-pane windows with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the Windows section for more information.
  • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
  • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
  • Replace exterior door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
  • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
  • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

Fireplace flues are made from metal, and over time repeated heating and cooling can cause the metal to warp or break, creating a channel for air loss. To seal your flue when not in use, consider an inflatable chimney balloon. Inflatable chimney balloons fit beneath your fireplace flue when not in use, are made from durable plastic, and can be removed easily and reused hundreds of times. If you forget to remove the balloon before making a fire, the balloon will automatically deflate within seconds of coming into contact with heat. A reasonably capable do-it-yourselfer can create an inexpensive, reusable fireplace flue plug by filling a plastic trash bag with fiberglass batt scraps and jamming it into the flue. Attach a durable cord with a tag that hangs down into the fireplace to (1) remind you the flue is blocked and (2) provide an easy plug removal method.  If you want to save money on fireplaces, replace them with an EPA-certified insert, installed by a certified professional.

Note that air sealing alone doesn’t eliminate the need for proper insulation to reduce heat flow through the building envelope.

Call us today to schedule your HVAC Duct Leakage Test and Blower Door Test.

832-661-6154

RESNET Rater Training Provider – RESNET National Rater Test

The RESNET National Rater Test is an on-line 55 question multiple-choice test. The test is open book and raters have two hours to complete the test. The test is based on building science concepts and rating procedures. Raters receive the results from the test immediately after completing the test. The passing threshold is 40 out of 55 questions. The test must be administered by a RESNET accredited Rater Training Provider. The testing fee is $125.00.

https://natresnet.wpenginepowered.com/wp-content/uploads/providers-cta-image-1.jpg

RESNET Rater Test Categories

The RESNET National Rater Test’s questions are divided into the key categories of building science and home energy ratings. The following are the categories of the test questions and the percentage of questions in each category that are contained in the test:

General 7.7%

Health and Safety 10.0%

Building Science Topics 9.7%

Insulation 9.7%

Heating and Cooling Systems 9.7%

Domestic Water Heating Systems 7.7%

Appliances and Lighting 7.0%

Air Leakage 10.7%

Conditioned Air Distribution Systems 9.7%

Ventilation 8.7%

RESNET Rating System 9.7%

How the RESNET Rater Test Was Developed

Early in the process, every item in RESNET’s question bank was edited and reviewed by volunteer Subject Matter Experts (SME) with the guidance of a psychometric consultant. This step alone Improved the test by simply eliminating poorly worded question stems and using plausible-but-definitely-not-correct distractors.

Once the item bank was updated with new and improved questions, RESNET’s psychometric consultant created three new fixed-form exams. This is a change from the previous test methodology, in which question items were randomly assigned (weighted by category) from a database. The primary reason for moving away from this method is that with a random collection of questions, one Candidate may draw a more difficult set of questions than another. For the new test, passing scores were determined through a Pass Point Study consistent with procedures adopted in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, NCME, 1999) and with standards published by the National Organization for Competency Assurance (NOCA). With training and guidance from the psychometric consultant, volunteer SMEs applied the Modified-Angoff procedure to rate the difficulty of every item in the bank by responding to the following question: “What percentage of candidates who are just barely qualified for certification will answer this item correctly?” After statistical analysis of the SME responses, the passing score of 40 was recommended by the psychometric consultant for all three test forms.

RESNET Rater Test Study Guide Outline

All of the questions in the national rater test were supported by publications and web sites. The following are source documents for the national rater test:

Handbook of Fundamentals, ASHRAE

Manual J, Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA)

Residential Energy, John Krigger

ACCA Standard 12

Minneapolis Duct Blaster and Blower Door Manuals, The Energy Conservatory Or Retrotec Blower Door and Duct Testing Manuals

RESNET website, especially the links to:

Energy code compliance 2015 or 2018 IECC

RESNET Mortgage Industry National Home Energy Rating Standards

ANSI/RESNET/ICC Standard 301-2014

ANSI/RESNET/ICC Standard 380-2016

Formal Technical Interpretations

Please remember, this is a national test and may cover topics that are not addressed in detail in a particular state’s program.

Retest Policy

In the event of failure of the Rater Standard Exam, please note our policy regarding retesting below:

First failure: User will be blocked for 7 days before being able to try again.

Second failure: User will be blocked for 14 days before being able to try again.

Third failure: User will be blocked for 45 days before being able to try again.

 

Call us today for more information

832-661-6154

1210 Bigelow St. Houston TX 77009 – Blower Door Test

1210 Bigelow St. Houston TX, 77009

1210 Bigelow St. Houston TX, 77009 – Blow Door Test

Home energy professionals use a blower door as a diagnostic tool to determine how much air is entering or escaping from your home.

Professional energy assessors use blower door tests to help determine a home’s airtightness. Our blower door instructional video illustrates how a blower door test is performed, and how your contractor utilizes the diagnostic information provided to identify areas of air leakage in your home and make energy-saving improvements.

These are some reasons for establishing the proper building tightness:

  • Reducing energy consumption from excess air leakage
  • Avoiding moisture condensation problems
  • Avoiding uncomfortable drafts caused by cold or warm air leaking in from outside
  • Controlling outdoor contaminants, pests, and odors from entering your home.
  • Determining proper sizing and airflow requirements of heating and cooling equipment.
  • Determining whether mechanical ventilation is needed to provide acceptable fresh air and maintain indoor air quality in your home.

Blower Doors: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A blower door is a powerful fan that a trained energy professional temporarily mounts into the frame of an exterior doorway in your home. After calibrating the device, the fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed gaps, cracks and openings such as gaps, cracks, or wiring penetrations. If conditions do not allow for lowering the pressure in the home, the fan may also be operated in reverse, with air pressure increased inside the home.

While the blower test is being conducted, the analyst may use an infrared camera to look at the walls, ceilings, and floors, to find specific locations where insulation is missing, and air is leaking. The analyst may also use a nontoxic smoke pencil to detect air leaks in your home. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of your home, which is recorded on a laptop or tablet.

The blower door test is conducted as part of the energy assessment of your home. Your contractor may also operate the blower door while performing air sealing (a method known as blower door assisted air sealing), and after to measure and verify the level of air leakage reduction achieved.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a digital pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, which are connected to a device for measuring airflow, known as a manometer.

There are two types of blower doors: calibrated and uncalibrated. It is important that auditors use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air flowing out of the house through the fan.

Uncalibrated blower doors can only locate leaks in homes. They provide no method for determining the overall tightness of the home.

The calibrated blower door’s data allow your contractor to quantify the amount of air leakage prior to installation of air-sealing improvements, and the reduction in leakage achieved after air-sealing is completed.

Preparing for a Blower Door Test

Your home energy professional will perform the blower door test, including a walk-through of your home, setting up the blower door, and conducting the test. The following steps will help prepare your home for a blower door test:

  • Plan to do a walk-through of your home with the auditor. Be prepared to point out areas that you know are drafty or difficult to condition comfortably.
  • Expect the auditor to request access to all areas of your home including closets, built-in cabinets, attics, crawl spaces, and any unused rooms.
  • The auditor will need to close all exterior doors and windows, open all interior doors, and close any fireplace dampers, doors, and woodstove air inlets.
  • If you heat with wood, be sure all fires are completely out – not even coals – before the auditor arrives. Remove any ashes from open fireplaces.
  • Expect the auditor to set controls on all atmospheric fossil fuel appliances (e.g., furnace, water heater, fireplaces, and stoves) to ensure that they do not fire during the test. The auditor should return them to the original position after the test.
  • Expect the test to take up to an hour or more, depending on the complexity of your home.

Energy Assessments Help Keep the Cold Outside and the Warm Inside Image

2410 Bern St. League City TX, 77573

2410 Bern St. League City TX, 77573 – Energy Assessments Help Keep the Cold Outside and the Warm Inside

Energy Assessments Help Keep the Cold Outside and the Warm Inside

We are in the middle of Energy Awareness Month, and there is no better way to be aware of your energy use at home than conducting a home energy assessment.  Autumn is a great time to start thinking of a home energy assessment, also known as an energy audit, so that you can prepare your home for winter, saving energy and money in the process.

The main purpose of an energy assessment is to determine where energy is being lost in your home so you can evaluate what measures can be taken to make your home more energy efficient. Assessments can be as simple as a do-it-yourself walk through with a checklist, or they can be very detailed, using specific tools and techniques to pinpoint air leaks. Assessments also determine the efficiency of your home’s heating and cooling systems, and ways to conserve hot water. Higher than normal energy bills may hint at the inefficiency of your appliances and heating and cooling equipment.

do-it-yourself energy assessment is the simplest and most common method of conducting an energy audit. Go room-by-room to check for air leaks. There are many potential sites for air to leak into or out of your home, including: windows and doors, gaps around pipe and wire feedthroughs, electrical outlets, foundation seals, mail slots, exhaust fans, attics, garage doors, siding cracks, and old caulking. If you’ve lived in your home for some time, you already may be familiar with areas that get drafty as the cold, wintry weather approaches. Check insulation levels where possible. Look at the age of your heating and cooling equipment, look through past maintenance records and maintenance schedules, and check to see if filters are clean. Review the types of lighting in your home and explore more efficient alternatives. Be sure to keep a checklist of areas you inspected and problems you found. This list will help you prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades.

If you’re somewhat computer savvy, you may be interested in using a computer program to conduct a more thorough energy assessment. Home Energy Saver and Home Energy Checkup are two free web-based do-it-yourself residential energy audit tools. These tools can help you determine the savings you can expect from making specific energy upgrades, and thus help you prioritize improvements to make. Or try the ENERGY STAR® Home Energy Yardstick to compare your home’s energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and get recommendations for energy-saving home improvements from ENERGY STAR.

Another option is to pay a professional service company to conduct an advanced energy assessment on your home. Auditors often use tools such as blower doors, infrared cameras, digital surface thermometers, and smoke pencils to detect leaks in the building’s envelope—your home’s surface area exposed to the outside. They may conduct a building pressurization test that measures the leakiness of the building envelope, or a thermographic inspection that reveals the often hard-to-detect areas of infiltration and areas where insulation is missing. These “house doctors” will generate a report with the results of their tests. This report typically includes a list of where you are wasting energy, what improvements you can make, estimates on what these improvements will cost, and what your annual savings will be should you make the recommended improvements. In some cases, the house doctors will carry out some energy-conserving measures on site at the time of the audit. Ask beforehand to find out which of these services the company provides and what the fees are. These professional tests can be expensive, but the savings after upgrades can be considerable.

You can locate professional energy assessment companies by first contacting your local electric or gas utility to see if they offer free or discounted energy assessments to their customers or if they can recommend local auditors. Your local government or state energy office may help you identify a local company or organization that performs energy assessments. They may also have information on how to do your own assessment. Low-income residents should contact their weatherization office. Two other good resources that can help locate a professional energy assessment company near you are Home Performance with ENERGY STAR and Residential Energy Services Network.

If you’re planning to make extensive energy improvements, you may wish to think about getting an energy rating for your home with the energy assessment, and then applying for an energy mortgage. An Energy Improvement Mortgage finances the energy upgrades of your existing home in the mortgage loan using monthly energy savings.

552 Hollyhock St. Prairie View TX, 77484 – Insulation for New Construction

552 Hollyhock St. Prairie View TX, 77484

552 Hollyhock St. Prairie View TX, 77484 – Insulation on a New Construction

Insulation for New Construction

State and local building codes typically include minimum insulation requirements, but your energy-efficient home will likely exceed those mandates. To optimize energy efficiency, you should also consider the interaction between the insulation and other building components. This strategy is known as the whole-house systems design approach. If you would like to maximize the energy efficiency of your new home, consider ultra-efficient home design or purchasing a new Energy Star home or a Zero Energy Ready Home.

It is more cost-effective to add insulation during construction than to retrofit it after the house is finished. To properly insulate a new home, you’ll need to know where to insulate and the recommended R-values for each of those areas. Use the Home Energy Saver tool to determine where you need to insulate and the recommended R-values based on your climate, type of heating and cooling system, etc.

Once you know where you need to insulate and the recommended R-values, review our information on the types of insulation to help you decide what type to use and where. Before you insulate a new home, you also need to properly air seal it and consider moisture control. Energy losses due to air leakage can be greater than the conductive losses in a well-insulated home.

In most climates, you will save money and energy when you build a new home or addition if you install a combination of cavity insulation and insulated sheathing. Reduce exterior wall leaks by taping the joints of exterior sheathing and caulking and sealing exterior walls. Use tapes and adhesives that are designed for this application since they need to last many years and are nearly impossible to replace. Cavity fibrous or cellulose insulation can be installed at levels up to R-15 in a 2-inch x 4-inch wall and up to R-21 in a 2-inch x 6-inch wall. R-values can be higher for foam insulation and other advanced insulation systems.

Consider products that provide both insulation and structural support, such as structural insulated panels (SIPs), and masonry products like insulating concrete forms.

You should consider attic or roof radiant barriers (in hot climates), reflective insulation, and foundation insulation for new home construction. Check with your contractor for more information about these options.

Choose a team of local building professionals familiar with energy-efficient home construction in your area. The performance of insulation is very dependent on the quality of the installation; contractors that are familiar with the products you are considering will increase the likelihood that they will be installed properly.

2118 Elmen St. Houston TX, 77019 – Air Sealing for New Construction

2118 Elmen St. Houston TX, 77019

2118 Elmen St. Houston TX, 77019 – Air Sealing for New Construction

Air Sealing for New Construction

Minimizing air movement in and out of a house is key to building an energy-efficient home. Controlling air leakage is also critical to moisture control.  Before developing an air sealing strategy, you should also consider the interactions among air sealing materials and techniques and other building components, including insulationmoisture control, and ventilation. This is called the whole-house systems approach.

It’s always best to use techniques and materials identified as best practices for your site and climate. Climate-specific construction details are available through Building America.

Here are some general air sealing techniques and materials for new homes.

Air Barriers

Air barriers block random air movement through building cavities. As a result, they help prevent air leakage into and out of your home, which can account for 30% or more of a home’s heating and cooling costs. Although they stop most air movement, air barriers are not necessarily vapor barriers. The placement of air and vapor barriers in a structure is climate-dependent, and it’s wise to work with building professionals familiar with energy-efficient construction in your area.

Many of the materials used in a house as structural and finish components also act as air barriers. Sealing all the holes and seams between sheet goods such as drywall, sheathing, and subflooring with durable caulk, gaskets, tape, and/or foam sealants will reduce air leakage. In addition, some types of insulation, when densely packed in wall cavities and crevices, can reduce airflow as well as heat flow.

House Wrap

The most common air barrier material is house wrap, which is wrapped around the exterior of a house during construction. Wraps usually consist of fibrous spun polyolefin plastic, which is matted into sheets and rolled up for shipping. House wraps may also have other materials woven or bonded to them to help resist tearing. Sealing house wrap joints with tape improves the wrap’s performance by about 20%. All house wrap manufacturers have a special tape for this purpose.

32102 Redfish Trail Dr. Angleton TX, 77515 – Fireplace and Chimney Efficiency

32102 Redfish Trail. Angleton TX, 77515

32102 Redfish Trail. Angleton TX, 77515 – Fireplace and Chimney Efficiency

Fireplace and Chimney Efficiency

In the frigid temperatures of winter, nothing sounds better than cozying up to the fireplace with a cup of cocoa. While fireplaces can be a great source of warmth during the colder months, if they are not properly maintained, they can contribute to quite a bit of heat loss in your living space.

Here are a few tips to make sure you’re maximizing your fireplace and chimney efficiency this winter:

  1. Keep the fireplace damper closed unless you have a fire burning. It can be easy to forget to close it when the fire has burned out but keeping the damper open can cause drafts and heat loss in the rest of the house. But be careful, it can also be easy to remember to open it when you start a fire.
  2. Install tempered glass doors and a heat-air exchange system that blows warm air back into the room.
  3. Check the seals around your fireplace flue damper—if the seals aren’t tight, you could be losing home heating through the chimney.
  4. Insulate your chimney. Exhaust exiting through the chimney can create creosote build-up and can decrease the efficiency of your fireplace. Liners provide maximum efficiency for your chimney and protect masonry from corrosive byproducts of the flue gases.
  5. Each year before it gets too cold, have your chimney properly inspected by a professional certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America… A certified chimney inspector can offer advice to help make sure all the components of your fireplace and chimney are functioning efficiently and safely.
  6. Lastly, and this may seem obvious, but if you don’t use your fireplace, consult an expert and have the chimney flue plugged and sealed.

These tips should keep you warm in your house year-round. If you’d like more tips similar to these, see our Energy Saver tips on wood and pellet heating maintenance.

810 Berry Sage Ln. – HVAC Duct Testing

810 Berry Sage Ln. Houston TX, 77022

810 Berry Sage Ln. – Minimizing Energy Losses in Ducts

 

Minimizing Energy Losses in Ducts

Your air ducts are one of the most important systems in your home, and if the ducts are poorly sealed or insulated, they are likely contributing to higher energy bills.

Your home’s duct system is a branching network of tubes in the walls, floors, and ceilings; it carries the air from your home’s furnace and central air conditioner to each room. Ducts are made of sheet metal, fiberglass, or other materials.

Ducts that leak heated air into unheated spaces can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating and cooling bills, but you can reduce that loss by sealing and insulating your ducts. Insulating ducts in unconditioned spaces is usually very cost-effective. Existing ducts may also be blocked or may require simple upgrades.

Designing and Installing New Duct Systems

In new home construction or in retrofits, proper duct system design is critical. In recent years, energy-saving designs have sought to include ducts and heating systems in the conditioned space.

Efficient and well-designed duct systems distribute air properly throughout your home without leaking to keep all rooms at a comfortable temperature. The system should provide balanced supply and return flow to maintain a neutral pressure within the house.

Even well sealed and insulated ducts will leak and lose some heat, so many new energy-efficient homes place the duct system within the conditioned space of the home. The simplest way to accomplish this is to hide the ducts in dropped ceilings and in corners of rooms. Ducts can also be located in a sealed and insulated chase extending into the attic or built into raised floors. In both of these latter cases, care must be taken during construction to prevent contractors from using the duct chases for wiring or other utilities.

In either case, actual ducts must be used — chases and floor cavities should not be used as ducts. Regardless of where they are installed, ducts should be well sealed. Although ducts can be configured in a number of ways, the “trunk and branch” and “radial” supply duct configurations are most suitable for ducts located in conditioned spaces.

 

Illustration of supply ducts shows four configurations. The trunk and branch configuration consists of two large ducts extending in opposite directions from the air source, with many smaller ducts attached at right angles to the large ducts. The radial design features many small ducts extending radially out from the central air supply. The perimeter loop design again features radial ducts, but they connect to a loop that runs along the perimeter of the house, with vents located along the loop. The spider design features a few large ducts extending radially from the central air supply, then connecting to mixing boxes from which several smaller ducts branch out.

 

Air return duct systems can be configured in two ways: each room can have a return duct that sends air back to the heating and cooling equipment, or return grills can be located in central locations on each floor. For the latter case, either grills must be installed to allow air to pass out of closed rooms, or short “jumper ducts” can be installed to connect the vent in one room with the next, allowing air to flow back to the central return grilles. Door undercuts help, but they are usually not sufficient for return airflow.

You can perform a simple check for adequate return air capacity by doing the following:

  1. Close all exterior doors and windows
  2. Close all interior room doors
  3. Turn on the central air handler
  4. “Crack” interior doors one by one and observe if the door closes or further opens “on its own.” (Whether it closes or opens will depend on the direction of the air handler-driven air flow.) Rooms served by air-moved doors have restricted return air flow and need pressure relief as described above.

 

Illustration of return air techniques shows supply air returning through grilles in doors and walls, under gaps beneath undercut doors, through offset 'transfer grilles' that use the wall cavity to carry return air, and through a 'jumper duct' that runs over the ceiling to connect grilles in two rooms.

Maintaining and Upgrading Existing Duct Systems

Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic or vented crawlspace. If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air can be forced out of unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints.

Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, qualified professionals should seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces to ensure the use of appropriate sealing materials.

Aside from sealing your ducts, the simplest and most effective means of maintaining your air distribution system is to ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers, and to vacuum the registers to remove any dust buildup.

Existing duct systems often suffer from design deficiencies in the return air system, and modifications by the homeowner (or just a tendency to keep doors closed) may contribute to these problems. Any rooms with a lack of sufficient return airflow may benefit from relatively simple upgrades, such as the installation of new return-air grilles, undercutting doors for return air, or installing a jumper duct.

Some rooms may also be hard to heat and cool because of inadequate supply ducts or grilles. If this is the case, you should first examine whether the problem is the room itself: fix any problems with insulation, air leakage, or inefficient windows first. If the problem persists, you may be able to increase the size of the supply duct or add an additional duct to provide the needed airflow to the room.

Minor Duct Repair Tips

  • Check your ducts for air leaks. First, look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then look for obvious holes.
  • Duct mastic is the preferred material for sealing ductwork seams and joints. It is more durable than any available tape and generally easier for a do-it-yourself installation. Its only drawback is that it will not bridge gaps over ¼ inch. Such gaps must be first bridged with web-type drywall tape, or a good quality heat approved tape.
  • If you use tape to seal your ducts, avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesive duct tape — it tends to fail quickly. Instead, use mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes. Look for tape with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo.
  • Remember that insulating ducts in the basement will make the basement colder. If both the ducts and the basement walls are not insulated, consider insulating both. Water pipes and drains in unconditioned spaces could freeze and burst if the heat ducts are fully insulated because there would be no heat source to prevent the space from freezing in cold weather. However, using an electric heating tape wrap on the pipes can prevent this. Check with a professional contractor.
  • Hire a professional to install both supply and return registers in the basement rooms after converting your basement to a living area.
  • Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of the insulation on cooling ducts to prevent moisture condensation.
  • If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or other appliance or an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor to alert you to harmful CO levels.
  • Be sure to get professional help when doing ductwork. A qualified professional should always perform changes and repairs to a duct system.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are required in new buildings in many states. They are highly recommended in homes with fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters, and space heaters. An alarm signals if CO reaches potentially dangerous levels.

2623 Woodwick Dr. Sugar Land TX, 77479 – Radiant Heating

2623 Woodwick Dr. Sugar Land TX, 77479 – Radiant Heating

2623 Woodwick Dr. Sugar Land TX, 77479

2623 Woodwick Dr. Sugar Land TX, 77479 – Radiant Heating

Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to the floor or to panels in the wall or ceiling of a house. The systems depend largely on radiant heat transfer — the delivery of heat directly from the hot surface to the people and objects in the room via infrared radiation. Radiant heating is the effect you feel from the warmth of a hot stovetop element from across the room. When radiant heating is located in the floor, it is often called radiant floor heating or simply floor heating.

Radiant heating has a number of advantages. It is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses. People with allergies often prefer radiant heat because it doesn’t distribute allergens like forced air systems can. Hydronic (liquid-based) systems use little electricity, a benefit for homes off the power grid or in areas with high electricity prices. Hydronic systems can use a wide variety of energy sources to heat the liquid, including standard gas- or oil-fired boilers, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters, or a combination of these sources. For more on the different types of energy sources and heat distribution systems for home heating, explore our Energy Saver 101 infographic on home heating.

Despite its name, radiant floor heating depends heavily on convection, the natural circulation of heat within a room as air warmed by the floor rises. Radiant floor heating systems are significantly different from the radiant panels used in walls and ceilings. For this reason, the following sections discuss radiant floor heat and radiant panels separately.

RADIANT FLOOR HEAT

Radiant Heating

There are three types of radiant floor heat — radiant air floors (air is the heat-carrying medium), electric radiant floors, and hot water (hydronic)

radiant floors. You can further categorize these types by installation. Those that make use of the large thermal mass of a concrete slab floor or lightweight concrete over a wooden subfloor are called “wet installations,” and those in which the installer “sandwiches” the radiant floor tubing between two layers of plywood or attaches the tubing under the finished floor or subfloor are called “dry installations.”

Types of Radiant Floor Heat

AIR-HEATED RADIANT FLOORS

Air cannot hold large amounts of heat, so radiant air floors are not cost-effective in residential applications, and are seldom installed. Although they can be combined with solar air heating systems, those systems suffer from the obvious drawback of only producing heat in the daytime, when heating loads are generally lower. The inefficiency of trying to heat a home with a conventional furnace by pumping air through the floors at night outweighs the benefits of using solar heat during the day. Although some early solar air heating systems used rocks as a heat-storage medium, this approach is not recommended (see solar air heating systems).

ELECTRIC RADIANT FLOORS

Electric radiant floors typically consist of electric heating cables built into the floor. Systems that feature electrical matting mounted on the subfloor below a floor covering such as tile are also available.

Because of the relatively high cost of electricity, electric radiant floors are usually only cost-effective if they include a significant thermal mass such as a thick concrete floor and your electric utility company offers time-of-use rates. Time-of-use rates allow you to “charge” the concrete floor with heat during off-peak hours (approximately 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.). If the floor’s thermal mass is large enough, the heat stored in it will keep the house comfortable for eight to ten hours without any further electrical input, particularly when daytime temperatures are significantly warmer than nighttime temperatures. This saves a considerable amount of money compared to heating at peak electric rates during the day.

Electric radiant floors may also make sense for home additions if it would be impractical to extend the heating system into the new space. However, homeowners should examine other options, such as mini-split heat pumps, which operate more efficiently and have the added advantage of providing cooling.

HYDRONIC RADIANT FLOORS

Hydronic (liquid) systems are the most popular and cost-effective radiant heating systems for heating-dominated climates. Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern under the floor. In some systems, controlling the flow of hot water through each tubing loop by using zoning valves or pumps and thermostats regulates room temperatures. The cost of installing a hydronic radiant floor varies by location and depends on the size of the home, the type of installation, the floor covering, remoteness of the site, and the cost of labor.

TYPES OF FLOOR INSTALLATIONS

Whether you use heating cables or tubing, the methods of installing electric and hydronic radiant systems in floors are similar.

So-called “wet” installations embed the cables or tubing in a solid floor and are the oldest form of modern radiant floor systems. The tubing or cable can be embedded in a thick concrete foundation slab (commonly used in “slab” ranch houses that don’t have basements) or in a thin layer of concrete, gypsum, or other material installed on top of a subfloor. If concrete is used and the new floor is not on solid earth, additional floor support may be necessary because of the added weight. You should consult a professional engineer to determine the floor’s carrying capacity.

Thick concrete slabs are ideal for storing heat from solar energy systems, which have a fluctuating heat output. The downside of thick slabs is their slow thermal response time, which makes strategies such as night or daytime setbacks difficult if not impossible. Most experts recommend maintaining a constant temperature in homes with these types of heating systems.

Due to recent innovations in floor technology, so-called “dry” floors, in which the cables or tubing run in an air space beneath the floor, have been gaining in popularity, mainly because a dry floor is faster and less expensive to build. Because dry floors involve heating an air space, the radiant heating system needs to operate at a higher temperature.

Some dry installations involve suspending the tubing or cables under the subfloor between the joists. This method usually requires drilling through the floor joists to install the tubing. Reflective insulation must also be installed under the tubes to direct the heat upward. Tubing or cables may also be installed from above the floor, between two layers of subfloor. In these instances, liquid tubing is often fitted into aluminum diffusers that spread the water’s heat across the floor in order to heat the floor more evenly. The tubing and heat diffusers are secured between furring strips, which carry the weight of the new subfloor and finished floor surface.

At least one company has improved on this idea by making a plywood subfloor material manufactured with tubing grooves and aluminum heat diffuser plates built into them. Such products also allow for the use of half as much tubing or cabling, because the heat transfer of the floor is greatly improved compared with more traditional dry or wet floors.

FLOOR COVERINGS

Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating, because it conducts heat well and adds thermal storage. Common floor coverings like vinyl and linoleum sheet goods, carpeting, or wood can also be used, but any covering that insulates the floor from the room will decrease the efficiency of the system.

If you want carpeting, use a thin carpet with dense padding and install as little carpeting as possible. If some rooms, but not all, have a floor covering, then those rooms should have a separate tubing loop to make the system heat these spaces more efficiently. This is because the water flowing under the covered floor will need to be hotter to compensate for the floor covering. Wood flooring should be laminated wood flooring instead of solid wood to reduce the possibility of the wood shrinking and cracking from the drying effects of the heat.

RADIANT PANELS

Wall- and ceiling-mounted radiant panels are usually made of aluminum and can be heated with either electricity or with tubing that carries hot water, although the latter creates concerns about leakage in wall- or ceiling-mounted systems. Most commercially available radiant panels for homes are electrically heated.

Radiant Heat

Like any type of electric heat, radiant panels can be expensive to operate, but they can provide supplemental heating in some rooms or can provide heat to a home addition when extending the conventional heating system is impractical.

Radiant panels have the quickest response time of any heating technology and — because the panels can be individually controlled for each room—the quick response feature can result in cost and energy savings compared with other systems when rooms are infrequently occupied. When entering a room, the occupant can increase the temperature setting and be comfortable within minutes. As with any heating system, set the thermostat to a minimum temperature that will prevent pipes from freezing.

Radiant heating panels operate on a line-of-sight basis — you’ll be most comfortable if you’re close to the panel. Some people find ceiling-mounted systems uncomfortable because the panels heat the top of their heads and shoulders more effectively than the rest of their bodies.

10115 O’Donnell Dr. Houston TX, 77076 – Thermographic Inspection

10115 O'Donnell Dr. Unit B Houston TX, 77076

10115 O’Donnell Dr. Unit B Houston TX, 77076

Energy auditors may use thermography — or infrared scanning — to detect thermal defects and air leakage in building envelopes.

How Thermographic Inspections Work

Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video or film record the temperature variations of the building’s skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.

A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy assessor decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.

Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building shell. Such air leaks appear as black streaks in the infrared camera’s viewfinder.

Thermography uses specially designed infrared video or still cameras to make images (called thermograms) that show surface heat variations. This technology has a number of applications. Thermograms of electrical systems can detect abnormally hot electrical connections or components. Thermograms of mechanical systems can detect the heat created by excessive friction. Energy assessors use thermography as a tool to help detect heat losses and air leakage in building envelopes.

Image
Thermographic scan

Infrared scanning allows energy assessors to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building’s construction. The resulting thermograms help assessors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.

In addition to using thermography during an energy assessment, you should have a scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes. You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings.

Types of Thermographic Inspection Devices

The energy assessor may use one of several types of infrared sensing devices in an on-site inspection.

A spot radiometer (also called a point radiometer) is the simplest. It measures radiation one spot at a time, with a simple meter reading showing the temperature of a given spot. The auditor pans the area with the device and notes the differences in temperature.

A thermal line scanner shows radiant temperature viewed along a line. The thermogram shows the line scan superimposed over a picture of the panned area. This process shows temperature variations along the line.

The most accurate thermographic inspection device is a thermal imaging camera, which produces a 2-dimensional thermal picture of an area showing heat leakage. Spot radiometers and thermal line scanners do not provide the necessary detail for a complete home energy assessment. Infrared film used in a conventional camera is not sensitive enough to detect heat loss.

PREPARING FOR A THERMOGRAPHIC INSPECTION

To prepare for an interior thermal scan, the homeowner should take steps to ensure an accurate result. This may include moving furniture away from exterior walls and removing drapes. The most accurate thermographic images usually occur when there is a large temperature difference (at least 20°F [14°C]) between inside and outside air temperatures. In northern states, thermographic scans are generally done in the winter. In southern states, however, scans are usually conducted during warm weather with the air conditioner on.

Sometimes of the year, because of a phenomenon known as “thermal loading,” it might be necessary for the homeowner–depending on local conditions–to create and maintain a specific inside/outside temperature difference for a period of up to four hours before the test will be performed. Running the air conditioner in cooling climates or the central heat in heating climates can do this. Ask the auditor prior to the test if this will be necessary.

5226 Braesheather St. Houston TX, 77096 – Doors

5226 Braesheather Houston TX, 77096

5226 Braesheather Houston TX, 77096

 

 

Your home’s exterior doors can contribute significantly to air leakage, and can also waste energy through conduction, especially if it’s old, uninsulated, improperly installed, and/or improperly air sealed. Weatherstripping can reduce the energy losses due to air leakage.

Types of Doors

One common type of exterior door has a steel skin with a polyurethane foam insulation core. It usually includes a magnetic strip (similar to a refrigerator door magnetic seal) as weatherstripping. If installed correctly and not bent, this type of door needs no further weatherstripping.

The R-values of most steel and fiberglass-clad entry doors range from R-5 to R-6, excluding a window. For example, a 1-1/2 inch (3.81 cm) thick door without a window offers more than five times the insulating value of a solid wood door of the same size.

Single-pane glass or “patio” doors, especially sliding glass doors, lose much more heat than other types of doors because glass is a very poor insulator. Models with several layers of glass, low-emissivity coatings, and/or low-conductivity gases between the glass panes are a good investment. Most modern glass doors with metal frames have a thermal break, which is a plastic insulator between inner and outer parts of the frame. When buying or replacing patio doors, swinging doors generally offer a tighter seal than sliding types. Look at NFRC labels to find air leakage ratings. A door with one fixed panel will have less air leakage than a door with two operating panels.

It’s impossible to stop all the air leakage around the weatherstripping on a sliding glass door and still be able to use the door. In addition, after years of use the weatherstripping wears down, so air leakage increases as the door ages. If the manufacturer has made it possible to do so, you can replace worn weatherstripping on sliding glass doors.

Installation

When you buy a door, it will probably be pre-hung. Pre-hung doors usually come with wood or steel frames. You will need to remove an existing doorframe from the rough opening before you install a pre-hung door. The doorframe must be as square as possible, so that the door seals tightly to the jamb and swings properly.

Before adding the interior trim, apply expanding foam caulking to seal the new doorframe to the rough opening and threshold. This will help prevent air from getting around the door seals and into the house. Apply carefully, especially if the frame is wood, to avoid having the foam force the frame out of square.

New, pre-hung exterior doors should have weatherstripping already installed. Check the weatherstripping on your exterior doors annually to see if it needs replacement.

Storm Doors

Adding a storm door can be a good investment if your existing door is old but still in good condition. However, adding a storm door to a newer, insulated door is not generally worth the expense, because you won’t save much more energy.

If you plan to purchase a storm door, consider features that improve the energy efficiency.

Storm door frames are usually made of aluminum, steel, fiberglass, or wood (painted or not). Wooden storm doors require more maintenance than the other types. Metal-framed storm doors might have foam insulation inside their frames for added strength.

High-quality storm doors use low-emissivity (low-e) glass or glazing to increase energy efficiency. Other features may include screens with self-storing pockets, full-length screens with removable glass panels, and screens and glass that slide past each other. All of these features add convenience and cost.

A glass storm door could trap heat against an entry and cause damage if the exterior door gets more than a few hours of direct sun each day. Low-e glass will reduce the heat gained. Check the door manufacturer’s recommendations if this is a concern.

Storm doors for patio doors are hard to find, but they are available. Adding one to a new, multi-glazed low-e door is seldom economic. Insulating attachments such as cellular shades, when closed for the night in winter or on sunny days in summer, are also a good idea.

6613 Granite St. Houston TX, 77092 – Minimizing Energy Losses in Ducts

6613 Granite St. Houston TX, 77092

Maintaining and Upgrading Existing Duct Systems

Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic or vented crawlspace. If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air can be forced out of unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints.

Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, qualified professionals should seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces to ensure the use of appropriate sealing materials.

Aside from sealing your ducts, the simplest and most effective means of maintaining your air distribution system is to ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers, and to vacuum the registers to remove any dust buildup.

Existing duct systems often suffer from design deficiencies in the return air system, and modifications by the homeowner (or just a tendency to keep doors closed) may contribute to these problems. Any rooms with a lack of sufficient return airflow may benefit from relatively simple upgrades, such as the installation of new return-air grilles, undercutting doors for return air, or installing a jumper duct.

Some rooms may also be hard to heat and cool because of inadequate supply ducts or grilles. If this is the case, you should first examine whether the problem is the room itself: fix any problems with insulation, air leakage, or inefficient windows first. If the problem persists, you may be able to increase the size of the supply duct or add an additional duct to provide the needed airflow to the room.

Minor Duct Repair Tips

  • Check your ducts for air leaks. First, look for sections that should be joined but have separated and then look for obvious holes.
  • Duct mastic is the preferred material for sealing ductwork seams and joints. It is more durable than any available tape and generally easier for a do-it-yourself installation. Its only drawback is that it will not bridge gaps over ¼ inch. Such gaps must be first bridged with web-type drywall tape, or a good quality heat approved tape.
  • If you use tape to seal your ducts, avoid cloth-backed, rubber adhesive duct tape — it tends to fail quickly. Instead, use mastic, butyl tape, foil tape, or other heat-approved tapes. Look for tape with the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) logo.
  • Remember that insulating ducts in the basement will make the basement colder. If both the ducts and the basement walls are not insulated, consider insulating both. Water pipes and drains in unconditioned spaces could freeze and burst if the heat ducts are fully insulated because there would be no heat source to prevent the space from freezing in cold weather. However, using an electric heating tape wrap on the pipes can prevent this. Check with a professional contractor.
  • Hire a professional to install both supply and return registers in the basement rooms after converting your basement to a living area.
  • Be sure a well-sealed vapor barrier exists on the outside of the insulation on cooling ducts to prevent moisture condensation.
  • If you have a fuel-burning furnace, stove, or other appliance or an attached garage, install a carbon monoxide (CO) monitor to alert you to harmful CO levels.
  • Be sure to get professional help when doing ductwork. A qualified professional should always perform changes and repairs to a duct system.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are required in new buildings in many states. They are highly recommended in homes with fuel-burning appliances such as natural gas furnaces, stoves, ovens, water heaters, and space heaters. An alarm signals if CO reaches potentially dangerous levels.

 

7405 Avenue E Houston TX, 77011 – Weatherization – Combat Winter Heating Bills

7405 Avenue E Houston TX, 77011

7405 Avenue E Houston TX, 77011 – Weatherization

Home heating is predicted to be more expensive this winter. This can be especially challenging for those with lower incomes.

To help with lowering energy bills, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) provides state weatherization agencies with tools and funding to provide low-income families with free-of-charge, energy efficient upgrades to their homes.  A more efficient home means that you pay less every month on your energy bills—and while that’s the kind of upgrade anyone can benefit from, this program helps those who need those extra dollars the most.

WAP estimates that, on average, the value of weatherizing your home is 2.2 times greater than the cost of the weatherization process itself. And those improvements can last a very long time—and some, like insulation, will benefit you (and your energy bill!) for the life of the home.

How to Apply for Weatherization Assistance

You must apply for assistance through your state or local weatherization office.  You may use our state weatherization agency map tool to find your provider.
When applying for WAP services, one of the primary factors affecting eligibility is income. You will be required to provide proof of income for the prior year, such as pay stubs or social security payments. For information on proof of income, please refer to HHS’ Poverty Income Guidelines and Definition of Income.

After you have finished the application process your local weatherization provider will determine if you are eligible to receive weatherization services. Please remember that people who are most in need are often moved to the top of this list. Priority is given to the elderly, families with one or more members with a disability, families with children, or high-energy users.

What to Expect When Receiving Weatherization Services

Once your home is selected for weatherization services, a local weatherization provider will schedule a date and time to complete an energy audit, which is a computerized assessment of your home’s energy use carried out by a professional energy auditor and includes an analysis of your energy bills, a blower-door (pressurized) test to determine the infiltration of outside air into your house, and an inspection of all energy equipment for potentially health and safety issues.

After the analysis of the energy audit is complete, you will be provided with recommendations of the most cost-effective energy conservation measures for your home. All work is energy related, and does not include new roofing, siding, or similar structural improvements.

If you agree on the work to be done to make your home more energy efficient, an energy auditor crew leader from a local weatherization provider will meet with you and your family to explain how the work crews and/or contractors will conduct the work. Weatherization crews or contractors typically complete their work in a day or two, after which the local provider’s inspector will review the work to ensure everything was completed satisfactorily and all equipment is operating safely.

Other Low-Income Energy Assistance Programs

Other federal programs provide support to low-income families that need assistance with their energy bills.
The Low Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides short-term assistance to low-income families to help pay utility bills. This program is funded by HHS. Sometimes states use LIHEAP funds for weatherization to reduce a family’s energy bills over the long term.

Federal Energy Management Agency (FEMA) provides a number of services to assist individuals who are victims of a natural disaster. These services include low-interest loans, some cash grants, and links to assistance from other agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service and Farm Service Agency.
For additional assistance, check with state and local emergency management organizations, as well.

4111 Linn St. Houston TX, 77026 – City of Houston – Whole House Systems Approach

4111 Linn St. Houston TX, 77026

4111 Linn St. Houston TX, 77026

Whole-House Systems Approach

Designing and building a new house or upgrading an existing house to be highly energy-efficient requires careful planning and attention to detail. A whole-house systems approach helps homeowners, architects, builders, and home improvement trades develop successful strategies for optimizing home energy efficiency.

This approach considers the house as an energy system with interdependent parts, each of which affects the performance of the entire system. It also takes the occupants, site, and local climate into consideration.

To ensure that your upgraded home takes full advantage of a whole-house systems approach, hire an experienced design and building team and insist that they use a whole-building systems approach from the beginning of the design process. Your designer can perform a whole-house computer simulation that compares multiple combinations of variables to arrive at the most cost-effective and energy-efficient solution.

These variables could include:

  • Site conditions
  • Local climate
  • Appliances and home electronics
  • Insulation and air sealing
  • Lighting and daylighting
  • Space heating and cooling
  • Water heating
  • Windows, doors, and skylights.

Some benefits of using a whole-house systems approach include:

  • Reduced utility and maintenance costs
  • Increased comfort
  • Reduced noise
  • A healthier and safer indoor environment
  • Improved building durability.

You can use the whole-house systems approach with any home design. Once you’ve reduced your energy loads requirements as much as possible, consider adding renewable energy systems that generate electricity and heat water.

If you plan to design and build a new home or do an extensive remodel on an existing house, optimizing home energy efficiency requires a whole-house systems approach to ensure that you and your team of building professionals consider all the variables, details, and interactions that affect energy use in your home. In addition to how you use energy, the conditions of where your home is situated, and the local climate, these include:

Before making upgrades, you may also want to work with an energy assessor to use the Home Energy Score.  The Home Energy Score is a national rating system, developed by the U.S. Department of Energy, which provides a rating of your home’s current efficiency, as well as a list of improvements and potential savings.  The Score reflects the energy efficiency of a home based on the home’s structure and heating, cooling, and hot water systems. The Home Facts provide details about the current structure and systems. Recommendations show how to improve the energy efficiency of the home to achieve a higher score and save money.

7 Grand Beach Blvd. Galveston TX, 77550 – Insulation for New Home Construction

7 Grand Beach Blvd. Galveston TX, 77550

7 Grand Beach Blvd. Galveston TX, 77550

7 Grand Beach Blvd. Galveston TX, 77550

Insulation Inspection – City of Galveston

 

 

 

Insulation for New Home Construction

State and local building codes typically include minimum insulation requirements, but your energy-efficient home will likely exceed those mandates. To optimize energy efficiency, you should also consider the interaction between the insulation and other building components. This strategy is known as the whole-house systems design approach. If you would like to maximize the energy efficiency of your new home, consider ultra-efficient home design or purchasing a new Energy Star home or a Zero Energy Ready Home.

It is more cost-effective to add insulation during construction than to retrofit it after the house is finished. To properly insulate a new home, you’ll need to know where to insulate and the recommended R-values for each of those areas. Use the Home Energy Saver tool to determine where you need to insulate and the recommended R-values based on your climate, type of heating and cooling system, etc.

Once you know where you need to insulate and the recommended R-values, review our information on the types of insulation to help you decide what type to use and where. Before you insulate a new home, you also need to properly air seal it and consider moisture control. Energy losses due to air leakage can be greater than the conductive losses in a well-insulated home.

In most climates, you will save money and energy when you build a new home or addition if you install a combination of cavity insulation and insulated sheathing. Reduce exterior wall leaks by taping the joints of exterior sheathing and caulking and sealing exterior walls. Use tapes and adhesives that are designed for this application since they need to last many years and are nearly impossible to replace. Cavity fibrous or cellulose insulation can be installed at levels up to R-15 in a 2-inch x 4-inch wall and up to R-21 in a 2 inch x 6-inch wall. R-values can be higher for foam insulation and other advanced insulation systems.

Consider products that provide both insulation and structural support, such as structural insulated panels (SIPs), and masonry products like insulating concrete forms.

You should consider attic or roof radiant barriers (in hot climates), reflective insulation, and foundation insulation for new home construction. Check with your contractor for more information about these options.

Choose a team of local building professionals familiar with energy-efficient home construction in your area. The performance of insulation is very dependent on the quality of the installation; contractors that are familiar with the products you are considering will increase the likelihood that they will be installed properly.

505 Kelly St. Houston TX, 77009 – Caulking

505 Kelly St. Houston TX, 77009

505 Kelly St. Houston TX, 77009

Caulk is a flexible material used to seal air leaks through cracks, gaps, or joints less than 1-quarter-inch wide between stationary building components and materials. For components that move — doors and operable windows, for example — weatherstripping is the appropriate material.

Before caulking air leaks in an existing home, you will need to detect the leaks and assess your ventilation needs to ensure adequate indoor air quality. In addition to sealing air leaks, caulking can also prevent water damage inside and outside of the home when applied around faucets, ceiling fixtures, water pipes, drains, bathtubs, and other plumbing fixtures.

Selecting Caulking

Most caulking compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit in half-barrel caulking guns (if possible, purchase one with an automatic release). Some pressurized cartridges do not require caulking guns.

When deciding how much caulking to purchase, consider that you’ll probably need a half-cartridge per window or door and four cartridges for the foundation sill of an average home. Caulking compounds can also be found in aerosol cans, squeeze tubes, and ropes for small jobs or special applications.

Caulking compounds vary in strength, properties, and prices. Water-based caulk can be cleaned with water, while solvent-based compounds require a solvent for cleanup.

Applying Caulk

Although not a high-tech operation, caulking can be tricky. Read and follow the instructions on the compound cartridge, and remember these tips:

  • For good adhesion, clean all areas to be caulked. Remove any old caulk and paint, using a putty knife, large screwdriver, stiff brush, or special solvent. Make sure the area is dry so you don’t seal in moisture.
  • Apply caulk to all joints in a window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall.
  • Hold the gun at a consistent angle. Forty-five degrees is best for getting deep into the crack. You know you’ve got the right angle when the caulk is immediately forced into the crack as it comes out of the tube.
  • Caulk in one straight continuous stream, if possible. Avoid stops and starts.
  • Send caulk to the bottom of an opening to avoid bubbles.
  • Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack or seam.
  • Release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid applying too much caulking compound. A caulking gun with an automatic release makes this much easier.
  • If caulk oozes out of a crack, use a putty knife to push it back in.
  • Don’t skimp. If the caulk shrinks, reapply it to form a smooth bead that will seal the crack completely.

The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45°F (7.2°C). Low humidity is important during application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and adhere to the surfaces.

6743 Dumble St. Houston TX, 77021 – Lighting Choices That Save

6743 Dumble St. Houston TX, 77021

6743 Dumble St. Houston TX, 77021

When you switch to energy-efficient lighting, you can light your home using the same amount of light for less money. Lighting accounts for around 15% of an average home’s electricity use, and the average household saves about $225 in energy costs per year by using LED lighting. if you are still using incandescent light bulbs, switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your energy bills. For high-quality products with the greatest energy savings, choose bulbs that have earned the ENERGY STAR.

In addition to efficient lighting, consider using controls such as timers and dimmers to save electricity.  Timers automatically turn lights off when not in use by turning lights off when not in use, and dimmers can be used to lower light levels. Be sure to select products that are compatible with the energy-efficient bulbs you want to use.

If you have outdoor lighting that is left on for a long time, using LEDs or CFLs in these fixtures can save a lot of energy. LEDs and CFLs are available as flood lights, and have been tested to withstand the rain and snow so they can be used in exposed fixtures. For high quality products with the greatest savings, look for ENERGY STAR-qualified fixtures that are designed for outdoor use and come with features like automatic daylight shut-off and motion sensors.

LEDs

Light emitting diodes (LEDs) are a type of solid-state lighting — semiconductors that convert electricity into light. Although once known mainly for indicator and traffic lights, LEDs in white light, general illumination applications are today’s most energy-efficient and rapidly-developing lighting technology. LEDs use up to 90% less energy and last up to 25 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LED technology is available in many lighting product types including replacements for 40W, 60W, 75W, and 100W traditional incandescent bulbs, reflector bulbs used in recessed fixtures, and track lights, task lighting, undercabinet lighting, and outdoor area lights. LEDs come in a variety of colors, and some bulbs can be tuned to different colors or different hues of white light.  Some are dimmable or offer convenient features such as daylight and motion sensors. LEDs work well indoors and outdoors because of their durability and performance in cold environments. Look for LED products such as pathway lights, step lights, and porch lights for outdoor use. You can also find solar-powered LED outdoor lighting.

The cost of LED light bulbs has decreased dramatically since they entered the market and prices are expected to come down further as more products become available. While LEDs are more expensive than traditional incandescent bulbs, they still save money because they last a long time and have very low energy use.

5917 Oak Leaf Ct. Conroe TX, 77304 – Air Conditioning

5917 Oak Leaf Ct. Conroe TX, 77304

5917 Oak Leaf Ct. Conroe TX, 77304

Three-quarters of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. Air conditioners use about 6% of all the electricity produced in the United States, at an annual cost of about $29 billion to homeowners. As a result, roughly 117 million metric tons of carbon dioxide are released into the air each year. To learn more about air conditions, explore our Energy Saver 101 infographic on home cooling.

Air conditioners employ the same operating principles and basic components as your home refrigerator. Refrigerators use energy (usually electricity) to transfer heat from the cool interior of the refrigerator to the relatively warm surroundings of your home; likewise, an air conditioner uses energy to transfer heat from the interior of your home to the relatively warm outside environment.

Image
AC

An air conditioner cools your home with a cold indoor coil called the evaporator. The condenser, a hot outdoor coil, releases the collected heat outside. The evaporator and condenser coils are serpentine tubing surrounded by aluminum fins. This tubing is usually made of copper.

A pump, called the compressor, moves a heat transfer fluid (or refrigerant) between the evaporator and the condenser. The pump forces the refrigerant through the circuit of tubing and fins in the coils.

The liquid refrigerant evaporates in the indoor evaporator coil, pulling heat out of indoor air and cooling your home. The hot refrigerant gas is pumped outdoors into the condenser where it reverts back to a liquid, giving up its heat to the outside air flowing over the condenser’s metal tubing and fins.

Throughout the second half of the 20th century, nearly all air conditioners used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as their refrigerant, but because these chemicals are damaging to Earth’s ozone layer, CFC production stopped in the United States in 1995. Nearly all air conditioning systems now use halogenated chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) as a refrigerant.  The latest HCFC, HCFC-22 (also called R-22), began to be phased out in 2010 and stopped entirely in 2020. However, HCFC-22 is expected to be available for many years as it is removed and reused from old systems that are taken out of service. As these refrigerants are phased out, ozone-safe hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are expected to dominate the market, as well as alternative refrigerants such as ammonia.

2120 Erastus St. Houston TX, 77020 – City of Houston – Ventilation Building Envelope Tips and Tricks

2120 Erastus St. Houston TX, 77020

Ventilation is very important in an energy-efficient home. The “appropriate” amount and type of ventilation varies from home to home and from occupant to occupant. Different households have different occupancy levels (people and pets), schedules, activities, health concerns, and other preferences that will influence appropriate ventilation systems and operation. Ventilation also helps control moisture, thus reducing the chances of mold growth and structural damage. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) specifies how a home’s living area should be ventilated in ASHRAE Standard 62.2.

Ventilation Options

There are three basic ventilation options —natural ventilation, spot ventilation, and whole-house ventilation.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation is the uncontrolled air movement in and out of the cracks and small holes in a home. In the past, this air leakage usually diluted air pollutants enough to maintain adequate indoor air quality. Today, we are sealing those cracks and holes to make our homes more energy-efficient, and after a home is properly air sealed, ventilation is necessary to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. Opening windows and doors also provides natural ventilation, but many people keep their homes closed up because they use central heating and cooling systems year-round.

Natural ventilation is unpredictable and uncontrollable—you can’t rely on it to ventilate a house uniformly. Natural ventilation depends on a home’s airtightness, outdoor temperatures, wind, and other factors. During mild weather, some homes may lack sufficient natural ventilation for pollutant removal. During windy or extreme weather, a home that hasn’t been air sealed properly will be drafty, uncomfortable, and expensive to heat and cool.

Spot Ventilation

Spot ventilation can improve the effectiveness of natural and whole-house ventilation by removing indoor air pollution and/or moisture at its source. Spot ventilation includes the use of localized exhaust fans, such as those used above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms. ASHRAE recommends intermittent or continuous ventilation rates for bathrooms of 50 or 20 cubic feet per minute and kitchens of 100 or 25 cubic feet per minute, respectively.

Whole-House Ventilation

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Ventilation

The decision to use whole-house ventilation is typically motivated by concerns that natural ventilation won’t provide adequate air quality, even with source control by spot ventilation. Whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled, uniform ventilation throughout a house. These systems use one or more fans and duct systems to exhaust stale air and/or supply fresh air to the house.

There are four types of systems:

  • Exhaust ventilation systems work by depressurizing the building and are relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
  • Supply ventilation systems work by pressurizing the building, and are also relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
  • Balanced ventilation systems, if properly designed and installed, neither pressurize nor depressurize a house. Rather, they introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.
  • Energy recovery ventilation systems provide controlled ventilation while minimizing energy loss. They reduce the costs of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the fresh (but cold) supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs. Compare whole-house ventilation systems to determine which is right for your home.

Ventilation for cooling is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with techniques to avoid heat buildup in your home. In some climates, natural ventilation is sufficient to keep the house comfortable, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, window fans, and—in larger homes—whole-house fans.

Ventilation is not an effective cooling strategy in hot, humid climates where temperature swings between day and night are small. In these climates, however, natural ventilation of your attic (often required by building codes) will help to reduce your use of air conditioning, and attic fans may also help keep cooling costs down.

1806 Woodcrest Dr. Houston TX, 77018 – Building Envelope Leaks & Contamination

1806 Woodcrest Dr. Houston TX, 77018

Building envelope testing is the process of testing the physical separator between the interior and exterior of a building to determine if there are any air, water, or thermal leaks within the structure. The building envelope consists of all parts of the outer exterior that keep the building environment dry, heated, or cooled for climate control.

Building Envelope Leaks & Contamination

Many different intrusions can result from an improperly built or maintained building envelope, such as air intrusion, water intrusion, and thermal intrusion. Leaky roofs are a common source of water and water vapor leakage, which can damage walls. Water infiltration is particularly harmful to any building’s structural integrity because it can cause extraordinary damage and remain undetected for a while. Many of these building code problems can be addressed by adhering to the standards established by the NIBS, the ASTM and the AAMA.

  • Moisture and Water Analysis
    • Moisture control is imperative to maintaining a building’s structural integrity, as well as quality health and safety standards. Therefore, waterproofing is necessary to prevent water damage to a building’s foundation. Air barriers must also be in place to prevent unnecessary ventilation and drafts in the building. Any HVAC system installed must be designed specifically for the purpose of air pressure testing.

Controlling moisture can make your home more energy-efficient, less costly to heat and cool, more comfortable, and prevent mold growth.

Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation efforts, and these efforts in turn will help control moisture. The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on your climate and how your home is constructed. Proper ventilation should also be part of your efforts to control moisture.

Before you decide on a moisture control strategy, it helps to understand that moisture or water vapor moves in and out of a home in a variety of ways including:

  • With air movement
  • By diffusion through materials
  • By heat transfer
  • Creating moisture within the home (cooking, showering, etc.),

Of these, air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower pressure areas by the easiest path available — generally through any available hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents happens quickly, and carefully and permanently air sealing any unintended paths for air movement in and out of the house is a very effective way to control moisture.

The other two driving forces — diffusion through materials and heat transfer — are much slower processes. Most common building materials slow moisture diffusion to a large degree, although they never stop it completely. Insulation also helps reduce heat transfer or flow.

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2214 Wavell St. Houston TX, 77088 – Selecting a New Water Heater

2214 Wavell St. Houston TX, 77088

When selecting a new water heater for your home, choose a water heating system that provides enough hot water for your family and is also energy efficient to save you money. Consider the different types of water heaters available and determining the right size and fuel source for your home. Check out the Energy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic to learn more about the different types of water heaters and how to select the right model for your home.

Types of Water Heaters

It’s a good idea to know the different types of water heaters available before you purchase one:

  • Conventional storage water heaters offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water which is adequate for everyday use. However, there are some instances, such as when more than one use for hot water is occurring or when there are guests in the home, increasing the requirements for hot water.
  • Tankless or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. This type of water heater is designed to provide an adequate supply of hot water without running out when adequately sized.
  • Heat pump water heaters move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly for providing hot water, resulting in high efficiencies and significant cost savings.
  • Solar water heaters use the sun’s heat to provide hot water and also save money on energy bills.
  • Tankless coil and indirect water heaters use a home’s space heating system to heat water.

Selection Criteria

When selecting the best type and model of water heater for your home, consider the following:

  • Fuel type, availability and cost. The fuel type or energy source you use for water heating will not only affect the water heater’s annual operation costs but also its size and energy efficiency. See below for more on selecting fuel types.
  • Size. To provide your household with adequate hot water and maximize efficiency, you need a properly sized water heater. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on sizing.
  • Energy efficiency. To maximize energy and cost savings, check the energy efficiency of a water heater before you purchase it. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on estimating energy efficiency.
  • Costs. Before you purchase a water heater, it’s also a good idea to estimate the annual operating costs and compare those costs with other less or more energy-efficient models. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on estimating costs.

Also be sure to examine ways to reduce your hot water use, such as washing clothes in cold water. You may also want to explore other options such as drain-water heat recovery to save money on your water heating bill.

Fuel Types, Availability and Costs for Water Heating

When selecting a new water heater, it’s important to consider what fuel type or energy source you will use, including its availability and cost. The fuel used by a water heating system will not only affect annual operation costs but also the water heater’s size and energy efficiency.

Exploring Water Heater Options by Fuel Type

Fuel type and its availability in your area may narrow your water heater choices. The following is a list of water heater options by fuel or energy source:

  • Electricity
    Widely available in the United States for conventional storage, tankless or demand-type, and heat pump water heaters. It also can be used with combination water and space heating systems, which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.
  • Fuel oil
    Available in some areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems.
  • Natural gas
    Available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage and demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters, as well as combination water and space heating systems, which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.
  • Propane
    Available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage and demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters, as well as indirect combination water and space heating systems.
  • Solar energy
    Available throughout the United States — most abundantly in the Southwest — for solar water heaters.

Comparing Fuel Costs and Water Heater Types

If you have more than one fuel type available in your area, it’s a good idea to compare fuel costs, especially if you’re building a new home. Even if you’re replacing a water heater, you may find that you’ll save more money in the long run if you use a different fuel or energy source. However, if you are converting from one fuel type to another, there are other cost considerations, such as adding a breaker or running a gas line to the water heater and venting it outside. Contact your utility for current fuel costs or rates.

The type of water heater you choose will also affect your water heating costs. One type of water heater may use a fuel type more efficiently than another type of water heater. For example, an electric heat pump water heater typically is more energy efficient than an electric conventional storage water heater. Also, an electric heat pump water heater might have lower energy costs than a gas-fired conventional storage water heater, even though local natural gas costs might be lower than the electricity rates.

8914 Sandra St. Houston TX, 77016 – Reduce Hot Water Use for Energy Savings

8913 Sandra St. Houston TX, 77016

Faucets and appliances can use a lot of hot water, which costs you money. You can lower your water heating costs by using and wasting less hot water in your home. Water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, accounting for about 18% of your utility bill. To conserve hot water, you can fix leaks, install low-flow fixtures, insulate accessible hot water lines, and purchase an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher and clothes washer.

Average Hot Water Usage

ACTIVITY GALLONS PER USE
Clothes Washer 25
Shower 10
Dishwasher 6
Kitchen faucet flow 2 per minute
Bathroom faucet flow 2 per minute
Total daily average 64

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fix Leaks

Life Hack

You can significantly reduce hot water use by simply repairing leaks in fixtures — for instance, faucets and showerheads — or pipes. A leak of one drip per second wastes 1,661 gallons of water and can cost up to $35 per year.  If your water heater tank is leaking, you will need to replace it with a new water heater.

Install Low-Flow Fixtures

Federal regulations mandate that new showerhead flow rates can’t exceed more than 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi). New faucet flow rates can’t exceed 2.5 gpm at 80 psi or 2.2 gpm at 60 psi. You can purchase some quality, low-flow fixtures for around $10 to $20 a piece and achieve water savings of 25%–60%. When purchasing new showerheads and faucets, look for WaterSense labeled products. WaterSense labeled products are backed by independent, third–party certification and meet specifications set by the U.S. EPA for water efficiency and performance.

Showerheads

For maximum water efficiency, select a WaterSense labeled shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.0 gpm. There are two basic types of low-flow showerheads: aerating and laminar-flow. Aerating showerheads mix air with water, forming a misty spray. Laminar-flow showerheads form individual streams of water. If you live in a humid climate, you might want to use a laminar-flow showerhead because it won’t create as much steam and moisture as an aerating one.

Before 1992, some showerheads had flow rates as high as 5.5 gpm. Therefore, if you have fixtures that pre-date 1992, you might want to replace them if you’re not sure of their flow rates. Here’s a quick test to determine whether you should replace a showerhead:

  1. Place a bucket — marked in gallon increments — under your shower head.
  2. Turn on the shower at the normal water pressure you use.
  3. Time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket to the 1-gallon (3.8 liter) mark.

If it takes less than 20 seconds to reach the 1-gallon mark, you could benefit from a low-flow shower head.

Faucets

The aerator — the screw-on tip of the faucet — ultimately determines the maximum flow rate of a faucet. Typically, new kitchen faucets come equipped with aerators that restrict flow rates to 2.2 gpm, while new bathroom faucets have ones that restrict flow rates from 1.5 to 0.5 gpm.

Aerators are inexpensive to replace, and they can be one of the most cost-effective water conservation measures. For maximum water efficiency, purchase aerators that have flow rates of no more than 1.0 gpm. Some aerators even come with shut-off valves that allow you to stop the flow of water without affecting the temperature. When replacing an aerator, bring the one you’re replacing to the store with you to ensure a proper fit.

Purchase Energy-Efficient Dishwashers and Clothes Washers

The biggest cost of washing dishes and clothes comes from the energy required to heat the water. You’ll significantly reduce your energy costs if you purchase and use an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher and clothes washer.

Dishwashers

It’s commonly assumed that washing dishes by hand saves hot water. However, washing dishes by hand several times a day can use significantly more water and cost more than operating an energy-efficient dishwasher. You can consume less energy with an energy-efficient dishwasher when properly used and when only operating it with full loads.

When purchasing a new dishwasher, look for the ENERGY STAR label, and check the Energy Guide label to see how much energy it uses. Dishwashers fall into one of two categories: compact capacity and standard capacity. Although compact capacity dishwashers may appear to be more energy efficient on the Energy Guide Label, they hold fewer dishes, which may force you to use it more frequently. In this case, your energy costs could be higher than with a standard-capacity dishwasher.

One feature that makes a dishwasher more energy efficient is a booster heater. A booster heater increases the temperature of the water entering the dishwasher to the 140ºF recommended for cleaning. Some dishwashers have built-in boosters, while others require manual selection before the wash cycle begins. Some also only activate the booster during the heavy-duty cycle. Dishwashers with booster heaters typically cost more, but they pay for themselves with energy savings in about 1 year if you also lower the water temperature on your water heater.

Another dishwasher feature that reduces hot water use is the availability of cycle selections. Shorter cycles require less water, thereby reducing energy costs.

If you want to ensure that your new dishwasher is energy efficient, purchase one with an ENERGY STAR® label.

Clothes Washer

Unlike dishwashers, clothes washers don’t require a minimum temperature for optimum cleaning. Therefore, to reduce energy costs, you can use either cold or warm water for most laundry loads. Cold water is always sufficient for rinsing.

Inefficient clothes washers can cost three times as much to operate than energy-efficient ones. Select a new machine that allows you to adjust the water temperature and levels for different loads. Efficient clothes washers spin-dry your clothes more effectively too, saving energy when drying as well. Also, front-loading machines use less water and, consequently, less energy than top loaders.

Small-capacity clothes washers often have better Energy Guide label ratings. However, a reduced capacity might increase the number of loads you need to run, which could increase your energy costs.

When purchasing a new clothes washer, choose one with an ENERGY STAR label.

710 36th St. Galveston TX, 77550 – City of Galveston – Storm Windows

710 36th St. Galveston TX, 77550

Storm Windows

Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane windows that have high-performance glass may be cost effective, but you could also consider installing low emissivity (low-e) storm windows. Installing interior or exterior energy-efficient storm windows that are rated by the Attachment Energy Rating Council (AERC) can produce similar savings but at about 1/3 of the cost. Storm windows can help reduce air movement into and out of existing windows, helping to improve comfort and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Interior
Installing an interior storm window
Courtesy Larsen Windows
Exterior
Installing an exterior storm window
Courtesy Larsen Windows

Low-E Storm Windows

While older storm windows were typically just clear glass, newer models are available with a low-e coating that reduces heat transmission through the window.  Low-e storm windows are more insulating, reflecting heat back into the house into the winter, and can also help the home stay cooler during the summer, keeping the home more comfortable.  Information on the energy efficiency of storm windows is available for all rated products through the AERC.  You can find storm windows that have the ENERGY STAR label at energystar.gov .

Modern storm windows are not the same as the old seasonal storm windows that were removed for cleaning or to allow for entering or exiting. New low-e storm are designed to blend in with the existing architecture, are permanently mounted, and are available as fixed or operable models, such that you can maintain the operation of your existing window (e.g. single-hung storm window attaches over single-hung existing window).

Benefits of Low-e Storm Windows:

  • Similar energy savings as full window replacement, but at about one-third the cost
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Operable
  • Reduces drafts and increases comfort
  • Reduces noise
  • Reflect radiant heat 35% better than clear glass storm windows
  • Act as an air sealing measure and can reduce overall home air leakage by 10% or more

Low-e exterior or interior storm windows can save you 10%–30% on heating and cooling costs, depending on the type of window already installed in the home.

Installation

When installing storm windows, ensure they have weatherstripping at all movable joints; are made of strong, durable materials; and have interlocking or overlapping joints. See our do-it-yourself home energy savings project for step-by-step instructions for installing low-e storm windows.

1109 Lone Star Dr. Houston TX, 77055 – City of Houston – Heat Pump Water Heaters

1109 Lone Star Dr. Houston TX, 77055 - Heat Pump Water Heaters

1109 Lone Star Dr. Houston TX, 77055 – Heat Pump Water Heaters

Most homeowners who have heat pumps use them to heat and cool their homes. But a heat pump also can be used to heat water — either as stand-alone water heating system, or as combination water heating and space conditioning system.

How They Work

Image
Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse.

While a refrigerator pulls heat from inside a box and sends it into the surrounding room, a stand-alone air-source heat pump water heater pulls heat from the surrounding air and transfers it — at a higher temperature — to heat water in a storage tank. You can purchase a stand-alone heat pump water heating system as an integrated unit with a built-in water storage tank and back-up resistance heating elements. You can also retrofit a heat pump to work with an existing conventional storage water heater.

Heat pump water heaters require installation in locations that remain in the 40º–90ºF (4.4º–32.2ºC) range year-round and provide at least 1,000 cubic feet (28.3 cubic meters) of air space around the water heater. Air passing over the evaporator can be exhausted to the room or outdoors.

Heat pump water heaters will not operate efficiently in a cold space since they tend to cool the space they are in.  Installing them in a space with excess heat, such as a furnace room, will increase their efficiency.

You can also install an air-source heat pump system that combines heating, cooling, and water heating. These combination systems pull their heat indoors from the outside air in the winter and from the inside air in the summer. Because they remove heat from the air, any type of air-source heat pump system works more efficiently in a warm climate.

Homeowners primarily install geothermal heat pumps — which draw heat from the ground during the winter and from the indoor air during the summer — for heating and cooling their homes. For water heating, you can add a desuperheater to a geothermal heat pump system. A desuperheater is a small, auxiliary heat exchanger that uses superheated gases from the heat pump’s compressor to heat water. This hot water then circulates through a pipe to the storage water heater tank in the house.

Desuperheaters are also available for tankless or demand-type water heaters. In the summer, the desuperheater uses the excess heat that would otherwise be expelled to the ground. With frequent operation during the summer, the geothermal heat pump may provide the majority of your hot water needs.

During the fall, winter, and spring — when the desuperheater isn’t producing as much excess heat — you’ll need to rely more on your storage or demand water heater. Some manufacturers also offer triple-function geothermal heat pump systems, which provide heating, cooling, and hot water. They use a separate heat exchanger to meet all of a household’s hot water needs.

2408 Dewalt St. Houston TX, 77088 – City of Houston – Foundation Moisture Control

2408 Dewalt St. Houston TX, 77088 - Foundation Moisture Control

2408 Dewalt St. Houston TX, 77088

Foundation Moisture Control

The potential for moisture problems exists anywhere building components are below grade, whether you have a basement, crawlspace, or slab-on-grade foundation. To create an energy-efficient and comfortable living space in your basement, you will need to insulate as well as properly control moisture.

Most basement water leakage results from water flowing through holes, cracks, and other discontinuities into the home’s basement walls or water wicking into the cracks and pores of porous building materials, such as masonry blocks, concrete, or wood. These tiny cracks and pores can absorb water in any direction — even upward.

The best approaches for preventing these problems will depend on your local climatetype of insulation, and style of construction. If you need to correct moisture problems in your existing home, consult a qualified builder, basement designer, and/or insulation contractor in your area for specific basement moisture control measures tailored to your climate, type of insulation, and construction style.

If you’re building a new home, pay particular attention to how water will be managed around the foundation. The following guidelines will apply in most circumstances:

  • Keep all untreated wood materials away from earth contact.
  • Install well-designed guttering and downspouts connected to a drainage system that diverts rainwater completely away from the house.
  • Slope the earth away from all sides of the house for at least 5 feet at a minimum 5% grade (3 inches in 5 feet). Establish drainage swales to direct rainwater around and away from the house.
  • Add a gasket under the sill plate to provide air sealing.
  • Install a protective membrane, such as rubberized roofing or ice-dam protection materials, between the foundation and the sill plate to serve as a capillary break and reduce wicking of water up from the masonry foundation wall. This membrane can also serve as a termite shield on top of foam board insulation.
  • Damp-proof all below-grade portions of the foundation wall and footing to prevent the wall from absorbing ground moisture by capillary action.
  • Place a continuous drainage plane over the damp-proofing or exterior insulation to channel water to the foundation drain and relieve hydrostatic pressure. Drainage plane materials include special drainage mats, high-density fiberglass insulation products, and washed gravel. All drainage planes should be protected with a filter fabric to prevent dirt from clogging the intentional gaps in the drainage material.
  • Install a foundation drain directly below the drainage plane and beside (not on top of) the footing. This prevents water from flowing against the seam between the footing and the foundation wall. Surround a perforated 4-inch plastic drainpipe with gravel and wrap both with filter fabric.
  • Underneath the basement or on-grade slab floor, install a capillary break and vapor diffusion retarder, consisting of a layer of 6- to 10-mil polyethylene over at least 4 inches of gravel.

If you your new or existing home has a crawlspace, you can also Install a 6-mil polyethylene vapor diffusion barrier across the crawlspace floor to prevent soil moisture from migrating into the crawlspace. Overlap all seams by 12 inches and tape them and seal the polyethylene 6 inches up the crawlspace walls. As an option, pour two inches (51 mm) of concrete over the vapor barrier to protect the polyethylene from damage.

Walls

It is a myth that installing vapor barriers is the most important step for controlling moisture in walls. Vapor barriers only retard moisture due to diffusion, while most moisture enters walls either through fluid capillary action or as water vapor through air leaks.

Most climates require these moisture control steps:

  • Install a polyethylene ground cover on the earth floor of houses with crawlspaces.
  • Slope the ground away from the foundations of all houses.
  • Install a continuous vapor barrier (if required in your climate) with a perm rating of less than one.

Place a termite shield, sill gaskets, or other vapor-impermeable membrane on the top of the foundation wall to prevent moisture from wicking into the framed wall from the concrete foundation wall by capillary action.

Rain — especially wind-driven rain — can also cause moisture problems in walls. Rain leaks through exterior walls are usually a result of improper installation of:

  • Siding materials.
  • Poor quality flashing.
  • Weatherstripping or caulking around joints in the building exterior (such as windows, doors, and bottom plates).

To protect against rain penetration, you should also create a drainage plane within the wall system of your home.

2011 Parkdale Dr. Kingwood TX, 77339 – Moisture Control

2011 Parkdale Dr. Kingwood TX, 77339

2011 Parkdale Dr. Kingwood TX, 77339

Controlling moisture can make your home more energy-efficient, less costly to heat and cool, more comfortable, and prevent mold growth.

Properly controlling moisture in your home will improve the effectiveness of your air sealing and insulation efforts, and these efforts in turn will help control moisture. The best strategies for controlling moisture in your home depend on your climate and how your home is constructed. Proper ventilation should also be part of your efforts to control moisture.

Before you decide on a moisture control strategy, it helps to understand that moisture or water vapor moves in and out of a home in a variety of ways including:

  • With air movement
  • By diffusion through materials
  • By heat transfer
  • Creating moisture within the home (cooking, showering, etc.),

Of these, air movement accounts for more than 98% of all water vapor movement in building cavities. Air naturally moves from high-pressure areas to lower pressure areas by the easiest path available — generally through any available hole or crack in the building envelope. Moisture transfer by air currents happens quickly, and carefully and permanently air sealing any unintended paths for air movement in and out of the house is a very effective way to control moisture.

The other two driving forces — diffusion through materials and heat transfer — are much slower processes. Most common building materials slow moisture diffusion to a large degree, although they never stop it completely. Insulation also helps reduce heat transfer or flow.

The laws of physics govern how moist air reacts in various temperature conditions. The temperature and moisture concentration at which water vapor begins to condense is called the “dew point.” Relative humidity (RH) refers to the amount of moisture contained in a quantity of air compared to the maximum amount of moisture the air could hold at the same temperature. The ability of air to hold water vapor increases as it warms and decreases as it cools. Once air has reached its dew point, the moisture that the air can no longer hold condenses on the first cold surface it encounters. If this surface is within an exterior wall cavity, the result is wet insulation and framing.

In addition to air movement, you also can control temperature and moisture content. Insulation reduces heat transfer or flow, so it also moderates the effect of temperature across the building envelope cavity. In most U.S. climates, properly installed vapor diffusion retarders can be used to reduce the amount of moisture transfer. Except in deliberately ventilated spaces such as attics, insulation and vapor diffusion retarders work together to reduce the opportunity for condensation in a house’s ceilings, walls, and floors.

Moisture can cause problems in attics, various types of foundations, and walls, and the solutions to those problems vary by climate.

1441 Bluewing Teal Ct. Galveston TX, 77554 – City of Galveston – Caulking: Sealing Your Home

4115 Bluewing Teal Ct. Galveston TX, 77554

4115 Bluewing Teal Ct. Galveston TX, 77554 – City of Galveston – Caulking

Caulk is a flexible material used to seal air leaks through cracks, gaps, or joints less than 1-quarter-inch wide between stationary building components and materials. For components that move — doors and operable windows, for example — weatherstripping is the appropriate material. This will help in sealing your home.

Before caulking air leaks in an existing home, you will need to detect the leaks and assess your ventilation needs to ensure adequate indoor air quality. In addition to sealing air leaks, caulking can also prevent water damage inside and outside of the home when applied around faucets, ceiling fixtures, water pipes, drains, bathtubs, and other plumbing fixtures.

Selecting Caulking

Most caulking compounds come in disposable cartridges that fit in half-barrel caulking guns (if possible, purchase one with an automatic release). Some pressurized cartridges do not require caulking guns.

When deciding how much caulking to purchase, consider that you’ll probably need a half-cartridge per window or door and four cartridges for the foundation sill of an average home. Caulking compounds can also be found in aerosol cans, squeeze tubes, and ropes for small jobs or special applications.

Caulking compounds vary in strength, properties, and prices. Water-based caulk can be cleaned with water, while solvent-based compounds require a solvent for cleanup.

Applying Caulking to Seal Your Home

Although not a high-tech operation, caulking can be tricky. Read and follow the instructions on the compound cartridge, and remember these tips:

  • For good adhesion, clean all areas to be caulked. Remove any old caulk and paint, using a putty knife, large screwdriver, stiff brush, or special solvent. Make sure the area is dry so you don’t seal in moisture.
  • Apply caulk to all joints in a window frame and the joint between the frame and the wall.
  • Hold the gun at a consistent angle. Forty-five degrees is best for getting deep into the crack. You know you’ve got the right angle when the caulk is immediately forced into the crack as it comes out of the tube.
  • Caulk in one straight continuous stream, if possible. Avoid stops and starts.
  • Send caulk to the bottom of an opening to avoid bubbles.
  • Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack or seam.
  • Release the trigger before pulling the gun away to avoid applying too much caulking compound. A caulking gun with an automatic release makes this much easier.
  • If caulk oozes out of a crack, use a putty knife to push it back in.
  • Don’t skimp. If the caulk shrinks, reapply it to form a smooth bead that will seal the crack completely.

The best time to apply caulk is during dry weather when the outdoor temperature is above 45°F (7.2°C). Low humidity is important during application to prevent cracks from swelling with moisture. Warm temperatures are also necessary so the caulk will set properly and adhere to the surfaces.

Home Ready Inspections can help with preforming Duct Leakage & HVAC Blower Door Tests to assess how much leakage there is. Schedule your tests today by calling 832-661-6154

2208 Des Chaumes Houston TX, 77026 – City of Houston – Duct Leakage Test

2208 Des Chaumes Houston TX

Tips for Sealing Air Leaks

  • Hire an energy assessor or other weatherization expert to test your home for air tightness.
  • Caulk and weatherstrip doors and windows that leak air.
  • Caulk and seal air leaks where plumbing, ducting, or electrical wiring comes through walls, floors, ceilings, and soffits over cabinets.
  • Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates on walls.
  • Inspect dirty spots on any visual insulation for air leaks and mold. Seal leaks with low-expansion spray foam made for this purpose and install house flashing if needed.
  • Look for dirty spots on your ceiling paint and carpet, which may indicate air leaks at interior wall/ceiling joints and wall/floor joists, and caulk them.
  • Replace single-pane windows with more efficient double-pane low- emissivity windows. See the Windows section for more information.
  • Use foam sealant on larger gaps around windows, baseboards, and other places where air may leak out.
  • Check your dryer vent to be sure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire.
  • Replace exterior door bottoms and thresholds with ones that have pliable sealing gaskets.
  • Keep the fireplace flue damper tightly closed when not in use.
  • Seal air leaks around fireplace chimneys, furnaces, and gas-fired water heater vents with fire-resistant materials such as sheet metal or sheetrock and furnace cement caulk.

Call us today! 8326616154

5904 Gardendale Dr. Unit D Houston TX, 77092

5904 Gardendale Dr. Unit D Houston TX 77092

No matter what kind of heating system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can save about 30% on your energy bill while reducing environmental emissions.

Heating Tips

  • Set your programmable thermostat as low as is comfortable in the winter and lower the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on furnaces once a month or as recommended.
  • Clean warm-air registers, baseboard heaters, and radiators as needed; make sure they’re not blocked by furniture, carpeting, or drapes.
  • Eliminate trapped air from hot-water radiators once or twice a season; if unsure about how to perform this task, contact a professional.
  • Place heat-resistant radiator reflectors between exterior walls and the radiators.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During winter, keep the draperies and shades on your south-facing windows open during the day to allow the sunlight to enter your home and closed at night to reduce the chill you may feel from cold windows.

Select energy-efficient products when you buy new heating equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. See the efficiency standards for information on minimum ratings, and look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing new products.

2103 Surry Oaks Dr. New Caney TX, 77007 – Home Cooling Systems

2103 Surry Oaks Dr. New Caney TX, 77357

Your first thought for cooling may be air conditioning, there are many alternatives that provide cooling with less energy use. A combination of proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, daylighting, shading, and ventilation will usually keep homes cool with a minimum of energy use in all but the hottest climates. Although ventilation should be avoided in hot, humid climates, other approaches can significantly reduce the need to use air conditioning. Before choosing a cooling system, you may want to familiarize yourself with the principles of heating and cooling.

Cooling Tips

  • Set your programmable thermostat as high as is comfortable in the summer, and raise the setpoint when you’re sleeping or away from home.
  • Clean or replace filters on air conditioners once a month or as recommended.
  • Turn off kitchen, bath, and other exhaust fans within 20 minutes after you are done cooking or bathing; when replacing exhaust fans, consider installing high-efficiency, low-noise models.
  • During summer, keep the window coverings closed during the day to block the sun’s heat.
  • Select energy-efficient products when you buy new cooling equipment. Your contractor should be able to give you energy fact sheets for different types, models, and designs to help you compare energy usage. See the efficiency standards for information on minimum ratings, and look for the ENERGY STAR when purchasing new products.

8023 Canyon St. Houston TX, 77051 – Weatherstripping- City of Houston

8023 Canyon St. Houston TX, 77051 - Weatherstripping

Choosing Weatherstripping

Choose a type of weatherstripping that will withstand the friction, weather, temperature changes, and wear and tear associated with its location. For example, when applied to a door bottom or threshold, weatherstripping could drag on carpet or erode as a result of foot traffic. Weatherstripping in a window sash must accommodate the sliding of panes — up and down, sideways, or out. The weatherstripping you choose should seal well when the door or window is closed but allow it to open freely.

Choose a product for each specific location. Felt and open-cell foams tend to be inexpensive, susceptible to weather, visible, and inefficient at blocking airflow. However, the ease of applying these materials may make them valuable in low-traffic areas. Vinyl, which is slightly more expensive, holds up well and resists moisture. Metals (bronze, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum) last for years and are affordable. Metal weatherstripping can also provide a nice touch to older homes where vinyl might seem out of place.

You can use more than one type of weatherstripping to seal an irregularly shaped space. Also take durability into account when comparing costs.

Weatherstripping supplies and techniques range from simple to the technical. Consult the instructions on the weatherstripping package.

Here are a few basic guidelines:

  • Weatherstripping should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C).
  • Measure the area to be weatherstripped twice before making a cut.
  • Apply weatherstripping snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.

When weatherstripping doors:

  • Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors.
  • Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.
  • Apply one continuous strip along each side.
  • Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.
  • Use a thickness that causes the weatherstripping to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut.

For air sealing windows, apply weatherstripping between the sash and the frame. The weatherstripping shouldn’t interfere with the operation of the window.

1835 Flowing Springs Trl Houston TX, 77080 – Insulation

1835 Flowing Springs Trl Houston TX, 77080 - How Insulation Works

How Insulation Works

To understand how insulation works it helps to understand heat flow, which involves three basic mechanisms — conduction, convection, and radiation. Conduction is the way heat moves through materials, such as when a spoon placed in a hot cup of coffee conducts heat through its handle to your hand. Convection is the way heat circulates through liquids and gases, and is why lighter, warmer air rises, and cooler, denser air sinks in your home. Radiant heat travels in a straight line and heats anything solid in its path that absorbs its energy.

Most common insulation materials work by slowing conductive heat flow and convective heat flow. Radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems work by reducing radiant heat gain. To be effective, the reflective surface must be in contact with an air space.

Regardless of the mechanism, heat flows from warmer to cooler areas until there is no longer a temperature difference. In your home, this means that in winter, heat flows directly from all heated living spaces to adjacent unheated attics, garages, basements, and especially to the outdoors. Heat flow can also move indirectly through interior ceilings, walls, and floors–wherever there is a difference in temperature. During the cooling season, heat flows from the outdoors to the interior of a house.

To maintain comfort, the heat lost in the winter must be replaced by your heating system and the heat gained in the summer must be removed by your cooling system. Properly insulating your home will decrease this heat flow by providing an effective resistance to the flow of heat.

Insulation Materials

Insulation materials run the gamut from bulky fiber materials such as fiberglass, rockwool, cellulose, and natural fibers to rigid foam boards to sleek foils. Bulky materials resist conductive heat flow in a building cavity. Rigid foam boards trap air or another gas in their cells to resist conductive heat flow. Highly reflective foils in radiant barriers and reflective insulation systems reflect radiant heat away from living spaces, making them particularly useful in cooling climates. Other less common materials such as cementitious and phenolic foams and perlite are also available.

Call us today to schedule with a professional 832-661-6154

1618 Toddville Rd Seabrook TX, 77586 – 3 Basic Heating and Cooling Ventilation Options – Seabrook Texas

1618 Toddville Rd. Seabrook TX, 77586

Ventilation Options

There are 3 basic ventilation options —natural ventilation, spot ventilation, and whole-house ventilation.

Natural Ventilation

Natural ventilation is the uncontrolled air movement in and out of the cracks and small holes in a home. In the past, this air leakage usually diluted air pollutants enough to maintain adequate indoor air quality. Today, we are sealing those cracks and holes to make our homes more energy-efficient, and after a home is properly air sealed, ventilation is necessary to maintain a healthy and comfortable indoor environment. Opening windows and doors also provides natural ventilation, but many people keep their homes closed up because they use central heating and cooling systems year-round.

Natural ventilation is unpredictable and uncontrollable—you can’t rely on it to ventilate a house uniformly. Natural ventilation depends on a home’s airtightness, outdoor temperatures, wind, and other factors. During mild weather, some homes may lack sufficient natural ventilation for pollutant removal. During windy or extreme weather, a home that hasn’t been air sealed properly will be drafty, uncomfortable, and expensive to heat and cool.

Spot Ventilation

Spot ventilation can improve the effectiveness of natural and whole-house ventilation by removing indoor air pollution and/or moisture at its source. Spot ventilation includes the use of localized exhaust fans, such as those used above kitchen ranges and in bathrooms. ASHRAE recommends intermittent or continuous ventilation rates for bathrooms of 50 or 20 cubic feet per minute and kitchens of 100 or 25 cubic feet per minute, respectively.

Whole-House Ventilation

The decision to use whole-house ventilation is typically motivated by concerns that natural ventilation won’t provide adequate air quality, even with source control by spot ventilation. Whole-house ventilation systems provide controlled, uniform ventilation throughout a house. These systems use one or more fans and duct systems to exhaust stale air and/or supply fresh air to the house.

There are four types of systems:

  • Exhaust ventilation systems work by depressurizing the building and are relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
  • Supply ventilation systems work by pressurizing the building and are also relatively simple and inexpensive to install.
  • Balanced ventilation systems, if properly designed and installed, neither pressurize nor depressurize a house. Rather, they introduce and exhaust approximately equal quantities of fresh outside air and polluted inside air.
  • Energy recovery ventilation systems provide controlled ventilation while minimizing energy loss. They reduce the costs of heating ventilated air in the winter by transferring heat from the warm inside air being exhausted to the fresh (but cold) supply air. In the summer, the inside air cools the warmer supply air to reduce ventilation cooling costs. Compare whole-house ventilation systems to determine which is right for your home.

Ventilation for cooling is the least expensive and most energy-efficient way to cool buildings. Ventilation works best when combined with techniques to avoid heat buildup in your home. In some climates, natural ventilation is sufficient to keep the house comfortable, although it usually needs to be supplemented with spot ventilation, ceiling fans, window fans, and—in larger homes—whole-house fans.

Ventilation is not an effective cooling strategy in hot, humid climates where temperature swings between day and night are small. In these climates, however, natural ventilation of your attic (often required by building codes) will help to reduce your use of air conditioning, and attic fans may also help keep cooling costs down.

2412 Avenue P Galveston TX, 77554 – City of Galveston Blower Door Test

 

These are some reasons for establishing the proper building tightness:

  • Reducing energy consumption from excess air leakage
  • Avoiding moisture condensation problems
  • Avoiding uncomfortable drafts caused by cold or warm air leaking in from outside
  • Controlling outdoor contaminants, pests, and odors from entering your home.
  • Determining proper sizing and airflow requirements of heating and cooling equipment.
  • Determining whether mechanical ventilation is needed to provide acceptable fresh air and maintain indoor air quality in your home.

 

2412 Avenue P Galveston X, 77554

Blower Doors: What Are They and How Do They Work?

A blower door is a powerful fan that a trained energy professional temporarily mounts into the frame of an exterior doorway in your home. After calibrating the device, the fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed gaps, cracks and openings such as gaps, cracks, or wiring penetrations. If conditions do not allow for lowering the pressure in the home, the fan may also be operated in reverse, with air pressure increased inside the home.

While the blower test is being conducted, the analyst may use an infrared camera to look at the walls, ceilings, and floors, to find specific locations where insulation is missing, and air is leaking. The analyst may also use a nontoxic smoke pencil to detect air leaks in your home. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of your home, which is recorded on a laptop or tablet.

The blower door test is conducted as part of the energy assessment of your home. Your contractor may also operate the blower door while performing air sealing (a method known as blower door assisted air sealing), and after to measure and verify the level of air leakage reduction achieved.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a digital pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, which are connected to a device for measuring airflow, known as a manometer.

There are two types of blower doors: calibrated and uncalibrated. It is important that auditors use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air flowing out of the house through the fan.

Uncalibrated blower doors can only locate leaks in homes. They provide no method for determining the overall tightness of the home.

The calibrated blower door’s data allow your contractor to quantify the amount of air leakage prior to installation of air-sealing improvements, and the reduction in leakage achieved after air-sealing is completed.

Ready to schedule your Blower Door Test & Duct Leakage Test? Your home energy professional will perform the blower door test, including a walk-through of your home, setting up the blower door, and conducting the test. Call us today to schedule your test today. C: 832-661-6154 E: homereadyinspections@gmail.com

1806 Chippendale Rd. Houston TX, 77018 – Maintaining and Upgrading Existing Duct Systems – City of Houston Duct Leakage Test

1806 Chippendale Rd. Houston TX, 77018

Maintaining and Upgrading Existing Duct Systems
Sealing your ducts to prevent leaks is even more important if the ducts are located in an unconditioned area such as an attic or vented crawlspace. If the supply ducts are leaking, heated or cooled air can be forced out of unsealed joints and lost. In addition, unconditioned air can be drawn into return ducts through unsealed joints.
Although minor duct repairs are easy to make, qualified professionals should seal and insulate ducts in unconditioned spaces to ensure the use of appropriate sealing materials.
Aside from sealing your ducts, the simplest and most effective means of maintaining your air distribution system is to ensure that furniture and other objects are not blocking the airflow through your registers, and to vacuum the registers to remove any dust buildup.
Existing duct systems often suffer from design deficiencies in the return air system, and modifications by the homeowner (or just a tendency to keep doors closed) may contribute to these problems. Any rooms with a lack of sufficient return airflow may benefit from relatively simple upgrades, such as the installation of new return-air grilles, undercutting doors for return air, or installing a jumper duct.
Some rooms may also be hard to heat and cool because of inadequate supply ducts or grilles. If this is the case, you should first examine whether the problem is the room itself: fix any problems with insulation, air leakage, or inefficient windows first. If the problem persists, you may be able to increase the size of the supply duct or add an additional duct to provide the needed airflow to the room.

Schedule your Duct Leakage Test by the best! We not only preform duct testing on your home, but we troubleshoot if any there’s any problems. Call us today! 832-661-6154 to schedule your home.

 

119 W 6th St Houston TX, 77007 – City of Houston Blow Door/ Duct Leakage Test – Programmable Thermostat Energy Savers

 

Third-Party Energy Testing

119 6th St Houston TX, 77007 – City of Houston Blow Door/ Duct Leakage Test

Programmable Thermostat Operation 

You can save as much as 10% a year on heating and cooling by simply turning your programmable thermostat back 7°-10°F for 8 hours a day from its normal setting. The percentage of savings from setback is greater for buildings in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

The smaller the difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures, the lower your overall cooling bill will be.  You can easily save energy in the winter by setting the thermostat to around 68°F while you’re awake and setting it lower while you’re asleep or away from home. In the summer, you can follow the same strategy with central air conditioning by keeping your house warmer than normal when you are away and setting the thermostat to a setting as high as is comfortable for you when you are at home and need cooling and to ensure humidity control if needed.

Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will avoid any discomfort by returning temperatures to normal before you wake or return home.

Avoid setting your thermostat at a colder setting than normal when you turn on your air conditioner. It will not cool your home any faster and could result in excessive cooling and, therefore, unnecessary expense. A common misconception associated with thermostats is that a furnace works harder than normal to warm the space back to a comfortable temperature after the thermostat has been set back, resulting in little or no savings. In fact, as soon as your house drops below its normal temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment more slowly.

During winter, the lower the interior temperature, the slower the heat loss. So, the longer your house remains at the lower temperature, the more energy you save, because your house has lost less energy than it would have at the higher temperature. The same concept applies to raising your thermostat setting in the summer — a higher interior temperature will slow the flow of heat into your house, saving energy on air conditioning. Check out our home heating infographic to learn more about how heating systems and thermostats interact.

For more information, please give us a call or to schedule your final blow door/ duct leakage test.

C: 832-661-6154

4311 Lake wood Dr Missouri City, TX 77459 Foam Insulation Inspection

Need your homes insulation inspected before dry wall?

Types of Foam Insulation

Today, most foam materials use foaming agents that don’t use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are harmful to the earth’s ozone layer.

There are two types of foam-in-place insulation: closed-cell and open-cell. Both are typically made with polyurethane. With closed-cell foam, the high-density cells are closed and filled with a gas that helps the foam expand to fill the spaces around it. Open-cell foam cells are not as dense and are filled with air, which gives the insulation a spongy texture.

The type of insulation you should choose depends on how you will use it and on your budget. While closed-cell foam has a greater R-value and provides stronger resistance against moisture and air leakage, the material is also much denser and is more expensive. Open-cell foam is lighter and less expensive but should not be used below ground level where it could absorb water. Consult a professional insulation installer to decide what type of insulation is best for you.

Other available foam insulation materials include:

  • Cementitious
  • Phenolic
  • Polyisocyanurate (polyiso)

Some fewer common types include Icynene foam and Tripolymer foam. Icynene foam can be either sprayed or injected, which makes it the most versatile. It also has good resistance to both air and water intrusion. Tripolymer foam—a water-soluble foam—is injected into wall cavities. It has excellent resistance to fire and air intrusion.

well, we’re your guys give us a call 832-661-6154

3811 Neptune, Galveston, TX 77554 – City of Galveston – Manual J

House to humid with the A/C on still above the 50% mark?

The purpose of this research is to develop and validate an integrated humidity and ventilation control solution to improve indoor air quality, comfort, and energy performance for low-load homes in hot-humid and mixed-humid climates. The solution strategy is to coordinate the cooling, dehumidification, and ventilation functions of central HVAC systems to capture energy savings while improving ventilation effectiveness and comfort. This includes re-evaluating the AC systems to optimize dehumidification during part-load conditions (enhanced dehumidification), developing a control strategy to integrate supply-type ventilation prioritized to operate during on-cycles (prioritized ventilation), and developing metrics to quantify system performance including energy savings and cost-effectiveness.

An integrated humidity and ventilation control solution will improve indoor air quality, comfort, and energy performance for low-load homes in hot-humid and mixed-humid climates, simplifying the transition to high-performance ventilation and humidity control systems.

The results of this project will simplify the transition to high-performance ventilation and humidity control systems. By relying on the central system as a starting point, the strategy will allow for optimization across key metrics to a degree that is not possible with alternatives. To enable standardization and broad industry impact, a secondary equipment rating based on latent load efficiency will be proposed.

COMPLETED WORK:

  • Conducted house test design reviews of Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) manual J/S/D with Wrightsoft and HVAC partners
  • Developed ventilation protocol with Aprilaire
  • Commissioned and instrumented systems at 3 test homes: Houston 1-stage and 2-stage AC, Savannah 1-stage HP
  • Developed enhanced dehumidification protocols/controls with Goodman partner

For more information, project presentations, and related publications, visit the Advanced HVAC Humidity Control for Hot-Humid Climates web page.

Make sure you have the proper equipment call 832-661-6154 to schedule a Manual J

3719 Anita Street, Houston TX 77004- City of Houston – Blower Door

 

Duct Blaster

New Construction City of Houston Blower Door

What is a Blower Door?

A blower door test is a way to check how air-tight a structure is. It is designed to check for air leaks in walls, attics, and mechanical penetrations. While a blower door test does not evaluate how well a structure is insulated, it can reveal drafty walls and air-bypass situations that could undermine otherwise well insulated wall assemblies. A poorly sealed houses will have higher utility bills, issues with comfort, and potential mold and rot issues caused by moisture.  Blower door testing can be carried out on residential homes, commercial structures, and industrial buildings. In some states they are required by code for residential areas. (Always check with your local building codes).

While the blower test is being conducted, the analyst may use an infrared camera to look at the walls, ceilings, and floors, to find specific locations where insulation is missing, and air is leaking. The analyst may also use a nontoxic smoke pencil to detect air leaks in your home. These tests determine the air infiltration rate of your home, which is recorded on a laptop or tablet.

The test is conducted as part of the energy assessment of your home. Your contractor may also operate the blower door while performing air sealing (a method known as blower door assisted air sealing), and after to measure and verify the level of air leakage reduction achieved.

Blower doors consist of a frame and flexible panel that fit in a doorway, a variable-speed fan, a digital pressure gauge to measure the pressure differences inside and outside the home, which are connected to a device for measuring airflow, known as a manometer.

There are two types of blower doors: calibrated and uncalibrated. It is important that auditors use a calibrated door. This type of blower door has several gauges that measure the amount of air flowing out of the house through the fan.

Uncalibrated blower doors can only locate leaks in homes. They provide no method for determining the overall tightness of the home.

The calibrated blower door’s data allow your contractor to quantify the amount of air leakage prior to installation of air-sealing improvements, and the reduction in leakage achieved after air-sealing is completed.

Call TODAY 832-661-6154

Negative House Pressure – 77026 – Detecting Air Leaks

Should your home feel hot or humid check your HVAC duct work.

Visual Inspection

On the outside of your house, inspect all areas where two different building materials meet, including:

  • All exterior corners
  • Outdoor water faucets
  • Where siding and chimneys meet
  • Areas where the foundation and the bottom of exterior brick or siding meet.

Inside your home, inspect around the following areas for any cracks and gaps that could cause air leaks:

  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Door and window frames
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Baseboards
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Fireplace dampers
  • Attic hatches
  • Wall- or window-mounted air conditioners.
  • Cable TV and phone lines
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Vents and fans.

Also look for gaps around pipes and wires, foundation seals, and mail slots. Check to see if the caulking and weather stripping are applied properly, leaving no gaps or cracks, and are in good condition. Check the exterior caulking around doors and windows and see whether exterior storm doors and primary doors seal tightly.

Inspect windows and doors for air leaks. See if you can rattle them, since movement means possible air leaks. If you can see daylight around a door or window frame, then the door or window leaks. You can usually seal these leaks by caulking or weatherstripping them. Check the storm windows to see if they fit and are not broken.

You may also wish to consider replacing your old windows and doors with newer, high-performance ones. If new factory-made doors or windows are too costly, you can install low-cost plastic sheets over the windows.

Building Pressurization Test

While not as successful as blower door test, if you are having difficulty locating leaks, you may want to conduct a basic building pressurization test to increase infiltration through cracks and leaks, making them easier to detect:

  1. Turn off all combustion appliances such as gas burning furnaces and water heaters on a cool, very windy day.
  2. Shut all windows, exterior doors, and fireplace flues.
  3. Turn on all exhaust fans that blow air outside, such as your clothes dryer, bathroom fans, or stove vents, or use a large window fan to suck the air out of the rooms.
  4. Light an incense stick and carefully pass it around the edges of common leak sites. Wherever the smoke wavers or is sucked out of or blown into the room, there’s a draft. You can also use a damp hand to locate leaks; any drafts will feel cool to your hand.

If you don’t want to turn off your furnace, you can just turn on all your exhaust fans to depressurize your home.

Other air-leak detection methods include the following:

  • Shining flashlight at night over all potential gaps while a partner observes the house from outside. Large cracks will show up as rays of light. Not a good way to detect small cracks.
  • Shut a door or window on a dollar bill. If you can pull the dollar bill out without it dragging, you’re losing energy.

Call Miguel 832-661-6154 or Homereadyinspections@gmail.com

2305 Maury St., Houston, TX 77026 – City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster

Control Humidity by Optimizing Fan Speed

Have you ever been in a building that feels cold and clammy at the same time?  Or to be more specific, have you experienced what cold and humid conditions feel like?  Chances are you have, hopefully not in your current home or work place, however it seems it is more likely than not.

Home energy efficiency is often dominated by discussions about cooling and heating, which account for about 48% of energy costs in the average home. However, when your air has too much moisture, your home may feel warmer than the actual air temperature. Any discussion of energy efficiency, especially in a humid climate, must take moisture control into account.

Did you ever hear someone say the air in your house feels “close?” They’re likely talking about the “feels-like” temperature of the air because the indoor environment is holding a high amount of water vapor, and there’s less evaporation. These factors combine to create a sensation that the room is too warm and there’s less breathable air, despite the temperature reading on the thermostat.

A house with too much humid air in the “building envelope” can have issues with mold and mildew. Moist air can also provide a good environment for bacteria. All are known to adversely affect human health. Excess moisture in the air can take a toll on people, and on furniture, appliances, hardwood floors, carpeting, and, yes, the energy bill—chances are, you are setting your thermostat lower to maintain comfort as you offset the higher amount of humidity you feel in the air.

One solution to moisture control could be a whole-house or portable ENERGY STAR-rated dehumidifier that “wrings” moisture from the air. This is a big commitment that might not be right for everyone. Luckily there are other steps you can take to reduce the amount of moisture in your home.

  • Check your clothes dryer. An improperly vented clothes dryer can dump some or all that water from your wet clothes into the air. Make sure your venting system is sealed all the way from the back of your dryer to the exhaust port on your home’s exterior. And be sure to clean the vent regularly, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Vent your stove and bathroom fans outside. Exhaust fans from cooking surfaces or the bathroom that are vented into your attic only redistribute humidity within your home. All such fans should be vented to the outside, with the system checked for leakage.
  • Seal air leaks. Finding the places where outside air is leaking in, and conditioned air is leaking out, and sealing those leaks is a cost-effective way to improve air comfort and cut energy costs. Check your doors and windows for the effectiveness of air seals and caulk or weatherstrip as needed.
  • Insulate water pipes. Condensation can occur when there is a difference between the temperature of your water pipes and the humid air in your home. Insulating your water pipes keeps this condensation from occurring on the cold water pipes. This condensation contributes to humidity problems in the home. Insulating hot water pipes eliminates heat loss between the hot water heater and the tap, which means heating and using less water over time. Both will help keep your energy bill in line.
  • Monitor drainage around your home. Rainwater and runoff from gutters and downspouts can easily flow toward your foundation and leak or leech into the structure. Directing the water away with landscaping and sealing your foundation can have a big impact on the humidity level in your home, and your energy bill.

We all know the saying, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Well, now you know a few new ways to keep the air in your home a little drier, and hopefully a bit more comfortable.

Call Miguel – 832-661-6154

City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster – 77028

City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blast Test

Home Ready Inspections offers a variety of residential Inspections. We are an Energy Star Partner, ResNet Provider, IECC Certified, and Home Inspections. Our experience supersedes any Inspection Company that claim to “Certified” homes. Call today for an experience Inspector at 832-661-6154

12206 Mossycup Drive – Duct Blaster

City of Houston Third Party Testing

IECC Energy inspection in a ground up project has four aspects: building envelope, mechanical system, electrical power and lighting, and water system. We would like the opportunity to be of service in your commercial building projects. Please feel free to call for any service issues or questions. Home Ready Inspections has the ability to provide same day service. Call today 832.661.6154 or 713.370.HEAT

Home Ready Certified Energy Rated Home

Home Ready Energy Rated Home

Home Ready Inspections Now Offer HERS Ratings at an affordable Price.

A HERS Rating is used to determine whether a home meets an acceptable building quality standard. It also provides useful information which can be used to improve the home’s heating and cooling efficiency and thereby lower its energy usage. HERS ratings can be applied to new or existing single family homes as well as multi-family homes.

Call today 832.661.6154 or 713.370.HEAT

1407 E 33rd St, Houston, Texas 77022

City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster

IECC Energy inspection in a ground up project has four aspects: building envelope, mechanical system, electrical power and lighting, and water system. We would like the opportunity to be of service in your commercial building projects. Please feel free to call for any service issues or questions. Home Ready Inspections has the ability to provide same day service. Call today 832.661.6154 or 713.370.HEAT

628 E 39th St, Houston, TX 77022 – City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster

City of Houston Blower Door and Blaster – Home Ready Inspections is a full-service residential and commercial inspection company.  We specialize in the 2015/2018 IECC inspections and provide the Final Blower Door/Duct Blaster required by the City of Houston and surrounding areas. 

Other services offered is Insulation inspections, Energy Analysis (ResCheck or Rating), Manual J and D (HVAC Design), Thermal Inspections, Mechanical Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Plumbing Inspections, and we specialize in troubleshooting high humidity buildings and homes. 

Contact us today to schedule or ask questions 832.661.6154

3920 Davenport St, Houston, TX 77051 – City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster

City of Houston Blower Door and Blaster – Home Ready Inspections is a full-service residential and commercial inspection company.  We specialize in the 2015/2018 IECC inspections and provide the Final Blower Door/Duct Blaster required by the City of Houston and surrounding areas. 

Other services offered are Insulation inspections, Energy Analysis (ResCheck or Rating), Manual J and D (HVAC Design), Thermal Inspections, Mechanical Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Plumbing Inspections, and we specialize in troubleshooting high humidity buildings and homes.  Contact us today to schedule or ask questions 832.661.6154

Third Party Blower Door and Duct Blaster – 7704 Nasser, Houston Texas 77055

7704 Nasser, Houston, TX 77055

Third Party Blower Door and Duct Blaster – Home Ready Inspections is a full-service residential and commercial inspection company.  We specialize in the 2015/2018 IECC inspections and provide the Final Blower Door/Duct Blaster required by the City of Houston and surrounding areas.  Other services offered is Insulation inspections, Energy Analysis (ResCheck or Rating), Manual J and D (HVAC Design), Thermal Inspections, Mechanical Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Plumbing Inspections, and we specialize in troubleshooting high humidity buildings and homes.  Contact us today to schedule or ask questions 832.661.6154

Blower Door and Duct Blaster

 

Third Party Inspection

City of Houston Blower Door and Blaster – Home Ready Inspections is a full-service residential and commercial inspection company.  We specialize in the 2015/2018 IECC inspections and provide the Final Blower Door/Duct Blaster required by the City of Houston and surrounding areas.  Other services offered is Insulation inspections, Energy Analysis (ResCheck or Rating), Manual J and D (HVAC Design), Thermal Inspections, Mechanical Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Plumbing Inspections, and we specialize in troubleshooting high humidity buildings and homes.  Contact us today to schedule or ask questions 832.661.6154

Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster

City of Houston Blower Door and Blaster – Home Ready Inspections is a full-service residential and commercial inspection company.  We specializing in the 2015/2018 IECC inspections and provide the Final Blower Door/Duct Blaster required by the City of Houston and surrounding areas.  Other services offered is Insulation inspections, Energy Analysis (ResCheck or Rating), Manual J and D (HVAC Design), Thermal Inspections, Mechanical Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Plumbing Inspections, and we specialize in troubleshooting high humidity buildings and homes.  Contact us today to schedule or ask questions 832.661.6154

City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster

City of Houston Blower Door and Duct Blaster Test Performed

Galveston Insulation Inspection –

Galveston now requires a third party inspector to provide an insulation inspection prior to drywall/cover. HRI has work for multiple local builders in Galveston, TX providing such services which includes but not limited to Blower Doors, Duct Blaster, ResCheck, Manual J’s. Hire a professional who can provide all IECC inspections.

City of Houston – Energy Testing Results (2015 IECC) -4405 Schuler St, Houston, TX 77007

City of Houston Blower Door and Blaster – Home Ready Inspections is a full-service residential and commercial inspection company.  We specialize in the 2015/2018 IECC inspections and provide the Final Blower Door/Duct Blaster required by the City of Houston and surrounding areas.  Other services offered is Insulation inspections, Energy Analysis (ResCheck or Rating), Manual J and D (HVAC Design), Thermal Inspections, Mechanical Inspections, Electrical Inspections, Plumbing Inspections, and we specialize in troubleshooting high humidity buildings and homes.  Contact us today to schedule or ask questions 832.661.6154

 

Blower Door and Duct Blaster

4405 Schuler, Houston, TX 77007 – Blower Door and Duct Blaster

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