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Our Top Posts on How to Prepare for the Winter Season

5 Posts to Get You Ready for Winter

Winter represents an important time of year. Not only is it a season filled with festive joy and family moments, but it’s also the period when you need to think about how you’re going to protect your home and family from dipping temperatures. As the weather cools, it’s important to be prepared with a reliable furnace system, good insulation, and a water heater you can rely on. All the while, you should be doing what you can to minimize the expense of your heating bills.

To help you prepare for a happy and comfortable winter, we’re going to revisit some of our favorite blog posts on the Bob Jenson website designed to give you expert advice for tackling the colder season.

How to Stay Warm Without Cranking up The Heat

We all want to enjoy warmth and comfort during the winter months. Unfortunately, simply cranking up the thermostat can mean that we end up paying huge utility bills each month. It’s worth looking for a few simple ways that you can improve your home comfort without draining your bank account.

In our blog post “6 Tricks to Stay Warm Without Cranking up the Heat,” we’ll teach you how to protect your home from cold spells by accessing natural sources of heat, switching to programmable thermostats, and sealing up your home.

Why Winter is the Perfect Time to Insulate

Insulation is an important element of home comfort that we frequently overlook — especially here in San Diego, where truly cold days can be few and far between. As the weather begins to grow colder, it’s easier to recognize the need for reliable insulation, as we begin to feel the chill.

In “Why Winter is the Perfect Time to Insulate,” we tell you some of the top reasons why you need to consider better insulating your home, from the obvious benefit of retaining heat to fighting back against moisture. You’ll also learn where to insulate your home for the best results, and how to choose the best insulating materials.

How to Reduce Heat Loss in the Home

It’s frustrating to know that whenever we begin to turn the heat up in our homes during winter, we’ll be actively losing a significant portion of the energy through the windows, doors, and ductwork of our home. Identifying where you’re losing energy and taking steps to minimize it could help you to save a lot of money on your energy bills.

In our blog post “Reducing Heat Loss in Your Home,” you’ll discover what you can do to minimize heat loss. Did you know that 60% of the heat your home loses escapes via the roof and walls?

Practical Attic Insulation Tips

As was just mentioned, your roof can be a huge source of heat loss within your home. In the winter months, when we’re all doing our best to keep utility bills low and temperatures high, it’s important to know how you can use insulation to seal up your property and maintain comfort.

In our blog post “Pump Up Your Home Heating Efficiency with Attic Insulation,” we teach you how you can choose the perfect insulation to cut down on heating bills. From tips on sealing up your attic to choosing the right R-value on insulation, we’ll give you everything you need for an energy-efficient attic.

Water Heater Troubleshooting Guide

Finally, the last thing you want in the winter months is to be forced to take a cold shower because your water heater is struggling to do its job. Learning the most common problems that water heaters face could mean that you’re prepared to act quickly when something goes wrong.

In our blog post “Why Does My Water Heater Do That?,” we cover a range of the most common issues that water heaters face, and what you’ll need to do if you notice specific problems. From dealing with a heater that doesn’t produce enough hot water to tackling a leak, this post will give you the power you need to protect your water heating system.

Bob Jenson Air Conditioning & Heating installs and services HVAC systems through San Diego County. Be sure to keep your eye on our blog for regular posts that can help you make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and get in touch with us when it’s time to call in a professional.

5 Tips to Help Keep Your Heating Costs Down This Winter

Lower Costs, Raise Your Comfort

Winter is coming, and there’s a good chance that heating bills will rise again this year.

The good news is that you don’t have to be freezing or uncomfortable to reduce your monthly costs. In fact, a few simple changes and some careful preparation is all it takes to keep your home cost-effectively heated. Here are five easy adjustments you can start making today to lower your heating bills this winter season.

1. Bundle Up

Though it can be tempting to shed the sweatshirt when you get home, dressing for warmth indoors as well as outdoors is really a great way to save some cash. Though you shouldn’t be watching television in a pair of gloves, stocking up on some extra layers could allow you to turn down your thermostat by a few degrees and reduce your heating costs significantly.

You can also help your home bundle up by fitting heavy, heat-maintaining curtains over your windows.

2. Adjust Your Thermostat

The numbers on your thermostat can have a huge impact on the figures in your energy bills. Space heating accounts for over 40% of the average household’s energy consumption, and turning down your thermostat is one of the simplest ways to save money on your heating bill.

Dropping your thermostat by a single degree can knock as much as 5% off your bill, so it’s worth the sacrifice. You might even consider investing in a programmable thermostat that makes it easier for you to maintain the right temperatures throughout the day. For instance, you could lower the heating at midday when the sun is at its strongest and at times when no one is home.

Consider turning down the settings on your water heater, too, as water can account for up to 18% of the energy consumed at home.

3. Upgrade Your Insulation

About a third of the heat lost in a property disappears through uninsulated walls, while a quarter goes through the roof. While upgrading the insulation in your home might seem like a significant investment to make, it can offer substantial savings for many cold seasons to come.

Go up into your attic and make sure that you have 10 to 14 inches of insulation for the best results. Remember, before you lay new insulation around your home, you’ll need to make sure that you seal any openings around the floors and windows where energy might escape.

4. Destroy Any Drafts

Reducing drafts could account for energy savings of as much as 30%, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. While you’re checking your insulation, make sure you’re examining all the common drafty spots where you might lose heat, such as switchplates, electrical outlets, weather stripping around the doors, and attic hatches. You can either conduct a visual inspection or try using a candle to check for gusts that disturb the flame.

Once you’ve found drafty spaces throughout your property, you can easily invest in some caulk to place around your door frames, or weather-stripping for the windows and entryways that don’t close tightly.

5. Maintain Your Heating System

One of the most important things you can do to maximize indoor comfort and cost-saving this winter is to prepare your HVAC system. Take the time to replace your filters at least once a month, or as needed. Damaged or dirty filters can easily stop a heating system from working as it should.

A professional inspection will also ensure that you’re aware of any problems with your system before it’s too late to make repairs. The last thing you want is to be stuck in the dead of winter with a heating system that doesn’t work.

Staying warm this winter doesn’t have to drain your resources or become a challenge. Contact Bob Jenson Air Conditioning & Heating today to schedule an inspection with one of our experts and get prepared for the colder months.

Spray Foam Insulation: Is It Right For Your Home?

The Benefits of Using Spray Foam Insulation with HVAC Systems

A lack of insulation in your property could be the same as throwing money out the window. According to the Department of Energy, air leakage within a home can account for anywhere between 30 and 50% of its annual heating and cooling costs. A tight building that resists air infiltration can improve everything from interior air quality, to moisture content, overall comfort, and more.

Spray polyurethane foam — or spray foam insulation — offers air barriers, to address the problem of air leakage in homes and commercial buildings. When installed properly, this solution can make a building practically air-tight, reducing your risk of wasted energy. Before you decide that spray foam insulation is for you, it’s crucial to carefully consider your current HVAC system.

In order to ensure efficiency and safety, a system-wide approach must include an evaluation of various factors — including combustion possibilities, ventilation, the size of an HVAC system, moisture management, and more.

The “Energy Star Program” estimates that homeowners could save up to 20% on their monthly energy bills, just by installing proper insulation. When installed correctly, spray foam reliably improves the “R-Value” of HVAC solutions by preventing wind intrusion, and filling wall spaces that would otherwise lead to lost energy.

Because spray foam produces a tight air barrier to control air infiltration, it greatly reduces wasted energy — but latent humidity will remain the same, so proper humidity removal and ventilation is essential, to eliminate the risk of harmful mold growth. Combined with the right temperature solutions, spray foam allows for optimized moisture control, air quality, combustion safety, and energy efficiency.

Spray Foam is Not Compatible with All HVAC Systems

Because spray-foam insulated homes are so tightly sealed, homes with naturally aspirating furnaces, or atmospheric combustion systems, are not compatible with this type of insulation. These systems need to be able to draw air from the outside, to replace the air they’re using to condition the home. If your furnace cannot access fresh air, you run the risk of filling the home with carbon monoxide, or other dangerous byproducts of combustion.

In the early days, sizing HVAC systems relied upon the “rule of thumb” method, which suggested homes should have 1 ton of HVAC capacity for every 500 feet of conditioned space. Today, however, using that strategy can result in HVAC systems that are much larger than they actually need to be. Now, proper sizing uses the industry standard “Manual J” — which calculates everything from heat loss through ceilings and walls, to infiltration from doors, windows, and cracks.

Before spray foam insulation is installed, builders and HVAC contractors must conduct a Manual J8 evaluation, to determine how much ventilation a property needs; as well as the required level of heating and cooling. This is particularly critical in SPF-insulated homes, which can suffer from problems when they become “too” air-tight.

Is Spray Foam Insulation Right for You?

If you’re considering using spray foam insulation in combination with your HVAC system, it’s important to think about the results of making your home “air-tight.”

If you have an atmospheric combustion system in place, you’ll need to replace it with an HVAC system that works through sealed combustion, or power venting, instead. These newer solutions do not require an open-air source — and therefore can allow for a fully-insulated home that still meets high safety standards.

If you’re committed to installing spray foam insulation, you can also use direct ventilation HVAC systems, to ensure that your HVAC system can continue working at optimum level.

Is It Time To Beef Up Your Attic Insulation?

Will Insulating My Attic Benefit My Home?

Properly insulating your attic brings more than comfort at home — it can save you hundreds in energy costs every year. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that an attic with adequate insulation saves residents between 10 to 50 percent annually on home energy costs.

Understanding how much insulation you need, or when it is time to upgrade, can be a little confusing, especially if you’ve never done it before. Take a look at some of the basics you need to know when it comes to insulating your attic right, and how to know when it’s time to add more.

What Kind of Insulation Should I Buy?

You have two basic options for attic insulation: Batt (or the blanket kind that is probably the most familiar) and loose fill. In both cases, you can add either kind to the insulation you already have in place. Loose fill insulation works best with attics that already have some insulation in place, because it can fill in the cracks and holes for better insulating power. If your attic has low-clearance ceilings, this is also a great option because it will be much easier to install. The best way to insulate loose-fill is by hiring a professional to fill it in correctly. This is a smart step to ensure that the installation process goes smoothly.

Insulation comes in a variety of materials. You will want to determine the type of insulation you already have in place to decide which kind you need. The three basic materials are:

  • Fiberglass. It’s lightweight but also does not settle into old insulation as well as the other types, so you will need more of it.
  • Mineral wool. This type costs more than other loose-fill options, but is also naturally fire resistant.
  • Cellulose. This is the most common type of insulation for loose-fill, but has been reported to rot or get moldy when it encounters moisture.

Where Should I Insulate?

The absolute best spot to insulate your attic is actually in the floor. This means pulling up that plywood and stacking new insulation on top of what you already have (if any). It also means you may not have as much storage space and will need to relocate all those items stashed away in your attic space.

You also want to insulate in the ceiling area, especially near rafters. If you are located in a warm-weather area, think about adding in a radiant barrier to keep the heat out in the summer.

You should also be sure that you seal any areas where air may leak through the roof, windows and any attic access spots.

What is the Right Amount of Attic Insulation?

The easiest way to tell if you are properly insulated in your attic is to use your eyes. If you can see the floor joists in your attic, you need more. If there are uneven areas where the insulation is higher or lower than the rest of the attic space, you need more for the best protection. In other words, if there is a lot of insulation in the center of your attic space, but not enough moving out towards the walls, it’s time to look into adding more insulation.

Attic insulation is measured in R-Value. This is basically a measure of the ability of your insulation to resist heat escape. Most attics need R-38, which translates to 10 to 14 inches of insulation.

Taking the time to add the right amount of insulation to your attic will have a positive impact on what you spend for energy costs. To decide how much, and what kind of, insulation your home really needs, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Home Energy Saver online tool.

Choosing The Right Type Of Attic Insulation

Which Insulation is Right for your Home?

Insulation is like your home’s favorite sweater in winter and shade tree in summer. Choosing the right type of insulation not only affects your comfort, but also determines your home’s utility bills and overall energy efficiency. Let’s take a look at how insulation works and the best type of insulation for your home.

Insulation and Heat Flow

Heat flow is the main reason you might feel uncomfortable in your home. It describes the natural tendency for heat to move from warm objects to cooler objects. In the summer, heat flow causes the hot air from outside to leak inside. In the winter, the warmth in your living spaces moves to unheated basements, attics, garages, and outdoors.

Heat flow involves three basic mechanisms:

Conduction is the way heat moves through objects, like how heat from coffee moves through the mug to your hand.

Convection describes how heat circulates through gases and liquids. It’s why cool air sinks and warm air rises.

Radiant heat describes heat that travels in a straight line, warming anything solid in its path.

Most forms of insulation operate by hampering conductive and convective heat. Insulation’s resistance to conductive heat is measured by its R-value. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness.

Batt Insulation

Batt or blanket insulation is the most common form of insulation and comes in large rolls or chunks. Batts are made from flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass and cotton, though you can find blanket insulation made from:

  • Mineral wool
  • Plastic fiber
  • Sheep’s wool

As effective as batts can be, they often have trouble filling a space. Insulation works best when it completely fills a space. Gaps, compression, voids, or otherwise incompletely filled areas are equivalent to air leaks in your walls or around your doors. Batts also don’t do well when they have to compete with other things inside the walls—framing, wires, exhaust fans, electrical junction boxes, lighting.

Blown-in Insulation

Loose-fill or blown-in insulation comprises small particles of foam, fiber, or other materials. Thanks to the smaller form, blown-in insulation can conform to any space without disturbing the structural foundation. The most common types of materials include fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wool made from rock or slag, all of which are made from recycled waste:

  • Fiberglass contains 20-30% recycled glass
  • Cellulose comprises recycled newspaper
  • Mineral wool is produced using 75% post-industrial recycled content

Of these, cellulose tends to have the higher R-value per inch, meaning you’ll ultimately need less of it.

This form of insulation is installed via a hose that blows the particles into the attic empty space—hence, blown-in insulation. This method allows you to fill in any gaps and create a complete layer of insulation that ensures full protection from heat flow.

Spray On Insulation

Sprayed foam insulation comprises a liquid compound that expands and hardens as it dries to create an effective barrier against heat flow. The most common types of liquid foam insulation include:

  • Cementitious
  • Phenolic
  • Polyurethane
  • Polyisocyanurate

These foaming agents don’t contain CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), or other chemicals that can damage the earth’s ozone layer.

Sprayed foam insulation can have twice the R-value per inch of traditional batt insulation, but the real advantage comes with the method of installation. The consistency of the foam allows it to fill even the smallest cavities. As it cures, the foam compounds conform to the shape of the cavity, creating an effective air barrier to prevent leakage.

Determining what type of insulation is right for you involves several factors. Where do you want it installed? What R-value do you want to achieve? You also have to take into account overall lifecycle costs, impact on indoor air quality, and ease of installation. If you’re not sure, get some professional advice from a Bob Jenson Air Conditioning & Heating.

Pump Up Your Homes Heating Efficiency With Attic Insulation!

4 Practical Attic Insulation Tips

Just like the top of your head, the top of a house can lose a lot of heat very quickly; especially if it’s not well insulated. With a house, this can lead to a great deal of wasted energy and soaring utility bills. Here we’ll discuss practical attic insulation tips that can help you keep your heat within your home and cut down on that costly utility bill.

Batten Down the Hatches

Before you start an insulation project, it’s important to ensure the attic is properly sealed. Start with common areas where the attic may have leaks:

  • Attic hatch
  • Around wiring and any holes in the walls that accommodate plumbing and pipes
  • Dropped soffits that are open to the attic
  • Recessed lights
  • Flues, chimneys, or duct soffits

If there are small holes here and there in your attic, they are likely not the source of a large amount of leakage. But if you have large holes or drafts that are freely transferring heat, this is where you will find benefit in doing some maintenance. For those large areas, plug open cavities, cover dropped soffits with foil or other materials, and caulk open areas or drafts around attic windows. Aluminum flashing can be used to seal areas around pipes and flues.

Choose the Right R Value for Your Climate

Insulation comes in many different forms and is identified by its R value. This value describes the product’s resistance to heat flow: the higher the R value, the greater the resistance and therefore the greater the insulative properties. The R value of a product can be found listed on the label. Choosing the correct R value for your home depends on where you live, and the age of your home. You will need a higher R value for colder climates. If your home is over 10 years old, you’ll also likely need additional insulation and a higher R value. Here in San Diego we recommend and R value of R38 – R60 in your attic.

Choose Your Material

Attics are a fairly simple area to insulate, at least relative to the rest of the home. The type of insulation usually installed in an attic is either loose-fill or batt insulation. If price is a factor, loose-fill is typically less expensive and can provide better coverage. Loose-fill, or “Blown in” insulation is installed with a blower hose and machine that breaks up larger insulation pills into small bits and chunks of cellulose, fiberglass, or mineral wool. Batt insulation comes in big blanket-like rolls.

Mind Your Structural Integrity

If your attic does not have a floor, simply place new unfaced batt insulation opposite (perpendicular) to the existing insulation. Ensure you effectively cover joists with insulation. Be sure to install insulation behind knee walls as well. Approximately 12 inches of insulation is generally the appropriate thickness to insulate effectively.

If your attic does have a floor and you use the space for storage or another function, your insulation project will be a bit more complicated. This is because you’ll need to insulate under the floor, which means you need to remove it.

Note: be careful not to step anywhere that doesn’t have a solid structure meant to hold weight—you don’t want to step through the ceiling!

Insulating your attic is an important part of maintaining a manageable utility bill and keeping your home climate-controlled. Insufficient insulation will cause precious heat loss and quickly lower the home efficiency. It’s important to take a routine review of the attic and ensure that any new gaps are sealed; especially attic windows, hatches, and pipes that can be a large source of heat loss. Be sure to also take stock of the integrity of the attic’s insulation after any new home installations or remodels with pipes, ducts, or wiring that run through the attic. You can always call an expert like Bob Jenson A/C to inspect your attic and let you know how much or little insulation you need to improve your heating efficiency. Fortifying the insulation in your home’s attic helps keep the heat in—or out—throughout the year.

Why Winter Is The Perfect Time To Insulate!

Why Insulate Your Home?

You don’t often think much about insulation until you are in the throes of the colder months, when you desperately need it. That’s why it’s the perfect time to insulate the home: it’s on your mind, and during the winter you are able to reap immediate rewards for your efforts in the form of a warmer home and a lower heating bill.

Energy Efficiency:

One of the most important reasons to insulate your home in the winter is to increase your home’s energy efficiency. Insulation helps impede the flow of heat. This means that it keeps your heat from seeking out cooler areas both within and outside your home—think unused attics or drafty doors that lead outside. Good insulation allows you to hold onto more of your precious heat.

Sound Buffering:

Insulation also provides sound buffering to help reduce noise throughout the home. Noise control can help create a more enjoyable atmosphere, especially if there are children or roommates about.

Value:

Insulation can also increase the value of a home. If you’re planning on putting your home on the market in the spring, insulation is a great way to include value that you can also enjoy during the months you need it most.

Temperature:

Insulation helps prevent temperature swings. This keeps a home predictably comfortable, and keeps your other appliances and home systems from having to run in overdrive.

Moisture Barrier:

Insulation also helps keep the dampness of the outdoors outside where it belongs.

Where to Insulate Your Home

Proper insulation from the roof on down to the ground is important, and it is most important in those areas where heat is most at risk for being lost. This includes unfinished spaces such as attics, areas around floor joists, and access doors to attics, garages, and basements.

Anywhere that air flows between walls, floors, and ceilings are important places to install insulation to help keep heat from being lost. Exterior walls and areas around doors and windows are also incredibly important areas to insulate. Sealing and insulating ducts can also go a long way toward saving heat.

Ducts that run through unconditioned spaces can cause heat to be lost on its way to its destination. Floors above unheated garages are also key areas to insulate, along with your foundation. A properly insulated foundation can help prevent more than heat loss: foundation insulation can also help prevent unwanted moisture from seeping into the house and can deter insects.

How to Choose the Best Insulation

There are many types of insulation products, including: cellulose, fiberglass, cotton, wool, foam, polyurethane, and polystyrene. It’s always important to read product labels and ensure that the product is indicated for your intended installation.

One of the most important factors in choosing insulation is the R-value of the product. The R-value is an indication of a product’s thermal resistance. The higher the R-value of a product, the better it is at its designated job.

But the R-value is not the only factor that you should pay attention to when installing insulation. Insulation must be installed correctly as well. Ensure that in addition to choosing quality products, you also choose quality installers who are familiar with your type of home and have a great reputation. Your installers should be able to provide product details and indications before installation and also be able to answer any questions you may have about the product and its eco-friendliness, effectiveness, and cost.

Keeping the Cool Air In and the Hot Air Out

How to Stop the Bleeding (of air)

Consumers spend a lot of money keeping their homes the right temperature—to the tune of $22 billion spent in the U.S. on air conditioning alone every year. For warmer climates, the cost of keeping a home cool can be as much as 70 percent of a summer utility bill. Of annual utility costs. When the summer months hit and your air conditioning unit is getting the biggest workout of the year, your wallet can also take a hit. In order to keep your utility budget in check, and conserve some energy in the process, take a look at these smart tips for keeping cool air in your home and warm air outdoors.

Update insulation.

If you’ve never really looked at the insulation in your home, now is the time. Find out where it may need to be updated, and where it may need to be installed for the first time. Spending a bit upfront on the right insulation will save you a lot in the long run in the form of escalating utility bills. This will also benefit you come winter when you want to keep the warm air inside. Blown-in insulation can be a more affordable option to fill all the nooks and crannies in your attic for better overall coverage.

Update windows.

Much like insulation, the windows in your home play a large role in the amount of conditioned air that stays inside and the amount that escapes. If you don’t have the budget to change out all of your outdated windows at once, pick a few each year to update until the entire house is complete.

Install weather stripping.

A great way to seal off any air leaks in your home is by installing weather stripping. Particularly vulnerable areas include doors, windows, and access points to your attic. Start by identifying air leaks in the home. There are different ways to install weather stripping, depending on the areas you are targeting, so be sure to seek the help of a professional if you aren’t sure how to do it exactly.

Hang insulated curtains.

If you want a really easy do-it-yourself way to save money on your cooling costs, invest in insulated curtains, also called thermal curtains, for the sunniest rooms of your home. These curtains come in a variety of styles and can easily fit right into the décor you already have in place. Generally, thermal curtains consist of an outer layer (the layer you can see), which looks like a regular curtain, backed by a layer of high-density foam, reflective moisture barrier, and/or a heat-reflecting film. There are many different types to choose from in both style and function.

Use your roof.

This is a great step to take, particularly if you are planning to reroof your home anyway. A lot of heat is lost through the roof during the winter time, and a lot of heat can enter the home through the roof in the summer time—it is a large surface with direct access to the sun, making it an especially important part of your home to keep efficient. There are two main options for a more efficient roof: cool roofs and green roofs. Cool roofs make use of highly reflective materials, whether through the roofing materials themselves or with the addition of a special coating. Green roofs, which work best for flat roofs, make use of natural greenery to insulate and reflect heat from the roof. Plus, they look beautiful.

The next time you go to turn your thermostat down a few degrees, consider what you could be doing to make your cooling system more efficient instead. Just a few tweaks can save you a lot of energy and money over time, and keep your home at a comfortable temperature year round.

Keep The Heat In: 5 Ways To Stay Warm On a Budget

Stay comfortable and keep your wallet…

With winter in full swing and temperatures reaching record lows on a seemingly daily basis, people are struggling to stay warm. While heaters are the main line of defense for most, high energy bills, carbon dioxide emissions, and a negative impact on the environment aren’t anyone’s cup of tea. That doesn’t mean you need to freeze your tail off. With a little creativity and some professional help, you can stay warm without breaking the bank.

1. Insulate your attic.

One of the best and cheapest ways to keep your home warm and energy efficient is to rethink your attic insulation. Insulating your attic helps you fight against heat’s natural movement toward coolness.

Heat Transfer
See, heat, which has a lot of energy, naturally likes to disperse to cooler areas where there is room for its chaotic particles to calm down—it wants to be in a state of thermodynamic equilibrium, or balance. Think of it this way: those heat particles are at a crowded punk rock concert getting beat up in the mosh pit and, naturally, they want to get outside for some space and fresh air. This migration of energy is called heat transfer and is described in the second law of thermodynamics. If your attic is properly insulated, you can prevent the heat you’re paying for to warm your home from escaping.

How Does Insulation Work?
Insulation works in the same general way as a down jacket or sleeping bag. It creates small pockets of air that combine to form a larger barrier that keeps the warm air in and the cold air out. The fluffier the insulation is, the more pockets to trap the air, which is why insulation that has been trampled is significantly less effective. This is also why you need to replace your insulation every so often as it tends to settle and flatten over time.

The key to good attic insulation is coverage. Holes or gaps in your insulation significantly reduce its effectiveness. It’s a good idea to contact a professional company, like Bob Jenson, to handle your attic insulation.

2. Seal it up.

Much of the heat in your home is also lost through the cracks in your door and around your windows, for the same reasons described above. In fact, according to Energy Star, adding up all the cracks, gaps, and holes in the average home, you’d be left with a heat loss equivalent to leaving a window fully open every day of the year.

Fortunately, weather stripping your home is an easy DIY project. Weather stripping itself is available in various materials, including felt, foam, plastic, and aluminum, all designed to seal in leaks without hindering how you open and close your doors and windows.

3. Rethink what you drink.

On those cold, blustery days, nothing feels better than a warm drink. But does it matter what’s in your mug?

Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Coffee, tea, and other beverages containing caffeine dilate your blood vessels, increasing blood flow to your skin. This produces an initial feeling of warmth, but in reality, your body is losing heat as warm blood is being taken away from your core. What about hot toddy? Alcoholic drinks have the same effect, which can actually make you feel colder when all is said and done.
Instead, try a nice cup of hot apple cider, cocoa, or herbal tea.

4. Bundle up.

To save on your energy bill, try to resist the urge to instantly turn on the heat whenever you feel a chill. We’ve become accustomed to this convenience, but it’s an expensive one that isn’t great for the environment either. Instead, bundle up, but do it the right way.

Don’t wear clothing too tight.
Your clothes will keep you warmer if they aren’t skin tight. Having some movement and empty spaces between you and your clothing allows your body heat and clothing to work together to keep you warm. If you’ve ever layered 3 pairs of tight yoga pants, for example, and found that it didn’t keep you warm, this is why.

Choose the right fabrics.
We’re just talking about staying warm and cozy while indoors—fabric needs change if you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors. For example, stay away from cotton if you’re heading out into the cold—rather than wicking away moisture like wool and synthetic athletic fabrics, it absorbs it and keeps cold moisture close to your body—a dangerous thing.

While hanging out at home, wear clothing made with insulating fabrics like wool and fleece—that includes your feet!

Layer logically.
If it’s especially cold in your home or you’re planning to head outside, make sure you follow the basic principles of layering.

Base layer: Your base layer should be thin, insulating, and moisture-wicking. As stated, ditch the cotton—you’ll be sweating under these layers at least a little (you’re always sweating, believe it or not!), and you want your base layer to be able to keep that sweat and moisture away from your skin.

Insulating layer: This middle layer should be warm and made of something like fleece or feather down. Think of it like the attic insulation—it should be roomy, a bit “fluffier” and have lots of insulating power.

Outer layer: The outer layer, or shell, is your coat and should be able to block wind and water while keeping the heat in.

5. Be social!

It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that feeling lonely is the pits, but a series of studies by researchers at the University of Toronto suggest that loneliness actually has a physical effect on your perception of temperature, making you feel even colder than it actually is.

In one of the studies, subjects made to feel excluded in a ball-tossing game had a greater desire for warm food after. In another study, subjects recalled a situation of social exclusion and inclusion and an estimate of the room temperature at the time. The moments of social exclusion brought up lower room temperature estimates.

So if you’re feeling extra cold at home, call some friends over. The extra company will warm you and your heart.
Cold temperatures don’t mean you or your wallet need to suffer. Good luck staying warm!

Attic Insulation: Ensuring Your Home Doesn’t Gain or Lose Heat Too Quickly

Attic Insulation – Protecting Your Home from Heat Gain and Loss

Attic insulation can seem like one of those mundane, extraneous details of home maintenance. Fluffy stuff in your attic crawlspace? Why even worry about it, right? As it turns out, attic insulation is a very big deal and can have a significant impact on your home’s energy efficiency and your general well-being. Let’s take a closer look at attic insulation and how it helps your home maintain a comfortable temperature all year long.

Heat Flow

To understand insulation, you first have to understand how heat gets from place to place. Heat travels through three means:

  • Convection: The way heat circulates through liquids and gases. It’s what creates steam in a cup of coffee and is the reason that hot air rises while cold air sinks.
  • Conduction: When you dip a cold spoon into a cup of tea, it grows hot. This is an example of conduction—one thing sharing its heat with another thing to balance out the energy.
  • Radiation: One of the main sources of heat in the summer, radiant heat travels in a straight path and heats up anything in its way. The sun is the greatest source of radiant heat.

Your attic deals with a combination of all three. Furthermore, heat is quite the pervasive little force. It has a constant need to spread. Heat naturally flows to cooler areas, so in the winter, the heat inside your home seeps outside. In the summer, the sweltering outdoor air finds its way into your cool abode.

Winter Wonderland

But it’s more than just air moving from inside to outside, or vice versa. Heat moves within your home as well. During the winter, you turn on your heater to try to beat the chill, but your home isn’t as airtight as you think.

Considering that hot air naturally rises, a lot of the toasty air blowing from your heater seeps up into your attic. In an uninsulated attic, the air cools down. Remember how cool air sinks? Well, once it cools down enough, it moves its way back down to the rest of the house. That air eventually heats back up and moves back to the attic, and so on. It’s an awful cycle that wastes precious energy. Some sources suggest that your house loses up to a quarter of its total heat from your attic alone.

Summertime

Insulation isn’t just important in the winter. In the summer, your attic is pretty much a storage space for heat, reaching ungodly temperatures. It may be a bearable 90 degrees outside, but your attic could reach upward of 150 degrees—more if your ventilation isn’t working properly.
The heat doesn’t stay in the attic either. It spreads into the rest of your home, which is why your ceiling may feel so hot. That heat forces your air conditioner to work overtime. Worse yet, if your air conditioning ducts run through the attic, your vents will do nothing but blow hot air.

Radiate

Then there’s the sun itself. It shines down on everything, including your roof. Unfortunately for your home, most building materials soak up heat like a sponge and radiate it back in the process. Without insulation, the wood in your roof and ceiling warm up. That heat then radiates down to the rest of your home.

Material World

Insulation comes in a wide range of materials, including foil, foam boards, cellulose, and fiberglass. Bulky materials help control heat gained through convection and conduction, while rigid boards trap air to resist conductive heat flow. Foils and reflective insulation systems reflect radiant heat away from living spaces, keeping the sun from bearing down on your home.

Loose-fill and batt insulation are the most common forms of insulation installed in attics. When installed properly, loose-fill offers excellent coverage and is cheaper than batt and other types of insulation. Before you install any insulation, make sure you seal up any air leaks and repair damage in your roof if there is any. You should also combine your insulation with a radiant barrier to keep the sun off your roof.

Keep your attic insulated and you’ll save money on your air conditioning bill and stay cool all summer long. Call or contact Bob Jenson A/C for a free inspection and quote for attic insulation today!

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