Winter is coming. It’s beginning to sound like an endless refrain, but for some people in the U.S. it means it’s time to take heed and begin to prepare – especially if current 2018 winter weather predictions hold true.

The consensus, at this point, is that there will be a La Nina event this winter resulting in above average temperatures for the bulk of the country – with the exception being northern portions of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and portions of Minnesota where temperatures will be cooler than normal.

Additionally, however, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting a much wetter winter for a fairly significant portion of the country. This means that that snow and ice may become big problems this winter for more than half the country – even in areas where temperatures are slightly above normal. In fact, AccuWeather is predicting above average snowfall for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

Preparing for a Harsher than Average Winter
So what does this mean for homeowners? With so much of the country facing above average snowfall this winter, it is a wise move to review the things you can do to prepare for the frigid days ahead, including the things listed below.

Prevent Ice Dams. It sounds like such a simple thing – and it can be surprisingly simple. The key is to keep the air in your attic spaces circulating well. One way to do that is to install an attic fan. Moving the air in your attic reduces the chances of ice forming on your roof, which can lead to destructive ice dams.

Reduce Energy Expenses. There are several ways you can go about this, including installing a programmable thermostat and adjusting the temp when you’re sleeping and out of the home for the day to save on heating.

Eliminate Drafts. Cover windows and outlets with plastic film, use heavy, wind-blocking drapes, and seal air leaks located around utility outlets and around plumbing.

Stock Up on Winter Essentials. There are some items that are simply essential to have in winter climates. This includes things like extra blankets, socks, hats, gloves, sidewalk salt, kitty litter, etc.  Don’t forget a few extras, like candles, bottled water, convenience foods, and other essentials should the power go out during winter storms.

Preparing your home and your family for a long winter ahead can help you survive the coldest of days should these 2018 winter weather predictions come true. The more you do to prepare ahead of winter, the better placed you will be when the first snowflakes begin to fall.

Getting ready for winter can be a lot of work. One thing that often gets left off the list of things to do as winter approaches is a thorough inspection of your roof to make sure it is ready for whatever Jack Frost has to throw your way. These are some of the things you need to check for.

Inspect Attic Insulation
The goal is to ensure that the insulation in your attic doesn’t cover vents in the eaves, soffits, or overhangs.  Also make sure any ridge vents are free of debris, leaves, etc. and that rodents haven’t removed the screens that protect your attic vents.

Having ineffective or inadequate attic insulation can lead to a different problem, ice dams. Prevention is the best cure for this particular problem that can not only damage the soundness of your roof, but also cause damage to the structure and interior of your home.

Clean Out Your Gutters
Gutters can collect leaves, limbs, and other debris that will cause the water to back up in the gutters. When this occurs, winter weather can cause the water to freeze and become too heavy, leading the gutters to break and damage your roof.

While you’re cleaning out your gutters, it’s also an appropriate time to seal your gutters, flashings, and downspouts. This adds yet another layer of protection for your home and helps to prevent those oh so damaging ice dams.

Check Your Shingles
If your home has a shingled roof, it is wise to inspect your roof carefully for missing shingles, that could lead to unwanted leaks, as well as to look for signs of leaks, mold, or mildew.

Trim Trees and Limbs
Winter can bring heavy snowfalls to some regions and snow or ice-laden branches can do their own share of damage to your home and its roof. Trim tree branches hanging over your home that may cause damage to your roof if they break and land on top of it.

If you are afraid you don’t know what to look for when conducting a pre-winter roof inspection, considering hiring someone else to come out and inspect your roof for winter. While you’re at it, have them inspect to ensure that you have proper and adequate roof ventilation, such as an attic fan, to help combat much of the damage that can happen to roofs in winter.

Remember, a little helping of prevention before winter hits can save you from very expensive cures when spring comes along.

Extreme temperatures, severe weather and old age can all cause wear and tear of your roof. When your roof has damage, it can cause leaks, rot and mold, lower the value of your home or even collapse. By inspecting your roof regularly, you can keep minor problems from turning into bigger ones.

You’ll also avoid having to replace a roof prematurely. However, at some point you’ll need to replace your roof and it’s a good idea to know what signs to look for.

What Are The Signs You Need To Replace Your Roof?
Some signs that it may be time for a roof replacement include:

It’s Old
Often roofs last for around 20 years. Therefore, if it’s been over a couple of decades since you replaced your roof, you may want to start considering putting up a new one. In some cases, roofs can live out their natural lives without experiencing any failures. But if it looks worn and old it’s time to replace it.

Shingles Are Curling
There are two ways that shingles can curl. The first is cupping, which occurs when the shingle edges turn upward. The second is clawing and this is where the middle of the shingles starts coming up and the edges remain flat. Both of these are indications of weathering and that issues are pretty close to occurring.

Leaks
If your roof is leaking into your attic, you have problems. You may see signs of light streaming in from the sun or water coming in after snow melts or a rainstorm. When you don’t need light to see inside your roof, it could be time to replace your roof.

Roof Valleys
If your shingles on your roof are missing in one area or falling apart, it’s a good sign it’s time for a replacement. Important areas of your roof are valleys. Rain and snow flow through valleys and into your gutters. Your roof may become vulnerable to leaks if the valley becomes compromised.

Your Energy Bills Spike
A roof in good condition should insulate your home against the cold and heat. If it isn’t, your utility bills will likely increase since your heater or AC unit will have to work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

What The Roof Inspector Looks For
Every spring and fall you should have an inspector come in and inspect your roof. Even the most durable and strongest roof may have flaws and weaknesses. You can avoid home structural damage by having your roof inspected twice annually. It’s important that you hire a professional since you may not be able to notice damage with your untrained eye.

Some things the roof inspector may look for include:

Improper flashing
Leaks
Rot and Mold
Shingle deterioration
Structure damage
Gutters
Age of roof
Storm damage
Broken seals or shingle lifting
Missing ceramic granules on shingles

Replacing your roof is an expensive investment you’re putting into your home. Therefore, it’s essential you have it done right. When it comes time to replace your roof, be sure you hire only an experienced roofer who stands behind their work and is upfront with their fees. Don’t wait to replace your roof if needed since that could result in more damage to your home.

Also, when getting a new roof, add some extra protection with proper ventilation like an attic fan for example, and insulation.

 

Fall Energy Saving Tips

Fall is all about getting ready for winter in many parts of the country. That doesn’t mean, though, that there aren’t things you can do to conserve energy and save money on your utility bills – even in the fall. These things will help you as you prepare for winter and to meet certain goals you may have to save money.

Find and Seal Leaks
Windows, walls, and even areas where there is plumbing are notorious inlets for the heat or cold of the outside air to invade your home. Fall is the perfect time of year to explore these air leaks and eliminate them with caulking, insulation, weather stripping and other essential tools.

Have a Furnace Inspection
Scheduling yearly furnace inspections is a terrific way to extend the life of your furnace. Doing it in the fall means that you can take care of potential problems that may be found before you are forced to deal with it during the coldest part of winter.

Change Furnace Filters
Keeping your filters changed on a regular basis also helps your furnace operate more efficiently and extends your furnace’s life. Fall is the ideal time to begin a new routine of filter changing and get on schedule if you are not already.

Remove Window Air Conditioners
Window air conditioning units are notorious for allowing frigid air to stream into your home when the temperatures start dropping. You’ll begin to notice the effect in the fall, but it will really hit hard when winter comes knocking and the frosty winds begin to howl.

Install a Whole House Fan
Whole house fans are ideal for use in fall months where the days are warm and the nights are cool. This fan helps to draw fresh, clean, cool air into your home during the cooler hours of the day while ridding your home of moisture and heat that would otherwise become trapped in your attic spaces.

Consider a Programmable Thermostat
Programmable thermostats allow you to set different temperatures in your home for certain times of day so you can take advantage of lower heating and cooling costs during the hours when the family is sleeping or when the house is empty because everyone is working.

The more steps you take to keep your energy costs as low as possible in fall, the better situated you will be to handle the realities of winter when they arise. Each of these steps will help.

Shading your house can help you reduce the temperatures inside your home as much as 20°F (11°C), reports the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Trees and other vegetation provide effective shading. Landscaping is a beautiful and natural way to block out the sun and provide your home with shade. A well-placed bush, tree or vine can not only add to your property’s aesthetic value, but also deliver effective shade.

Below are some ways you can get the most out of your vegetation for shading.

Trees and Shrubs
When planting trees, place them on the northwest-southwest and northeast-southeast sides of your home. Don’t plant your trees directly to the south, unless you live in a year-round hot climate. Plant shrubs and trees so they direct the breeze. Don’t place a crowded line of evergreen trees in places they will block cool air from getting through or around them.

Even mature deciduous trees with their bare branches in the winter can reduce how much sunlight reaches your home significantly. When you plant shrubs somewhat close to your home, they’ll fill in quickly and start to shade your windows and walls within a few years.

Trellises
To keep vines from attaching to the facade of your home and damage its exterior, set trellises away from your home. This also allows air to circulate. When you place vegetation too close to your home, it can trap the heat and cause the air around your home to feel even warmer.

Dead Spaces
Planting bushes, vines and shrubs next to your home creates dead spaces that will insulate your house in both summer and winter. You’ll want at least a foot of space between your home’s wall and full-grown plants.

Wind Breaks
Shrubs and evergreen trees planted to the northwest and north of your house are a common form of windbreak. Bushes, trees and shrubs that are planted together hinder or block wind from the level of the ground to the treetops. Combining evergreen trees with a fence, wall or earth berm (raised areas of soil or man-made or natural walls) can lift or deflect the wind over your home.

Don’t plant your evergreens too close to the south side of your home if you want winter sun warmth. Windbreaks reduce the speed of wind for a distance that can reach around 30 times the height of the windbreak. Plant your windbreak away from your house at a distance of two to five times the trees’ mature height.

To maximize your home’s cooling, complement the strategic planting of trees, vines, and shrubs with a whole house fan. You can use the whole house fan in the evening to draw in cool air and reduce your home’s temperature.

Natural ventilation is a system of climate control that takes advantage of natural forces, such as wind and thermal buoyancy to affect a comfortable living environment or workspace and keeping the air nice and fresh. It offers more benefits than many people realize and may be an ideal investment for your home or office space.

These are a few benefits that might make you consider installing a whole house fan so you can incorporate more natural ventilation into your home.

Low Maintenance
When compared to the cost of operating and maintaining an air conditioner that runs 24/7, the costs of natural ventilation are far more appealing to consumers. Not only does it save you money to operate a whole house fan, or other natural ventilation system, but it also takes less time and energy to maintain.

Versatile
One of the beautiful features of natural ventilation is that it can be used in combination with other heating and cooling systems. You can have the benefits of all the systems while bringing fresh, clean air into your home and getting rid of tainted, stale air.

Improved Health
One of the most understated, and often unintended, benefits of natural ventilation is the health benefits it offers. Not only does it help to remove many VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are notorious for harming health from the air, but it also helps to rid the air in your home of moisture that can lead to mold and mildew and a treasure trove of health maladies.

Ridding the air in your home of these things can improve your health and that of your family – especially elderly people, children, and those who suffer from allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

Plant Friendly
If your goal is to go greener in your home, then natural ventilation is a positive step to take. It involves using far less electricity, creates a substantially lower carbon footprint, and helps to make your home a far more earth-friendly space.

Cost Effective
Finally, operating a whole house fan or natural ventilation system helps to reduce the costs of operation when compared to air conditioners. Even if you only supplement the need for air conditioning by using the ventilation system at night and early in the morning, you can reduce your expenses substantially over time.

Now is the perfect time to begin making plans for a healthier, happier, and greener future by embracing natural ventilation to clear the air in your home and keep your family comfortable through every season.

When it’s hot outside, it can be difficult to keep it cool inside your home. You have the sun that beats down on your home and causes the temperatures in your home to rise to levels that aren’t comfortable. Sure, you get relief from your air conditioner. But you’re also probably dealing with a large energy bill because of it. Also, conventional AC units use refrigerants that are made of chlorine compounds. These are suspected to contribute to global warming and the depletion of our ozone layer. Fortunately, there are alternatives to using your AC unit.

Below are five ways to prevent heat from coming into your home so it stays cool.

  1. Apply a Reflective Coating to Your Roof
    Around a third of built up heat in your house comes in through your roof. And, with traditional materials, this can be hard to control. For instance, fiberglass and white asphalt shingles absorb around 70 percent of the sun’s heat. What you can do, however, is apply a reflective coating to your roof. There are a couple standard roof coatings you can get from the lumberyard or a hardware store. These are:

White latex: Apply this coating over fiberglass and asphalt shingles, metal or tar paper

Asphalt based: This coating consists of aluminum particles and glass fibers. Apply to your asphalt or metal roof

Often, manufacturers will offer you a 5-year warranty.

  1. Plant Trees and Vines
    Shade the exterior of your home with these green-house coolers and keep the sunlight out of your windows. West-facing walls are good places to plant them where the sun is strongest. Some good choices are deciduous trees and vines. Deciduous trees offer you shade in the summer and in the autumn, let in the sun as the temperatures begin dropping. This is because they leaf out during the springtime and then drop their leaves in autumn. Vines like Virginia creeper and ivy are also great for outdoor insulators.
  1. Power Down Appliances
    Reduce heat output and save money by powering down any appliances that you’re not using such as your television and computer. By connecting multiple appliances to one power strip, it’s easier to power them down. Avoid steam and heat-generating appliances like washers, dryers, ranges and ovens during the day when it’s hot.
  1. Create Cross-Ventilation
    Use doors and windows for cross-ventilation. Adjust location and size of the openings so you can ventilate various areas of your house.
  1. Use a Whole House Fan
    Use a whole house fan to cool your home at night (for a cooler next day in your home). If you live in a region that gets hot in the daytime and cool at night, you can keep the heat out effectively by doing a night air flush. An insulated and well-sealed whole house fan is a great way to do this. The fan draws the cool air in the evening through your windows while flushing out the hot stuffy air of the day. After cooling your home at night with a whole house fan, you can close your windows during the day and your home should stay cool and comfortable.

 

 

Saving money is a huge motivation for making energy saving improvements to your home. But, it’s extremely important to understand just how much you stand to save by making certain investments so you can improve your home with confidence that these improvements will ultimately pay for themselves. To determine that, you need to know just how much you stand to save when you make certain energy-conserving updates to your home.

Light Bulbs and Fixtures
If you only replace the five most frequently used fixtures or bulbs in your home with those that are designated as Energy Star items, you can save up to $75 every year – according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Imagine the savings if you replace all the bulbs and fixtures in your home.

Other considerations, if you make the switch to LED bulbs are the savings you’ll enjoy by replacing bulbs less frequently since one LED bulb can last up to 11 years. LED bulbs also burn cooler preventing you from needing to crank up the air conditioning in the summertime to compensate for your bulbs.

Energy Efficient Windows
House Logic reports that you can expect to save as much as 15 percent per year on your utility bills for installing energy-efficient windows with low-E coatings on a 2,600-square-foot home. Of course, these savings vary according to the climate where you live and other contributing factors.

Other Energy-Saving Improvements You Can Make
There are other, less expensive energy-saving changes you can make to your home that will offer an incredible bang for your buck. The Department of Energy suggests that simple things like installing power strips for electronics and turning them off when not in use can net you 12 percent savings on your electric bill each year. Planting shade trees can shave the costs of cooling your home by anywhere from 15 -50 percent per the same source.

One big change you can make for the sake of your home that will yield surprising energy savings results is installing a whole house fan. Lifehacker states that a whole house fan can save up to 10 to 20 percent on electricity compared to a central air conditioner and even more savings when compared to the costs of operating a window air conditioner.

The key is to combine low and higher cost methods of conserving energy to maximize your savings overall. These are fabulous changes to begin with.

Making informed decisions about home ventilation systems can make all the difference in the world when it comes to indoor air quality, respiratory health, comfort of your home, and the costs of keeping your home comfortable when the weather outside is anything but. With so many options, how do you know which one is the right one for you?

Whole-House Fans
Whole house fans work by speeding up the process of cooling your home at night by eliminating, or expelling, the hot air from your attic giving cooler air more room inside your home. It costs considerably less than operating an air conditioning unit 24/7 and offers you the opportunity to improve the overall air quality in your home substantially by eliminating moisture, bacteria, allergens, and other toxins from the air along with the hotter air – all while drawing cooler, fresher air into the home from open windows on lower floors.

Whole-House Comfort Ventilators
The term whole-house comfort ventilator is essentially a whole house fan, by another name. Both work by drawing cooler air into the home through open windows while expelling hot air through attic vents. Neither operate in the capacity of an air conditioning system that cools the air, they only serve to use cooler air from outside the home to speed the process of making your home more comfortable without the higher operating costs of central air conditioning.

Whole-House Ventilation Systems
Unlike the previous two systems that do seek to make the air in your home a more comfortable temperature for the family, the whole-house ventilation system only seeks to move fresh air throughout the home at a low rate of flow. The purpose is to keep the air inside your home fresh for improved air quality rather than comfort. This system may be ideal for milder climates where air quality is a greater concern than the coolness of the air inside your home. It is especially useful if you live in a home with someone who suffers from certain respiratory conditions, allergies, or asthma.

The more you understand about each individual system, the more informed decision you can make when you are making this critical purchase for your home. The similar names can be confusing in their own rights, but understanding the differences between them can help you find the right system to meet your needs and the needs of your family – for the sake of your comfort and your health.

Call us here at WholeHouseFan.com at 1.888.229.5757 and we can help you choose the right system for your home.

There’s a growing concern among homeowners today: when your garage isn’t correctly ventilated it can be hazardous. It’s known that benzene from our car exhausts poses a threat in terms of developing cancers such as leukemia.

Good ventilation can reduce or stop this toxic gas from entering your home. In addition to installing a garage exhaust fan, such as the Garage Exhaust Fan QuietCool GA ES-1500, what can you do about toxic fumes and heat buildup in your garage?

Toxic Fumes
An attached garage is very convenient, however, when it negatively affects your indoor air quality, you can have a real problem. Many of the items we store in our garages can contain substances that can affect our health. For example, mowers, cars, lubricants and paints. When these become airborne, they can easily get into our homes, through open doors, ducts, gaps around closed doors and more. To combat this:

Keep the door from your garage door shut. This is perhaps the simplest way to contain chemical traces within your garage.

Keep the garage door open. When you start your car, never do so with the garage door closed. If you do have to start your car in a closed space, move it outside as soon as you can. And leave the door open for a while afterwards to clear the air.

Keep lids on everything. Ensure all containers of potentially hazardous liquids are sealed when they’re not in use.

Keep your garage clean. Never run any equipment like your lawn mower, vehicle or chainsaw for longer than necessary in your garage. Additionally, don’t place items like furnaces and water heaters in the space.

Heat
Increasing the airflow in your garage is crucial, especially in the hot summer months. You can achieve this by:

Insulating the overhead door. This ensures your space is cooler in the hot months and warmer in the winter. Generally, a few-inch thick layer of rigid insulation attached with contact cement to the inner section of every panel of your uninsulated metal door should be all you need. Alternatively, fit an insulated sectional overhead door.

Opening the overhead door. Either leave the door slightly or completely open and consider installing a garage exhaust fan to keep your space cool.

Insulating the ceiling. Ceiling insulation keeps the heat down in your garage when the temperature’s rising outside.

Installing vents is another way to ensure your garage is well ventilated. Look after the health of you and your family and take steps to get the air moving in your garage today.

 

 

Many people mistakenly use the terms whole house fan and attic fan interchangeably. The problem is, they are different fans with altogether different purposes – both offering benefits that are beneficial to many homeowners throughout the country. The key lies in determining what your goals from the fan are so you can choose the fan that will help you achieve those goals.

Key Details about Whole House Fans
Whole house fans are ideal for providing quick cooling for your home. They move huge volumes of air in a relatively brief period of time – expelling stifling air through attic vents and drawing cooler air in through open windows on lower floors. A properly sized whole house fan for your home, in the right conditions, can effectively cool your home, with a nice comfortable breeze, in as little as five minutes.

Operate best in cool evening, overnight, and morning hours (times when the temperature outside your home is generally cooler).

Draws heat out of your home through roof vents.

Draws cool air in through open windows (windows on lower floors of your home must be open for a whole house fan to operate).

Creates a comfortable breeze for added comfort.

Using a whole house fan to cool your home when possible helps you reduce your dependence on air conditioning units for your home that cost considerably more to operate. The mounting is different as well. Whole house fans are typically mounted in the ceiling between your living space and your attic while attic fans are generally mounted between your attic space and the outside of your home.

Key Details about Attic Fans
Attic fans operate a little differently than whole house fans. The purpose of an attic fan is simply to remove the hot air from your attic space. This doesn’t directly offer cooling benefits for your home, but offers indirect benefits by reducing the amount of heat that builds up in your attic throughout the hottest hours of the day. It is most efficiently used during daytime hours and can be used with a timer.

Runs best during the hottest daylight hours.

Removes hot air from your attic allowing your air conditioning unit to operate more efficiently – even during the hottest hours of the day.

Isolated to the attic space in your home.


The Argument for Both

Each type of fan offers many benefits to homeowners interested in reducing cooling costs, improving air quality in the home, and keeping the family comfortable. When used in combination with each other, one during the day and the other during the night, the overall effects on your comfort and budget are truly impressive.

If you have questions about either whole house fans or attic fans or specific products we offer, give us a call at 1.888.229.5757. We’d love to hear from you!

What is Passive Cooling?

Passive cooling is a form of natural air conditioning, so to speak. You can take advantage of clever passive cooling techniques to reduce the internal and external heat gains of your home without having to turn to a mechanical air conditioner.

Similar to passive solar heating, when taking advantage of passive cooling, you may have to use your AC from time to time. However, the goal is to lower your need for mechanical ventilation and cooling systems and the electricity it takes to run them.

By lowering your needs for these cooling systems, you can increase your energy independence, lower your energy bills, and significantly reduce your impact on the environment. Below are just some ways you can implement passive cooling to save money and the environment.

Shading Structures
When you have unshaded windows, you are letting in around half the heat gain in your home. The heat gain from a sunny day from a 100 sq. ft. east-west facing window equals around several hours of furnace use. You can use overhangs to shade south-facing windows and block out the hot summer sun, but allow the lower winter sun to flow in and provide you with passive solar heating. External shading sources like external shades, trellis and trees work well for east-west exposures.

Whole House Fan
During cool nights in drier climates, you can use a whole house fan to cool your home while reducing or completely eliminating your need for air conditioning. The whole house fan is easy to use and energy efficient. The whole house fan draws in the cool outdoor air through your home’s open windows and exhausts the hot indoor air to the outside through your attic.

Reflectors
Increase solar heat gain during the winter with seasonally movable reflectors. Reflectors also help to reduce heat gain during the summer.

Solar Chimneys
Solar chimneys provide homeowners with a way of improving their home’s ventilation naturally. The chimney is a vertical shaft that’s typically painted black to absorb the solar energy. Solar energy heats the chimney and enclosed air during the day creating an updraft in the chimney. The chimney’s bottom suction helps ventilate your home.

Energy-efficiency and lower costs make passive cooling methods worthwhile. You can lower much of your home cooling costs significantly with passive cooling methods that don’t require costly professional installs or retrofits. Not to mention you’re saving the environment with these eco-friendly passive cooling alternatives while you stay cool in your home.

Call us today at 1.888.229.5757 for free expert advice on whole house fans. Whole House Fan (WholeHouseFan.com) has been supplying homeowners and contractors across the United States and Canada with whole house fans since 2001.