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Archive for the do-it-yourself category

5 Ways to Slash Your Heating Bill this Winter

By admin on October 1st, 2009

Consumer Reports Shows How to Reduce Your Heating Costs This Winter

Last year Consumer Reports published an article showing homeowners how to reduce their heating bill while increasing the value of their home. At Duct-911.com we don’t claim to be real estate appraisers, but we do know that all these things play a big role in making your house more sellable. More importantly we feel, is showing consumers how they can make slight changes in their lifestyle and still save substantial amounts on their annual heating bill.

Here is what Consumer Reports Recommends:

  1. Weatherize Your Home. – Weatherizing you home can save you up to 30 percent on heating. Your hardware store or local building center can give you one great tips on this based on the age and style fo your home. weatherizing includes things like putting plastic on the inside or outside of your windows, replacing damaged or missing seals on doors, using insulating foam gaskets on outlet covers, and much more.
  2. Insulate and Seal. – Insulation is relatively inexpensive and in many cases makes for an easy weekend do-it-yourself project. Here are some of the areas in your  home where you may be losing heat:
    • Add More Insulation – Adding attic insulation can lower your heating costs from 5 to 30 percent, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study. Check your attic to see if there ae places where the insulation is dirty. This could be a sign that you have a leak (seal it up) and now it’s time to replace the insulation. Ideally you should have R-38 insulation in your attic. If your house is new or your attic has been recently remodeled, you might be all set, but in older homes insulation can be minimal and poor quality at best.
    • Insulate your water pipes using slip-on pipe insulation. You may also want to replace your water heater’s damaged or missing blanket or wrap. A water heater generally comes from the factory with inadequate insulation and correcting the problem is easy and effective. Both of these products can be found at most home improvement stores.
    • Seal up your air ducts. The DOE estimates that 20 to 40 percent of the heating energy that leaves the heating system of a typical forced-air gas furnace heating cooling system is lost in the duct work system.
    • Seal Up Those Holes & Cracks – Cracks and crevices throughout your home allow expensive heated air to escape from your home. Furthermore, strong winds can force Freezing cold air into your home. Oftentimes a little caulking and a few pieces of insulation is all you need.
  3. Lower Your Thermostat. – For every degree you lower the temperature, you can save about 3 percent on your heating costs. This chore can be handled automatically using a programmable thermostat. Discount stores often times sell them for as little as $30-$40.
  4. Replace Your Old Windows. Installing new windows can save you 10 to 25 percent per year on heating if you have single-paned windows. But installing replacement windows can be expensive to install and the payback can take years. High efficiency replacement windows typically cost $7,000 to $20,000 installed, for an average house so it’s important to consider how long you will be keeping your home.
  5. Buy an Infrared Space Heater. If you can get by with not heating your whole house, many people are turning their thermostats way down and using a high efficiency infared space heater. Although space heaters cost about twice as much to run as a high efficiency gas furnace does, you have the ability of heating only the rooms your are using.

In cold winter climates like Minneapolis, MN many homeowners turn their heat way down at night and use a space heater to heat only 1 or two rooms while they get ready for work. If no one is home during the day they don’t need to turn the heat up again until they return from work. Programmable thermostats work perfectly in this situation. The house will be warm when you come home from work and until you go to bed at night.

For even more energy saving ideas, read the article we published last year: “Home Energy Saving Tips“.

To read the Consumer Reports article in full, here is the link: http://blogs.consumerreports.org/home/2008/10/winter-heating.html

$99 Duct Cleaning – is it Even Worth the Money?

By Dave Trosdahl on December 5th, 2007

The quick answer? Yes, it is worth the money.

Here’s the way we look at it. Let’s say your car is dirty and you want to wash it. The best is to do it yourself by hand. Sometimes though, that just isn’t practical. So, you take it through the “touch-free” wash. It won’t be quite as clean, but it certainly will be much cleaner.

The same is true when it comes to the $99 duct cleaning. While it doesn’t “scrub” the walls of the duct work, it will remove about 90% of the dust and dirt. Not bad for a quick job which only takes about an hour.

What’s the difference between the $99 duct cleaning and the $189 duct cleaning?

The main difference between the $99 duct cleaning and the $189 duct cleaning is the equipment used. For $99, pressurized air is blown through the air ducts to a high powered vacuum which has been attached to your furnace. The $189 duct cleaning on the other hand incorporates a soft-bristled brush and a vacuum. The rotobush is sent through the air ducts and will loosen all the dirt and debris so the vacuum can remove it.

If money is tight or time is a concern, go with the $99 duct cleaning. If at all possible though, consider the $189 duct cleaning, since it is clearly a much more thorough way to clean duct work.

Heating & Cooling Installation Should be Left to the Professionals

By Dave Trosdahl on July 18th, 2007

By asking enough questions and really studying, it is true that nearly anyone can accomplish anything. This is true in the workplace and it is true at home. Often times though, upon completing the task the do-it-yourself-er (or the spouse or co-worker) will say something like; “We should have just hired someone to do it.”

In The HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) world this is especially true. A do-it-yourself (DIY) approach is seldom worth the hassle of learning what installers study for 2 years in college and most importantly gain in the workplace.

In his article “Air Conditioning and Heat Installation Best Left to Experts” , Rolan Jefferson writes; “While just about anyone can fasten parts into place, not only is the efficiency in jeopardy, a faulty air conditioning and heating installation can also put the people in danger.”

For more information on heating and cooling installation or air duct cleaning you might want to check out the All About Air Duct Cleaning Blog while it’s main focus is air duct cleaning there are also some very helpful tips about heating and cooling installation.