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Are Home Energy Audits Worth the Cost?

Home Energy AuditsWould you know if your home was wasting energy?

Many homeowners say yes.

In many cases, you will notice something obvious, such as a draft coming through the window or sunlight shining from underneath the door. When this occurs, you can fix the problem and make your home more efficient. However, it’s possible that your home has dozens of other leaks that you’re not seeing. These leaks could be draining the heating and cooling from out of your home – and taking your dollars with it.

How can you tell where these vulnerabilities are located? By scheduling a home energy audit with an HVAC service in Peoria.

What is a Home Energy Audit? Is it Worth the Cost?

A professional energy audit will identify the areas in your home that are losing energy, as well as the best methods for fixing them and your potential savings. The question that many homeowners have is whether or not a home energy audit is worth it. Well, that all depends on how energy savvy you are and how much you can afford.

When we say “afford” we don’t just mean the cost of the energy audit, which usually runs from $300 to $500. You must also factor in what it will cost to make the necessary repairs. Some suggestions may be cheap and include placing caulk around windows or doors, while others might be more costly (i.e., new windows, new insulation). If you’re not ready to make these commitments, then a home energy audit probably isn’t worth it.

If you do choose to hold off on an energy audit, our HVAC repair company in Peoria recommends that you perform your own home energy check to spot obvious problems, such as air coming from windows, doors and electrical outlets. You can buy kits and fill these areas so you’re saving some energy. Of course, many things you can’t see without the proper tools, so this is only a short-term solution.

9 Times Out of 10 – Energy Audits are Worth It

If your budget allows, and you’re open to making the necessary improvements, a home energy audit is very worth it. Here’s why.

  • Removes the guesswork. Rather than taking wild guesses on what could be sapping energy from your home, you have the answers in front of you. This saves time, money and aggravation. After all, why install new windows if you don’t need them?
  • Smarter decisions. You wouldn’t buy parts for your car without having it checked first, right? The same is true for your home. Until you know what vulnerabilities your home has, you shouldn’t be buying expensive equipment.
  • Fast energy savings. When the problem areas are repaired, your home saves energy, and you save money. It doesn’t take time for this to show, either. You can start enjoying more affordable utility bills right away!
  • Longer lasting HVAC equipment. All HVAC equipment is an investment that you want to see the greatest return on. But, if your home is not operating efficiently, your equipment has to work harder. A home energy audit extends the lifespan of your HVAC equipment.

Not All Home Energy Auditors are Created Equally

At Cool Blew, we provide comprehensive audits that check your heating and cooling equipment, windows, doors, attic, ductwork and more. Our auditors are friendly and professional, and they are happy to provide you with DIY tips to execute on your own. We are conscious of your budget, and we will work with you to make the process economical. Call Cool Blew to schedule an assessment and start working toward a more efficient household.

Photo Credit: Jack Moreh

Should I Get Rid of My Exhaust Fans?

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Exhaust fans may seem like a rather outdated bit of technology, given the fact that so many high-tech gadgets are appearing all the time for use in the home, but in truth these simple devices still serve a very useful purpose in the home, and especially in bathrooms. Most new homes come with the exhaust fans already installed, but surprisingly they are not always as effective as they could be. Here are some of the common functions that exhaust fans are intended to perform, and if you feel that your fans are not living up to these standard functions, you should probably shop around for some more effective exhaust fans, because they really can be a benefit to all concerned.

Moisture removal

The most obvious purpose of a bathroom exhaust fan is of course to remove moisture from the air, and this can be a major function because all the occupants of your home are showering and taking baths daily, which can lead to the retention of high levels of moisture in the room. If that moisture is allowed to collect and stay in place, it can easily lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which would then become a health hazard for household residents.
Management of odors

Another primary function of bathroom exhaust fans is the elimination of unappealing odors in the room. A well-maintained bathroom exhaust fan extracts these odors, and conducts them out of the room so that subsequent users are not offended by unpleasant air quality. In a household of numerous occupants, this can be a fairly significant issue, especially if everyone has to use the same bathroom.

Fume control

Ironically, actions taken to maintain cleanliness and health in the bathroom can actually lead to problems. For instance, many cleaning agents are comprised of fairly aggressive chemicals, and these can become a health problem when inhaled, particularly for people who already have respiratory issues. It can also significantly impact young children and elderly residents of the home. An exhaust fan can be a big help with eliminating chemical odors that might otherwise lead to health issues in the home

It’s there, but is it used?

From the above, it’s easy to see that bathroom exhaust fans provide a really useful service to household residents, and should be used appropriately to overcome the common issues they are intended to. In many cases however, people are reluctant to use bathroom exhaust fans because they’re loud or noisy, and they don’t want to be disturbed by them.

If this is the case in your home, you should have your bathroom exhaust fans checked by a reputable service technician, because there’s a good chance it simply wasn’t installed correctly, and is not functioning up to manufacturer specifications. Homeowners in the area of Scottsdale, Peoria, Sun City, Surprise, or Glendale are fortunate, in that you have access to the expert HVAC professionals at Cool Blew Inc.

Keeping You and Your Four-legged Friends Cozy

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If you live anywhere around the region which includes Peoria, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Sun City, or Surprise, you’ll know that keeping your air condition in great running shape is very important for your comfort and for the quality of the air you breathe indoors. But have you ever thought about how it affects your cat or dog? Your pet is breathing the same air that you are, and it is affected in much the same way by the indoor air quality of your home. When your air conditioner or your furnace is not performing at peak efficiency, your four-legged friends are suffering just like you are.

Poor indoor air quality

When air is not being conditioned properly inside your home, it can lead to some serious respiratory issues, or even some cardiovascular problems, both of which can affect humans and pets. Air quality can easily be degraded by cooking fumes, mildew, cleaning products, and cigarette smoke, all of which can be harmful to your pets and yourself. For both your own well-being and for the safety of your feline/canine friends, healthy air quality needs to be maintained.

Simple enhancements

There are some very simple things you can do to improve air quality in the home, the first of which should be regularly cleaning your reusable filters, or discarding dirty filters which are not reusable. When you have pets in your home, filters are almost certain to attract animal hair, along with all the other pollutants it extracts, such as pollen, dirt, mold, and bacteria. No smoking should be allowed indoors at all, because smoke-laden air will be breathed in by everyone in the home, including pets.

If there are any cracks or gaps in the structure of your home, they could allow external contaminants inside, so these should be filled in somehow to prevent penetration by sources of contamination. It would also be a good idea to regularly groom your pets, because if they’ve been outside at all, they can easily bring in pollutants.

Air quality solutions

Beyond the simpler enhancements that you can do without incurring expense, you can also invest in the improvement of air quality by installing air purifiers, humidifiers, ventilation systems, and even ultraviolet lamps. All of these can enhance air quality in their own way, and should be considered as potential solutions depending on the specific shortcoming of your air quality. Having your ductwork cleaned at least once a year will also remove a great deal of debris and pollutants from your home’s air circulation network, and it will also improve air flow in general.

Call the professionals

To be sure that the air quality of your home is healthy enough for you and your pets, call the experts at Cool Blew Inc. and schedule an evaluation of your air quality. If any steps need to be taken to improve it, your HVAC specialists are sufficiently knowledgeable and experienced to make just the right recommendations for your home.

How Much Insulation Do You Need?

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There really isn’t any one-size-fits-all answer to the question of how much insulation you need in your home. As a rule of thumb however, it centers around the climate in your area and the cost of energy which supplies your home. Since insulation retains warmth or heat which can add to the comfort of all occupants in the home, and can help keep your utility bills lower, it’s certainly worth maintaining the proper level of insulation.

If you really want to be sure about having the proper levels of insulation at your home in Surprise, Phoenix, Sun City, Scottsdale, Peoria, or Glendale, you can simply call the experts at Cool Blew Inc. and have the heating and cooling professionals determine all that for you. And if you are the do-it-yourselfer type, you can use the information below to help you figure out how much insulation your home needs to be well protected.

DOE recommendation

The Department of Energy has issued a chart which recommends the proper levels of insulation for each of the geographic areas of the United States, and the climates which can be expected there. These recommendations are made in the form of R-values, which are measures of the effectiveness of any insulating material for its resistance to transferal of heat.

As R-values go higher, so does the insulating material’s ability to resist heat transfer, which makes the higher R-values more desirable in terms of insulating effectiveness. This chart depicts various areas of the home and the appropriate levels of insulation for each, for instance floor insulation, attics, and rooms with cathedral ceilings. It also shows how each of these should be insulated in the various climatic zones across the country. If you don’t want to bother calculating or using the chart, simply insulate to R-60, which is a high level that you can’t go wrong with at any location.

Attic insulation

If you’re using blanket-type insulation rolls, they should be at least 12 inches thick in your attic, although 15 or 20 inches would be even better. Anything less than 12 inches means that you’re probably letting warm or cool air escape, and wasting money on your energy bills. For do-it-yourselfers, this is one of the most cost-effective projects you can undertake in the home, and it’s well worth the cost of whatever insulating materials you use.

Wall insulation

Without a doubt, wall insulation should be as thick as you can possibly make it, and there’s really no way you can overstuff the insulation between walls. It should also go literally from floor to ceiling, with no missing areas or gaps in the wall coverage. If this is a project you’re doing yourself, make sure to wrap the insulation snugly around the ductwork, all plumbing fixtures and piping, the electrical boxes, and all wiring or cabling which runs through the walls.