Whose house is more efficient? Look to the roofs.

Could this house be more energy-efficient?

During the cold winter months, a fairly accurate way to tell if your house is energy-efficient is to check the rate of snow melt from your roof in comparison with your neighbors. Since many houses in a neighborhood are similar in design, building materials and age, this makes for a quick way to compare how much heat is being lost through a roof.

A more energy-efficient house has less heat escaping through the roof. A house with fewer air gaps and higher levels of insulation prevents heat loss, leading to less use of heating equipment such as furnaces and boilers.

This has a similar effect in summer when running the air conditioner, when insulation prevents heated air from mixing with cooled air.

So remember, more snow on a rooftop could be a sign of higher efficiency house. If you are concerned about energy loss concerns in your home, contact the energy efficiency experts at Tiburon Energy today.

5 Simple Energy-Saving Tips for Winter Weather

When the weather outside is cold and icy, your home should be warm and inviting. That is, until you see your energy bills! Here are some simple ways to help keep you warm without losing your shirt.

house covered in snow
Stay comfortable and don't let the cold temperatures ruin your energy costs

1) Install a programmable thermostat, and set it to automatically turn the temperature down when you are not at home or when you are asleep. Along with a warm blanket, you won’t even know you’re saving money while sleeping. The thermostat can be programmed to increase the temperature before you awake up.

2) Insulate the water pipes that connect to a hot water tank with polyethylene foam wrap. Make sure the interior diameter of the foam sleeve matches the exterior diameter of the pipe. Insulate both hot and cold lines, including the elbows and union. For a gas-fired hot water heater, pay close attention to the draft port by keeping it clear.

3) Seal and secure your duct system at the connection points and at the floor boot, to avoid heated air from escaping through the misaligned connections or the irregularly placed duct boots. Mastic is a fibrous, thick compound that is “painted” or troughed around the circumference of a duct junction, to seal off any irregularities in the fittings.

4) Instead of using small electric space heaters, put on another pair of socks or a warm sweater. People that turn down their thermostats to save energy defeat the purpose when they turn on a space heater to stay warm.

5) When the fireplace is not in use, keep the damper closed tightly. Installing a chimney balloon provides an extra layer of insulation and air sealing. Chimney balloons typically cost $40-$60 and can be deflated when the fireplace is in use.

Every house is different, so to make sure your living space is as energy-efficient as possible, the best thing to do is to have a personalized home energy inspection. Ask the building energy experts at Tiburon Energy to schedule an inspection by calling 513-681-9300.

Insulate Your Home from Higher Energy Costs

Did you know that annual cost of energy is projected to rise 6% each year? And with heating and cooling accounting for 50-70% of the energy used in the average American home, maintaining proper insulation levels and air sealing are two important steps you can take to reduce wasting energy.

Two building experts in protective gear
Lisa and Julie, BPI analysts, are ready for any insulation job.

Insulation makes your house more comfortable by helping maintain a uniform temperature throughout the house, by reducing the need for furnaces and air conditioners to cycle in an attempt to maintain a set temperature.

Air sealing is important because building leaks carry both moisture and energy, usually in a direction you do not want. Moist hot air travels in through building leaks during the summer and warm conditioned air travels out during the winter. Think “hot travels to cold.”

The best way to diagnose or find building leaks is through a blower door test conducted by an energy expert. Once the leaks are identified then it is a matter of sealing them off. Remember to seal the building leaks in the attic and floor plane before insulation is added. The insulation may hide them or make them less accessible.

Ask the building energy experts at Tiburon Energy to schedule a review of your options, by calling 513-681-9300.

Spiders: The Home Energy Auditor’s Best Friend

spider on its web
Spiders can show where your home energy may be flying away

Who would believe that the eight-legged invaders that get inside our homes could be assets in a home energy inspection?

But here’s why:

Spiders like to spin their webs in or near air drafts. Being the hunters they are, spiders wants to make a sticky trap in the places where their prey goes. Small insects such as flies and gnats will find the gaps in walls, around doors and windows, anywhere they can get inside in your home. And spiders want to be there waiting for them.

“It’s amazing how often we’ll find gaps in the areas around a buildup of cobwebs, such as in a basement”, says Toni Winston, BPI-accredited auditor and president of Tiburon Energy. “People want to remove spider webs when they find them in their homes, but I see them as valuable guideposts telling me that air drafts are nearby.”

Maybe spiders deserve their own special accreditation.