Major Energy-Efficiency Improvement Strategies
Q: How much insulation should I add to my attic?
A: In Northern areas, as much as a total R-49 is recommended. R-Value is a measure of the insulation's ability to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance.
Q: What is reflective insulation (a radiant barrier)?
A: Reflective insulation, or a radiant barrier, is a metallic foil material (usually aluminum) designed to block radiant heat transfer across open spaces.
Reflective insulation is most effective at reducing cooling bills in hot, sunny climates. However, in some cases the product can help reduce heating bills as well.
The effectiveness of the product will vary depending on the direction of heat flow (up, down, sideways). The performance and long-term cost-effectiveness of the product depends on where the product is installed, how the product is installed, and the amount of existing insulation currently in the home.
Q: How much can "energy-efficient" windows save me?
A: In a typical house, windows can account for a significant percent of the home's energy loss. Upgrading from single-pane windows to energy-efficient versions can result in a 50-percent savings or better.
Q: What is ENERGY STAR® Home Sealing?
A: ENERGY STAR® Home Sealing is a comprehensive set of recommended steps for improving the "envelope" or "shell" of your home by sealing up air leaks and adding insulation. Home Sealing can make your home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and lower your utility bills. ENERGY STAR® Home Sealing will also make your home quieter by reducing outside noise and help prevent pollutants, such as pollen and car exhaust from the garage, from entering your home. Making improvements to your home with the process of ENERGY STAR® Home Sealing, you can save up to 20 percent on your annual heating and cooling bills.
Q: What is geothermal heating, and what are its advantages?
A: The concept of geothermal heating dates back to the Roman Empire. In modern usage, the term is used to refer to the heating and cooling that can be achieved through the use of a geothermal heat pump, which takes advantage of the natural constant temperature of the earth. For heating, cool water gets pumped through pipes in the ground. The circulating water absorbs heat from the ground and passes through a heat exchanger that uses electricity to extract heat from the water. More heat is generated than if electricity alone had been used directly for heating. Switching the flow direction, the same system can circulate the cooled water through the house for cooling during the summer. This system leads to higher efficiency and lower energy use.
Q: What are the advantages of a tankless water heater versus a traditional hot water heater?
A: Tankless water heaters, which are also called instantaneous or demand water heaters, provide hot water only when needed. As a result, there is no hot water storage necessary. Tankless water heaters can result in energy savings because you do not need to continually heat and reheat stored water.
The initial cost of a tankless water heater is more than a traditional version; however, the monthly cost savings can pay for the initial investment in a relatively short time. Depending on the size and source of energy, a tankless water heater can save anywhere from 10 to 70 percent when compared to the energy costs of a traditional water heater.
Depending on the home configuration, hot water usage and required BTU's, a tankless water heater may not be the right choice. Please feel free to discuss this option with one of our technicians.
Q: Is in-floor radiant heating more energy efficient?
A: It can be. There are various types of in-floor heating systems available today, and it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each. A Dwelltech representative will be more than happy to visit with you about all of the options. Energy savings vary depending on factors such as the insulation, usage and personal heating levels of the homeowners. Another important consideration is the cost of the power source.
Q: What are radiant heating panels and how do they differ from traditional heating strategies?
A: Surface-mounted electric radiant ceiling panels provide heating through radiant heat transfer. People are warmed directly, similar to how they are warmed by the sun on a cool day. Research shows that radiant heat panels can provide energy savings because only occupied areas are heated. Radiant panels can be used to provide supplementary or zoned heat, or they can be used as the primary source of heating for an entire building.
Radiant ceiling panels typically consist of a high-density fiberglass insulation board, a solid-state heating element, and a textured surface coating mounted in a frame. Panels are usually 1-inch thick, range in size between 1 x 2 and 4 x 8 feet, and are powered by a 120 or 240-Volt household electrical current. Panels typically operate at a temperature range of 150° to 170°F.
Call today for current promotions!