Questions and tips you need to consider for boiler installation

It is not an easy process to replace an old boiler with a new one. Of course, it is the task of a qualified plumber; but you still should be aware of the questions that you need to ask them. Here is a list of tips that you need to follow for boiler installation East Aurora NY:
boiler installation

Should the old boiler be replaced or not?

You don’t need to replace the old boiler just because one person has told you to replace it. You should definitely get a second opinion.

Choose a qualified heating engineer

Choose a heating engineer who is highly-professional and ask him to provide you with registration details so that you can conveniently check with the relevant organization. You definitely want someone who is updated with the latest safety requirements.

Ask for the efficiency rating of new boiler

It is important that your supplier provides you with a percentage efficiency rating. You can also check it on the boiler efficiency database. Acknowledge what type of boiler is the best for your circumstances. It solely depends on the number of people living in your house. So, consider the overall efficiency of the system when choosing the type of boiler.

Whether a power flush is required

Check whether or not a power flush is required for your central heating system prior to installing it. Look for guarantee clauses that will make sure it is covered while installing the boiler.

Issues with condensing boiler

If you are dealing with the condensing boiler, ask the heating engineer whether it is necessary to install the condensate pipe inside your house so that it won’t freeze in the winter. After all, these frozen condensate pipes are a great reason why boilers break down in the winter.

Check for the discounts available before paying

Check for various discounts that may be available to help you pay for your new boiler.

If you are looking for a professional contractor for Boiler Installation Pittsford NY, visit House at Work. Just add the details about the project and they will help you find contractor. You can then choose one that suits you best. For more details, please visit the website https://www.houseatwork.com/.

Increase Your Energy Efficiency This Winter

Energy Efficiency

by Donna De Palma

 

Want to save money this winter and keep warm without cranking up the heat?  Winterizing tips that increase energy efficiency and keep you comfortable all winter long start with a home energy check-up.

 

Where’s that draft coming from?  

According to the U. S. Department of Energy, drafts waste 5% to 30% of the energy used in your home.  Drafts come in from any opening to the outside.  Under a door, block drafts with DIY draft snakes. Make or buy a simple fabric form, fill with sand so it stays in place, then place it under drafty doors.  Some of the most likely places where drafts come from are:

energy efficiency
Ensure the seals around your windows are filled in order to reduce drafts.

Seal leaks with caulking and weather stripping

Look for places in your home where different materials meet like corners, chimneys, or pipes and wires exiting your home.  Check around your foundation for areas where air might be escaping.  Electric wall plugs and switches can let cold air in. Pre-cut foam gaskets are easy to install and fit behind switch plates to prevent leaks.  Check around outlets and dryer vents to prevent warm air from escaping.

 

Chimney

Your chimney is like an open window drawing warm air out. Close the damper on your fireplace when it’s not in use.  Remove window air conditioning units from windows so heat doesn’t escape.

 

Basement

Sealing the rim joist area in your basement makes a big difference when it comes to reducing drafts.  Look for air leaks in your attic and attic hatch.  Cover and seal leaks around an attic hatch with spray foam and rigid foam board, when necessary.

 

Windows

Although it gets a bad rap, plastic is a great buffer against drafts. Stapling plastic around windows is a useful method of keeping wind out.  A window insulation kit costs about $58 at any hardware store and, if installed properly, will be almost invisible.

 

Furnace filters matter

During the heating season, replace or clean your furnace filter monthly.  Airflow is restricted by a dirty filter and that increases energy demand.  A cheap and easy solution for swapping out filters is to install a whistle on your furnace that alerts you when your filter is clogged and needs replacing. You can buy one for $7.98 in a local hardware store.

energy efficiency
Change the filters on your furnace monthly.

Another great option is to purchase a permanent electrostatic filter for your furnace. Electrostatic filters make your furnace work more efficiently. On average they collect 88% of bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen before they have a chance to circulate through the house.  Compare that to a disposable fiberglass filter that traps only 10%-40% of debris.

 

Another option is a HEPA filter which removes 99.97% of airborne particles, but comes at a price.   If you choose an electrostatic or HEPA filter, prepare for a price tag of between $50-$1000.  These options pay back with the air quality inside your home and in energy efficiency.

 

Lower the temperature on the water heater

If your water heater is set to 140 Fahrenheit– a standard setting right out of the factory–lower it.  Lowering the temp to 120 Fahrenheit reduces your heating costs by 6%-10% and will provide you and your family with plenty of hot water in the winter months.

 

Run fans in reverse

Ceiling fans aren’t just for staying cool in summer.  Install ceiling fans that have a switch to reverse the direction of the blades.  Clockwise rotation of a ceiling fan makes your room warmer.  The warm air that’s rising to the ceiling is circulated back down to where you need it.  Ceiling fans in clockwise motion can cut as much as 10% off your heating bill.

 

Tune ups aren’t just for cars

It may not sound like much, but a clean and properly adjusted furnace will save you 5% on heating costs this winter.  Contact your local utility for a free annual check-up.  Maybe it’s time to upgrade to a more efficient furnace.  Energy Star-certified models save 15% – 20% on heat.  If your furnace is really old, replacing it could save you 50% or more on heating.

 

Energy Efficiency: Audit your usage

Perform an energy audit or hire an expert to assess your home’s energy needs.  If you hire a pro, it will cost you about $350.  The Department of Energy certifies Energy Star home performance contractors, trained to improve energy efficiency in residential homes.   Many government incentives– including tax credits–require that work be done by a government-certified contractor.  If you’re more of a DIYer, you can purchase a thermal leak detector for about $50 that spots hard-to-find drafts.

 

Stop the flow

Before winter howls in, drain your water lines and AC pipes.  Look for water pooled in your equipment.  Some air conditioning units have a shut-off valve.  Turn it off.  Look around the yard for hoses that need to be drained and stored for winter.  Shut off water spigots on the exterior of your home.

 

An extra layer of protection

By installing a storm door, you can increase energy efficiency by 45%.  Storm doors come in Energy Star-certified models. Energy Star-certified products must meet standards for energy efficiency and will qualify you for federal tax incentives.

 

Turn it down

energy efficiency
Turning down your thermostat a few degrees can save you money in the long run.

Turn down the thermostat when you go out and when you go to bed.  The average homeowner spends 50% – 70% of their energy budget on heating and cooling. When you don’t need the heat, turn it down.  A thermostat that’s lowered by one degree saves between 1% and 3% on your monthly bill.  Programmable thermostats take the guesswork out of how to set the temp in your home.  At a cost of $50 on average, you save $180 a year if you go programmable.

 

Monitor that energy use

An energy monitor lets you know how much electricity you’re consuming in real time. Select a device that indicates the amount of electricity each appliance is using.  Research shows that using and reading an energy monitor will significantly increase a home’s energy efficiency. Studies show that savings from an energy monitor alone can add up to a 15%-20% reduction each month.

 

Cozy up

Sounds old-fashioned but pulling out a sweater when when you feel a chill can save you dollars.  Estimates show wearing a lightweight sweater allows you to lower the thermostat by two degrees and a heavyweight sweater chisels four degrees off your room’s temperature.

 

Ductwork

energy efficiency
Insulated duct work can help increase home energy efficiency.

 

Ductwork is an important part of the infrastructure of your home.  Research shows that 10% -30% of heated or cooled air escapes from the ducts in an average home.  Old duct tape is the worse thing to use to seal ductwork. It dries up over time, allowing junctions and splices to open, spilling heated air into your attic or under the house.  Hire a professional to check your duct system and fix flaws.  You’ll save on average $140 a year, if your ducts are sealed properly. You can save roughly 10% of your heating bill by preventing leaky ducts.  Proper ductwork protects against dust and mold too.

 

More insulation please

Adding insulation saves money and increases the energy efficiency of your home.  Insulate your attic.  In an older home, it can be the most cost-efficient way to cut home heating costs.  Bulk up insulation between walls during a home renovation. Insulate pipes so hot water stays hot.  If your pipes are warm to the touch, they need to be insulated.  Pre-slit pipe foam, available in hardware stores, can be cut to size then fastened in place.  Insulating pipes also decreases the chance of pipes freezing in sub-zero temps.  Insulation is rated to measure heat-blocking power.  Look for the highest R-value that’s practical.  Pipe insulation is usually R-3.

 

Give yourself credit

There are lots of tax credits out there for homeowners who install renewable energy products or who upgrade the energy efficiency of their homes.  Incentives exist on the local, state and federal levels for replacing old windows and doors, adding insulation, HVAC upgrades and for furnace and water heater installations.  The federal government will reimburse 30% of your cost up to $1500 for most energy efficient home projects.  A low-income household qualifies for up to $6500 for winterization upgrades through programs administered by each state.  Check out Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency to see if you qualify.

 

Find an alternative

Alternative energy sources like solar panels, geothermal heating, biomass stoves, small wind turbines and fuel cells all carry a hefty price tag but will pay you back in the money you save.  Consider the long-term savings of going green by upgrading your home heating to one of the latest alternative sources.  Maximize federal incentives when you go green.  Many home energy efficiency incentives cap at $1500 but if you choose an alternative, incentives cover a full 30% of upfront costs.

 

Follow this checklist to make your home more comfortable this winter.  Then use the savings to escape and leave the snow and ice behind. A warm, sunny beach, a couple of beach chairs, hot sand, cool surf, kick back and, well, you get the idea.

 

Sources:

Popular Mechanics

Real Simple

Consumer Energy Center

This Old House

Green Building Advisor

Annual Home Improvement Checklist: Interior

interior

By Shannon Roxborough

Cold weather has fully set in, and now is the ideal time for your house to have a once-over, before the snow, ice and deep freeze arrives.  This is the second installment, here’s a roundup of everything interior items that should checked out, watched closely or repaired.

 

Interior 

 

-Check for loose door hinges and doorknobs.

 

-Inspect the walls and floors for popped nails, loose boards, loose tiles and soft spots that could be a sign of problems.

 

-Examine ceilings for stains, which could indicate a roof or plumbing leak.

 

-Make sure ceiling fans and still secure and haven’t worked their way loose with use.

 

-Make sure ceilings, floors and areas above doors aren’t sagging or cracked in new places, which could mean a foundation or other structural issue.

 

-Check that the stair newel post is sturdy and note any loose banisters or balusters.

 

-Use a flashlight to check out the fireplace and up the chimney, looking for loose bricks, cracks, signs of animal nests, or excess soot that could cause a chimney fire. Be sure the damper works properly.

 

-Test smoke and CO detectors and replace batteries as needed.

 

 

Electrical

 

-Look for loose outlet covers, receptacles, and boxes.

 

-Check outlets and the main panel for scorch marks, which could be a sign of loose or damaged wiring.

 

Test all GFCI outlets by plugging in a lamp or radio then hitting the test and reset buttons to make sure they work.

 

 

Plumbing

 

-Check pipes and shutoff valves for signs of rust, corrosion or leaks.

 

-Check the water pressure. Low pressure could indicate buildup in the line, faucet aerator or shower head.

 

-Check drains for speed of drainage. A slow drain may have a clog or a blocked vent pipe.

 

-Flush the toilets to make sure they operate properly and stop running. If not, open the tank and look for worn or damage parts.

 

-Drain the hot water heater to remove sediment or hire a professional to do it for you.

 

-Look for loose or cracked tiles in the shower or around sinks.

 

-Check the condition of caulk around the tub and shower and check for signs of mildew.

 

-Slide open and close shower doors to check them for sticking, rust or obstructions. Take a look at the gaskets around the door glass for gaps and tears.

 

-Turn on the shower and bath faucets and check for leaks around handles and valves. Make sure set screws around escutcheon plates and tight.

 

-Unscrew the shower head and look for collected sediment in it that could be effecting water pressure.

 

-Examine vent fans for obstructions or dust and clean them.

 

-Check washer hoses for signs of aging (cracks or brittleness) or leaks.

 

-Check dryer vents for tears. Remove vent line and vacuum or brush out lint in hose. Be sure to also to so around the lint screen inside unit.

 

Heating System

 

-Check registers and vents for loose or missing covers and screws.

 

-Check around radiators for leaks or floor damage.

 

-Use a flashlight to look into the furnace flue and for soot buildup or corrosion. Tap on it to see if rust falls. It it does, there may be an issue with condensation, which is caused by an inefficient unit. Have a HVAC contractor to service the system.

 

-Inspect the furnace for overall deterioration, rust, loose parts and other sources of potential problems.

 

Kitchen

 

-Test sink drainage and look for signs of faucet leaks.

 

-Look at all the cabinet doors and drawers to make sure they open and close properly. Check for loose hinges or sticking drawer slides.

 

-Turn on the garbage disposal and listen for signs of obstructions and motor problems.

 

-Try the stove burners for proper operation.

 

-Check the oven door gasket for signs of wear and tear.

 

-Make sure the gas shutoff valve is working. It should be able to turn completely (until it’s completely perpendicular to the pipe).

 

-Open the dishwasher and spin and lift the washer arm by manually to make sure it isn’t stuck. Be sure that nothing has dislodged the drain hose (it should arc up to prevent backwash from the drain into the dishwasher).

 

-Look for signs of leaking under and around the dishwasher.

 

The Attic

 

-Look around the attic space during daylight hours, with the lights turned off. Look for holes in the roofing that let light in.

 

-Examine joists and rafters for structural damage.

 

-Inspect vents for gaps.

 

-Check out fan motors for frayed wiring or loose screws.

 

-Check insulation for damage or damp spots.

 

Shannon Roxborough is a widely published freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines, newspapers and websites. An avid home improvement enthusiast, he has more than a decade of DIY experience and previously ran a property maintenance business.

 

Basement Remodeling 101

basement

by Donna De Palma

If you live in an area like Upstate New York where basements are a common feature in most homes, you’re in luck.  It doesn’t take a lot of square footage to make your basement into something sensational.

 

If built finished out or to be remodeled, your unfinished basement is prime real estate in your home. Think media room, upscale lounge, great room, wine cellar, wet bar, gym, home office, playroom, laundry or guest room–all are popular choices for a basement remodel.  Any would be a perfect addition to your home’s livable space.

 

Finishing a basement is more that simply selecting fixtures and finishes.  First, determine a budget and design a layout.  Hiring an architect to design the space can save you headaches later on.  If you plan to hire a contractor, have a design in place before you make the call.

 

Knowing building code is also another consideration.  Regulations like egress windows and ceiling clearances need to be met. Check with your local municipality to see if you’ll need permits before construction begins especially if you’re planning plumbing or electrical upgrades.  Go by the book when it comes to building code and permits.

 

From what kind of building materials you can use to how much support you need for beams and columns, industry standards focus on specific aspects of a basement remodel. When planning to finish a basement, put time and money into prep work.  If you’re gutting your basement, now is the time to place utility appliances like your water heater and furnace in one location.  Section off a walled area to keep appliances concealed but accessible.

 

Next, be sure your basement is dry before you start a renovation.  Installing flooring, painting and implementing your design plan comes later.  Some condensation issues due to humidity can be addressed with an automatic dehumidifier, but a better solution is insulating your basement.

 

Building code often requires insulation and moisture barriers. First, identify any moisture problems.  Look for signs that moisture is seeping in; pooling water or drips appearing through below-grade walls.   Check the ground outside and around your basement.  It should be graded away from the foundation.  If you find cracks in the foundation, repair them before work begins.

 

Basements are damp.  You want to know where leaks are occurring before framing and finishing surfaces. Remedies can be as simple as rerouting or extending a drain spout, or as expensive as installing a perimeter drain.  Whether you take on this project yourself or have a contractor do it, when adding a perimeter drain, the drain will collect any rising groundwater and carry it away from your foundation.

 

Choose products designed for basements, such as paneled wall systems. Think like a professional contractor and forgo traditional studs and drywall in this moisture-laden environment. Wall systems designed specifically for basements will insulate and inhibit mold.

 

After checking for leaks and moisture, you’ll still need a vapor barrier for floors and walls. The best choice is an insulation with a vapor barrier on both sides. Once you lay down a vapor barrier, let it sit for a few days then check underneath to see if moisture is coming through. Even with a vapor barrier, moisture can still be an issue so be alert to signs of water.

 

Insulate your new space not only to add another layer of moisture protection but to control temperature.  Check your local building code for insulation requirements.

 

Basements can be dark.  Lighting is key to making your new space inviting.  Recessed lighting spreads even light and it’s easy to install even if you have a drop ceiling.  If you have windows in your basement, maximize exposure to the outdoors by drawing attention to them with show-stopping window treatments.

 

Write out a thorough scope of work for each contractor you hire.  Depending on the scope of your project, expect it to take six to 12 weeks to complete.

 

Design and construction

Basement remodeling

There may be local or state building codes for how many inches off-center you can space studs, such as 16 or 24 inches apart, and how much clearance you need for ceilings or landings at the bottom of stairs.  Code may also dictate the height and depth of steps.

 

Check with your local building department if you plan to make any changes to structural elements like support columns or load-bearing walls. Miscalculation can cause serious structural problems in other parts of your house.  A structural engineer is often required to spec out and approve eliminating columns and replacing them with beams.

 

Basement walls and floors are usually made of masonry: either cement block or brick.  You’ll need anchors and fasteners for the kind of walls in your home.

 

Design layout

Basement
Layout of your basement is a key component in the remodeling process.

Use a zone system when laying out your space. Choose paint colors and furnishing to cordon off areas by function.   Multifunctional floor plans require some thought to meet all of the new functions of your remodel.  Different wall treatments and wall colors for separate functional areas help define space.

 

Neutral colors lighten up a space and make it appear more open.  Create the illusion of more space and more windows with floor-to-ceiling drapes even if you don’t have any windows.

 

Layer lighting to create interesting lighting effects and to brighten the space.

 

Basement Heating and cooling

Warm air rises, so it makes sense to install heating vents at floor level. Baseboard heat is a good option, but make sure it works well with your design plan and ties in with your existing HVAC system.

 

Mechanical Systems

Metal doors may be required to separate mechanical areas containing a furnace or boiler, and you might have to bring air into a mechanical room for ventilation.

 

Utilities

Keep the area housing your HVAC unit and water heater unfinished. These spaces have specific code requirements for spacing and framing, plus you’ll need access for inspection and/or repairs. If you’re tempted to finish this area off, don’t.  Keep it simple to avoid problems later.

 

Although a big project for any homeowner, basement remodeling can add space to a house that needs room to grow.   Hours of fun and relaxation in what was once, unused space, can be yours when you commit to a basement renovation.

 

 

Sources

Home Designing

HGTV.com

DIY.com

Martha Stewart Living