Vines to Cool Your Home

When trying to live through another stifling hot summer, chances are not only are you trying to stay cool, but you’re also trying to reduce your energy bills. Sure, trees are a great way to shade your home and keep it cool, but what if your tree is just a sapling? What if you don’t have enough room for your tree between your home and your neighbors? The answer – plant a vertical garden of vines. Vines are low-tech, easy to plant and lead to lower energy costs.

Now that spring has officially arrived, you might be interested in planting some vines to help cool your home. Here are some considerations to take before you plant your vine garden.

Aesthetic Appeal
When choosing your vines, there are dozens of types to consider. Some are fragrant and will provide you with a pleasant aroma outside your windows. Others have colorful flowers and large leaves. You can even plant them to provide you with food (vines with beans or grapes). All of them, however, offer the perfect nesting area and cover for birds and nectar sources for hummingbirds and butterflies.

Provides Shade
Since vines grow quickly and provide insulation and shade, you’ll be saving on your energy bills in no time. If you plant your vines on the west- or south-facing walls of your home, you’ll shield the sun from your home and lower the temperatures inside it. Even an arbor covered in vine can provide you with a cool retreat from the summer heat.

Explore Annual Vines
If you’re only looking to see how well the vines work in shading and cooling your home, try some annual vines such as mandevilla or moonflowers. These are tropical plants that grow fast and really hold up to the hot summer months.

Learn their Growing Pattern
Before you start planting your vines, ensure you know how they grow. This will help you build the proper support for your vines. Some vines like the morning glory, twist their growing tips thin and narrow support as they reach their height. Others like the Virginia creeper have rootlets that work similar to a suction cup where they hold the vine directly into a wooden or brick structure.

Before you plant your vine, be sure you provide it with the “support” it needs such as a sturdy trellis. A trellis supports the growth of your vine so it doesn’t endure damage. Use biodegradable netting or sturdy twine that you tie to the porch or eaves of your home and attach the plant to. Long sticks or bamboo canes work well too, but make sure you attach them to your house so they don’t collapse or tip over during a storm.

Other Options to Cool Your Home
Along with your shading vines, why not try other ways of cooling down your home. A good way is by using a whole house fan that blows out the hot, stuffy indoor air of your home and draws in the cool air in evenings. Whole house fans are so efficient that once you draw in that cool evening air, you can keep your home shut the next day and it will stay cool.

 

 

Increasing the value of your home may be weighing heavily on your mind – especially if you haven’t done any major renovation or updates in the past few years. With the housing market just beginning to perk up after a few years of lackluster sales figures, it makes sense that you might want to make affordable changes to your home that can net real benefits by improving the overall value of your home. These seven changes will not only improve the value of your home to others, but also make it more valuable to you as well.

1) Consider a Garage Door Replacement

A new garage door can literally transform the look and feel of your home. It’s an inexpensive change that adds a great deal of curb appeal.

2) Install a Garage Exhaust Fan

Installing a garage exhaust fan will not only make your garage a more comfortable place to work on various household projects, but it will also help to keep your home more comfortable for less while improving the air quality in your garage as well. As one added benefit, installing a garage exhaust fan will help to reduce the amount of humidity and moisture in your garage – reducing concerns over mold, mildew, and rust.

3) Update Garage Flooring

Whether you use a decorative stain to enhance the look of your garage or install some other type of flooring in your garage it can greatly improve the look of your garage and your enjoyment of time spent working in your garage.

4) Add Storage

There are tons of options for storage you can add to your garage. Many people find the idea of ceiling storage (storing items above the garage door) appealing, while others are more interested in installing cabinets and shelves in the garage for storage and organizational purposes.

5) Insulate Your Garage

Few changes will have such a profound impact on the year-round comfort of your garage as insulating your garage will have. This one change can help protect any plumbing in the garage, can help serve as a buffer between your home and the air outside of your home, and can make working in your garage more comfortable through all seasons.

6) Add a Loft

Not only can this be a fun space to work, but it can also be a great escape for the family to serve as a game room, a child’s home away from home during college, a man cave, and for countless other purposes.

7) Lighting

One thing there can never be too much of in a garage is lighting. Installing bright overhead lights is one thing, but also considering task lighting in various areas of the garage can make the workspace far more usable for various tasks.

Enhancing the value of your garage will not only make it a more useful place for you and your family, but will also improve the overall value of your home if you ever decide to sell.

Energy bills can be killer when temperatures soar outside. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important to seek out new ways to keep your home comfortable, without raising your energy costs. You may view a whole house fans and windows as expenses. The truth is, they are investments that quickly pay for themselves.

What Can Homeowners Do to Make Windows Energy Efficient?
There are several ways you can go about getting windows that are more energy efficient for your home. Consider the following to give your home a boost when it comes to energy conservation through your windows, especially when used with whole house fans:

Invest in double pain windows for your home.

Install a low emissivity (low E) film to your existing windows.

There are other options to consider if you’re interested in conserving energy that escapes through windows. One option, installing storm windows, does not work in combination with the use of whole house fans. That is, unless you plan to remove them in warmer months.

Installing awnings over your windows can assist, though, by blocking radiant heat from coming into your home. It does this by providing a shade over your windows through the brutal summer months.

Some homeowners do install storm windows over their existing windows during winter months to prevent cold air from coming into the home through the windows while also preventing warm air from escaping. You can remove storm windows in the warmer months. This allows more ventilation and to aid in bringing fresh air into the home.

Don’t forget to check out Energy Star ratings to learn about which types of windows are most energy efficient as you search for energy efficient window solutions for your home.

How Do Whole House Fans Help When Used with Energy Efficient Windows?
The thing about energy efficient windows, is that they help to prevent cool air from escaping your home during summer. Whole house fans work by drawing cool air into your home during the night and early morning hours. Once you shut your windows, the goal is to prevent warm air from coming in.

Energy efficient windows can help accomplish this by reflecting the super-heated air away from your home and/or by preventing radiant heat from becoming a factor during the hottest hours of the day when the sun is bearing down on your home.

Whole house fans provide benefits beyond simply cooling your home, by helping to improve air quality and draw moisture and contaminants out of your home through attic ventilation. Combine those benefits with the energy saving benefits of energy efficient window and you do have a winning combination on your hands for your home and for the planet.

To learn more about whole house fans or to get your questions answered, give us a call at 1.888.229.5757.

Now that spring has officially arrived, it’s the perfect time to get your home prepared for the upcoming warmer months. As the weather gets warmer, you have a number of ways you can save energy in your home. Below are 10 energy saving tips you can implement this spring.

  1. Set Thermostat Properly
    You can increase your energy costs significantly by setting your thermostat too high in the winter months or too low in the summer months. Many professionals agree that keeping your thermostat approximately 78 degrees in the summer months can help you save on energy.
  1. Clean Out Your Cooling System
    Get rid of any leaves or debris around and inside your cooling unit. Vacuum, dust or spray the condenser fins to eliminate any remaining debris and dirt. Once you’ve cleaned your unit, replace the filter indoors.
  1. Seal Cracks in Doors and Windows with Caulk
    The weather during the winter months can damage seals around your windows and doors. Inspect for any cracks you may see or feel and caulk any you find.
  1. Seal Ducts
    Your energy costs can spike when you have air loss coming from your ducts and it can lead to your cooling system working harder and consuming more energy. You can lower energy costs by insulating and sealing your ducts.
  1. Use Natural Ventilation
    If the outdoor weather is pleasant, try opening up your windows and naturally ventilate your home with the fresh air. In the spring, you can open up your windows when you get up in the morning to let the cool air in the morning fill your home. This will enable you to keep your AC off a little longer.
  1. Cook Outdoors
    Spring days are perfect days for grilling outside and will save you energy since indoor ovens produce heat which will have your AC unit working more to keep your home cool.
  1. Run a Dehumidifier
    Your home’s temperature can feel warmer than it actually is when you have excessive moisture in the air. Feeling warmer will cause you to turn your AC unit on in order to compensate for the humidity. By running a dehumidifier, you will be reducing the level of humidity in your home, making you feel more comfortable which can lower your energy use since you won’t be inclined to turn your cooling unit on.
  1. Install a Whole House Fan
    A whole house fan draws in the cooler, fresh outdoors air which will lower your air conditioning costs during the summertime. This can be part of your “natural ventilation” mentioned in number five above. As energy costs increase, homeowners are beginning to realize how essential natural ventilation is in saving money (up to 90 percent of your air conditioning bill) and saving the environment. A whole house fan, most of the time, will bring in enough fresh, cool airflow to maintain a cool sleeping environment depending on your local climate.
  1. Reduce Water Heating Temperature
    When you lower the temperature of your water heater and install showerheads that are low-flow, it helps save energy and lowers your water heating bills.
  1. Schedule Spring Maintenance for Your Cooling System
    Having your cooling system inspected and serviced in the spring time can help keep it functioning safely and properly. This will improve the efficiency of your unit which will result in it using less energy. Schedule an annual springtime tune-up for your HVAC unit to ensure it’s ready to operate efficiently and reliably each warm season.

 

Not only will you be saving money by implementing these energy-saving tips, but you will also reduce your carbon footprint and increase your level of comfort as well.

 

 

 

Spring is in the air. It arrives on March 20th. For many homeowners, it means it’s time to roll up their sleeves and get to work with spring cleaning, yard maintenance and shake off the final vestiges of winter. These are some of the roof maintenance chores you’ll want to add to your “to do” list this spring.

Trim Tree Limbs
Make sure no limbs are touching your roof. Limbs and branches can damage the shingles by scraping against them and removing the protective granules on the surface. Trimming back the limbs each spring so they do not touch your roof can greatly extend the life of your roof. It also helps to reduce the growth of moss on and mold that will eventually cause leaks if left unattended.

Examine Your Roof
Now it’s time to get on the roof itself and assess its current state. Look for signs of missing shingles, moss, mold, etc. and make the necessary repairs – or hire someone to do them for you.

Check Attic Ventilation
Attic ventilation is important throughout the year. During the winter, it can be instrumental in helping to avoid destructive ice dams. Especially when used in combination with an attic fan to help regulate the temperature in your attic. During the summer months, ventilation allows hot, humid air an avenue for escape so that it isn’t trapped in your attic where it can do damage on its own.

Install an Attic Fan
If you don’t have one already, spring is a time each year to install an attic fan for your home. It can help you reduce your utility bills, rid your attic of mildew-causing moisture, and help your home feel more comfortable without relying solely on your air conditioning to keep things cool. This single addition reduces wear and tear on your AC unit, effectively extending its life, and helps to reduce the costs of cooling your home in summer.

Assess Gutter Damage
April showers are great for flowers in May, but they can be extremely harmful to clogged or damaged gutters. Spring is the time to examine all your gutters to determine if debris (leaves, limbs, etc.) needs to be removed or if there is damage from winter ice or ice dams requiring your attention,  use this opportunity to examine the state of your roof.

Spring is in the air and for homeowners, like you, that means it’s time to take care of some serious deep cleaning and routine maintenance. Keep these tips in mind to help you maintain your roof this, and every, spring.

Whole house fans offer a variety of benefits for homeowners in almost every climate. Those who live in moderate climates, though, have even more to gain by investing in whole house fans. These are a few of the key benefits you can enjoy when you invest in a whole house fan for your home.

Reduce Dependence on Air Conditioning
In many moderate regions, you can reduce your dependence on air conditioning up to 90 percent by using a whole house fan for all but the hottest days of summer. This will not only help to lower your cooling costs since air conditioners draw so much more energy than fans and other similar devices, but it will also help to limit the wear and tear on your air conditioning unit as summer progresses.

Clear the Air Inside Your Home
Because whole house fans draw fresh clean air into the home through open windows and expels the hot stale air out through attic vents, it removes many of the toxins that would otherwise linger inside your home. This includes things like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), mold, mildew, allergens, bacteria, and other things that can causes illnesses among family members.

Limits Moisture Inside Your Home
Moisture is a bigger problem than many people realize for home owners. Much of it lingers in your attic – often unseen – while causing damage to the structure of your home and the soundness of your roof. Using a whole house fans is one way to effectively draw out this moisture so that it doesn’t have the opportunity to harm your home or the people you love who live in it.

Creates a Comfortable Living Environment for Less
Not only does it cost less to operate a whole house fan than an air conditioner, but it has a much lower impact on the planet. This creates a situation in which you can feel good about keeping your home cool and comfortable because it not only costs your wallet less money to keep your home cool, but it also costs the planet less as well.

A whole house fan opens a whole new world of opportunity for people living in moderate climates to keep your homes nice and cool while enjoying other benefits that go beyond creature comforts at the same time.

Now is the perfect time to make the investment in your home and the health and comfort of your family by investing a whole house fan and using it wisely and using it well. Give us a call here at Wholehousefan.com to learn more. 1.888.229.5757

Garage exhaust fans are highly useful tools for making your garage a safer, more pleasant place to play and work. If you’re like most families, you tackle plenty of projects in your garage in all seasons. You know that fumes get trapped in your garage, moisture gets trapped in there, and it can be uncomfortably warm during the dog days of summer. But, before you install a garage exhaust fan, it’s a good idea to consider these five things.

  1. Are You Attempting to Combat Fumes or Moisture?
    These are big deals in today’s garages and both fumes and moisture can become dangerous to have in your garage. Fumes are often the result of off-gassing from things stored in your garage and moisture is a common side effect when there is no flow of air through the garage space. The right types of garage exhaust fans can help reduce both of these problems.
  1. Is Your Garage Attached to Your Home?
    If your garage attaches directly to your home, it is even more important to consider a garage exhaust fan. Not only will it help to prevent volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air from entering into your home, but it will also help to regulate the temperature in your garage so that there isn’t as much temperature displacement when you move from one area to the next.
  1. How Much Time Do You/Your Family Spend in the Garage?
    The more time you spend working or playing in your garage, the more important it becomes to keep the area clean and comfortable and the air as clear as possible. Garage exhaust fans do help to clear the air in your garage of fine particulates and harmful ingredients you don’t want to breathe in yourself and you certainly don’t want your loved ones breathing in.
  1. What are Your Options for Garage Fans?
    For the most part, people choose from freestanding or shutter fans for garages. Freestanding fans blow air out of the garage when in use while shutter fans can be used continuously, if you wish, to ventilate your garage.
  1. How Do You Wish to Operate Your Fan?
    Modern technology makes it possible to set your fans to operate in a variety of manners, including continuous operation, running on a timer, operating on a thermostat, turning on and off according to humidity levels in your garage, or operating via motion detection when there are people present in the garage.

Garage exhaust fans can fill a variety of purposes for making your home safer and clearing the air inside your garage. Take a look at the QuietCool GA ES-1500 garage exhaust fan today.

An improperly vented attic is terrible news for your home and your roof. It can also be equally disastrous headline for your budget.

Because you probably don’t spend a lot of time hanging out in your attic, you may be missing out on some of these vital clues that let you know your attic needs better ventilation.

Ice Dams in Winter
While snow and ice in winter are certainly pretty to look it, they can leave a wealth of destruction in their wakes. For homes where there is little, or inadequate, attic ventilation, ice dams are common occurrences. These ice dams may look innocent, but they can cause damage to your roof, the structure of your home, your siding, your gutters, your insulation, and more. The longer they continue to form along the line of your roof, the more damage they will do to your home – and the more it is likely to cost to repair the damage.

Moss and Algae on Your Roof
The presence of moss and algae on your roof may indicate one of three things – or even some combination of the three.

Improperly ventilated attics.
Debris on your roof.
Branches hanging over your roof.

Sometimes, it is the combination that creates the perfect storm of events to generate damaging moss and algae on your roof.

Uneven Melting of Snow on Your Roof
When there is a snow cover in winter and your home has “hot spots” areas where the snow appears to melt faster than others, it is a sure sign that your attic isn’t adequately vented in those locations. The reason is simple, if there is proper venting in the attic, the hot air from your home will be vented out evenly throughout your attic so the snow will melt at an even pace across your roof.

Mold in Your Attic
If you notice mold in your attic, you have yet another indicator of improper attic ventilation. Mold forms when there isn’t enough ventilation for the moisture to escape. The moisture then becomes trapped in your attic, causing mold to form in dark corners and on some of your prized possessions and heirlooms.

The signs and symptoms of improper attic ventilation are damaging enough in their own rights and can lead to thousands of dollars or more in repairs and replacement items – some items stored in your attic can’t be replaced. Additionally, there are the risks of health problems related to mold and mildew to consider.

Getting an attic fan offers a quick fix that will improve attic ventilation, help get rid of moisture in the attic, and reduce your risks of damage related to improper attic ventilation in your home.

There are many different types of insulation you can choose for your attic. When it comes to buying attic insulation, consider a few key factors about your home, the type of attic you have, and where your home is located to help you make a wise decision for buying insulation.

Blown Insulation
There are two distinct types of blown insulation: fiberglass and cellulose. These are the two least expensive and most commonly used residential insulation, with fiberglass being more common than cellulose.

Fiberglass is a popular insulation choice across the globe because it is effective when properly installed and inexpensive. Do-it-yourselfers and contractors don’t need special equipment or training. However, if an inexperienced installer does a sloppy installation job, it reduces the insulation effectiveness.

Blown cellulose fiber is known to be effective insulation for homes at all temperatures. It’s mostly made from recycled paper and is widely known to deter a variety of pests. The cost-effective attic insulation choice can be blown into existing wall cavities or newly created ones as well as onto unfinished attic floors and other places that are hard to reach with traditional insulation rolls.

Batts and Blankets Insulation
Usually made of fiberglass, this type of insulation is highly convenient to purchase, transport, and install. However, it presents a few unique and specific challenges when it comes to attic insulation. One of the primary conundrums is cutting the insulation to fit around wires, pipes, and other features in the attic. House Logic reports that this process can cost up to 50 percent of the insulation’s effectiveness.

One problem many homeowners face with rolls and blankets is that they do not play well with existing insulation. This means they are only recommended for use in homes that do not have existing fiberglass insulation installed.

Sprayed Insulation
Spray foam insulation also comes in two forms, open and closed cell. This type of insulation can be highly effective, but you’ll pay considerably more for the privilege – nearly four times what you would pay for blown fiberglass or cellulose insulation.

No matter what kind of insulation you put in your attic, though, it’s important to consider installing an attic fan at the same time. Attic fans can help improve attic ventilation. This in turn helps to reduce the buildup of moisture in the attic that could lead to mold and/or mildew in the insulation and structural damage to your home. It also helps to extend the life of your insulation, your roof, and more.

Choosing the right insulation for your attic can help you save thousands on utilities during the life of the insulation, meaning the wrong kind of insulation could cost you big by creating the need for more repairs, more frequent replacement, and higher utility bills related to hot spots and insufficient coverage. Installing an attic fan, like the QuietCool Smart Attic Gable Fan – 2830 CFM, is one more great way you can help your insulation operate more effectively.

Snow and ice are common companions to winter throughout much of the U.S. Along with snow and ice is another companion – the infamous ice dam. Ice dams are destructive forces that can cause a great deal of damage to your home. And besides the damage it can cause your home, another thing to be concerned about is whether your insurance will coverage damage to your home caused by ice dams or not.

What are Ice Dams?
Ice dams occur along the edge of your roof preventing melting water from running over the edge. What happens then is that the water gets back up behind the ice dam and may cause water damage that gets into the ceilings and walls of your home as well as damaging personal property inside your home.

Will Your Insurance Cover the Damage Ice Dams Cause?
This is the big question on everyone’s mind. Unfortunately, the answer isn’t exactly cut and dry. In some cases, repairing damage to the structure of your home caused by ice dams is covered by your insurance. But, the damage it causes to your personal property may not be.

The reason for the discrepancy is that personal property coverage usually only applies to specifically named perils (fire, wind, theft, etc.). If ice damage or ice dams are not named among the potential perils your insurance covers, you probably aren’t protected.

However, if the insurance company determines you failed to properly maintain your roof, it is not likely to pay for repairs to your roof caused by ice dams or they will only pay to repair the portion of the roof that was actually damaged by the ice dams while not addressing damage caused by disrepair, age, or improper maintenance.

Preventing Ice Dams
When it comes to ice dams, the best cure is prevention. Preventing ice dams doesn’t require spending endless hours in the cold sweeping your roof in the heart of the storm. In fact, that’s not at all advised.

Instead, consider insulating the space between your home and attic very well and installing an attic fan to improve ventilation in your attic. Keeping your attic cooler in the winter will help to reduce the melting that takes place along the edge of your roof, eliminating the formation of damaging ice dams.

Work with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate protection for your home heading into winter and consider preventative actions you can take now to protect your home from the destructive force of ice dams all winter long.

Clearing the air inside your home is extremely important. Unfortunately, in winter months, it can become more difficult to do for a variety of reasons. These are just a few reasons why indoor air quality in homes and businesses tends to be worse in winter months.

Better Insulation in Homes and Businesses
Homes and businesses today are insulated better than at any other time in history. While this offers outstanding energy conserving benefits that help you save money on utilities, it does come at a cost. Not only does it prevent heated air from escaping your home, but it also keeps moisture, germs, and bacteria trapped inside, too.

These things are brought into your home every day on the soles of your shoes, when you’re exposed to colds and viruses, and when you do ordinary things like showering or cooking. They can lead to harmful viruses, infections, and infestations of mold and mildew. With nowhere to escape, they linger in the air inside your home until spring comes when you throw open the window and let fresh air into your home.

Chemicals Introduced Into Your Home
The other problem associated with indoor air quality in winter is that you’re doing more things inside your home than in warmer seasons of the year. This can include things like painting, staining wood, etc. Even smokers who are more likely to step outside to smoke during warmer months are more likely to sneak a puff or two inside the house rather than brave the cold to indulge. This leads to greatly diminished air quality inside your home that has nowhere to go.

What Can You do About Indoor Air Pollution?
There are several moves you can make to improve air quality in your home. From purchasing sophisticated (not to mention costly) air particle cleaners for your home to eliminate common pollutants from your house like gas stoves outputs, smoked tobacco products, etc.

One thing the EPA recommends is to increase the amount of outdoor air coming into your home. You can do this by installing a whole house fan, like the QuietCool QC CL-2250 Whole House Fan, that brings in large amounts of fresh, cleaner air into your home, while pushing out dirty, polluted air through vents in your roof.

Exposure to toxic indoor air can lead to a variety of health problems, including allergies, asthma attacks, upper respiratory illnesses, and, in extreme instances death – many of which are preventable by cleaning up the air quality inside today’s homes.

The winter is realizing its promise to be brutal, cold, and snowy for a good portion of the country. And some parts of the country have already experienced record snowfalls.

Did you know that, one cubic foot of wet snow can weigh between 12 and 18 pounds (according to Boston Magazine). An abundance of snow on your roof can lead to structural damage for your home or business.

This makes removing rooftop snow a significant concern for many homeowners and business owners across the country. Raking your roof helps prevent ice dams from forming as the snow begins to melt, allows for more efficient ventilation, and allows you to feel confident that your home is structurally protects from the weight of the snow.

The tips below will help you get more mileage from your efforts when raking your roof this winter.

Buy the Right Rake for Your Roof
When buying a roof rake, it is better to purchase a quality rake that will safeguard and protect your shingles while removing the snow at the same time. Invest in a quality rake rather than purchasing the cheapest solution. You especially want to make sure your roof rake has the rollers on wheels that will keep it elevated to prevent the rake from scraping your shingles.

Begin at the Edge
You want to begin raking near the edge of your roof and work your way up higher on the roof. This makes the work of removing the snow a little less back breaking for you.

Know When to Rake
A good general rule of thumb is that you should rake after every six inches of snow builds up on your roof. Not only will this help to spare the structure of your home from the strain of heavy snowfalls, but it will also aid in preventing the formation of ice dams.

Rake from the Ground
While it may be tempting to climb a ladder to rake your roof, it simply isn’t safe. Not only will the ladder itself become a risk for developing icy rungs and ice dams, but your boots will become hazards too. Raking from the ground removes the risk of falling off a ladder while allowing you the opportunity to remove the snow that’s weighing heavily on your roof.

Protect the structure of your home this winter by raking your roof to remove heavy snow and using an attic fan to remove moisture and condensation and to assist to prevent ice dams from forming. Little actions like these, can help keep your roof in good shape no matter how much Mother Nature throws your way this winter.