Archive for November, 2009

November: Cold Preparation Tips

Posted on 01 November 2009 | Category: Tips

frosty fall leavesPainful though it is to admit, winter is on the way. A “transitional” month here in Chicago, November can pack both some nasty surprises (a record low below 10 degrees) and some pleasant ones (a record high above 80).

Whatever the weather, there’s no doubt cold weather looms ahead. So Get Dwell recommends your to-do list this month includes a host of weatherizing items. (And don’t forget, in keeping with our theme this month,  many energy-saving projects qualify for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act tax credit.)

November To-Dos:

Turn off and drain outside hose bib

Remove hoses and splitters from spigot and drain any remaining water in the line. If your spigot has an interior shut off valve, turn it off. If your bib is frost-free, make sure nothing is attached to the spigot and that it’s closed tightly. Broken pipes are a common occurrence this time of year – a 10 minute chore can save you a lot of potential trouble once the thermometer plunges.

Change direction of ceiling fans

Ceiling fans have both “forward” and “reverse” settings. The forward setting, which blows air down toward the ground, cooling you in the process, is for warm weather. Changing to the reverse setting in cold weather circulates the warm air without blowing air down and giving you a chill. Hot air rises and a ceiling fan, running in reverse, gently mixes the air.

Inspect and clean gutters

Leaves, sticks and other debris from blustery fall weather can play havoc with your home’s gutter system. And that can lead to problems during winter’s freeze and thaw cycles. Have them cleaned while weather still permits.

Inspect for animals

This is the time of year many people receive unwanted guests, as animals seek a warm place to hunker down for the winter. Look for signs of entry on the outside of your house and signs of habitation inside.

Weatherize

This is a good time of year to have a weatherization inspection done of key areas like attics, doors and windows and pipes. This is the time to add insulation, seal drafty spots, wrap pipes and make other upgrades that keep the heat in and cold out.

Check your furnace

Change filters, adjust your humidifier and check dampers and registers to be sure your heating system is working at peak efficiency when you need it most.

Change your smoke alarm batteries

The end of Daylight Savings Time is a great time to change out the batteries in your smoke alarm. Putting fresh batteries in all your units provides peace of mind that they’ll remain in good working order through the winter months.

Have a question? Need exterior repairs or maintenance done before the Chicago cold arrives? Call Get Dwell. From small fixes to weatherization assessments, insulation to windows, we can help keep your home safe and snug once winter takes hold.

Go Green in ’09 – and Save Some Green

Posted on 01 November 2009 | Category: General

taxcredit Whether it’s installing more efficient skylights, reinforcing your insulation or putting in new windows, storm windows or doors, greening your home is a great way to help the environment – and save real money on your energy bills.

Now, though, there are two more great reasons to make improvements that make your home more efficient. First, through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, you can get a tax credit of up to $1,500 to help offset the costs of making energy efficiency improvements to your home. Second, Get Dwell will take a full 15% off the cost of qualifying work.

How does it work?

  • The tax credits and discount apply to a variety of products such as windows, doors, storm windows and doors, insulation, appliances, solar panels and more.
  • The amount of the credit is equal to 30% of the cost of the qualifying products, up to a total of $1,500. The 15% discount applies to the total labor charges.
  • To qualify for the credit and 2009 and get the Get Dwell discount, products must be purchased  and work performed before the end of the year.

Be aware that only products with the appropriate Manufacturers Certificate Statement qualify for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 tax credit.

There are just two months left to take advantage of the tax credit and the Get Dwell 15% discount in 2009. So if you’ve been thinking of making energy-saving upgrades to your home, talk to us today. We can make sure the products you choose qualify for the credit, and we’ll put together a tax packet for you that will include the correct Manufacturers Certificate Statement. We can also show you how seemingly small things can make a big difference in your home’s energy use.

For a more detailed look at the tax credits available, visit energystar.gov/taxcredits.

Project of the Month: Attic Insulation

Posted on 01 November 2009 | Category: Featured Projects

insulation1For most homeowners, making a home more energy-efficient and green isn’t an all-or-nothing, one-shot event. It’s a process of steps both small and large that continue as long as you own your home.

One North Shore family discovered that recently when deciding how to take advantage of the new “green home” tax credit, and cut back on steadily escalating energy costs. After considering a number of options, they zeroed in on their home’s attic, which typically has the biggest impact.  What they found was an attic inadequately protected with traditional pink fiberglass insulation and a few common installation oversights that were responsible for additional energy costs.

According to John Deck, Project Manager for Get Dwell, few attics meet the current insulation standard, R-49.

“The standards rise over time,” Deck said. “Even attics insulated relatively recently probably don’t meet current requirements.”

storageThe family didn’t want to simply add more of the same insulation – fiber glass insulation is unsightly, itchy and contains materials that make it unhealthy for both the outdoor and indoor environments. Because they also wanted to use a portion of the attic for storage, Get Dwell suggested a product called UltraTouch from Bonded Logic.

UltraTouch consists almost entirely of natural denim fibers that are 100% recyclable, reducing landfill waste. The denim is also 100% post-industrial, giving a “second life” to material that was salvaged from the cutting room floor. These fibers have qualities that provide for extremely effective sound absorption and maximum thermal performance.

insulation2Plus, UltraTouch does not itch, contains no chemical irritants and requires no warning labels compared to other traditional products. Because the client used the attic for storage, UltraTouch helped ensure that fibers wouldn’t be disturbed and enter the air every time someone entered the attic.

Equally important, UltraTouch is a Qualified Building Envelope Component under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, making the family eligible for a tax credit of up to $1,500.

entranceGet Dwell installed the UltraTouch over the existing pink insulation, creating a powerful double layer of thermal protection. Plus, they took pains to ensure there was adequate ventilation and air sealing, helping to ensure maximum efficiency and the healthiest possible environment. They also built a storage deck in the attic and installed an insulated hatch at the attic access stairs, an often-overlooked area.

The end result not only helped the homeowners save money and lessen their environmental footprint, the project dramatically improved the appearance and usefulness of the attic.

If you’d like an assessment of your attic’s efficiency and its R rating, contact Get Dwell today.