Category Archives: Energy

The Location of Things Matters

By | Energy, HVAC, Understanding your home | No Comments

I tend to be very observant. I am always on the lookout for a good story. This one got me chuckling. I went to pump down and disconnect an AC compressor from a home that we were going to do a significant remodel to. I noticed that the unit was quite filthy. A filthy, clogged AC compressor makes me nuts because it decreases efficiency and wastes energy. My HVAC contractor was brushing off lint and got a good laugh. No Wonder it is so Filthy We have some cottonwoods in the area and they are easily cleaned with a steady…

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Retrofitting Hydronic Heating

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Energy, Floors, HVAC | No Comments

Our client wanted heated floors in their existing home. There was a partial basement and crawl space access. I remembered a system that we have used before that circulates fluid beneath the floor and felt that this would be a good option to offer.  It uses glycol and is separate and detached from the plumbing system. We decided to offer a radiant heated under floor system for a home that had a mixture of hardwood floors and Tile floors. The home already had a forced air system but the idea of warm floors was a big hit. It took 7…

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How Energy Efficient is Your Home

By | Energy, Environmental Awareness, Green Remodeling, Historic District Homes, Home Evaluations, HVAC | No Comments

For the past 110 years, we have been in a rush to make sure the hurdle of the new housing stock is built safer, stronger, and more energy efficient than the last code cycle because people dying in tragic collapses and fires is not a good thing, nor is wasting our limited natural resources on poor quality construction techniques. The insurance industry started the trend by suggesting building codes to address huge losses. The codes were adopted by building industry and all of the sub-trades and updated every few years like clockwork over the years. The same cyclic process done…

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Fuse failure almost causes fire

By | Electrical, Energy | No Comments

Fusees are an important link in the safety chain of electrical components of a home. They are designed to fail prior to the wires getting so hot that they melt and or catch other things on fire. Sadly many folks are willing to put too large of a fuse or the wrong rating of a fuse in the line to keep a circuit working. There are many different looking fuses some look the same but operate differently. The key is to use the appropriate fuse for the job. Just because it fits in the space does not mean that it…

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Fireplaces In & Out

By | Energy, HVAC, Understanding your home | No Comments

Fire is one of the primitive holdovers from the Stone Age, like shelter and clothing that we still hold sacred. Everyone enjoys a good campfire. Humans have improved upon it, we have accessorized it and no longer use it as our primary cooking tool, unless you are living off the grid. A good fireplace in the home is not too far removed from the ones of old. A traditional firebox in the home adds value and brings out your “One match” inner Boy Scout too. A fire in the fireplace is calming, and provides ambiance and soothing warmth to snuggle…

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Why Do An Energy Audit?

By | Energy, Insulation, Understanding your home, Weatherization, Windows | No Comments

As a remodeling contractor I am often asked to troubleshoot home comfort related problems. I have used this blog platform, specifically the Understanding Your Home partition, to help others figure out their homes and solve all sorts of issues that we come across. Energy efficiency, temperature, and indoor comfort control are big issues here in Idaho, as we have all 4 seasons to contend with. My feeling is that although we enjoy among the lowest energy costs per Kilowatt or BTU in the country, it is nice to hang onto those hard earned dollars for the finer things in life….

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What Does R-Value Mean?

By | Aged Home Upgrades, Energy, Green Remodeling, Historic District Homes, Indoor Air Quality, Insulation, Understanding your home | No Comments

I have been confused for years about just what the term R-value means. You would think that if you have 16″ of insulation it should correlate to an R-Value. That is all well and good, as long as you are talking about the exact same insulation. What an R-Value is, as it turns out, has lots of variables. R-Value is the commonly used term to describe the thermal resistance ability of insulation. As you recall heat travels through 3 means: Radiation = Heat travels through the air Example: heat from the sun warms you through radiated heat. (It is important…

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