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Posts Tagged: home maintenance

Is it time to re-side?

Posted On: Filed Under: Siding No Comments on Is it time to re-side?

 

What is the condition of your current siding?

  1. Is there evidence of deterioration such as sagging, cracking, buckling or discoloration in vinyl siding.
  2. Are pieces missing or loose?
  3. Is the siding showing moisture or water stains? Water behind your siding can cause mold and rot on your home’s structure, and is a breeding ground for termites.
  4. Is paint peeling? Do you have to paint frequently?

Whether you choose to look at siding replacement for damage control or because it will give your home a beautiful new look, there are also energy saving benefits to doing so.  The benefits:

  • Whether its composite (vinyl) or fiber cement, siding products today are made to last and be low maintenance, even in our wet climate. The warranties run from 15 years to lifetime (and transferable).
  • If you painted every 5 years, you’d save at least the cost of 3 paint jobs or more if you had lifetime warranty siding.
  • New man-made siding products can look beautiful, even like cedar shake. They come in designer colors, with matching trims and moldings.
  • The new materials used today and methods of application can lower your utility bills. For example, Cedar Ridge Siding says” If your home doesn’t realize a 20% improvement in energy savings in the first year, we’ll pay the difference”. You can install insulation under fiber cement siding or buy insulated composite siding. This can decrease your heat loss and make your home more comfortable.
  • Many siding materials now include recycled materials. The US Green Building Council, for example, recognizes fiber cement siding for its sustainability. (Source: James Hardie Siding).
  • Protection – some types of siding, such as fiber cement are non-combustible. Siding can straighten wall imperfections, and fortify corners and windows to prevent heat loss. And it can take a pounding – even hurricane force winds.

Costs vary by region but typically, vinyl and composite are lower cost. Fiber cement is in the middle and cedar and masonry are highest. You’ll want to speak to any contractor about their installation methods as these are important to having a good, energy efficient finished product and making sure your install meets warranty requirements.

To find out more about siding and learn how re-siding is done, contact Washington Energy Services in Seattle at 1.800.398.Home. Washington Energy Services sells top name brand CompositeVinyl and Fiber Cement Siding and has design and installation professionals trained to make your siding experience turn-key and your home beautiful.

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Go with the air flow

Posted On: Filed Under: Air conditioning, Heat pump No Comments on Go with the air flow

I do understand that years ago the utility companies instructed customers to close the registers in the rooms not being used. This was okay for the systems in the 1960’s but not today, not in Seattle.

Since about the late 60’s the products installed in homes have been forced air furnaces. These are designed for a specific amount of air to flow through the furnace while operating. The ductwork is designed for this amount of air also. When air registers are closed it reduces the airflow and allows heat to buildup in the system. That heat has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is up the flue and out of your house. Closing 1 or 2 registers is fine in small rooms that get too hot. Keep as many registers open as possible so your furnace can operate at maximum efficiency. The same is true for heat pumps and central air conditioning. Airflow is key to efficient heating and cooling system and saving money.

As we approach the end of another winter, don’t forget your heating system and all the hard work it has done for you. It has been heating for 5 months… have you checked/changed your filter? You would be very surprised to hear how many service calls could have been avoided by performing this one simple task. If your filter is difficult to change, have a professional service organization install a filter box or rack in your system that allows easy access. When a technician comes out for your annual service ask them about this upgrade.

To find a qualified furnace service technician in your area, contact Washington Energy Services at 800-398-4663.

Our services also include duct cleaning and filter maintenance, and we can install air purification systems that will reduce indoor air pollution in your home.

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Your furnace tune-up can save lives

Posted On: Filed Under: Furnace No Comments on Your furnace tune-up can save lives

The Washington State Department of health concurs and recommends having a trained professional check your gas appliances and fireplaces annually.

Carbon monoxide, CO, can enter your home any time you have a defect in your furnace’s heat exchanger. A heat exchanger is the largest part of the furnace, usually made of aluminum or stainless steel, through which the poisonous carbon monoxide-containing exhaust fumes leave the furnace and are vented to the outside. Heat exchangers can develop holes over time or through manufacturer defect. The result is that some of the carbon monoxide will leak through these apertures and into your house. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious health risk, and over 1000 Washington residents were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning from a variety of sources between 1990 and 2005.

When selecting an HVAC contractor to perform the tune-up that the EPA recommends, it is extremely important to select a company whose technicians understand how to properly inspect heat exchangers. Few companies are eager to properly inspect your heat exchanger. Mostly because it’s hard to reach. The heat exchanger sits behind all of the parts you can see, including the motors, gas valve, pressure switch, circuit board, igniter, etc, and often you cannot see it even with the front panel open. Because of this inspection, the precision tune up when done correctly is a longer appointment. For example, Washington Energy Services furnace tune up takes 45 minutes to 1 hour on a furnace where no problems are found. When problems are found, this time obviously increases.

So how do you know your technician will do a good tune up? Ask your contractor if its technicians are NATE Certified. It stands for North American Technician Excellence (www.natex.org), and it is an HVAC industry certification of quality. You can be confident that NATE Certified technicians provide the kind of precision tune ups discussed in this article.

 

To get a precision tune up for your furnace call Washington Energy Services at 1 800 398-HOME. Washington Energy Services technicians are NATE certified.

 

For more information on Carbon Monoxide poisoning, see Washington State Department of health at  www.doh.wa.gov/ehp/ts/IAQ/CO_Fact_Sheet.htm.

 

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