Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

fall home maintenance

With the arrival of chillier days, football watching and pumpkin everything, it’s time to think about getting your home ready for the winter months ahead. Check these easy to do tasks off your fall home maintenance checklist starting today.

Interior Fall Home Maintenance:

Conduct an energy audit. Through visual inspection and thermal imaging, a certified auditor can assess your home’s current energy efficiency. They will also provide you a list of recommended improvements you can make, such as upgrading to ENERGY STAR appliances, adding insulation to the attic or sealing air leaks.

Seal air leaks. While it’s well-known that homes require adequate levels of insulation to mitigate heat loss through your home’s walls, ceilings and floors, the concept of air sealing is often less understood. Air leaks can be found around windows, doors, attics, lighting fixtures, outlet, and vents. Some measures you can do include:

  • Caulking around windows and doors
  • Installing foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
  • Installing weatherstripping around windows and doors (include the garage door)
  • Replacing door bottoms (thresholds) with those that feature pliable gaskets

Declutter closets and garage. Free your closets and/or garage of things you rarely use or items that have lost their novelty once and for all this fall. When it comes to decluttering these spaces, it’s important to have a game plan in mind, and to set up organizational systems that are sure to eliminate clutter.

Start by sorting all contents of these spaces into three piles; toss, donate/sell, and keep. It’s a great idea to increase shelving and use bins in the closets. In the garage, install wall and overhead storage. Items infrequently used, such as holiday decorations and camping gear, should be stored further away than those you use more often.

Install a programmable thermostat. Save on home heating and cooling expenses with a programmable thermostat. For as low as $40, programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures for different times of the day. You can do the same on the weekends. That way your air conditioner or furnace isn’t running all day, costing you money when the house is unoccupied.

Replace furnace filters. This easy task allows your HVAC system to operate more efficiently, ensuring better heat distribution. Use high-efficiency filters labeled with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 or 12. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time.

Schedule heating system maintenance. Making sure your furnace is cleaned, maintained, and in working order before you need to turn on the heat will save you money on energy and prolong system life. Annual servicing of your heating system is affordable – typically less than $100.

Exterior Fall Home Maintenance:

De-gunk your gutters. Once most of the leaves have fallen, clean out gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool, causing damage to your roof, siding or foundation. You can hire a professional for this project or do it yourself. Either way, make sure the gutters are not sagging, and that all brackets are tightened.

Trim tree branches. Fall is a good time to trim tree branches, when dormancy has set in. It’s a good idea to trim branches back 8-10 feet away from your home, so they don’t damage your roofing or siding in windy conditions, cause moisture problems or make it easy for rodents to sneak into your house and raid your pantry. Always use clean landscaping trimmers to prevent the spread of disease.

Stock up on winter supplies. If you live in an area of the state that experiences blistering cold, snowy winters, it’s a good idea to stock up on some essentials in the fall. Some things you can include:

  • Pack emergency kits for both your home and car
  • If needed, pick up a bag, or two of pet and plant safe ice melt
  • Check the condition of snow shovels, ice scrapers, and sleds; replace as needed

Job Openings at Carrig & Dancer

job openings

Are looking to begin or advance your career in the insulation industry?

Carrig & Dancer is looking for workers who are passionate about what they do and looking to join a new building insulation family! We have several part-time and full-time job openings at our Washington branch that we are looking to fill immediately.

Available Job Openings

Carrig & Dancer is currently looking to fill the following positions:

  • Insulation Installers
  • Warehouse Employees

*Applicants must successfully pass a pre-employment drug test and background check

Apply Today

If you feel you are a good fit for any of these positions, you may apply online. If we are not currently looking to fill your desire position, we do keep all applications on file to refer to when we are in the process of hiring. You can also contact us at 253-584-7704.

About Carrig & Dancer

Established in 1982, Carrig & Dancer is one of largest, independently owned insulation contractors. With a strong, well-known and respected presence, we specialize in the installation of premium insulation for both residential and commercial buildings.

Multiple Applications for Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

spray foam insulation

Closed-cell spray foam insulation is renowned for being a superior material for both residential and commercial projects. Its unique application allows it to improve energy-efficiency while also enclosing conditioned air inside the structure, thus, reducing the amount of money spent on wasted energy. It’s also virtually impervious to moisture, preventing the loss of R-value, as well as the growth of mold.

Because it will not shrink or settle, its high R-value – it can achieve an R-20 at 3 inches and R-41 at 6 inches – and acoustical performance lasts the life of a structure. It is manufactured on site by combining an isocyanate and a polymeric resin through state-of-the-art equipment. Properly installed, closed-cell spray foam insulation can adhere to a wide variety of substrates including concrete, metal and wood.

Applications for closed-cell spray foam insulation include:

  • Roofs: Spray foam insulation can be used as a re-roofing material, applied directly on the existing roof structure, providing two important benefits: 1) waterproofing and 2) increased R-value. This application is more commonly seen in commercial building rather than residential.
  • Exterior walls: One of the positive attributes of spray foam insulation is its versatility. It’s compatible with many wall types and can be sprayed onto the exterior sheathing in new construction projects, or assimilated between stud cavities in retrofit situations.
  • Interior walls: Upgrading insulation with spray foam insulation allows you to benefit from fewer drafts, more consistent indoor temperatures, better indoor air quality, and reduced noise pollution. Similar benefits can be achieved when installed under floors.
  • Custom insulation applications: Contact for more information

Carrig and Dancer Insulation specializes in insulating your residential and commercial building envelope using the highest-quality insulation materials. Our experienced team is ready to partner with you on your next project. Call us today at (253) 584-7704. For a free quote, click here.

6 Energy Efficient Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

beat the heat

Air conditioning may ensure your comfort during the summer but running it non-stop during a heat wave will have you cringing when your utility bill arrives in the mail. The good news is that there are several ways you can beat the heat this summer without increasing your energy bills.

Here are some energy efficient ways to beat the heat that’ll pay off immediately.

Use your ceiling fans wisely. During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down, creating a wind chill effect. This allows you to set the thermostat at a higher temperature without sacrificing comfort. Portable fans produce the same effect. Turn them off when you leave the room.

Draw the curtains. During the day, room temperatures can rise by as much as 20 degrees, especially in areas with windows that get direct sunlight. Keep your curtains closed during the summer. Blackout curtains are often the most effective at reducing heat gain.

Switch out your light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs produce a lot more heat than you might think. They are also considered the least energy efficient. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use only 20-25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional light bulbs they replace. Choose bulbs that are ENERGY STAR certified.

Clean or change you’re A/C filters once a month. Your air conditioner consumes 5-10% more energy if the filter is clogged or dirty. You should change or clean the filter out on your A/C unit once a month.

Avoid using your stove or oven during the day. One of the last things you want to do on a hot day is generate more heat. Wait until sundown to use your stove or oven. Use smaller appliances, such as hot plates, crockpots, pressure cookers, and microwaves during the day. Small appliances have the added benefit of being energy efficient.

Install new insulation. Properly installed, insulation can help keep your home an average of 20 degrees cooler or warmer year-round. It will also reduce your energy bills. Look for insulation with a high R-value (the insulation’s ability to reduce heat transfer). You can choose between fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam insulation for this project.

Garage Door Insulation

garage door insulation

As the weather heats up, it’s the perfect time to consider insulating your garage door, especially if you use the space a home gym or workshop. Adding insulation to the door’s interior channels can help keep your garage an average of 20 degrees cooler in the summer. Insulation may also reduce noise transfer, increase energy efficiency, and brighten what might otherwise be considered a dreary space.

This is a relatively easy and affordable DIY project.

Purchase the Right Insulation Material

Rigid Foam Insulation: Typically made from expanded polystyrene (EPS), extruded polystyrene (XPS) or polyisocyanurate (“iso”), rigid foam insulation is an acceptable choice for garage door insulation if they are foil-faced and fire-rated. R-values for rigid foam insulation range from 3.3 to 6.5 per inch of thickness.

Batt Insulation: Commonly composed from fiberglass, batt insulation is more flexible than rigid foam insulation, with insulation values between R-3 and R-4 per inch of thickness. Not as good as rigid foam insulation, but still a viable option, especially considering batt insulation is one of the most affordable options available.

Understanding R-Values

An R-value is the resistance of heat flow through a given thickness of material. The higher the value, the greater the thermal resistance and therefore, the energy savings. An R-value is just one of four key factors you should consider.

  • Wind
  • Humidity
  • Temperature

These are all factors that should also be taken into consideration when selecting an insulation material. For maximum energy savings, it’s also important to consider insulating the entire garage, and not just the door.

Matching Insulation to Your Garage Door

  • Steel garage doors can accommodate any type of insulation
  • Wood frame garage doors can accommodate foam board insulation. Consider applying two layers
  • Flat garage doors (doors without panels) can accommodate rigid foam insulation

At Carrig and Dancer, you will find a large selection of rigid foam backed and batt insulation guaranteed to make your garage more comfortable not only during the summer, but year ‘round. Visit our website at www.carriganddancerinsulation.com or contact us directly at (253) 584-7704 to schedule an initial consultation and free quote.

5 Simple Ways to Soundproof Your Home

soundproof

Because we all deserve a little peace and quiet.

Noise – there is no escaping it. Whether it is the result of noisy neighbors above you, music blaring, an airplane passing overhead or honking cars outside, there is nothing more irritating to the senses than unwanted noise. Unwanted noise that can have far reaching consequences according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In fact, any unwanted noise that our ears haven’t been trained to filter out can mess with our sleep, add to our stress, infringe on our privacy, and generally compromise our quality of life. Fortunately, there are a number of soundproofing initiatives you can take alleviate the problem, which don’t require you to go through the expense of remodeling your home.

Here are 5 simple ways to soundproof your home:

#1. Add Insulation

Adding insulation is one of the most effective ways to keep unwanted noise out. Good candidates for additional insulation include the ceilings, walls and attic. Blown-in cellulose is an effective sound insulator. Made from recycled paper or denim, it contains no VOCs, is fire-resistant and environmentally friendly, too. Rigid foam board insulation is another good choice.

#2. Upgrade Your Windows

In terms of blocking sound, the windows in your home probably aren’t cutting it; especially if you’re still rocking single pane glass. Your monthly heating and cooling costs may also be higher than they should be. Replacing old, inefficient windows with double pane offers much more in the way of energy efficiency and noise reduction, without paying a premium for triple pane windows.

#3. Apply Weatherstripping

There are many low-cost ways to soundproof your home. One of the easiest: weatherstripping each window and door in your home. Weatherstrip all points where sash meets jambs, headers and sills, using adhesive-backed high-density foam tape. Fill tiny cracks or gaps with an acoustical caulk sealant. Replacing hollow-core entry doors with solid-core will also help quiet outside noise.

#4. Hang Sound-absorbing Curtains

The same materials used to decorate your home can help absorb a great deal of sound, as well as stop the transmission of outdoor sounds, and keep the sun out of your rooms. Look for tightly-woven, heavy materials such as velvets, embroidered brocade and wools or blackout curtains with built-in liners. To maximize the sound reduction, make sure they cover the wall above and below your window too.

#5. Try – Duct Wrap

Your plumbing also contributes to noise. Water running through pipes is unavoidable, but by insulating those pipes, you can cut associated sounds in half. The same is true for air ducts. Apply duct wrap to all joints before wrapping them with insulation. Use foil-backed insulation with a minimum R-value (thermal resistance rating) of 6. You can also apply this combo to your home’s water heater.

Spring Cleaning for Energy Efficiency

spring cleaning

Today, March 20th, marks the first day of spring! For many that means giving the house, apartment or yes, even the office a good cleaning. Spring, however, is also a great time to adopt a spring cleaning for energy efficiency routine. Small changes like these can make a BIG difference in your home’s energy consumption, comfort, and cost.

Change air filters every three months – Routinely replacing or cleaning your air filters will not only keep your air cleaner, but can lower your HVAC equipment’s energy consumption by up to 15 percent, per the U.S. Department of Energy. Look for healthy living or hypoallergenic filters as these will help increase your indoor air quality.

Reduce water heater temperature – One good way to control energy costs is to reduce the temperature on your water heater. It’s a fact. Turning down the temperature 10˚F can save you 3 to 5 percent on energy costs. Double that if you lower it from 140˚F to 120˚F (this is an adequate spring/summer temperature).

Redirect ceiling fans – Air conditioning is often a homeowners’ biggest expense – especially in the summer. One way to get more out of your air conditioner, but still pay less is to take advantage of your home’s ceiling fans by directing them to circulate counterclockwise; forcing cool air down rather than up.

Seal air leaks – Nobody likes a drafty home, no matter what the season. Sealing your home of air leaks keeps the cool air in, the warm air out, and the cash in your wallet while increasing home comfort. Caulking and weatherstripping are two simple and effective air sealing techniques.

Check your insulation levels – Inadequate levels of insulation can result in abnormally high energy bills. If you’re not sure why your bill is so high, check your current insulation levels. Per this year’s Cost vs. Value report, adding fiberglass insulation to your attic has an average return on investment of 107.7%.

Attic Insulation How To

 

attic insulation

Heating and cooling accounts for more than half of the energy consumed in an average home. Because heat rises, an attic lacking adequate insulation could be costing you big bucks, as evidenced by high utility bills. Taking steps to combat high utility bills is good for the environment, good for you, and good for your wallet. The following is an attic insulation how to.

How much does attic insulation cost?

According to this year’s Cost vs. Value report, which compares the average cost of 29 popular home improvement projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 99 U.S. markets, hiring a contractor to install insulation in your attic will cost $1,343. On the upside, you will see a 107.7% return on investment (ROI), should you ever decide to sell or refinance your home. In addition, you may qualify to receive a federal tax credit of 10% of the cost, up to $500.

How much material will I need?

That depends. Insulation levels are specified by R-value. R-value is a measure of an insulation material’s ability to resist heat flow. Higher R-values are required in colder areas, whereas, R-38 is the recommended value for temperate and hotter climates. Take a look at ENERGY STAR’s recommended home insulation R-values guidelines for more information. Keep in mind that R-values vary depending on material.

Armed with this information, you will then want to measure the length and width of your attic to determine how many square feet of insulation you’ll need. To complete this job, you may also need other materials, such as silicone caulk, metal flashing, and weatherstripping as it is important to first seal off any existing air leaks or drafts. Sealing off these leaks will provide benefits for years to come.

Tips for Working in the Attic

  • Have a plan in place. The key to any successful project – especially a project of this magnitude – is adequate planning. Before beginning, gather all necessary tools and supplies, including a flashlight. You’ll also want to ensure the area is well-lit by using a work light.
  • Protect yourself. Insulation can be itchy and irritating to the skin, as well as harmful to the lungs, which is why it’s important to wear the proper gear to protect yourself. We recommend wearing safety googles, work gloves, a face mask, and a lightweight disposable coverall in addition to using knee pads.

3 Steps to an Insulated Attic

Step 1: Seal Air Leaks

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you or a professional air seal your attic before insulating it. There are many benefits to air sealing including reducing heating and cooling costs, improving durability, increasing comfort, and creating a healthier indoor environment. Caulking and weatherstripping are two effective air sealing techniques that offer quick returns on investment.

Step 2: Choose Your Insulation

Loose Fill Insulation – No one says you have to use the same type of insulation that currently exists in your attic when adding additional material. You can easily use loose fill on top of fiberglass batts or blankets. If you choose to use loose fill insulation, it may be in your best interest to hire a professional. This type of material requires specialized machines and techniques.

Batt Insulation – Laying fiberglass rolls is an easy to moderate do-it-yourself project. Sold in various widths, this type of insulation is designed to fit easily within most typical joists, although layering is required to get the proper R-value for your zone. When laying down additional insulation work from the perimeter, out, moving towards the attic opening. Never lay insulation over recessed light fixtures or soffit vents.

Step 3: Create Barriers

No matter the material, if you’re installing insulation near recessed lights or soffit vents, you’ll want to use sheet metal or wire mesh to help create a barrier. Insulation and recessed light fixtures do not mix! Some recessed lights, however, are designed for “insulation contact” or “IC,” in which case no barrier is required. Check the fixture first before installing insulation.

Winter Energy Saving Tips

energy saving tips

Save money this winter with these energy saving tips.

Upgrade to LED

LEDs are extremely energy efficient, consuming 90% less power than incandescent bulbs, and lasting 50,000 times longer. Although LEDs have a higher initial cost than more traditional lightbulbs, like incandescent and compact fluorescent, the cost is quickly recouped over time in lower electricity costs. LEDs are also made from non-toxic materials, generate virtually no heat, and are 100% recyclable.

Invest in insulation

Hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs are lost each year due to escaping heat and cold in homes without proper attic insulation. With added insulation your home becomes much more energy efficient. This will reduce the costs associated with heating and cooling your home. Other benefits of insulating your home include increasing sound control, regulating the temperature, and making your living environment more enjoyable.

Keep your air filters clean

When is the last time you changed your air filters? Changing air filters is critical to the proper performance of your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, not to mention your home’s indoor air quality, as well as lowering your monthly heating and cooling bills. ENERGY STAR recommends changing air filters every month or every three months if you invest in HEPA quality filters.

Install a programmable thermostat

A programmable thermostat helps you save energy and reduce your carbon footprint, therefore helping the environment, by automating your home’s temperatures without sacrificing your comfort. When programming your thermostat, consider when you normally go to sleep and wake up, as well as the work/school schedules of everyone in the household. This will provide you with the most savings.

Adjust the thermostat at night

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can save up to 10 percent per year on your heating and cooling bills by simply turning your thermostat down 7 to 10 degrees when you are asleep or away from home. During the winter, they recommend setting the thermostat to 68˚F, and during the summer to 78˚F when you’re awake and need heating or cooling.

Use ceiling fans to your advantage

Good ventilation and airflow equal increased energy savings. If your home has ceiling fans, table fans, floor fans or any combination of these, you have more control over ventilation than you may realize. Setting your fan’s blades to move counter-clockwise will push hot air up in the summer, and setting them clockwise will trap heat inside the rooms where they are, keeping them warmer during the winter.

Reduce heat loss from your fireplace

There is nothing quite like the glow, warmth, and crackle of a fire in the hearth; especially on a cold winter’s night. When in use, you should open the dampers in the bottom of the fireplace (if applicable), or open the nearest window by an inch to reduce heat loss. When not in use, keep the damper closed, as an open damper allows warm air to escape straight up the chimney.

Keeping Warm with Attic Insulation

attic insulation

Would you like to save on home energy costs?

By adding attic insulation, you are provided with some of the largest opportunities to save energy in your home, as well as maintain a comfortable temperature throughout much more efficiently. Whether it is summer or winter, adding attic insulation makes your house a lot more livable, while saving you some much needed dough.

Best of all, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value report, adding attic insulation is the #1 home improvement project with the best return on investment (ROI). In fact, attic insulation was the only home improvement project to provide over a 100% return on investment, recouping you 116.9%.

There are also several tax credits you should be aware of. According to ENERGY STAR, typical bulk insulation products like those mentioned below, qualify for a federal tax credit amount of 10% of the cost; up to $500. This tax credit is available for purchases made in 2016, as well as retroactive to purchases made in 2015.

  • Blown-in Insulation: Loose cellulose or fiberglass insulation that is professionally blown into a wall cavity or attic using a commercial-grade insulation blower.
  • Roll and Batt Insulation: Composed of mineral materials or fiberglass, this type of insulation provides some of the best R-values per inch.
  • Expanding Spray Foam Insulation: Expandable spray foam is best suited for insulating wall cavities, ceiling, and roof-deck applications.
  • Rigid Foam Insulation: Consists of high density foam, mineral or fiberglass boards that are commonly used in cathedral ceilings and exterior walls as well as attics.

Products that reduce air leaks such as weather stripping, canned spray foam, caulk designed specifically for air sealing, and house wrap may also qualify for these tax credits as long as they come with a Manufacturers Certification Statement. Professional installation costs are NOT included.

Should I Invest in Attic Insulation?

If your home experiences any of the following symptoms, you may want to consider adding adequate levels of insulation to your home’s attic space, along with its interior walls, floors, and crawl spaces. Note that the EPA recommends air sealing the attic using any one of the aforementioned products before adding insulation.

  • Drafty rooms.
  • Hot or cold ceilings or walls.
  • High heating or cooling costs.
  • Uneven temperatures between rooms.
  • Ice dams in the winter (where applicable).

Determining Proper Insulation R-Values

Understanding an insulation material’s R-value – a measure of how well it resists the flow of heat – is very important. The higher the number, the better the insulating power, and the more energy you will save. If your home is not properly insulated, you are likely paying more than you should be for home energy.

Recommended R-values are 30 to 60 for most attic spaces, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, with R-38 (or about 12 to 15 inches, depending on material type) being considered the “sweet spot.” In colder climates, go for R-49. For insulation recommendations tailored to your home, visit the DOE’s Home Energy Saver Tool.

Professional Installation by Carrig & Dancer

As a locally owned and operated insulation contractor, servicing Washington State, we take great pride in all aspects of what we do. We specialize in both residential and commercial insulation installs. No job is ever too big or small for us to handle. Call us today at (253) 584-7704 for a free in-home estimate.