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Category: Insulation

09 Feb 2017
Fred's Stands Behind Trane

Fall Maintenance: Time to Get Busy

Fall is a transitional time of year, when the cooling season is over and heating season is on the horizon. Now is the time to prepare your home for the winter weather ahead and start ticking the items off your fall maintenance checklist. Here are some great ideas to get you started.

Exterior

  • Inspect the foundation. Cracks or gaps in your foundation walls can let in moisture, resulting in ice damage or mold. Walk the perimeter of your home and fill in any affected areas with caulking.
  • Clean your gutters. Once all the leaves have fallen, remove the debris from your gutters and flush them with water to help clean the downspouts. Check all the joints and repair or tighten brackets.
  • Seal your garage door. Weatherstrip the sides and bottom of your garage door, to prevent drafts and help keep small animals out.

Interior

  • Perform annual preventive maintenance. Your contractor will clean, inspect, lubricate and service your heating equipment, helping to increase its efficiency and life span, and prevent costly repairs down the road.
  • Change your batteries. As part of annual fall maintenance, change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to help ensure your family’s safety.
  • Beef up your insulation. Check attic insulation levels to prevent heat loss through your ceiling. Aim for an R-value of R-38 or between 10 and 14 inches.
  • Check for air leaks. On a windy day, take a strip of tissue paper from room to room checking for movement around doors, windows or wall outlets. Seal the affected areas with caulking or weatherstripping where applicable.
  • Change your filters. Regular filter changes help keep your heating system and whole-house humidifier running efficiently and may help cut down on repairs. Once a filter is dirty it can no longer trap particles such as dust and mold, which may continue to circulate through your indoor air and damage your equipment.

For more tips on fall maintenance, furnace tune-ups, or to schedule annual maintenance, contact the experts at Fred’s Heating & Air. For more than 25 years we have been providing quality service to the residents of Omaha and the surrounding areas.

09 Feb 2017
Insulation Benefits

Find Out How Insulation Benefits Your Home in All Seasons

Despite the commonly held belief that home insulation is chiefly a protection against the cold temperatures of winter, a well-insulated home provides ample benefits throughout the year.

Upgrading a home’s insulation is an investment that decreases your current energy bills and will continue to pay dividends for years to come. The major insulation benefits are threefold: all-year comfort, all-year savings and all-year noise control.

Improved comfort

Home insulation is comparable to a thermos — by creating a seal, it keeps cold things colder and hot things hotter for extended periods. In the summer, insulation stops warm air from seeping in, and in the winter, it prevents warm air from escaping. Homeowners who have well-insulated houses are able to keep a constant indoor temperature throughout the year, providing indoor comfort no matter the season.

Increased savings

Because 50 to 70 percent of the energy used in homes is consumed through heating and cooling, energy bills skyrocket in extreme temperatures when air is most likely to escape or transfer. One of the biggest insulation benefits is its ability to act as a barrier against thermal transfer, thereby allowing homeowners to run HVAC systems less frequently but more effectively in both hot and cold temperatures. HVAC systems that are used less intensively last longer and require fewer repairs overall, leading to improved lifetime savings for the thrifty homeowner.

Enhanced sound control

Insulation benefits include its absorption and deflection of sounds that might otherwise penetrate your walls. This includes noises coming from inside your home, muffling sounds between rooms and floor levels. Especially helpful for soundproofing against interior and exterior noises are blown-in cellulose and fiberglass insulation types. Quieter homes are an asset all year long.

Insulation benefits everyone in the family, providing a quieter and more comfortable indoor environment, while also providing all-year savings for the homeowner. For more information about improving the insulation in your home, contact Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve been providing quality HVAC services for the greater Omaha and Council Bluffs areas for over 25 years.

09 Feb 2017
Insulation Benefits

How Attic Insulation Makes an Impact on Your Summer Cooling Bills

Many people realize that heat rises, and therefore, attic insulation is very important for keeping heat in during the winter. However, due to the hot temperatures that can develop in the attic, its insulation is also important for keeping the heat out during the summer.

Your home’s roof absorbs a lot of heat from the sun’s radiation during the daytime. The absorbed heat spreads through the structure and radiates into the attic air, heating it up. Because it’s in a confined space, the air in your attic becomes substantially hotter than the exterior air. Normal building materials readily absorb and transmit heat, so it’s important that you have sufficient insulation in your attic to help prevent the ceiling of rooms on the top level of your home from becoming hot and further radiating heat into your home.

Insulation is also needed around any ductwork that passes through the attic. It’s best if ducts are run through the insulated portion of your home, but if that’s not possible, quality insulation and sealing can help limit the losses.

Insulation isn’t as effective at blocking air movement as it is at blocking heat transfer, so you’ll need to take additional steps to keep airflow between your home and attic to a minimum. There are frequently gaps in your home’s construction around pipes, wiring, access hatches and other areas, so you’ll want to make sure those are well-sealed.

In contrast to the air sealing that should be done between your living area and attic, ventilation should be encouraged to expel the hotter attic air outdoors while simultaneously bringing in the cooler exterior air. For this task, you can make the sun’s radiation work in your favor by using it to run a solar-powered attic fan.

For more information about attic insulation or other ways you can help reduce your energy costs this summer, contact the experienced professionals at Fred’s Heating and Air. We’ve been providing for the heating and cooling needs of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metropolitan area for over 25 years.

09 Feb 2017

Batts In The Attic: Have What It Takes To Go Up There?

Bats in the attic can be a real nuisance. But what homeowner doesn’t want more insulation? Batt insulation is an easy-to-work-with material that can significantly reduce heat transfer to and from your attic. Using batts, you can insulate your attic in a weekend or two, but it’s a wise idea to have what you need before you go up there.

Protective gear and clothing

The right clothing and gear make installing batts in the attic safer and more comfortable.

  • Long, loose pants and long sleeves: Insulation fibers can irritate your skin. Keep your arms and legs covered.
  • Knee pads: You’ll be kneeling a lot of the time. Pads will cushion your knees.
  • Work gloves with a good, tacky grip: These will help you handle tools safely and keep your hands free of irritation.
  • A paper respirator: You’ll be working in a naturally dusty area. The air will also be filled with insulating fibers.
  • OSHA-approved goggles: These will protect your eyes from airborne particulates. If you wear glasses, make sure the goggles fit comfortably over your glasses.

Tools for installing insulation

These are the simple tools you’ll need for the job:

  • Tape measure
  • Felt pen
  • Sharp utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Hard surface to cut on (e.g. plywood board)
  • Putty knife

Now that you know what to wear and what you’ll need to insulate the attic, here are some additional tips to ensure that the job’s done right.

  • Read the labels on the insulation packaging. Look for health warnings and information about flammability.
  • Inspect your current insulation for damage, such as mold. Throw away moldy or damaged insulation, and call an HVAC pro to fix the issue that caused mold.
  • If you are installing insulation on top of insulation, the top layer must be lighter than the bottom layer, or the bottom layer will become compressed.
  • When you’re cutting insulation, place the foil/paper side face-down on the cutting surface (board or plywood). Line up the straight edge, press down firmly, and make the cut slowly with a sharp utility knife.

If you need more tips for installing batts in the attic, call Fred’s Heating and Air. We serve homeowners in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area. We’re happy to answer all of your questions.

09 Feb 2017

Done Insulating? Not If The Attic Hatch Isn’t Airtight

If you’re like most other Omaha and Council Bluffs residents, you’re committed to keeping your home heating costs as low as possible. And you’re well aware that added insulation can go a long way toward doing that. But even though you may have taken care of the big insulation projects, such as the walls and the attic, you may have overlooked some relatively little places that could be leaking air as we speak. What are we talking about? Your attic hatch.

A badly sealed attic hatch — or an attic hatch that isn’t sealed at all — can have a major effect on your home’s energy efficiency. The hatch itself often consists of little more than a sheet of plywood, offering little in the way of insulation. Simply attaching insulation to the back of the plywood won’t solve the problem. To sufficiently seal the attic hatch:

  • Apply foam insulation to the back of the plywood panel, using weather-resistant duct tape.
  • Apply foam tape around the edges of the panel to create an airtight seal.
  • If you have pull-down stairs to the attic, pick up an insulated fabric housing at your home-improvement store. It will have a zipper allowing access to the attic. Secure with staples all around the edges.

This is an easy project that’s relatively inexpensive but promises a handsome payoff when you see your next heating bills.

At Fred’s Heating and Air, we have quite a few energy-saving tips that can help you keep your heating bills in line this winter. Give us a call if you have any questions. And if you need a new HVAC system, we can help you find the one that’s just right for your home. We serve homeowners in Omaha and Council Bluffs.

09 Feb 2017

Do You Know the Difference Among Insulation Types?

If you live in a brand new home in Omaha or Council Bluffs, it probably has insulation from the roof to the foundation. If you live in an old house that hasn’t gotten all the attention it could use, it might have next to no insulation. Regardless of the age of your home, it could probably use more insulation. Here’s a quick guide to insulation and the places in your home where it may be appropriate:

Batts and rolls

  • Made of fiberglass, mineral wool, plastic fibers or natural fibers
  • Used in unfinished walls, foundation walls, floors and ceilings
  • Fitted between studs, joists and beams

Foam board/rigid foam

  • Often made of polystyrene or polyurethane
  • Used in unfinished walls, foundation walls, floors, ceilings and unvented low-slope roofs
  • When used inside, must be covered with building-code approved material for fire safely
  • When used outside, should be covered with weatherproof material

Loose fill/blown-in

  • Made of cellulose, fiberglass or mineral wool
  • Used for enclosed walls, open wall cavities, unfinished attic floors and hard-to-get-at places
  • Can be blown in place or poured
  • Can be added to finished areas, oddly shaped areas and obstructed places

Reflective

  • Made of foil-lined paper, plastic film, polyethylene bubbles or cardboard
  • Used for unfinished walls, ceiling and floors

Rigid fiber

  • Made of fiberglass or mineral wool
  • Can withstand high temperatures

Sprayed foam and foamed-in-place

  • Most often composed of polyurethane
  • Used for enclosed walls, wall cavities and unfinished attic floors
  • Used to add insulation to existing areas and oddly shaped places

When you’re choosing insulation for your home, consult with a trusted contractor. Each type has benefits and uses, and your contractor can assist you in choosing the best one for your home.

For more information about insulation or any other home-comfort need, contact Fred’s Heating and Air. We have been serving homeowners in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area for 25 years.