Tuesday, July 31, 2012

10 Tips for staying cool

Keeping Cool Tips For Your Home
  1. Install white window shades, mini-blinds, or insulated blinds on all windows, they work just as well in the summer as the winter.
  2. Close south and west-facing curtains and blinds during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight. Keep these windows closed, too.
  3. Install awnings on south-facing windows, where there's insufficient roof overhang to provide shade.
  4. Interior window films can be used to reduce the heat gain through glass without eliminating visibility.  Remember, however, that these films will also reduce the warmth of the sun during the winter months also!
  5. Check for cracks around your windows, and seal them with appropriate caulk or weather stripping. Here are some tips for sealing cracks.
  6. Install ceiling fans* in rooms you would like to cool.  If you use air conditioning, a ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort. (*Keep in mind that it does little good to run it when you're not around.  The fan really isn't cooling the room.  Like a breeze on a hot summer day, it's the blowing air moving across your body that makes you feel cooler.)
  7. Wash and dry clothes in the evening after it has cooled down. Use exhaust fans in the area if you must use them during the day to remove the warm air.
  8. Unless you absolutely need them, turn off incandescent lights and heat-generating appliances.
  9. When it's time to cook, opt for the barbecue or microwave instead of the stove.
  10. If the attic isn't already insulated or is under-insulated, insulate it NOW.  This will give you the greatest change in comfort for the least amount of expense.
Keeping Cool Tips For You
  1. Drink lots of water and natural juices.  Avoid alcoholic beverages, coffee and colas.
  2. Take cool baths or showers.
  3. Wear loose, light cotton clothing.
  4. Do not eat heavy meals.
  5. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator for a quick refreshing spray to your face after being outdoors.
  6. Keep plastic bottles of water in the freezer; grab one when you're ready to go outside and as the ice melts you'll have nice cold water with you.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The #1 problem in your home.

I cannot stress enough how important managing your roof and exterior landscaping drainage can be.  Here’s something to think about.
More than 600 gallons of water will shed off of the average size home from 1 inch of rainfall.  If you have 4 gutters that is more than 150 gallons of water pouring out of 1 downspout.  That amount of water can do a significant amount of damage.
If you’d like to do the calculation for your house here are the steps:
1.    Figure out the footprint  of your roof. Length x Width
My house is approximately 40 ft wide by 20 ft deep = 800 sq ft
2.    Convert to inches (multiply each dimension by 12 or the area by 144)
480 in x 240 in = 115,200 sq in or
800sq ft x 144sq in = 115,200 sq in
3.    Multiply by the area by the inches of rainfall
1 in x 115,200 sq in = 115,200 cubic inches of water
4.    Divide by the number of cubic inches in a gallon
1 Gallon = 231 cubic inches
115,200 cubic inches/231 cubic inches = 498.7 gallons of water
Almost 500 Gallons of water shedding off of my roof in a 1 in rainstorm, what about your house!

Tips for managing roof drainage.

Extend all downspouts far enough away from your house to be sure no water runs back towards the foundation.  You can get flexible gutter extensions at your local hardware store.

Inspect and clean your gutters regularly.  Water should flow freely towards the downspouts.

Inspect and clean any underground drainage to be sure water is flowing away from your house and is not backing up due to a clog.

Make sure your gutters are sloped towards your downspouts so that water doesn’t pool in the gutters.

Make modifications to your landscaping to be sure water is not flowing back towards your foundation.  Remove vegetation, check for things that cause dams like edging, sidewalks, patios or fencing.