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Home Energy Savings - 8 Rules For Finding A Contractor

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energy audit002

Part 3

Finding a Contractor

Finding a quality contractor is one of the hardest parts of any home construction endeavor. If you are experienced in construction, (someone who does it for a living and not a weekend warrior) that is great, and you can probably do much of the work yourself. If your not experienced it is worth the money to consult a professional to do any work you may have. When selecting a contractor use the tips below , but also meet with your top choices a few times and make sure that your personalities don’t clash too much. Remember your going to have to work with each other and depending on the work at hand this could last for up to several weeks. So chose wisely.

Tips for Finding a Contractor

1.-  Ask neighbors and friends for recommendations
2.-  Look in the Yellow Pages
3.-  Focus on local companies
4.-  Look for licensed, insured contractors
5.-  Get three bids with details in writing
6.-  Ask about previous experience
7.-  Check references
8.-  Check with the Better Business Bureau

Checking your home’s insulation is one of the fastest and most cost
efficient ways to use a wholehouse approach to reduce energy waste
and make the most of your energy dollars. A good insulating system
includes a combination of products and construction techniques
that protect a home from outside temperatures—hot and cold, protect
it against air leaks, and control moisture. You can increase the comfort
of your home while reducing your heating and cooling needs by up to
30% by investing just a few hundred dollars in proper insulation and
sealing air leaks.

Insulation

First, check the insulation in your attic, ceilings, exterior and
basement walls, floors, and crawl spaces to see if it meets the
levels recommended for your area. Insulation is measured in
R-values—the higher the R-value, the better your walls and roof
will resist the transfer of heat. DOE recommends ranges of
R-values based on local heating and cooling costs and climate
conditions in different areas of the nation. State and local codes
in some parts of the country may require lower R-values than the
DOE recommendations,

Where to Insulate

Adding insulation in the areas shown below may be the best way to
improve your home’s energy efficiency.
Crawl space
Basement
Attic
Walls
Floors

For customized insulation recommendations, visit energysavers.gov
and check out the Zip Code Insulation Calculator, which lists the most
economic insulation levels for your new or existing home based on
your zip code and other basic information about your home.
Although insulation can be made from a variety of materials, it usually
comes in four types; each type has different
characteristics.

Rolls and batts— or blankets— are flexible products made from mineral
fibers, such as fiberglass and rock wool. They are available in widths
suited to standard spacings of wall studs and attic or floor joists.
2×4 walls can hold R-13 or R-15 batts; 2×6 walls can have R-19 or R-
21 products.
Loose-fill insulation —usually made of fiberglass, rock wool, or
cellulose comes in shreds, granules, or nodules. These small particles
should be blown into spaces using special pneumatic equipment. The
blown-in material conforms readily to building cavities and attics.
Therefore, loose-fill insulation is well suited for places where it is
difficult to install other types of insulation.
Rigid foam insulation —foam insulation typically is more expensive
than fiber insulation. But it’s very effective in buildings with space
limitations and where higher R-values are needed. Foam insulation
R-values range from R-4 to R-6.5 per inch of thickness (2.54 cm),
which is up to 2 times greater than most other insulating materials
of the same thickness.
Foam-in-place insulation —can be blown into walls and reduces air
leakage.

Insulation Tips

Consider factors such as your climate, building design, and budget
when selecting insulation R-values for your home.
•Use higher density insulation, such as rigid foam boards, in cathedral
ceilings and on exterior walls.
•Ventilation plays a large role in providing moisture control and
reducing summer cooling bills. Attic vents can be installed along
the entire ceiling cavity to help ensure proper airflow from the soffit
to the attic to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient.
• Recessed light fixtures can be a major source of heat loss, but you
need to be careful how close you place insulation next to a fixture
unless it is marked IC— designed for direct insulation contact. Check
your local building codes for recommendations.

These are some solid rules to finding a good contractor and a bit on Insulation. Next time we will go a little more on heating and cooling systems and how to get the most for your dollar.

This is part 3 of a 7 part series on Home Energy Savings. Click on the link at the top right of this page to get our feed, either from RSS or e-mail, so you don’t miss an installment.

Peace and Prosperity,
Rich @ NY Homesteader

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