Attic - Walls - Floors - Basement - Crawl Space - Insulation

What Causes a Hot House in the Summer?

Published by Admin at 9:33 AM under Blog

Every summer we get a lot of calls from people who are having comfort issues in their home, usually on the second floor. Many homeowners find that even with the air conditioner blasting, only the lower level of the home will get cool, leaving the second story so hot that it’s uninhabitable.

Homeowners tend to blame the AC unit for the hot house issues, but we find that it’s often a problem with the house itself. 


Hot house issues can be caused by a variety of things, such as:


·       Poor Thermal Boundary (Insulation and air seal)

·       Not enough supply air coming through the force air registers. 

·       Poor attic ventilation (roof vents)

·       Dark roof color


Let's break it down a bit:


The Thermal Boundary is the shell of the house. The “shell” or “envelope” consists of the Attic, Walls, Basement, Floors and Crawl Space. More than 90% of the attic spaces in US homes are under insulated and poorly sealed. This is exacerbated during the summer months because your attic space can easily reach over 140 degrees for most of the day. You need plenty of the right kind of insulation and an airtight seal to combat these kinds of extreme temperatures.

 Next we have possible issues with the air supply. The actual AC may be functioning well, but it could be fighting an uphill battle, so to speak. Most air handlers (Furnace/AC fan) are in the basement and therefore have to push air all the way up to the second floor. In order to reach the second story, the air has to pass through multiple turns (elbows) and travel a long distance, causing a decrease in air pressure (CFM). The air that ends up coming out of the second story vents generally comes out with substantially diminished air pressure. If you toss in issues with your Thermal Boundary, your HVAC system has very little hope in keeping your home cool, no matter how much you blast the AC.

In summer we get a lot of calls from people who are having comfort issues upstairs. They have a 1 1/2 or 2 story home and can't keep the upstairs areas cool. We see many cases where the second floor is uninhabitable much of the time. 


Things to consider:

Thermal boundary - If the "shell" of your home isn't properly air sealed, even the best air conditioners couldn't keep your home cool. Consider hiring a professional to do a blower door test to see if your home is leaking conditioned air. 


HVAC- Is your HVAC system up to date? Have you had your Air Conditioner cleaned recently? Something as simple as cleaning out the vents can make a huge difference in the temperature in your home. 

Attic ventilation is a huge problem for many homes. It is essential to have plenty of the right kind of roof vents to properly cool the attic space. Remember, that space can top 140 degrees in the hot summer months.  Ideally, the attic would have 1 square foot of ventilation for every 300 square feet of attic space, split 50/50 between the top and bottom of the area. Most homes don’t meet this standard.

If you believe your attic is one of the many that don’t meet the standards, give us a call. If it’s not possible to retrofit your current roof vents, we can use mechanical vents that are either hard wired into your house power, or better yet, solar-powered.


Roof color might not seem like it could have a huge impact, but consider this – on a hot summer day, would you rather stand in the sun in a black T-shirt or something with a lighter shade? Your roof functions in the same way. The shade/color of your roof can make a big difference in the temperature of the attic space, darker colors can soak up heat and trap it in your home. It might not be cost-effective to completely redo your roof, but it’s something to keep in mind for when you do any updates in the future.



All summer long, we get calls from people who are sweating in their homes and paying way too much on their energy bills. We have an excellent track record for finding successful solutions for each individual home. Give us a call and let us help!






Renewable Energy is Coming: It’s time to prepare yourself

Published by Admin at 2:10 PM under Blog

There has been a big push for the use of solar and other renewable energy sources lately and we will see even more of that moving forward. Renewable Energy technology is improving by leaps and bounds. The manufacturers of solar panels, batteries, and all of the other components required for these systems are ramping up their processes to make the hardware more and more accessible and affordable for everyone. 



Renewable Energy Makes Sense

The truth is, renewable energy makes sense for everyone. Whether you want to save money, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, or do your part to help protect the environment, clean energy simply works.

People that make their living from coal, natural gas, or petroleum oil will argue that their products are safer because of better refinery processes and more efficient equipment, but they couldn’t possibly argue that their processes are as clean as solar, wind, or other potential renewable energy sources. As for safety, the world is currently suffering record high CO2 levels, temperature extremes have increased by 20 degrees, and there are over 53,000 deaths related to emissions every year in the United States. (Source) Does that sound safer to you? 

Minimize your initial investment

If switching over to solar or wind power was cheap, we’d like to believe that more people would have already made the switch. While we expect government-subsidized programs to make these renewable energy improvements more affordable in the future, for now, your best option is to

Work on reducing your overall energy demand. What if you could reduce the energy demand of your home by 35% to 50%? If you consume less energy, you will be able to cut back on equipment costs when you make the switch to solar or wind. Eventually, your savings on energy bills will pay for the investment.

Affordable Comfort Can Help

We have been making buildings more efficient for 25 years. We have helped over 10,000 buildings save an average of 32% on energy bills after we performed a full energy efficiency retrofit. It’s a fairly simple process. Over 90% of the efficiency improvements come from tightening up the shell of the building, making sure it has plenty of the right kind of insulation, verifying that the HVAC systems are operating at peak efficiency, and making some changes in the basic energy usage in the home.


This process is easy. We set up an appointment to do a 30 minute walk through and give you a management plan. Energy efficiency always saves more than it costs. So what are you waiting for? Give us a call at (314) 884-0092 and start saving some money.





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What the Petermann Glacier in Greenland Tells Us About Climate Change

Published by Rease at 4:00 AM under Blog

In a recent 60 Minutes piece, the news team travels to a remote area of Greenland to the Petermann Glacier.

The glacier is 700 miles above the Arctic Circle and only a few hundred miles south of the North Pole. The glacier itself can only be visited during a few weeks of summer each year because it is the only time of the year that there is enough ice melt for the area to be passable. Unfortunately, the amount of melted ice is increasing rapidly each year, which is a big focus of this video.


The video is around 13 minutes long, which we realize is much longer than the average internet user’s attention span, so we’ve put together some key takeaways from the news report. However, if you get a chance, you should really take a look at the video, as it offers some pretty incredible visuals that a written description simply could not do justice.

  •          The Petermann Glacier is three times the size of Texas and 80% of it is covered in ice, but it now loses more ice than it gains in snowfall each year.
  •          In the past 5 years alone, the glacier has receded by 20 miles.


Perhaps the coolest part of this video (outside of the sweeping views of endless ice) is the clear-cut evidence that Climate Change is real.

Two striking visuals really hit home for us.

First, the rivers of ice melt. As the helicopter flies over the ice, the 60 Minutes Team points out huge blue gaps in the ice, and zooms in to show you that these cracks are actually flowing rivers of melted ice. The rivers tear through the iceberg and cause thunderous cracks as huge chunks of ice finally meet their breaking point and fall into the ocean. This raises the sea level and decreases the landmass of the iceberg.

The second was what the reporter admitted looked like basic mud, but a scientist explained was actually a sediment sample from far below the iceberg that allowed the scientists to see changes in temperature over time. The color of the sediment shows a pattern of warmer and colder periods of time over thousands of years, and the scientist was even able to pinpoint when Ice Ages occurred. However, the most recent sediment sample showed a rapid shift towards much warmer temperatures. Instead of changing color gradually, as the sediment had in the past 10,000, years this shift was sudden – proving that this period of warming is not natural.

It’s time for people to stop denying the existence of Climate Change and start taking it seriously. We at Affordable Comfort strive to provide energy efficient solutions that reduce the carbon footprints of households, while still keeping homes as comfortable, and in fact often more comfortable than homes with less efficient setups.


If you have any questions about how you can make your home more energy efficient, please give us a call!

(314) 884-0092




How We Saved a Homeowner 50% on Heating Costs

Published by Rease at 2:06 PM under Blog

We recently documented an insulation job from start to finish and want to share the process, reasoning, and results with all of you.

We started by removing all the old insulation in the attic. 

Why remove old insulation?

In this case, the owner was uncomfortable with the old insulation due to its age and all the dirt it had collected over the years. Vacuuming out all the old insulation also allows us to ensure proper insulation techniques throughout the home, instead of just putting new insulation on top of old insulation, which may or may not have been properly installed.

In this case, it was especially beneficial for us to remove the old insulation, as we discovered some sketchy wiring hiding beneath the insulation. After we got a clear view of several wiring issues, an electrician was brought in get everything up to code. 



After the wiring issues had been taken care of, we started by adding baffles, which insures proper air flow for the attic ventilation system.  We also stuffed fiberglass batt insulation (pink) under the baffle to keep the blown in cellulose insulation from blocking air flow. This is critical because we dense pack the insulation right here. The ceiling and wall intersection is the most critical point of the ceiling plane because this area is fighting heat loss through conduction through both the ceiling and wall. It has an energy loss battle form 2 sides.  


We then worked to seal penetrations throughout the entire ceiling plane with spray foam insulation. Much like many of the houses we work in, this home was riddled with holes that were not properly insulated previously. We paid special attention to the area above the kitchen cabinet, which is notorious for being overlooked and under insulated. We used closed cell 2 part polyurethane to seal this up properly.

We also made sure the flu/chimney pipe was blocked so that the insulation would not touch the heat-producing pipe.

The attic hatch is also an often-overlooked area. We made sure to weather-strip the door to make it air-tight and insulated the lid to match the rest of the ceiling plane. We also installed a barrier to block insulation from falling on the homeowners head when they open the lid to access the attic.


We always use R-sticks to ensure that our installers are insulating to the proper level. We install cellulose at 1.45 lbs per cubic feet and we follow the guide provided by the manufacturer, which indicates how many bags to use, so you will always know that we didn't use any tricks to fluff up insulation to make it look like we used less than needed to truly be at R-49.



 For this house we installed 90 bags of cellulose, which is an entire truckload.

 The airtight insulation we installed in this homeowner’s attic will last for 25 years and save her 50% on her heating costs, all while making her home less drafty and more comfortable. These are the kind of jobs we love doing because we can be confident that the homeowner will immediately begin seeing a return on investment on their energy bills.


 Give us a call and see what improvements we can make on your home!

(314) 884-0092 or







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Energy Efficiency Case Study: Identical homes, 29% difference in Energy Bills.

Published by Admin at 9:02 AM under Blog


These neighbors have the exact same floor plan: 1200 square foot ranch, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths. The one on the right, House A, pays about $240 a month for their energy bill, while the house on the left, House B, pays about $150 for the same time period. Over a three month time period, the two houses spent a combined total of $927 on energy bills, but House B paid $265 less than House A. House B paid 29% LESS in energy bills. So what’s the difference? We’ll give you a hint: it has very little to do with the inhabitants energy usage habits. 

House B was built with Energy Efficiency in Mind

House B worked with a standard builder, but insisted on using Affordable Comfort for insulation and energy efficiency measures.

In addition to some simple lighting changes (using LEDs instead of CFLs or traditional incandescent bulbs) Affordable Comfort used closed cell spray foam to air seal all of the top plates at the ceiling plane of House B. Then, R-49 cellulose was installed in the attic. The neighbor, House A, was stuck with the outdated code’s bare minimum of R-38. (Here’s an explanation of R-Value) House B was also fitted with a combination of closed cell and open cell insulation for the walls. House A was insulated with fiberglass, which is the cheapest and poorest performing insulation on the market. The walls were only insulated to R-11. Both homes have unfinished basements, but House B has insulation along the bandsill in the basement, while House A was insulated using fiberglass batt, which is totally useless for this application.These extra insulation measures left House B with a great Thermal Envelope, sealing conditioned air in, and keeping the house cool all summer long.

Meanwhile, over in House A, the summer was spent cranking the AC, trying to cool the front two bedrooms, which the owners claimed were hotter and more difficult to cool than the rest of the home. These two rooms are on the front of the house, furthest away from the air conditioner/furnace, which means conditioned air has a long way to travel. The path includes multiple turns, which causes a major loss of  energy and temperature along the journey. The air coming from the register this summer was not as cool and also suffered a loss of pressure. The extra sun beaming through the bedroom windows combined with the warm, low pressure air coming through the vents made the bedrooms incredibly difficult to keep cool.

Over the entire summer, House A paid a total of $510 in energy bills while still dealing with rooms that were not quite cool enough. House B paid only $300 and didn’t have any cooling issues.

Let's take a look at the difference in energy usage: 

House A:



House B:


So what happened with House A?

The owners of House A assumed that since they were getting a freshly built home, that it would be energy efficient. This is a common misconception. The truth is, builders are not insulation or energy efficiency experts. They operate off outdated building codes and only do the bare minimum. Builders worry about how the house looks, not how it works. 

Builders often have subcontracts with other professionals that do things such as provide/install HVAC equipment, windows, plumbing, etc. When the owner of House B tried to take energy efficiency a step further and choose their own Energy Star rated HVAC equipment and have Affordable Comfort install windows, the builder refused, saying that she had to use her subcontractors. House A was never offered any insulation or HVAC upgrades or options either.

The owners of House A decided to build their own home to fit their personal needs. They chose the area for the good school districts for their children, and assumed the builder would provide top quality insulation and energy efficiency measures. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what they got. While House A and B look very similar, it’s clear that one home is more comfortable and more cost effective.

Talk to your builder, or talk to us.

If you are planning on building a new home, talk to your builder and insist upon energy efficiency measures. Not only will building smart save you money and make your home more comfortable, it will lessen your carbon footprint.

If you have an existing home, it’s not too late to make your home efficient! Give us a call at (314) 884-0092 or email us at and we will walk you through your options. You can also check out some of our great DIY Articles!

How to Keep Your Energy Bills Lower in the Summer

DIY Winter Repairs for a More Efficient Home






8 Reasons LEDs are better than CFLs

Published by Admin at 3:10 PM under

How can you make the decision between LEDs (Light emitting diodes) and CFLS (Compact florescent lights) when choosing lighting for your home? Take a look at these 8 reasons why LEDs are a better choice.


1. LEDs use less power

Light power is measured in watts. LEDs run at 80 lumens/watt while CFLs run at 57.5 lumens/watt. This means that you can use fewer watts for the same amount of light by switching to an LED, which will save you quite a bit of usage on your energy bill.

2. LEDs have a longer life.

LEDs last for 30,000-40,000 hours while a CFL only lasts for 6,000- 15,000. This means you will be changing your lights a lot less often and creating a lot less waste!

Another bonus of LEDs is that they have the same lifetime regardless of how they are installed. CFLs can actually heat up faster if they are upside down in a hanging or enclosed light fixture. This causes CFLs to die much faster than the estimated lifespan hours. LEDs shine bright for their entire lifespan, regardless of the type of fixture.

3. LEDs save you money


Many people are turned off by the initially higher cost of LEDs, but they will definitely save you money in the long run.  You will only need 1 LED for 25,000 hours of use, while you would need 3 CFLs for the same time span. The cost of usage for a single CFL over 23 years would be about $48, while an LED would be around $38. Ten bucks over 23 years may not seem like a lot, but this is over a 23-year time span for ONE bulb. Imagine how many light bulbs are in your home and imagine how that would translate into energy bill savings.

4. LEDs do not contain toxic mercury.

CFLs contain toxic mercury, which is very bad for both your health and the environment. Not only does this create extra danger if you happen to break a CFL, it complicates your ability to safely dispose of CFLs. And remember, you’ll have to change CFLs about 4 times as often as an LED, so you’ll be dealing with disposal issues a lot.

5. LEDs are not affected by On/Off cycling.

Do you have a light in a closet that you flick on and off often? Or a high traffic room whose lights are constantly going off and on again? Well, with a CFL bulb will suffer from all those quick changes; switching a CFL on and off quickly can drastically decrease its lifespan. LEDs are in no way affected by on/off cycling, so you can be as indecisive about the on/off switch as you like, without sacrificing the lifespan of your bulb.

6. LEDs stay cool

CFLs depend on heat to emit light, while LEDs are always cool to the touch. Not only is this a big plus for safety reasons, it also gives your AC a break in the summer. You may not think the heat from your light bulbs is affecting your home’s temperature, but the combined heat of all your CFLs can make your AC unit work overtime in hot weather. LEDs don’t cause any temperature issues.

7. LEDs are great for outdoor use

Unlike CFLs, LEDs are not sensitive to extreme temperatures. CFLs may struggle to light up during cold weather, making that cold run to the garbage can even more difficult in dim light. CFLs are also sensitive to extreme humidity, which could make those summer patio parties a bit unpleasant if your CFLs decide to die on you. LEDs, on the other hand, will continue to function at full capacity during all weather and do not have the danger of shattering like CFLs do.

8. LEDs have no delay or flickering

Flickering lights are just a headache waiting to happen. CFLs not only have a slight delay between the time you flip the switch to on and when the bulb actually lights up, but the bulbs are also prone to flickering. LEDs turn on immediately and never flicker. Do it for your eyes and save yourself the headaches!


LEDs are a great investment for your home. Make the switch today!


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School’s Out for the Summer!

Published by Admin at 2:14 PM under Blog


Now that school's out, your kids will be home all day consuming everything - including power. Here are a few tips to save a few bucks and keep your home comfortable.


1. Turn off the lights. Especially any "edison" bulbs. They produce quite a bit of heat and use 85% more energy then LED bulbs. If you are still using "incandescent" bulbs, you are behind the curve.

2. Close the shades on any windows that get direct sunlight. Pay attention to the orientation of your home. West facing windows are great for daylight in the early part of the day, but the sun will cook you in the afternoon. Make the kids close the shades, it's a good lesson. 

3. Get your AC Serviced. Now is the time to request a service call to check out you Air Conditioner system. Avoid the 911 request for service on July 4th when it is 105 degrees and you have your "favorite” sister-in- law over. You know she’ll gossip about you and cause some dram and you don’t need that in your life!


4. Clean your condensing unit. It’s time to hose off the condensing unit. That’s the big box outside with the fan. It is a good chore for your teenager. Don’t be afraid to hold them accountable as much as they may kick and scream about getting off the couch. 


5. Do a walk through to check that all windows are fully closed. Another chore for the those kids who are driving you crazy.    



Stay Cool!




How Making Your Home More Energy Efficient Helps the Environment

Published by Admin at 7:00 AM under Blog

Most people only pay attention to their energy consumption when it is costing them money. When you get an energy bill that’s higher than you can afford, you start using your heat or AC a bit less. When gas prices are high, you try to drive less. That’s logical and understandable – but what about when the prices are low?

Natural gas and oil prices are low right now, so consumers care less and less about being energy efficient. This is not environmentally responsible!

Just because your bank account isn’t hurting doesn’t mean the environment isn’t. Building codes all around the US are outdated and not built to run efficiently. HVAC systems are working hard to keep homes comfortable, all the while taking quite a toll on the environment and increasing the carbon footprint.

So what can be done?

Consumers can help in two ways: updating their homes to be more energy efficient and using less energy.

Spending money on things such as new insulation and air sealing measures as well as Energy Star rated appliances may seem like an unnecessary expense that you cannot afford or do not care to spend the money on. However, once you make these changes, you will more than pay off the investment through savings on your energy bills. If you like the smaller bills you are paying now while gas prices are low – you will love how low your bills can get with a truly energy efficient home.

As for using less energy – no one is asking you to sit at home in the dark. Making simple changes such as buying CFLs instead of incandescent light bulbs and using Smart power strips that prevent items that are not in use from sucking up energy can make a huge difference in your energy consumption without cramping your lifestyle.

What can industry professionals do?

The home construction, insulation, and energy businesses can take simple steps to help this problem as well.

Home builders and construction companies need to set a new standard and stop doing the bare minimum. New construction needs to be focused on building efficient homes and buildings. Contractors should also be ready and willing to do energy retrofits for existing structures.

The energy industry must continue developing alternative renewable power sources like wind and solar. These incredible solutions save energy and money – so why are we not constantly moving in this direction?

We here at Affordable Comfort are passionate about our customers and their comfort – but we feel it is everyone’s responsibility to care about this planet and how our lifestyles affect the environment.


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Hot House in the Summer? Here's Why!

Published by Rease at 12:49 PM under Blog


We get a lot of calls during the summer months from people who are having comfort issues in their home. They complain that certain parts of the home are warmer than others. Many times we hear stories of homes where people cannot inhabit certain parts of their house due to the unbearable temperatures. We also hear that they set their thermostats at 70 or 72 degrees and the house never cools below 78 or 80; forcing the air conditioner to run continuously. So even with a hot home, these home owners are still receiving extra high  bills.

We find most of these problems are occurring in homes that are 1 1/2 stories or 2 stories. The second floor is usually the culprit. They often tell us that the inside temperature rises as much as 10 degrees from the first to the second floors.

Here are a few of the things we check:

  • What is the color of the roof? Darker colored roofs tend to radiate more heat. 
  • Is there any shading benefit from shade trees?
  • Is the roof is properly ventilated?
Attic (Including side attics)
  • What kind of insulation and how much?
  • Has the attic been air sealed?
The solutions usually include air sealing measures in the attic spaces, additional insulation and additional ventilation. Installation of Solar powered attic ventilators are trending well with homeowners that are having comfort issues upstairs.  

Don't spend the summer sweating indoors

If your home is constantly hot no matter how high you crank your air conditioner, your home is not running efficiently. If you don't address these problems, you'll spend the summer avoiding particularly hot areas of your home, sweating through the night, and paying extremely high energy bills. 
Give us a call and let us make a plan to make your home more comfortable and more efficient.
Affordable Comfort of Missouri and Illinois
(314) 209-8700



Progress: Thoughts from Affordable Comfort's CEO

Published by Admin at 2:27 PM under Blog



These are the words I have been living by for the past 6 months.

 I admit that in the last year I pulled away from the hands-on work and spent more and more time in the office working behind the scenes, but that changed about 6 months ago and I can honestly say that I feel happier with my company and myself.


 About 6 months ago, I started showing up to the warehouse early every morning to see my guys at work. I may be the boss, but I care about every single part of my business, down to the very last screw. And that is where I started, literally with a whole mess of screws.


We use a wide variety of different screws and nails and each one serves its own purpose. But they can hardly serve their purpose if we cannot find them. What I discovered in my warehouse was that these expensive and vital pieces of our business were being stored in unorganized heaps. Forget about searching for a needle in a haystack, can you imagine trying to hunt down a set of very specific screws while you are trying to get your truck loaded up to make it to the job site on time? So I sat down for a little bit each day, chipping away at this enormous organization task, all the while telling myself “Progress is doing what you have to do every day, plus a little bit more.” 


I realized our warehouse was not running efficiently. It would be easy for me to blame my workers, but I decided to get my hands dirty, helping load the trucks and getting the guys set up with everything they needed for the day’s jobs.


I quickly realized that after loading up a truck with heavy bags of insulation and equipment, I felt exhausted – and so did my guys. How could I expect them to go to the job site and work at full capacity when I myself was ready to take at nap by 8am?


“Leadership is making others better as a result of your presence and making sure the impact lasts in your absence”  - Sheryl Sandberg

Working alongside my employees helped me see the flaws within our system. Sure, the work was getting done, but we were certainly not taking the path of least resistance.


So, I brought in more help to load the trucks overnight. This way, when the workers arrive in the morning, their trucks will be ready to go. They can save their energy for the job site and give our customers even more energetic and higher quality service. Everyone wins.

My place as the owner of Affordable Comfort is and always will be wherever I am needed, whether it be behind a desk or in a warehouse. I live to improve upon our successful business, keeping customers and employees happy.