Best Ways to Save on Home Cooling Costs

Best Ways to Save on Home Cooling Costs

Home Cooling Costs – How to Save

Summer is just around the corner and budget-minded consumers need reliable information and resources about how to save money on home cooling costs.  Here are 5 ways to save money and keep your “cool” when temperatures soar:

Conduct an energy audit

Check your current air conditioning system, windows, window coverings, thermostats and fans for areas where cool air can escape to the outside or heat can build up inside. Using Energy Star products throughout your home such as windows, programmable thermostats, and ceiling fans can significantly improve your comfort, energy efficiency and bottom line.

AC

Consider replacing an old central air system (SEER-Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio- rating of 10 or less) with a new high efficiency unit (SEER rating of 14 or more)—this could save at least 33 percent on your cooling costs.  For window AC units, a CEER (Combined Energy Efficiency Ratio) of 11 or more is most efficient.  Also, direct sunlight falling on a window air conditioning unit increases its workload, so when possible, place these units on the north or shady side of the house.

Windows & Coverings

Consider replacing old windows with Energy Star windows through replacement window services.  Use dark or drawn blinds, shades, and thermal drapes to block sunlight during the hottest part of the day, especially on the south- and west-facing windows.

Thermostats & Fans

Install a programmable thermostat that can be programmed to a preset temperature and schedule, so it saves you money and hassle.  Ceiling fans or circulating fans can also improve cooling efficiency.

Attic Ventilation

Attics must be ventilated to relieve heat buildup caused by the sun. For existing homes, determine whether attic ventilation is adequate and, if necessary, improve airflow by adding or enlarging vents. Hiring a professional roofer to complete a roof inspection is a great way to make sure your attic is properly ventilated.

 Let the fresh air in

 Open windows during the moderate weather of spring and fall for cooling instead of operating air conditioning equipment. If you live where summer nights are cool, open the windows at night, then close and turn AC on in the morning.

 Keep temperatures up

 The higher the temperature is set on the thermostat, the more energy you save. Some energy companies like First Energy Corp suggest keeping the temperature between 70 and 75º and at 78 when no one is home.

Only cool rooms you use

 You may not use your entire home, and cooling that extra space wastes energy and money. Closing vents and doors in unused or rarely used rooms help to save on home cooling costs.

 What’s on top matters

 When building a home, choose light-colored roof shingles for your house to reflect more of the sun’s heat. The darker the shingles, the more heat that will be absorbed during the summer season. Consult a professional roofer if considering replacing existing shingles with new ones.

Spring Gutter Cleaning Tips

Spring Gutter Cleaning Tips

Spring is a season many homeowners look forward to because they can finally spend time outdoors taking care of necessary home maintenance tasks. Gutter cleaning is an important task that shouldn’t be overlooked but often is brushed aside because it’s not directly in front of you. Failing to check gutters and remove debris can cause roofing, siding, and gutter issues later in the year.

We’ve put together a list of seven tips to help make your spring gutter cleaning a bit easier:

Check your ladder

There is no way around it – to properly clean gutters, you have to climb a ladder. Before doing so, make sure the ladder is in working condition and is safe and sturdy to climb. Set your ladder on even, solid ground to assure it remains steady. If the ground is too soft around your home from recent weather, wait until it dries.

Wear proper shoes

The right shoes are essential for any home maintenance job. If you plan to climb a ladder or onto your roof, it is best to wear rubber soled shoes to prevent slipping and falling. Wearing sandals, flip flops, or dress shoes are not recommended for this task.

Place a tarp on the ground

To help with the cleanup, we recommend placing a large tarp on the ground below you. As you remove debris, leaves, and dirt, you can drop it on the tarp. Once you are finished, you can discard the debris directly into a trash can from the tarp.

Use a hose to flush gutters

To assure no dirt is left behind, use a garden hose to flush gutters and check downspouts for clogs.

Do a visual inspection of your roof

While you are on the ladder, do a visual inspection of your roof. Look for missing or damaged shingles, cracks in your flashing, and pieces of debris that may have blown on your roof from recent storms and bad weather.

Clean all debris from your roof

If you find debris on your roof, be sure to carefully remove it so it doesn’t cause any damage.

Call a roofing company for advice

If anything appears off, contact a local roofing company for advice. Many roofing companies offer free roof inspections and will check both the exterior and interior well-being of your roofing system.

Now that spring has arrived, enjoy the warm weather and crossing home maintenance tasks off your to-do list.

3 Things to Look for During a Roof Inspection

3 Things to Look for During a Roof Inspection

Now that the last snow is hopefully behind us in South-Central Pennsylvania, we can finally look forward to warmer temperatures. This is the time of year where many homeowners start to plan home projects and tasks for spring and summer. Before you start brainstorming, make sure you properly inspect your property first. Winter weather can cause damage that you are unaware of to the exterior of your home including your roof, making a thorough roof inspection necessary before April showers arrive.

While it is best to hire a professional roofing contractor to assure your roof is properly inspected, Bealing Roofing & Exteriors understands that some homeowners prefer to take care of it themselves. Here are 3 steps to a thorough roof inspection:

  1. Review the roof’s exterior

If you decide to check the roof yourself, make sure you take precaution when climbing a ladder. Here are some signs of roof damage to be aware of:

  • Damaged shingles
  • Missing shingles
  • Rusty chimney flashing
  • Missing chimney flashing
  • Soft spots
  • Rot or mold
  • Black streaks on your shingles
  • Shingle granules in your gutters
  • Holes in your roof

If you find signs of exterior roof damage, contact a roofing professional immediately to review the damage and provide a plan of action to repair it.

  1. Check the gutters

Gutters are an important component of your roofing system and guide water away from your home, protecting its foundation. During your roof inspection, remove any built up debris that can potentially block water flow. If ignored, the extra weight can cause your gutters to sag and eventually break. Once you have removed the noticeable debris, use a garden hose to rinse the gutters and make sure water is flowing freely through the system.

Gutters should be well-maintained year-round to assure they are always properly working. If you notice excessive rust, sagging, or missing hangers, call a roofing company that also specializes in gutter installation and repair.

  1. Check your attic

Too often this is the step that is overlooked by homeowners in DIY roof inspections. A complete roofing system includes the exterior and the interior. The best way to check the inside is by taking a look at your attic. You will want to look for signs of moisture, mildew, cracked roof sheathing, or light coming through small cracks.

A spring roof inspection is a crucial component to your home’s yearly maintenance. The good news is that the best roofing companies offer roof inspections free of charge to homeowners. Schedule yours today by contacting Bealing Roofing & Exteriors.

 

 

Gutter Installation Mistakes to Avoid

Gutter Installation Mistakes to Avoid

While many homeowners choose to install gutters themselves, it is often a bigger do-it-yourself task than they planned. Failing to install rain gutters properly can cause serious damage to your home. For the best results, hiring a professional roofing company is a choice homeowners should consider before doing it themselves. If you do plan on installing gutters on your own, here are five common gutter installation mistakes you need to plan for.

Calculating the Wrong Pitch

To a novice eye, gutters appear to be set even on your house. The truth is they are slightly pitched between one to two inches every 40 feet. A pitch allows water to flow towards the downspouts and off of your roof. While not noticeable looking at your home, a proper pitch is crucial in minimizing debris and a pool of water in your gutter system.

Choosing Gutters Based On Price

We’ve all had those moments when researching products or services where we make a choice based on price. Saving money is necessary when you own a home. But, choosing the wrong gutters can cost you more than your initial savings. There are several types of gutters to consider including different materials, sizes, gauge, and styles. Most homes will benefit from K-style aluminum gutters, but this varies depending on your location and climate. If you are unsure which gutters will work best for your area, ask a professional for help.

Wrong Hanger Spacing

Hangers are used to properly mount gutters onto your home. For best results, hangers need to be placed a maximum of 3 feet apart. Any further apart, and you risk sagging from the weight of the rain and melted snow. As the water settles and builds up over time, the gutter system can rip away from your house, leaving you with a hefty bill to install another gutter system.

Too Many Seams

Welding or soldering your gutter system together is sometimes beneficial; but if you use too many seams or don’t make sure they are secure, the gutters can break. We recommend using seamless gutters to prevent this from occurring.

Installing with a Tilt

While installing gutters at a pitch is necessary, they should not be tilted forward during installation. Tilting allows for water to leak over the edges instead of draining towards the downspout and into your yard. When the water doesn’t drain properly, it can cause damage to your home’s foundation. Remember to use a level to prevent tilt.

Have questions? The Bealing Roofing & Exteriors team is here to help! Contact us today for a free roof inspection, and learn how we can help make the gutter installation process easy for homeowners like you.

What is Gutter Guard

What is Gutter Guard

Gutter Guard: Why You Need It

Cleaning out the gutters is usually not a favorite household chore. However, if you don’t, your gutters can become clogged allowing water to overflow which can cause your roof to deteriorate and leak. Luckily, there is a better way to maintain your roof and gutters with gutter guard.

What is Gutter Guard?

Gutter guard is a type of shield that is installed over your gutters. It allows water to filter through into your gutters and out the downspouts while preventing leaves, twigs, seeds, and other debris from collecting in the gutters. Gutter guards can be made from many materials including:

  • Mesh – metal sheets with tiny holes that fit over gutters
  • Reverse Curve – positions water to fall down while positioning leaves to fall to the ground
  • Bottle brush – bristles that face upward, allowing debris to rest on top while water drains away
  • Nylon – prevents snow and ice buildup
  • Foam – a type of plastic that fits directly into gutters and keeps debris out

Contacting a gutter and roofing professional can help you to determine which type would best suit your home based on current gutters, weather conditions in your area, and type of debris needed to be deterred.

Why is it Important?

Installing gutter guards is important for many reasons including:

  • Minimal Maintenance – Gutter guard helps to keep your gutters clear of debris, minimizing time spent cleaning gutters and on a ladder.
  • Home Protection – It helps to protect your home, walls, foundation, landscaping, and roof from deterioration created by overflow of water from clogged gutters. If water overflows onto your roof or home, leaks can occur.
  • Reduces Insect Breeding Grounds – Insects tend to build nests and homes in stagnant water created by overflow when gutters can’t drain properly.
  • Saves Money – While there is a cost associated with purchasing the gutter guards and installing them, since it helps to improve the life of your home and roof, there is less money spent fixing or repairing damage.

You want to keep rain flowing through your gutters and into the downspouts to keep it off your roof. Installing gutter guards can help by keeping your gutters clear and your roof and home safe for your family.

Spring Maintenance Tips

Spring Maintenance Tips

8 Spring Maintenance Tips

Spring is just around the corner and with it comes warmer weather and longer days. We all want to enjoy the weather but it’s also a time to do maintenance around the home to ensure your home lasts and stays safe. Check out these ideas for spring maintenance:

  1. Inspect air conditioning unit

You may not need it right away but it’s time to get your unit(s) ready. Whether you have central air or window units, make sure filters are replaced and it’s clear of any leaves.

  1. Inspect exterior

Winter can be brutal with harsh weather conditions. Check your roof for damaged shingles and fix. Check siding, windows, and door screens for any damages or holes as well.

  1. Inspect attic

Over the winter months, animals may have taken up residence in your attic away from winter weather. Check for animal nests and remove any, as well as animals, that you find. Check for holes from animals or winter weather and fix them to continue to ensure proper ventilation and keep water out of your home.

  1. Clean gutters

You may have cleaned out your gutters in the fall but since some leaves fall late, there may be more waiting for you come spring. Take this time to clean them again and also check to make sure they are not pulling away from the house and that they drain properly. You may also have to replace or fix any downspouts that came off during the harsh winter weather.

  1. Powerwash

Winter leaves behind some gunk whether it’s in the form of debris, salt, or potential for mold from too much moisture. Powerwash your siding, decks, and sidewalks to brighten up your home’s exterior and keep your home from deterioration. Make sure you have the correct powerwash nozzles to ensure minimal damage from powerwashing.

  1. Landscape

Many people landscape in the spring in order to make their home look good for the summer. However, there are other benefits as well. Check for any tree branches that are about to fall and make sure you remove them so the branch does not drop on someone or on your home. Also, trim back any overgrowth of trees or bushes from your home to protect paint from scratches and moisture.

  1. Stain decks

Wood decks need to be stained in order to help them last longer and prevent from rot and other damage. They should be stained every 6 years especially if uncovered.

  1. Repair driveway

Again, this is another place that the harsh winter weather can do damage – whether it’s from water getting into cracks and icing over expanding the cracks or from using a snowblower, shovel, or plow on your driveway. Now is the time to fix these issues before they worsen.

Completing these 8 steps can help to maintain your home longer as well as keep you and your family safe in the coming season!

My Roof is Leaking – Now What?

My Roof is Leaking – Now What?

What to Do When Your Roof is Leaking

A dreaded end to a rainy day is finding that a leak has sprung in your roof. This is a source of panic for many homeowners but knowing what to do in the event of a leak can help to minimize the stress associated with fixing it. Follow these steps:

  1. Collect water in a bucket

If it is still raining, collect water in a bucket and dump as necessary. If the water has started to leak through to your home instead of just in the attic, make sure the water has a hole to get through without spreading and collecting in any walls or in your ceiling. This helps to minimize the interior damage.

  1. Find the leak

Once you have the interior managed, find the leak if you don’t know where it is coming from. The best place to start is in your attic. Look for where water is dripping down but be sure to trace if it is running off from another area first. If you aren’t sure, wait until the weather clears and look for water spots or areas that daylight is seeping through. You may also need a second person to go on the roof with a garden hose and spray water while one person is inside the attic watching for where the water comes through.

  1. Temporarily fix the leak

Once you have located the leak, there are several temporary fixes to help until you can officially fix the leak. You can use roofing cement or tape which is applied in the interior of the attic. If you have a tarp or heavy plastic sheeting, you can use it to cover the damaged area. Keep the tarp or sheeting in place by affixing the tarp to 2×4 boards but do not nail to your roof as you will do further damage.

  1. Call a professional roofer

Unless you have experience and confidence in working on steep roofs, this is a job best left to professionals. They can make sure the leak is fully addressed without causing further damage to your roof.

Installing a Roof? Avoid These Mistakes

Installing a Roof? Avoid These Mistakes

Avoid These Roofing Mistakes

Installing a new roof on your home is one of the best investments you can make. While the cost of a roof replacement may seem high, correctly installing a new roof is essential to protect the interior, reduce energy costs, and increase the home’s resale value. Many homeowners try to save money by installing a new roof on their own or hiring a roofing company based on price alone.

Saving money is great, but not when it puts your and your family’s well-being at risk. Here are six big roof installation mistakes we see and how you can avoid them.

Installing new shingles on top of existing ones.

Installing new shingles on top of existing ones is a shortcut not worth taking. In addition to not being able to thoroughly inspect the underlay of the roof for soft spots or areas that need to be replaced, layers of shingles place unnecessary weight on the structure of your home. Over time the extra weight can damage framing.

Using the wrong nails or the wrong number of nails.

Roof installation is fine art that requires specialized knowledge to do it correctly. Make sure you purchase roofing nails, know how many nails per shingle are needed, and what angle nails need to driven into the shingle. Nailing shingles the wrong way allows for moisture to seep under the shingle and over time this causes rotting and interior leak damage.

Not installing a drip edge.

A leak barrier keeps moisture where it belongs, away from your home. Installing a roof without this principal component lets rain leak under your roof and cause the fascia to rot leaving water to leak into your home causing further damage and expense.

Reusing flashing.

Flashing protects the areas of your roof that coincide with a chimney and prevents water from entering. Reusing existing flashing is never a good idea because it won’t last as long as your new roof. If you fail to inspect it often, you may not realize the damage it’s causing until you are cleaning up an indoor flood.

Never looking in the attic.

Too many times, a roof installation happens, but nobody inspects the attic. The attic is part of your roofing system and properly ventilating it increases the lifespan of a roof.

Using cheap materials.

Buying cheap materials doesn’t always save you money on installing a roof. Focus on the quality of the roofing materials instead to assure your new roof lasts as long as it should.

Avoid all of these roof installation mistakes by hiring a reputable roofing contractor to inspect, review, and create a roofing plan that meets your needs. Many contractors have financing options available to help offset the costs.

Ways to Save Money on Heating Costs

Ways to Save Money on Heating Costs

During the winter season, a major complaint and worry is the cost of heating. With many households concerned about budgets, knowing how to save on heating is beneficial. Here are 6 ways to save money on heating costs:

Keep temperatures down

The higher the temperature is set, the harder your heating system is working to keep it hot; which in turn means more energy is consumed and costs go up. Some energy companies like First Energy Corp suggest keeping the temperature at 68º or lower. Some people also turn the heat even farther down when they aren’t at home.

Insulate attic/crawl space

Heat rises and is often lost though the attic. It is important to insulate your attic to diminish the amount of heat lost. More heat kept in the home means less that your heating source has to work. Hiring a professional roofer to complete a roof inspection is a great way to make sure your attic is properly insulated.

Additionally, cold air is brought in sometimes though crawl spaces or basements causing your heat source to work harder warming the cold air. Insulating these spaces decreases the amount of cold air entering your home.

Only heat rooms you use

Some people don’t use their entire home, and heating that extra space wastes your energy and money. If possible, turning heat down (not off so pipes do not freeze and burst) in rooms unused or rarely used helps to save on cost. Make sure to close doors to these rooms or, for rooms without doors, you can partition them off with blankets or plastic.

Check for drafts

Other ways heat is lost and cold air enters the home is through drafts usually around your doors and windows. Check and replace your weather stripping on doors and windows. For the bottom of doors, you can use a towel or a specific door seal to help eliminate drafts. There are also products available to insulate your windows such as ones provided by Duck Brand. These are made to eliminate the escape of heat through windows.

Humidify

Humidity is not wanted in the summer but can be beneficial in the winter. Moisture in the air holds heat better. You can help by turning off exhaust fans when cooking and showering so that water vapor is not pulled out of your home. You can also buy a humidifier and utilize in your home.

Choose an efficient fuel source

For some people, this might be the first step or choice. However, it can be costly up front even though it can save you long term on heating. Educate yourself on the cost in your area of the different fuel sources. It may also work to combine sources such as a wood stove, fireplace, or fireplace insert for hard to heat areas if the cost of wood or wood pellets would compensate for your primary heating source overworking in that particular area.

Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Flashing

Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Flashing

As a licensed roofing contractor in Hanover, PA, we have completed hundreds of roof inspections in Southern Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland. Roof inspections can tell you a lot about your home, especially during the colder months like why your energy bills significantly increased or why it always feels drafty inside. One of the items we often find needs fixed is the chimney flashing. The most common cause of failed chimney flashing is improper installation.

bad chimney flashing
This chimney flashing is not installed correctly.

Chimney flashing seals the gap between your roof and chimney. It prevents moisture like rain and melting snow from leaking through this space into your home. If left go for too long the unwanted moisture can cause serious interior damage including damage to the structure or mold. This is especially a concern in winter and spring in the northeast when the amount of moisture from snow and rain is unpredictable.

There are three different types of chimney flashing. Choosing the right one depends on where you live, type of chimney, and your existing roofing material.

Aluminum Flashing

Aluminum flashing is the most common type because it is the least expensive and can be used on any type of roof. The downfall to aluminum flashing is its high risk of corrosion.

PVC Flashing

PVC or vinyl flashing is a lightweight option that is also inexpensive. This is not the best flashing option if you live in areas with extreme temperatures or are subject to harsh weather conditions. The vinyl flashing doesn’t hold up well, becomes brittle, and breaks easily in these conditions.

Copper Flashing

Copper flashing is another option for roofing systems and stands up against high temperatures and other extreme weather conditions like storms. Copper flashing should be installed by a professional roofer because it requires a special sealant. For many homeowners, copper flashing is too costly. Before you decide it’s not right for you, discuss your options with a trusted roofing company.

Some contractors advertise a lightweight copper flashing which is a tape and not nearly as durable. Copper flashing is the heaviest of the three types and should be comprised of 16 ounces or greater copper weight.

Signs Flashing Needs Replaced

It is not always easy to tell if your chimney flashing is leaking. A good rule of thumb is to have a roof inspection every six months to minimize the possibility. If you notice water spots on your ceiling, increased energy bills, or a constant chill inside your home, schedule a roof inspection to see if a faulty flashing or roofing system is the culprit.

What Should Step Flashing Look Like?

Step flashings is needed where two areas of the roof meet. For example where the roof ties into the wall is the first step and the second occurs along the wall or chimney. It is crucial that you grind out mortar joints in a stepping pattern, bend the cap flashing tuck it into it while following the roof line.

right flashing installation