Monthly Archives: July 2013

More Than Pink Fluff: The Home Insulation Decision

Pop quiz! What comes to mind when you hear the words “home insulation?”

If the first thing you pictured were huge, fluffy pink rolls of spun fiberglass, you’re not alone. After all, woven fiberglass has been the most popular home insulation method for the better part of the Twentieth Century, and is still a common choice today. But these days there are a lot more options to choose from! Whether you’re building a new home or planning a remodel, doing some research on the variety of home insulation methods on the market is a wise decision. In this post, we’ll discuss a few of the insulation methods used most often by the Home Comfort insulation team.

Knauf Ecobatt Glasswool Insulation

Sustainably-Sourced Insulation: First, if you care not just about the amount of energy your home insulation will save, but also about the sustainability of the insulation material itself, then insulation made from renewable materials is definitely worth looking into. Like traditional woven fiberglass insulation, renewable insulation materials like Knauf’s EcoBatt Glasswool™ products are thick, fluffy sheets of material that are secured in areas like the wall cavities of a home. The only major difference between renewable insulation products and fiberglass insulation are the materials used to create them. Instead of fiberglass, this type of insulation is typically made of materials like sand and recycled glass. Besides the fact that this insulation is made from mostly recycled materials, homeowners who choose this type of insulation often do so because they’re less likely to be made with potentially irritating chemicals like formaldehyde, phenol, or artificial dyes.

loose fillLoose-Fill Insulation: Loose-fill insulation is made from fiberglass like traditional insulation, but it doesn’t come in sheets and rolls. Commonly used in attics and hard-to-reach areas, this material is blown into the space with special equipment. This is a great option for remodels or insulation upgrades! However, those of us who enjoy DIY home improvement projects should take heed: due to the equipment required to apply this material, and the skill needed to install it evenly over the insulated space, this method of insulation is best left to a trained professional installer.

Sprayed-foam-insulation

Spray-Foam: Besides the fact that wall cavities covered in spray-foam look like
they’re coated with snow or marshmallows, spray-foam is also a cool insulation method because of its versatility and efficiency. Since the plastic spray-foam material expands upon application, it can fill tiny spaces that loose-fill, roll, and batt insulations might miss. This creates a tight seal against the air outside and helps to regulate the temperature inside your home.

Keep in mind that the spray is made from plastic-based chemicals and should always be applied by a professional. While the material is perfectly safe when fully dried, the chemicals can irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory system while it is still wet. As you can see in the picture above, spray-foam installers use special equipment to apply the insulation and must wear skin and eye protection during the installation. Once the application is finished, however, the insulation barrier is both safe and energy-saving.

The comforting thing to keep in mind is that no matter what form of insulation you decide to use, the methods on the market today are held to strict efficiency standards, and, when installed by professionals, are safe for you and your family. It’s simply a matter of finding the right insulation for your lifestyle and budget.

Have more questions about home insulation? Need to start a project? Our insulation department at Home Comfort is ready to help. Contact us today to get started!

Works Cited:

http://ctsprayfoaminsulation.com/faq%CA%BCs/

http://www.ecobatt.us/eco_batt.html

http://www.knaufinsulation.us/content/jet-stream-ultra-blowing-insulation

Small Changes Can Lead to Big Savings: Cutting Down on Summer Water Use

sprinkler

Does your heart do a little somersault when you open your water bill after a long heat wave? Perhaps you’ve been feeling reluctant to fill up the plastic wading pool for your kids on a hot summer day; or maybe pranksters have been writing “wash me” in the dust on your car’s back window because you just can’t justify turning on the hose one more time this week.

In most parts of the U.S., there’s just no way around it. Between thirsty gardens, dusty cars, and a simultaneous desire to enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors and avoid heat stroke, we use more water during the summer months than any other time of year. A lot more, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA estimates that during this peak water use season, a household’s daily water use can nearly quadruple in comparison to an average, off-season day. The good news is that there are plenty of measures you can take to reduce the amount of water you use in your home without sacrificing the beauty of your garden or the fun of an old-fashioned water balloon fight.

Start by assessing your outdoor water use. How frequently do you water your lawn and garden, and what time of day do you usually turn on the hose? Many people will water their lawns on a hot summer day as a preventative measure, even when the grass is at no risk of drying out – which can lead to hundreds of gallons of wasted water. To avoid watering your lawn unnecessarily, the EPA recommends trying the “Step on It” test. The test is easy – before you start to water your lawn, simply walk across the grass. If you see footprints in the grass when you’re finished, your lawn is thirsty and needs to be watered. But if the grass springs back into place, put down the hose – your lawn probably doesn’t need the extra water right now.

To conserve even more water when it comes to your garden, be deliberate about your watering schedule. Instead of watering your garden in the middle of the day, do your watering first thing in the morning or just before sunset. A lot of the water you generously pour on your grass and flowers can be lost to evaporation if it’s done during the hottest part of the day.

To reduce water waste inside your home, take a look around and make a list of plumbing components that need to be repaired or updated. Consider this – your toilet alone can waste around 200 gallons a day if it is operating with a leak! Call a trusted, licensed plumbing contractor like Home Comfort to fix any leaking pipes or fixtures.

If you think it’s time for your plumbing components to be updated, talk to a plumber about installing a WaterSense-labeled toilet or a low-flow showerhead. These components are easy to install, and can use less than half the amount of water older fixtures were designed to use. The initial investment to stop the leaks in your home and update your fixtures can lead to big savings down the road. With small changes in behavior, and an investment in your home’s plumbing, you can take charge of your summer water bill.

Works Cited:

http://www.epa.gov/watersense/our_water/summer2011.html

http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/pubs/indoor.html

 

Home Comfort Heating Wishes You a Happy (and Safe) Independence Day!

fireworks

Here at the Home Comfort office, our staff is counting down the hours and eagerly anticipating the relaxation and spectacle of another Independence Day holiday. We’re all about the heating and cooling business, but at such a beautiful time of year we’re making more creative plans to beat the heat than sitting locked up in our homes with the AC on full-blast. Some of us are planning fishing trips or barbecues by the pool; others are taking off for the numerous campgrounds in Oregon’s State Parks to relax by a pristine lake or river. While everyone has different destinations and activities in mind, it is a near-certainty that most of us will be enjoying fireworks in some form or another.

But before you stock up on sparklers at the fireworks stand, it’s a good idea to make an outline of your plans and be aware of some basic firework safety measures, so that you and your family can enjoy the holiday to its fullest extent. The Oregon State Fire Marshal urges residents and visitors to the state to remember the “4 BE’s” of firework safety:

Be Prepared: Read and follow the instructions on the back of your fireworks carefully, and always keep plenty of water handy. If you have pets, keep them indoors while lighting fireworks.

Be Safe: Have a responsible adult light the fireworks and only light fireworks outdoors. Never hold or throw lit fireworks, and make sure children view displays from a safe distance.

Be Responsible: Always soak used fireworks after use, and never try to re-ignite a firework that turned out to be a dud.

Be Aware: Use legal fireworks purchased from an Oregon-permitted firework retailer. Remember that fireworks are not permitted on beaches, State Parks, or State and Federal Forest areas.

(Tip: If you’re camping this weekend, consider driving to a nearby town to catch a local fireworks display instead of spending money on fireworks that can’t be used in the areas mentioned above. It’s a fun and wallet-friendly way to enjoy the beauty of a fireworks display on a grand scale.)

If you would like to view the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s “4 BE’s” flyer for more safety tips, click here. Fireworks-related injuries and property damage occur every year in Oregon, but if you take plenty of precautions you can help to make sure the most memorable part of your Independence Day holiday was the wonderful flashes and colors of a spectacular fireworks show.

From all of us at Home Comfort, have a fun and safe weekend!