How Does Insulation Save Energy Costs?

It is surprising to know that one of the main spots in your home that can bring energy savings is your attic. With correct insulation installed in the proper spots, air can be held within your home to save money on utility bills.

Why Insulation Matters

Insulation in your attic and proper ventilation are key to maintaining a comfortable temperature all times of the year in your home. Insulation specifically in your attic is critical to keep cool air in during hot months and warm air during cold seasons.

How It Works

If there is air escaping through your attic space, your HVAC system has to work more, using more energy. By installing high quality insulation in your home, you are preventing your HVAC system from having to run as long or as often which will bring utility costs down. It is estimated that homeowners can save up to 20% on energy bills when correct attic installation is installed.

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Types of Insulation

Insulation value is calculated in terms of thermal resistance, called the R-value. the higher the R-value, the better the insulating power in your home. The amount of insulation advised per home depends on where you live and the size of your attic space. Usually, warmer climates only require an R-38. There are three main types of attic insulation:

  • Roll-on Insulation is the least expensive because it is simple and quick for professionals to install. It is flexible and fits between studs and rafters tightly to keep air within the home.

  • Blown-in Insulation is more cost-efficient due to loose-fill. The insulation can fit smaller spaces where air could potentially leak out. It also keeps mold and odor out of your home.

  • Spray Foam Insulation is the most energy-efficient type because it expands and seals tightly where holes may be. It usually works longer than other types of attic insulation.

For more information on attic insulation, feel free to contact us.

Guide to Air Purification

Homes can be filled with up to five times more air pollution than outside air. Air purifiers bring in fresh, clean air and push out the old air when general air ventilation is not enough.

Popular Air Purification Systems

There are two types of air purifiers that are available for in-home use: portable and whole home air purifiers. Portable air purifiers are put in specific areas of the house to target contaminants. A whole home air purifier is installed with your HVAC system to target contaminants throughout the entire house. There are many types of whole home systems, but the main two use either filters or UV lights to purify the air in your house’s HVAC system.

Popular brands include:

  • Rabbit Air

  • Honeywell

  • Lennox

  • IQAir

  • Aprilaire

  • Fresh-Air

  • Coway

Installation Options

There are two options when it comes to installing an air purifier. The homeowner can install a portable unit or an HVAC professional can install the system for you. Portable air purifiers can be purchased online or at a local home improvement store and installed by the homeowner by following the directions that come with the portable system.

For whole home air purifiers, it is recommenced that they be installed by your HVAC professional. Because they work with the entire home HVAC system, it is important that they are installed properly with your heating and cool equipment so that you can get the most out of your air purification system. You can contact Blanton and Sons to schedule an estimate for an air purification system for your home.

A whole home purification system works your home’s HVAC system to purifier the air throughout your entire home.

A whole home purification system works your home’s HVAC system to purifier the air throughout your entire home.

Cost & Maintenance Tips for your Air Purifier

Portable Air Purifiers: Filters for portable unites must be replaced the most frequently, usually every few months. Many portable air purifiers have washable filters that are reusable. Your owners manual will direct you in how to replace or clean the filter.

Whole Home Air Purifiers: Filters must be changed on a regular basis, generally every 6-12 months. Be sure to check your owner’s manual for the recommendation that is specific to your unit.

UV Light Air Purifiers: These have the longest service life and only the bulbs need to be replaced - generally every 1-3 years. Your HVAC specialist can change the bulbs for you during your maintenance.

Portable air purifiers are definitely the cheapest option for air purification, but they are not as effective as whole home air purifiers. Depending on the model, the price can range from $30 into the $100s.

Whole Home air purifiers usually cost around $1,000 for the unit plus an installation fee depending on your HVAC company’s cost. Contact us to schedule an estimate for an air purification system for your home.

The filters in a whole home air purification system must be changed regularly, generally every 6-12 months.

The filters in a whole home air purification system must be changed regularly, generally every 6-12 months.

8 Things You Should Know about Air Purifiers

  1. There are two main types of air purification unites available: portable and whole home unites. Portable are generally more affordable, while home air purifiers offer better coverage throughout your home.

  2. Portable air purifiers do not need professional installation. Whole Home air purifiers need to be installed by your HVAC contractor.

  3. Air purifiers use either filters or UV light to trap and/or neutralize contaminants in your air.

  4. Air purifiers require maintenance in the forms of changing filters or UV lightbulbs and range in frequency from every few months to once every three years.

  5. Portable systems range from $30 to the $100s and can be installed by the homeowner.

  6. Whole home systems usually run about $1,000 and require professional installation.

  7. These systems are helpful for removal of pollen, dander, dust, and more common allergens. Air purifiers also help remove odor from your home.

  8. HEPA filters are the most efficient type of filter you can get to work in your air purification system.

When to Choose a Ceiling Cassette Air System

ceiling cassette

If bulky, wall-mounted mini split units aren’t your thing, a ceiling cassette can provide your room with that seamless look. 

Ceiling cassettes sit above the ceiling where the mechanics are hidden. They fit between regular ceiling joists and their air flow covers large spaces.

When Choose a Ceiling Cassette Air System

If you have a large room with hot spots, a ceiling cassette can fix that. They have four outlets that blow air and offer the option of closing one or two vents if you have a direction you'd don’t want to air blow. This becomes useful in hallways where you might only want to direct airflow in two directions.

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Features of a Ceiling Cassette

If you're installing a ceiling cassette unit in a large living room, but you’d also like to condition a separate and adjacent room, you might not require a separate unit. Many ceiling cassette models will support the use of a branch duct to move some of the air to the other room.

Many units are capable of being connected to a fresh air intake, meaning that instead of recycling the air in your home, you can draw and cycle fresh air throughout your home.

To adjust the air, you can use a wireless remote control or a wired-in wall mounted control.

Ask us about what else a ceiling cassette can do!

Flooding and Your AC Unit

While an air conditioning unit is designed to withstand weather conditions, sometimes you’ll need to call your technician to inspect for damage. If your AC unit is in standing water, due to flooding, it can cause severe damage to the electrical and moving parts. Generally, the water must reach roughly a foot in depth to affect your air conditioning system, but if you’ve experienced flooding of any kind, call Blanton & Son’s for an immediate inspection.

To avoid further damage or danger to you and others, we advise you to take these steps:

  • Turn off all the electrical switches to your system. If you are not comfortable doing this, you can call us to help.

  • Allow your unit to dry out. Get rid of any standing water if possible and use caution clearing debris from around the unit.

  • Leave your air off until a professional inspection has been performed.

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Don’t cover your HVAC unit with a tarp. This can cause it to rust due to not allowing the unit to air out..

For a full inspection and safety check, call Blanton & Son’s after making sure to have read all of these guidelines.

Three Money-Saving Myths

Heating and cooling your home contributes to almost 50% of yearly energy bills. Sounds like a good place to cut energy use, right?

The answer: Avoid doing things with your thermostat that waste energy.

A “faster” approach to heat or cool your home

You get home from work and and it’s 80° and you prefer it at 75°F. The next thing you do is set the thermostat to 72°, so that it will cool off your home faster.

Not a good idea.

This doesn’t make your air conditioner work faster… it only works at one speed. Lowering the temperature setting past what you need just makes the air conditioner run for much longer to reach the lower temperature.

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Leaving your thermostat at the same setting

Do you set your thermostat at a specific temperature and never touch it? You could be wasting up to $200 each year. (Source: ENERGY STAR}

Instead, you should adjust the temperature whenever you leave your home for more than 8 hours. After all, there’s no need to heat or cool your home at the same temperature as when you’re there.

  1. Set your thermostat roughly 5° higher in the summer and 10° lower in the winter.

  2. When you get home, set the thermostat back to your comfortable setting.

Doing so can save you up to 15% on your yearly energy costs. And if this habit isn’t for speed, you can ask us about programmable thermostats.

Tampering with your thermostat too much

Those who micromanage their thermostats use more energy than those that leave them alone. Constantly changing the set temperature on your thermostat causes your AC to stop and start, which causes it to run inefficiently.
 
Imagine you have your thermostat set at 75°F in the summer. Your AC cools your home until it reaches that point then shuts off. Then you realize that you still seem hot, so you lower the thermostat a couple more degrees. The air must now immediately turn back on.

Your system should be running for longer, steadier times to save money. Picture your car’s MPG… Does mileage improve on streets with lots of stoplights or on the interstate?

In summary

  • Don’t crank your thermostat up or down to cool your home faster.

  • Adjust your thermostat temperature 5°F when you’re away from home for 8+ hours.

  • Don’t repeatedly change the thermostat setting when you’re home.

Good News for Old-house Owners

Surely you have seen many remodeled Charleston homes. They all look really gorgeous while holding that historic aesthetic that we love. One issue often remains, though… and that is that many forego to inspect their old air system. Many of these homes have a new coat of paint, but what lies in the old ductwork can be surprising.

It’s a smart idea to have the home air system inspected. Older homes and even many new ones have ductwork that might have been damaged or exposed to water and humidity. Black mold can be found in any environment that provides food for the mold to thrive, including inside walls and inside vents and other duct work. When you notice black mold in air vents cleaning the vents out is the first step, but you’ll also need to eliminate the source of the mold to eliminate it completely.

Mold can be killed with a mixture of bleach and water, but chances are good that you won’t be able to reach the mold deep inside the duct work of the home.

 
black mold hvac charleston
 

How do we address black mold:

A test can be ran to identify if mold is the actual issue. If mold is discovered, we then identify the cause of the mold in your home. Wet walls and baseboards can contribute to mold. We check the insulation surrounding the ductwork. If the mold in the air vents has extended into the surrounding insulation, it will need to be replaced.

When we see that the duct needs replacing, we will suggest the best steps to clean, replace and prevent mold from reoccurring. Blanton & Sons is certified by NADCA. Since improper removal of mold can be a waste of time, and money, you can rest assured that we have the proper experience and specialized knowledge in removing mold.

Keeping Crawl Space Moisture Out of Your Home

50% of household air can flow up from your crawl space.

This is why it’s important to keep this unseen space as clean and dry as possible. Crawl space conditions can cause moisture to enter homes and have a negative impact on indoor air quality.

The process to address this is with encapsulation and creating a barrier between the earth and your home. Water vapor travels from the ground and even through cement. A heavy-duty polyethylene barrier and dehumidifier will greatly improve indoor air quality. With less humidity seeping into your home, you will also see energy improvements.

The sealing involves covering the dirt, foundation walls and sometimes the ceiling. This is most effective when the edges of the barrier are closed off with sealing tape. The last step is adding a dehumidifier. Combined, the encapsulation and humidity control will keep the moisture away and all the problems that come from it.

Common signs that lead to sealing a crawl space:

  • Mold

  • Mildew/musty smell in basement

  • Soft or separating floors

  • High cooling costs

  • Wet insulation

  • Sweating windows

  • Insect problems

Benefits of Creating a Vapor Barrier

  • Improved air quality in your crawl space and home

  • Creates inhospitable area for pests and wood-destroying insects

  • More comfortable living conditions

  • Avoid fungi/mold issues and structural damage

  • Greater energy efficiency in your home

Why a Mini Split Air System?

Mini splits can be more affordable than traditional heating systems since they require no ductwork.

Ductless mini split systems provide the ultimate comfort and efficiency. These systems are quiet while heating or cooling rooms evenly. Mini splits can be much more affordable than traditional heating systems since they require no ductwork. Due to the design and reversible motor, the system can cool or heat your home! 

The inside view of a Mini Split.

The inside view of a Mini Split.

The larger units still hideaway with a stylish look.

The larger units still hideaway with a stylish look.

High-energy efficiency meaning lower costs on energy bills

  • Zoned comfort control (heat/cool all rooms or just one).

  • Ductless unlike traditional systems making for cheaper install cost.

  • Better air quality by eliminating dirt and mold that can be found in ducts - filters that eliminate airborne allergens and odor.

The smaller Mini Split unit sits close to the ceiling.

The smaller Mini Split unit sits close to the ceiling.

This Christmas, we are giving away free Nest Thermostats to every new HVAC install.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is the very first thermostat to get ENERGY STAR certified. In under two years, it can pay for itself. But with a special end-of-the-year offer, Blanton and Sons will give you a Nest at no cost when you have a new HVAC unit installed.

Over a short time, the thermostat learns what temperature you like and builds a schedule around yours. Independent studies show that it has saved people an average of 12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills.

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Follow the Leaf.

Change the temperature to save energy and you’ll be rewarded with a Leaf. The Leaf learns how to help you save, so it appears at different temperatures for different families.

Simple installation.

Pop off your old thermostat and install your new Nest.

Good night, Nest.

You turn down the heat on your way to bed. Nest gets to know what you like and starts building a schedule: cozy in the morning and cool at night. 

A warm welcome.

After you turned up the heat a few days in a row, Nest learned you like eating breakfast at 70º. So now it warms up the house as you get out of bed.

It knows when you’re away.

You’re off to work. The Nest Thermostat can use sensors and your phone’s location to check if you’ve left, then sets itself to an Eco Temperature to save energy.

Using Google Home with your Nest Thermostat

The holidays are here! And you may not know it yet, but there's a good chance that Santa has some new tech coming your way. So we sought out to give you a few tips on how to make your home a little smarter. 

Nest has been the leader in Smart Thermostat industry for a while. You are able to set the temperature through your phone even when you're not around. But when you are home, wouldn't it be cool just to ask Google to turn up the heat? 

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Well, you can with just a few steps. With Google Home, you can ask the Google Assistant questions about the Nest Thermostat's status and tell your Nest change the temperature or set it for a certain amount of time. The Google Home can also play certain notifications from your Nest. 

1. Setup your Google Home and Nest Thermostat
2. Learn how to link the two by following the steps here

When all is done, try asking Google some of these phrases:

  • Hey Google, what’s the temperature inside?

  • Hey Google, make it warmer.

  • Ok Google, set the temperature to 68 degrees.

  • Ok Google, raise the temperature 72 degrees.