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Posts Tagged: insulation

Insulation Matters In The Pacific Northwest

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating, Gas fireplace, Insulation, News, Tips to save money 7 Comments on Insulation Matters In The Pacific Northwest

Properly Insulating Your Home Can Save You As Much As
17% On Your Annual Energy Bill

We frequently discuss heating systems, such as furnaces and heat pumps on our website and in our Idea Center. These necessary systems heat our homes in a way that we can physically feel.  However, there is an unsung hero in home warmth and efficiency that just doesn’t get enough credit: insulation. In our wet, cold, cut-you-to the-bone Pacific Northwest winters, keeping heat and cool air where it should be is crucial—and that’s exactly what proper insulation delivers. According to Energy Star, adding insulation can save you up to 17% on your annual home energy bills.

There are four types of insulation available from Washington Energy Services. Each type serves a unique purpose, and they all work together for optimum home comfort and efficiency.

Interior And Exterior Wall Insulation

When you hear the word insulation, this is probably the type that comes to mind. This insulation is installed in the cavity between the interior and exterior walls. This is common in new construction, but in older homes, it is often a retrofit installation. To install, small openings are inserted into the walls for the insulation to be blown in.

Interior and exterior wall insulation act’s as a barrier to the elements. Just as important, it reduces interior heat loss through the wall.

Duct Insulation

If your home has an air-forced heating and cooling system, your ducts act as a thoroughfare to distribute air. Unfortunately, 20 to 30 percent of this air can be lost through the ducts, resulting in energy loss and uncomfortable temperatures. It’s also a safety issue as crawlspaces are dirty and dusty, and these particles can be picked up by the ducts and spread throughout your home.

Duct insulation seals the ducts to stop air leakage, improve your home’s energy efficiency, and help you manage temperatures. It also keeps dust out of the ducts, and therefore, out of the air your family breathes.

Crawl Space Insulation

Believe it or not, most Puget Sound area homes have no insulation in their crawl spaces. While they’re on the outside of the heated part of your home, insulating these areas can have a big impact on your home energy usage because it keeps heat from escaping the home… and money from escaping your wallet.

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation from Washington Energy Services is environmentally friendly, flame resistant, and energy efficient—an all-around win-win. The insulation is cellulose-based and blown in by one of our technicians. We also offer a fiberglass insulation option, which we may recommend based on your unique home.

Insulation may not be as noticeable as your heating system, but it’s crucial to your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. If you know your insulation is lacking, call us for a free in-home estimate. If you’re unsure of your home’s insulation quality or locations, opt for a Home Energy Audit. We’ll identify insulation weak spots, locate opportunities for insulation placement, and show you where you’re losing valuable heat and energy.

 

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Seven common home energy wasters

Posted On: Filed Under: Home energy audit, Insulation No Comments on Seven common home energy wasters

According to a Demand Institute study, 71 percent of U.S. homeowners say energy efficiency is very important to them but only 35 percent felt their homes were energy efficient. The study revealed that energy efficiency was the No. 1 unmet housing concern.

The median age of a home in the U.S. is 35 years, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s American Housing Survey. In the last four decades, substantial improvements in energy-saving technology and home design have been made, so owners of older homes can potentially save huge amounts of money with even the easiest upgrades to their homes.

Seattle energy efficiency experts can identify a variety of energy inefficiencies in your home and recommend steps to mitigate these issues. Some of the most common energy efficiency issues in American homes include:

  • Improperly sealed homes – Small cracks in doors and windows can let hot air in during the summer and cold air in during the winter, driving up energy bills. These cracks can be tough for even experienced home DIYers to detect. Energy audit specialists can find them and suggest remedies for the problem.
  • Windows – Older windows allow greater heat loss in the winter months, driving up energy bills. An energy audit can evaluate your windows and determine whether you’d be well-served by installing newer windows with greater UV protection and other benefits.
  • Older HVAC units – Much like home appliances, HVAC units have improved considerably in recent decades. Heating and cooling is a major contributor to your home energy bill, so reducing those costs with an upgrade to a newer model HVAC unit such as a heat pump can drastically reduce power bills.
  • Insulation – Insufficient or older insulation can be causing your energy bills to be higher than necessary. Home energy auditors can determine your home’s insulation needs.
  • “Dumb” thermostats – Older thermostats aren’t as programmable and adaptable as newer models. An energy audit can help you find the thermostat that works best for your home and your lifestyle. New models can be controlled from your smartphone.
  • Lighting – Older lighting fixtures and lamps can waste significant amounts of money. Newer lamps such as compact fluorescent lamps often use up to 75 percent less energy than older incandescent light bulbs.
  • Appliances – Older appliances are often much less energy efficient than modern appliances. An energy audit can tell you how much energy you’re losing by hanging on to your old fridge and how much a new EnergyStar appliance can save you.

Washington Energy Services is a family-owned business providing home energy efficiency solutions to Seattle area clients.  Founded in 1957, Washington Energy Services has generations of experience in providing heating and cooling and other energy-related services, including sales, installation, and service. A member of the Puget Sound Energy Contractor Alliance Network, Washington Energy Services has an excellent local business reputation.

Contact us today to address your home’s energy efficiency short comings.

Schedule a home energy audit

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Eight tips for upgrading heating in Seattle homes

Posted On: Filed Under: Heating

Seattle is gifted with a fairly mild and temperate climate. We don’t have the same harsh winters as cities on the same latitudinal parallel on the East Coast. However, it does get cold here for a few months, and during that time you certainly want a heating system that efficiently gets the job done. For property owners seeking to upgrade home heating systems in Seattle, consider these options:

  • Get an energy audit. Heating and cooling contractors can check out your home and determine whether you’re getting optimum performance from your HVAC system. They can then recommend improvements and changes to help you save money and be more comfortable in the winter.
  • Seal your home. One of the least expensive ways that you can cut costs and improve the performance of your home heating system is to ensure your windows and doors are properly sealed. The latest technology can help detect air leaks around windows and doors, and some good old-fashioned caulking will take care of the rest.
  • Check your ducts. Leaky ductwork can result in diminished performance by your home HVAC system. Have a professional check your ducts and repair leakages. It’s not uncommon to find that faulty ducts are leaking 30 percent or more of your heating and air conditioning, so getting your ducts checked is definitely a worthwhile investment.
  • Upgrade to a heat pump. If you’re using a traditional furnace or air conditioning system, consider upgrading to a heat pump. Heat pumps cool your home in the summer by extracting heat from the air within your home. In the winter, heat pumps warm your home by taking thermal energy from outside air or the ground and transferring it into the home. Heat pumps typically use less energy than traditional air conditioning units and heaters.
  • Install a new furnace. Older heaters are far less efficient than modern models. A new unit can greatly reduce your heating and cooling costs and improve performance. Find units with high Energy Star ratings for the best performance and energy savings.
  • Add floor insulation. For homes that have crawlspaces, adding insulation to the subfloor can greatly help to reduce heat loss and improve the performance of its heating system.
  • Add wall insulation. If you’re living in an older home, its wall insulation may not be as good as that of modern homes. Adding new insulation to the walls can help make your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Adding insulation to your attic can also help improve HVAC performance and efficiency.
  • Add a gas fireplace insert. Beautiful and function, a gas fireplace insert is a very desirable addition to your home.

Heating upgrades don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Some tax breaks may be available to help you pay for the cost of making your home more energy efficient. Talk to us to learn more about programs available.

Washington Energy Services is a family-owned heating and cooling home improvement contractor.  Founded in 1957, Washington Energy Services has generations of experience in providing comprehensive home heating and cooling solutions, including sales, installation, and service. A member of the Puget Sound Energy Contractor Alliance Network, Washington Energy Services has an excellent local business reputation.

Contact us today for a free estimate.

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Soundproofing your home for rest, relaxation, and recreation

Posted On: Filed Under: Windows, Siding, Insulation No Comments on Soundproofing your home for rest, relaxation, and recreation

How can soundproofing benefit me?

Let’s highlight a few situations where soundproofing can make a big impact.
Homes located near airports or major freeways are obvious candidates for soundproofing, as it can help eliminate the constant rumble of transportation. Boisterous neighbors can (unfortunately) be another catalyst for pursuing a soundproofing solution.

Home theater rooms can also greatly benefit from soundproofing to keep the auditory excitement of the movies in, and the exterior noise out. Soundproofing can also be extended to rooms that have loud appliances, rec rooms, or spaces that simply require more privacy.

What steps can I take to soundproof my home?

You may be surprised how simple it can be to reduce household and exterior noise.

Insulation

First, think insulation. Increasing your interior and exterior insulation helps absorb noise and keep it contained where it belongs. And of course, adding insulation can help your home achieve better energy efficiency. The experts at Washington Energy Services can help you decide how much insulation is right for your home, for both soundproofing and energy efficiency.

Windows

Windows are another great way to help keep noise levels low. Adding windows with varying glass thickness or lamination can really save your sanity when it comes to outside noises. Newer energy efficient windows carry the added bonus, as they cut down on condensation and cold drafts, which increases the comfort of your home and keeps you warmer in the winter.

If this win-win-window solution sounds good to you, Washington Energy can advise you on both window selection and installation.

Siding

Our Prodigy insulated vinyl siding offers additional r-value and sound deadening properties. Often paired with window projects, siding can be an additional resource if you’re seeking peace and quiet.

Honking. Sirens. Airplanes. Neighbors. If one or more of these things are impacting the quietude and comfort of your home, let us help you find a solution to regain your sanctuary.

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5 home weatherization tips to stay cozy and efficient

Posted On: Filed Under: Gas fireplace, Insulation No Comments on 5 home weatherization tips to stay cozy and efficient

The following tips feature easy checks, adjustments, and maintenance practices you can undertake now to ensure your fall and winter seasons stay warm, dry, and efficient.

Keep those cold days warm

Preparing your heating system for the weather change is perhaps the most important component of fall and winter comfort. Sediment build-up in your furnace or heat pump causes inefficiency, unnecessary cost, and can even present a safety issue. We recommend our 37-point precision tune up to ensure your family stays warm and safe this season.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to replace your furnace filter regularly. WES makes it even easier with our filter program, which automatically delivers filters to your door when it’s time for replacement.

Insulate before it’s too late

When your winter coat is too light or just not suitable to the conditions, the cold seeps in and you need to turn up the heat. A poorly insulated home is the same way. It causes your heat to travel to unnecessary locations, while working harder in the places you do need it, such as the living spaces and bedrooms. Upgrading or increasing your insulation now is one of the most effective ways to achieve energy savings—especially when you work with WES.

Check for drafts and cracks

While you may enjoy the crisp fall breeze, you definitely don’t want it breezing into your home. You also don’t want your warm air to escape. Luckily, weatherizing your windows and doors is relatively easy and can make a big difference for both comfort and energy savings.

First, test each window and exterior door in your home. Do you feel drafts coming through? Look for cracks. For doors, you’ll see them on the edges, where a bit of sunlight peeks through. Simply apply new weather stripping (potentially with a larger thickness). Window cracks or seal breaks will require caulking or weather stripping as well.

However, if your windows have larger problems, such as rot, condensation between glass panes, or continuous leakage, it may be time to replace them. Contact WES about window options and replacement or take a look at this recent blog post to learn more.

Cozy up

The leaves are falling, the days are becoming shorter, and you find yourself dreaming about basking in the warmth of your fireplace. If this isn’t on your fall and winter to-do list, it should be. No firewood, matches, kindling, or soot required. Gas fireplaces from WES feature beautiful designs and ambiance, while providing glowing, efficient heat that will serve as the backdrop to your fall and winter memories.

See the light

With shorter days descending upon us, the lights must stay on longer. Check both your indoor and outdoor lights to ensure they’ve all been replaced with energy efficient light bulbs. This is particularly important for outdoor lights, which tend to stay on for long periods of time in the fall and winter. Take it one step farther by installing lighting products that feature automatic daylight shut-off, motion sensors, and can withstand rain and snow. Doing so will keep your home bright and efficient.

Yes, summer has come to an end. But welcome fall and winter by following these weatherization tips, and your family will stay comfortable for all the football parties, pumpkin-carving sessions, and turkey dinners the season has to offer.

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