Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Smart Homes Mean Smarter Energy – How Home Technology Saves Money

The idea of smart home technology may be unfamiliar to some homeowners. Home technology puts control of basic home systems at your fingertips, either through an app or a centralized unit within the home. There are many benefits to using smart home technology:  managing home security, adjusting home lighting, and more. One significant benefit is reduced energy consumption.

Smart home technology isn’t as costly or confusing as it may seem. Here are some benefits of using smart home technology and some tools you may consider for your home.

Energy and Cost Savings
Smart home technology can reduce home energy consumption and save on monthly energy bills. Smart home technology can turn off power to appliances and home systems when they are not in use (such as during the work or school day when a home is empty). By delivering power to key systems and appliances only when necessary, energy bills decrease. This savings can be noticed as soon as your first energy bill.

Apps like LG’s SmartThinQ take saving energy a step further. This app and other similar apps connect to smart grids to identify the times where demand for energy is low. It then notifies homeowners of better times to use energy for routine household chores such a laundry or charging an electric car.

Have you left your house and wondered if you’ve adjusted the temperature? Smart thermostats help you to know what’s happening in your home at any time. Some smart thermostats like Nest can automate home heating and cooling through an intuitive learning system that learns your home’s occupancy and energy patterns to maximize comfort when you are home and energy savings when you are not.

Home automation can make your home more comfortable. Through the touch of a button you can turn on interior lights, adjust your heating system, and more to ensure your home is at your desired comfort level the moment you walk in the door.

By adding smart home technology to your home and lifestyle can have many benefits! Check out the links above to learn more about many of these options.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, October 23, 2017

What to Expect when Rockweiler Insulation Insulates your Basement Box Sills

For most homeowners, working with a contractor can feel like a daunting experience. We want our customers to feel prepared for their installation and to make it a smooth experience for our installer team. Here are some steps to help prepare your home for adding insulation to your basement box sills:

Preparation before the crew arrives:
  • Clear away the space three to four feet around the perimeter of your basement walls. This allows for the install crew to move freely and have room to place a ladder to reach the top of the box sill, ensuring they do the best job possible. Remove all items from top shelves near the perimeter - especially anything fragile and/or valuable as a precaution.  
  • Plan to be out of your home during the install process and for four to six hours after the install is complete. This allows time for any fumes from the spray foam insulation to ventilate and dissipate. We take this rule very seriously - our crew will not begin installing spray foam until the house is vacated. This goes not just for your family, but also for your pets.

During the installation:
  • When our crew arrives they will begin by removing and disposing of any existing fiberglass insulation in the box sill area. After the existing insulation is disposed of, our crew will do an additional clean out of the box sill cavities so the spray foam has a clean surface to adhere to. Finally, any large items such as a washer and/or dryer will be covered with visqueen.  All of this prep work usually takes about an hour. 
  • Once the prep work is done, spray foam insulation is applied. A reminder - this is when the house will need to be vacant.

Post-install clean up:
  • After spray foam is applied, our crew will clean up any additional debris as needed. They will lock up your home per instructions you have provided. 
  • Our crew is happy to call to let you know when the job is complete and they are leaving your house. This can help you to know when you may return to your home after the recommended ventilation time. Please let your crew leader know if you would like a call.

Have other questions about your install? Please call our office: 608-845-7625

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Builders: Why Proper Insulation Installation Matters

When you are building a customer’s new home, you pay attention to details. You want to work with subcontractors who do the same. Attention to detail matters in any building trade – it’s especially important when it comes to insulation. Poorly installed installation has a long-term impact on energy expenses and comfort, and is difficult to correct once the construction process is complete.

What does the insulation look like in your new homes? Is it smooth and evenly fills each cavity, or is it compressed and inconsistent? If the insulation has gaps and is compressed in areas, the impact is huge. Improperly installed insulation can increase energy costs, impact code compliance and have a negative impact on comfort.

To learn more about why proper insulation installation matters, click here and view this brief video from NAIMA. If your insulator isn’t following proper installation techniques, call us to discuss your next project. Like we always say, what you don’t see makes all the difference.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 17, 2017

Things To Ask Your Insulation Contractor That You Aren’t Right Now

Many homeowners hire insulation contractors to upgrade their attic insulation, perform air sealing, insulate basement boxsills, and more. When hiring a contractor, most homeowners follow a few basic steps. These typically include getting a few quotes, asking if the contractors are insured, and checking a few references or online reviews. These are all important steps and all should be followed. If this is where you stop, there is important information you’re not asking for.

How an insulation contractor operates their business can affect your home. Poor quality installation can have a negative impact on the performance of an insulation system, your home’s comfort, and your potential energy savings. Quality insulation contractors take their business one step further. To know if you are hiring the right insulation contractor, here are three questions you should ask before signing that contract:

1. How are your installers trained?
It’s important to know that your insulation contractor trains their installers on proper installation techniques. Installation is a key component to the success of an insulation system. A quality contractor fully trains installers to ensure they are educated on steps for proper installation to help ensure your insulation system performs at its highest level. A quality contractor will also hold regular training sessions to keep crews up-to-date on innovations in building science and to ensure any new installers receive proper training.

A quality contractor will provide additional training for crews as well, including safety training and lead-safe work practices. Following proper safety practices help keep installers safe and help ensure an accident won’t happen on your project. If your home was built before 1978, there is a good chance your paint contains lead. Following lead-safe work practices during your project will help contain any dust that contains lead, keeping you and your family safe.

2. How are your installers paid? Hourly or piece rate?
When an installer is paid at piece rate, the installer can earn a larger paycheck by installing more footage. The faster they work, they more they make – which can compromise the quality of the install. Not paying attention to details during installation could result in deficiencies in the insulation and could cause damage.

A quality contractor is one that pays their installers a respectable hourly rate. This encourages the installer to take their time and get the job done right. Your insulator should support a culture of quality installation rather than speed, and the pay structure is part of that.

3. Does your company have a quality control process?
Even if a contractor has a robust training program, problems can arise. Installers may not have the experience to address customer concerns on a jobsite, or installers may encounter a situation for which they need management input. When considering an insulation contractor, find out what kind of quality control process they have in place.

A quality control process should have two components. It should provide installer teams with direct access to a supervisor or manager who can answer questions on the spot. It should also involve regular quality assurance checks to review installer work, confirm all installation procedures were properly followed, and to promptly rectifying any issues.

Hiring an insulation contractor goes far beyond insulation! Having these systems in place helps ensure you, your family, and your home are in good hands.

Take a few moments to ask a potential contractor these questions. Their answers can provide peace of mind by ensuring you are hiring a contractor that you can trust. A quality contractor should be willing to answer these questions and provide satisfactory answers. If a potential contractor is unwilling to answer these questions or doesn’t provide satisfactory answers, considering calling another contractor.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 19, 2017

Avoid Home Repair Scams - Tips from NARI

Has your home been damaged by summer storms? This time of year, many homeowners become victims of home repair scams. Con artists often show up at a homeowner's door after a disaster, offering an array of services and demanding a hefty down payment up front. They might offer a "great deal," based on using materials left over from a neighbor’s job - but a "great deal" isn't always what it seems.  Frequently these fly-by-night operators drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates, or set up temporary offices from which they can move quickly once authorities start looking for them.

Here are some from NARI Madison to avoid home repair scams:
  • Get the name and address of the company that person allegedly represents.
  • Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Be sure you understand everything in the contract and that any verbal promises made are included in the contract.
  • Determine how long the company has been in business and call organizations with which the contractor is affiliated, such as NARI of Madison or other trade associations, to determine the firm's legitimacy.
  • Ask for references and contact each one.
  • Remember that any legitimate company that wants your business will be more than willing to allow you the time to do your homework. Don't fall prey to high-pressure tactics such as "this is the only chance you have" or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone."

Homeowners should be especially skeptical if the company:
  • Comes to your door unsolicited.
  • Uses high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Requests full payment before completing the work.
  • Gives a post office box without a street address or phone number.
  • Promises to begin and complete the work more quickly and cheaply than any other company.
  • Says they just finished work on your neighbor's house and have just enough materials to do repair work on yours. They might say they can give you a better bargain if you let them do the work today since they have the supplies now.
NARI is a great source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor. NARI members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics, observing high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility. For more information, visit our the NARI Madison website to find a qualified professional who is a member of NARI or to learn more about the remodeling process.

Labels: , , , ,