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

 

Types of Gutter Problems & How to Fix Them

Types of Gutter Problems & How to Fix Them

One important part of your home’s roofing system is the gutter system. Their main job is to keep water moving off your roof and away from the home’s foundation. When they fail, your home experiences unwanted damage like flooding, damaged foundation, or moisture in the attic. Each of these scenarios can cause long-term damage to your home that is expensive to repair. The best way to avoid these types of damage is to properly maintain your gutters and fix any problems proactively.

Here are four types of gutter problems you may experience and how to fix them:

Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters occur when something gets stuck in the gutters and prevents water from flowing freely. This is common in fall and winter months when leaves fall on your roof. Fixing a clogged gutter is easy. You just need to remove the debris that is keeping water from draining. To avoid clogged gutters, schedule time every quarter to check and clean gutters.

Damaged Gutters

Gutters are located in a prominent spot to take the brunt of most storms that come through our area including wind, hail, and snow. Over time, the force from the weather can cause damage to gutters including cracks, loose fasteners, or missing components.

Check your gutters several times per year for loose or missing fasteners and reattach or replace when necessary. You can purchase fasteners from a local home improvement store. You can repair small cracks with caulk or sealant, but larger cracks may require a gutter professional to replace the damaged gutters.

Gutter Holes

Holes can slowly form in gutters during their use. These are often caused by water staying in one area. Even the smallest amounts of water can cause erosion and rust over time. Just like the cracks, if the area is small, you may be able to fix it with caulk or sealant. If larger holes are apparent, a gutter replacement could be necessary.

Change in Slope

Professional gutter companies install gutter systems to properly align with the roof and the earth around the home. Over time, earth and homes can shift as they settle which can cause the gutters to become unaligned. This change in slope can also occur if there is too much weight on the gutters. When this occurs, you need to realign the gutters to properly drain water away from your home.

 

To prevent these types of gutter problems, it is best to perform routine inspections and maintenance throughout the year on your own or by contacting a professional. Lack of gutter maintenance can lead to greater damage later. Avoid the expense and mess by doing a roof and gutter inspection today.

How to Prevent & Remove Ice Dams on Your Roof

How to Prevent & Remove Ice Dams on Your Roof

Homeowners in Maryland and Pennsylvania are used to managing snow and ice in the winter months. While icicles in the wintertime look pretty, they are actually a sign that there is something serious happening with your home’s roof. The good news is icicles or ice dams can be avoided or fixed when you know how to fix the underlying problem.

What is an Ice Dam?

Ice dams occur when melting snow freezes into large icicles at the end of your roof, near the gutters and soffit. This ice buildup acts as a dam and prevents melting snow from properly draining off your rooftop. If not taken care of, the excess water can seep under the roof shingles and leak into your attic damaging your home’s interior.

What Causes Ice Dams

There are three necessary factors that cause dams to form. The first is snow on your roof, which is unavoidable in PA and MD. The next two factors are variations in your roof temperatures. The top peak of the roof is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit while the lower surface is below. When this happens, the snow at the top of your roof begins to melt and drain. But, when it reaches the lower temp, it freezes mid-fall causing icicles.

How to Identify a Problem

You may have a problem if you notice:

●      Large icicles hanging from your roof or gutters

●      Ice is coming through the soffit or behind the gutters

●      Water is leaking into a door or window frame

●      There is water or ice on the exterior of your home

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The underlying factors in roof temperature variations is poor ventilation and insulation in your attic. Both are things that you can fix and control with the right knowledge. To make sure this process is completed the right way, you should contact a roofing expert for help.

Proper winterization of your roof includes:

1.      Adding insulation to your attic to prevent heat from rising to the roof.

2.      Installing roof and soffit vents to allow heat to escape.

3.      Insulate lighting fixtures and stairwells to the attic to eliminate escaped heat.

4.      Plug any holes or cracks in the ceiling or drywall.

Now is the perfect time to take a look at your roof and attic because the heat is more bearable during cooler months and our first snowfall has yet to arrive. Have questions? Contact the expert roofing team at Bealing for a free roof inspection.

5 Tips to Prepare Your Roof for Winter

5 Tips to Prepare Your Roof for Winter

As the leaves change colors and start to fall in Pennsylvania and Maryland, there is no denying that harsh temperatures are quickly approaching. The cold temperatures will inevitably bring snow. As a homeowner, you know it’s time to start prepping your home for the winter months. Roof maintenance is often overlooked during this process. But, snow and ice are harsh elements that you need to properly prepare for in order to minimize roof damage.

Here are five steps to prepare your roof for winter from the roofing experts at Bealing Roofing & Exteriors:

Do a Roof Inspection

Inspecting your roof is the only way to find problem areas before they cause significant damage. You can choose to do the inspection on your own or have a professional roofing company tackle the task. In many cases, roof inspections are offered at no charge to homeowners.

Check to make sure shingles are in place, there is no visible damage such as staining, no soft spots, and all ventilation is clear. It is also important to inspect flashing, which can be found around joints, chimneys, plumbing pipes or skylights. Flashing is a critical component of your roofing system because it assures water runs off your roof instead of leaking into your home or remaining on the rooftop.

Fix Leaks or Damage

If there are roof leaks or damage, repair these immediately. In the event you need repairs, it is always best to contact an experienced roofer . Less than quality repairs can cause you greater problems and create unnecessary expenses in the middle of winter.

Remove Debris

Sticks, leaves, and debris fall on your roof year-round. Any debris should be removed now to keep it from clogging gutters. Clogged gutters keep water from draining properly which attracts unwanted pests and creates flooding on your rooftop.

Trim Trees

If trees line your property, it is crucial to check branches before winter arrives. Heavy snow and ice causes branches to break off and, if they are close to your home, can create roof damage. Walk around your property and remove overgrown branches from trees close to your home, outside buildings, and electrical wires.

Check Your Attic

Proper attic insulation is an importance piece of your roof ventilation system and helps prevent ice dams during winter months. Check your attic for proper insulation in addition to signs of moisture that can help you identify roof damage early on.

The winter season brings many destructive elements that are harsh on your roof. Taking these steps before snow, ice, and storms arrive are the best way to maintain your roof and minimize damage.

Home Improvement Projects to Consider

Home Improvement Projects to Consider

Whether you recently purchased your home, are getting ready to sell, or are ready to tackle long overdue home improvement projects, it can be challenging to decide where to invest your money. Some home improvements will increase the value of your home, some decrease its value, and others make it difficult to sell to new owners.

Take a look at our top 5 home improvement projects that help improve or maintain your home’s value while improving your quality of living.

Replace Your Roof

A roof is one of the first things anybody notices about a home. If it is missing shingles, looks disheveled, or is stained with algae, it can be off-putting. When a roof is neglected too long, it causes significant damage like rotted rafters, mold, and ceiling damage that decrease your home’s value.

Walk around your home looking at the current state of the roof. Are there missing or discolored shingles? When was the last time you had a professional roof inspection? If it’s been more than one year, it is time to contact a reputable roofing company. In most cases, roof inspections are free and can help you minimize long-term damage from a faulty roof.

Install Energy Efficient Windows

This is especially helpful for older homes that have never had a window upgrade. Energy efficient windows are a must when selling your home. They also help you save money on energy costs if you plan on staying.

If you already have energy efficient windows, it is still important to inspect your existing windows. Look for cracks in the windows and holes or gaps in the area around the window. If you find something wrong, contact a professional to take care of the repair or provide a cost for the window replacement.

Invest in Outdoor Lighting

Something not often thought about is outdoor lighting. Proper lighting, especially nighttime lighting, increases the safety of your home. Observe your home from the outside at night to see if there is a need for increased lighting, motion lights, or lighting repairs.

Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most valuable home improvement projects because the kitchen is center of everything. Family gatherings, meal time, and conversations occur in the kitchen in many homes.

Upgrading countertops, appliances, paint, or opening walls makes a kitchen feel more welcoming and the overall home more appealing.

Cleanup the Siding

Siding is the other most noticeable item of a house. Dirty, cracked, or moldy siding lacks appeal. If your home’s siding is dirty or covered with mold, invest in a power washer to thoroughly clean and remove debris.

If siding is missing or damaged, you may need to upgrade by hiring a professional contractor.

 

5 Signs You Need a New Roof

5 Signs You Need a New Roof

Having a superior roof on your home keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Over time a roof ages and the protection it once provided starts to deteriorate, especially if you don’t conduct ongoing roof maintenance. A faulty roof can cause a spike in energy bills, leaks, unwanted rodents, and a decrease in your property value. When a damaged roof goes too long without attention, it can collapse causing greater damage to your property and potential harm to those at home.

The key to protecting your family and your finances from a catastrophe like this is to fully understand what to look for. We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 signs you need a new roof:

1.       Age of the Roof.

The majority of roofs last 20-25 years depending on the type and quality of roof shingles. If your roof is 20 or more years old, contact a roofing professional to complete a thorough roof inspection. They’ll provide a detailed report with pictures of where your roof is in its lifecycle. There’s a good chance they’ll be able to spot problems early enough to repair instead of replace the entire roof.

2.       Missing or Curling Shingles.

Shingles are a vital part of a good roof and need to lay flat against your roof. If they start to fall off or curl, the shingles may be too old to properly protect your home. A professional roofing contractor will be able to tell you if the shingles can be replaced/repaired or if a full roof replacement is necessary.

3.       Shingle Debris in the Gutters.

When you clean out your gutters, check for shingle granules. If shingles are too old, they will start to deteriorate and crumble. If this goes unnoticed too long, water will start to seep under the shingles causing leaks inside your home.

4.       The Roof is Buckling.

Have you taken a walk on your roof lately? Chances are that you haven’t. Avoid an unwanted surprise before hanging up this year’s Christmas lights by checking it yourself or contacting a roofer. Soft spots on your roof means there may be rotting and decay under the shingles.

5.       There are Dark Spots.

Drive through almost any neighborhood, and you’ll notice dark spots on rooftops. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a full roof replacement immediately. These spots can be algae, mold, or rust spots. If it’s algae or mold, it can be washed off. Don’t be tempted to scrape the impacted areas though. Scraping can damage your shingles and cause repair work that you might not have needed.

Routine roof inspections are the best way to prevent roof deterioration and an expensive roof replacement. Schedule an appointment online with one of our roofing consultants today. Not only are they free, but you’ll have the peace of mind you need to sleep at night.

Tips to Avoid Roofing Scams

Tips to Avoid Roofing Scams

As a homeowner, you work hard to create a safe place for your family and belongings. One of the most important parts of keeping your home safe from outside forces is your roof. A roof is a costly investment and replacing or repairing your roof isn’t a decision to rush into quickly. Unfortunately, many individuals are quick to hire based on price which leaves them wide open to becoming the victim of a roofing scam.

As a trusted roofing contractor in South Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland, we often hear from homeowners when it’s time to fix a faulty roof replacement. To avoid becoming one of these homeowners, here are three common roofing scams to be aware of:

1.       Storm Chasers

A big storm followed by an unknown roofing company knocking at your door is the first sign they are looking to make a lot of money in a little amount of time. Roofing contractors that show up after a storm often come from out of town and, in some cases, out of state.

They go door-to-door or leave flyers in mailboxes saying that most homeowners are unaware of roof damage and offer to do an inspection. Once they do an inspection, they encourage you to file a claim with your insurance carrier to cover the roof replacement. It is appealing because the only out-of-pocket cost is your deductible.

Years after the roof replacement is finalized, homeowners start to see leaks because the craftsmanship on the roof replacement is poor. By then, the roofing company is long gone forcing the homeowner to pay a new company to fix the problem.

2.       Repair Only Roofers

Repair only roofing companies don’t offer full roof replacements. They are able to sell their services because roof repairs cost less than replacements. In many cases, they don’t actually fix your roof damage; they patch it or cover it up which can lead to bigger and more costly repair expenses later.

3.       Hidden Fees

A reputable roofing company will provide a scope of work as required by law in Pennsylvania and Maryland. This scope should include exact costs or a not to exceed cost of the project, so you know all the fees upfront. The roofer should also be able to explain the details of each expense and why they recommend certain steps.

Are you looking to hire a reputable roofer to inspect, repair, or replace your roof? Here are 3 tips to make sure you don’t end up being ripped off:

Do Your Research.

It’s easy for contractors to make promises that are too good to be true. It’s impossible for them to hide negative experiences and reviews on the Internet. Use trusted websites like the Better Business Bureau or Home Advisor to see what other customers say about their professionalism and work quality.

Gather Multiple Quotes.

Don’t go with the first quote you receive. Contact multiple roofing companies in the area to compare quotes. Chances are they will vary greatly in cost and scope of work provided. Once you have quotes, ask questions until you feel comfortable with the contractor.

Look Locally.

Hiring a local roofing contractor means you won’t have to worry about them packing up and leaving town. Hiring locally means you can see past projects firsthand as well as do more in-depth research.

For a complete list of questions to ask a roofer, check out our blog, “ 9 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor .

5 Benefits of Roof Inspections

5 Benefits of Roof Inspections

Benefits of Roof Inspections

Your home is  typically the biggest investment you make in a lifetime. Proper home maintenance is a necessity if you want to maintain its value and keep your family and belongings safe. One of the biggest pieces to your home is the roof. Too often, its  is overlooked because even though you use it daily, you don’t actually see it.

A great way to maintain your roof and maximize its longevity is through a professional roof inspection. The best roofing contractors offer home roof inspections free to homeowners. Here are five benefits of roof inspections:

Find Water Damage

A roofer will check your roof for shingle condition, flashing installation, soft spots, and leaks. In addition, they should review the interior of your roofing system. Roofing contractors check your attic for the right insulation, ventilation set-up, leaks, mildew, and mold. Water damage usually begins long before you see a wet spot on your ceiling. A professional will be able to catch these leaks before they cause major damage to your home.

Save Money

Since you don’t check your attic or roof regularly, it’s impossible to know when something is wrong without a roof inspection. Professional roofing contractors can make recommendations for minor repairs that help you save money. If damage isn’t repaired quickly, it continues to fester and cause major damage which can often turn into a full roof replacement.

Simplifies Insurance Claims

Reputable roofing companies provide detailed reports with their findings and recommendations from the inspection. These reports make insurance claims easier to file and receive approval for because they explain the type of damage, what is needed to fix it, and an estimated cost.

Increases the Life of Your Roof

Getting a roof inspection annually can help extend the life of the roof because you are aware of the damage and can make minor repairs as needed. When roof maintenance is pushed to the bottom of your to-do list, it can cause a premature roof replacement. On average, a full roof replacement costs $10,000 and should last 30 years. If you need a roof replacement prior to that, consider adding an inspection to your yearly home maintenance checklist.

Rested Mind

Getting a roof inspection annually gives you peace of mind that you’ve taken the necessary steps to protect your family and your well-being. Even if a roofing contractor finds damage, you will have a plan in place on how to repair it, the cost, and how to maintain it moving forward.

Having a roof inspection completed annually is a decision that will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. Contact the roofing professionals at Bealing Roofing & Exteriors to schedule your free roof inspection today. We serve homeowners in Hanover, Gettysburg, New Freedom, and Littlestown, PA, as well as northern Maryland communities like Timonium and Parkton.

Importance of Proper Roof Ventilation

Importance of Proper Roof Ventilation

Replacing a home’s roof is the most important home improvement project homeowners have to navigate. It is more than picking which materials, color, and even the right roofing company for the job. Many homeowners rush through a roof replacement too quickly and never consider the importance of roof ventilation. The easiest way to make sure roof ventilation is set up properly is to hire a professional and reputable roofing contractor.

Why Does Roof Ventilation Matter?

Climate and weather vary depending on where you live. In South Central Pennsylvania and Northern Maryland, homeowners experience extreme temperatures in the summer along with freezing temperatures and snow in the winter.

The right ventilation system lets cool air from outside in while also letting hot air out of your attic. If hot summer air can’t escape, moisture builds up causing damage inside your home. Another problem we see during the winter months occurs after it snows. If a roof has bad ventilation, the hot air trapped inside causes snow to prematurely melt before it refreezes as an icicle on the edge of your roof. This means the moisture from the snow can seep under roof shingles and into your attic causing mildew, mold, and rotting.

Signs Your Roof Ventilation isn’t Right

Skipping proper roof ventilation during a roof installation or roof replacement can cause a 30 year roof to only last 5-6 years before the damage is too great to ignore. Whether you are ready to replace your roof or just curious about your home’s ventilation, it is important that you know what signs to look for so you can be proactive.

1.       Mold on the Roof

If your roof looks like it has dirty spots, it might be mold. If the mold is ignored for an extensive period of time, it can ruin the shingles, and mold spores can start to grow in your attic. Once mold grows inside your home, the effects are damaging to your house construction and your family’s health.

2.       Attic Leaks

Water can leak into your attic for a long time without you ever seeing it. This happens most often after storms, downpours, or snow. If the flashing or underlayment isn’t in its best state, it allows for water to leak in causing silent damage.

3.       Expensive Energy Bills

If your heating and cooling bills are significantly high or start to increase for no reason, it makes sense to have a roof inspection. When air isn’t able to flow in and out, hot air stays and pushes down on your home making the air conditioning work twice as hard to keep your home cool.

4.       Ceiling Stains

Stains on the ceiling are a sign of water or moisture in your attic. They can be caused by mold, mildew, or a consistent roof leak.

5.       Peeling Paint

When roof ventilation fails, unwanted moisture stays confined in your home. Eventually, that moisture causes paint on the ceilings or walls to bubble and peel.

6.       Clean Roof after it Snows

Look at your roof after it snows. If it isn’t still snow covered, the hot air in the attic may be causing it to prematurely melt.

Determining Proper Roof Ventilation

Contact a professional roofing company in South Central Pennsylvania or Northern Maryland to schedule a roof inspection. The best roofing companies inspect your roof, attic, and ventilation system before making recommendations or creating a plan for your roof replacement.

Proper roof and attic ventilation have a significant impact on the life of a new roof, your energy costs, and your family’s well-being. Make sure your roof, ventilation setup, and home are safe this winter by scheduling a free roof inspection today with an expert roofer (By the way, that’s us!).