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

$50 Home Depot Giftcard Giveaway!

Published by Rease at 9:27 AM under Blog


We love giving our readers and customers tips on how to improve their home. While there are some things you should leave to experts here at Affordable Comfort, there are plenty of DIY fixes that impact on the comfort level of your home. 

Here are a couple of our past posts with some DIY Tips:

DIY Winter Repairs

How to Maximize Home Performance

Now let us help out with the costs!

Why not let Affordable Comfort take care of some of those Home Depot bills? We're giving away a $50 gift card to a lucky reader. All you have to do is follow the instructions on the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tags: , ,
Categories: Blog
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (2) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

Affordable Comfort Receives The Angie's List Super Service Award!

Published by Rease at 2:48 PM under

We are honored to have received the 2013 Angie's List Super Service Award!



We plan to continue to dedicate ourselves to our customers and hope to get another shiny badge for 2014 :)

Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

How Adding Insulation Can Save You Money

Published by Rease at 11:17 AM under Blog

Affordable Comfort is in the insulation business, but we are also very passionate about energy efficiency. While calls from unhappy homeowners needing more insulation may make our accountant happy, the cost to the environment weighs heavily upon us. We strive to educate the public about energy efficiency in hopes of preventing more inefficient homes from costing homeowners a fortune in energy bills and leaving massive carbon footprints.


We recently visited a brand new home in the St. Louis area. The amount of work this home needed was simply unacceptable considering it was just built.  We’d like to discuss some important things that came up during this house inspection as well as a few others.


Just because your home meets the code doesn’t mean it will be comfortable





Current codes are outdated. Most builders will only meet the absolute bare minimum, which, in our professional opinion, is simply not enough. For example, code states that when windows and doors account for less than 8% of the total wall area of your home, then the R-Value for attic insulation required to meet code would be R-30. While that may meet code, in the St. Louis Area the EnergyStar recommended R-Value for optimal energy efficiency is actually between R-38 and R-60.


Air sealing makes a huge difference

Even if your home has a good amount of insulation, unwanted airflow could lessen the effectiveness of that insulation.  A Blower Door Test allows us to quantify the number of air changes within a house.  EnergyStar standards are 6-9 air changes per hour at 50 Pascals. The home we worked on recently was brand new and had 13 air changes. This proves that the builder/contractor did nothing to air seal the home before installing insulation. This home will most likely stand for another 50-100 years and be sucking up much more energy than it should.


Insist that your builder go over your options

You do not have to allow contractors to do what they think is best. Insist that they go over your options for insulation and air sealing measures. Educate yourself so that you know the difference between “up to code” and “up to energy efficiency standards.”  Until the codes catch up to efficiency standards, it is up to the homeowners and builders to work together to build homes that will be comfortable and not drain too heavily on the environment.


Building smart has a net zero increase in cost

You may think that more insulation and more air sealing will end up costing you more out of pocket, but this is simply not true.  Let’s say you are building a house with a total home loan of $250,000. The initial costs of the additional insulation and air sealing measures will cost more, but you will be able to reduce the size of your HVAC equipment because the home will be much easier to heat and cool. If you add in LED lighting and EnergyStar rated appliances you may end up paying $50-$75 more per month on your mortgage, but your utility payments will be cut in half. So, in the end, you will actually be saving money each month and your home will be exponentially more comfortable.


We are always happy to answer your questions about energy efficiency. Give us a call or send us an email anytime.



Know Your Options for Insulation for New Construction

Published by Rease at 11:37 AM under Blog

If you are building a new home, it is very important to be aware of all your options for insulation before construction begins. Many people make the mistake of assuming their builders will know what is best, but this is rarely the case. Insulation and home construction are two different skill sets. Consider the fact that your builder may construct the walls, but he contracts electricians for the wiring and plumbers for the plumbing. Shouldn’t your new home’s insulation be completed by an expert in the field of insulation?

Builders are not Insulation Experts

Builders have taken on a DIY attitude when it comes to insulation. Fiberglass batt insulation (which most people know as the pink fluffy stuff) can be thrown up by basically anybody. Builders tend to take it upon themselves to purchase the bare minimum of this cheap and easy-to-install material and do not insulate pass the out-of-date building code minimums. The problem with this is that fiberglass insulation is not the best choice for every application in the home, and even when used in the proper areas (walls), if the insulation is not installed properly, your energy bills will suffer.

Cheap insulation does not save you money in the long run

No matter how fancy your new home is or how robust your heating and cooling system is, an under-insulated home will still be drafty in the winter and hot in the summer. All that money you saved on buying that budget insulation for your new home will be quickly eaten away by your high energy bills.

Consider your carbon footprint

Some builders will argue that the average home owner will only stay in a home for 7 years, meaning the money spent on better insulation will not necessarily be paid back through energy bill savings. This line of thinking is selfish in the terms of our planet. Why build a home that will leave a larger carbon footprint simply for the sake of keeping your initial construction budget low? The home you build today may very well still be standing 100 years from now; should the environment continue to suffer for the sake of saving an arguably small amount of money?

Our job is to educate everyone about the options

Most homeowners are not even given options when it comes to the type or quantity of insulation in their homes. We consider it our job to help educate people about the options available. We also hope to work more closely with builders to encourage them to show homeowners side-by-side comparisons of the benefits of effectiveness of each type of insulation. Homeowners should not have to settle for whatever the builder is capable of installing when experts such as ourselves are well-prepared to explain the options and get the job done properly.





DIY Winter Home Repairs

Published by Admin at 3:14 PM under Blog

Winter is rolling in quickly, and with winter comes hefty heat bills and chilly homes.  You have most likely already begun to feel the icy air creeping through your windows and you may have already kicked on the heat. During winter months, gas and electric companies raise their prices for energy use, so you can expect to receive some pretty large bills if you go overboard cranking up the heat. Of course, no one wants to shiver while sitting on the couch, so what can you do to stay warm without tossing bundles of money into the furnace?


There are many home projects, large and small, that can increase your home's energy efficiency during the winter months. In this article we'll outline some simple Do-it-yourself winter home repairs that will have you feeling cozier right away. If your home is in need of a little more than some DIY love, we can help you with that as well.


Before we dive into the DIY tips, take a look at this video so you can learn how to do a quick Home Performance Check and assess your home's needs:



Now let's try some quick fixes that will make a big difference on your heating bills.


1.  Get a window insulation kit -  These bare bones kits are widely available at hardware stores and they are a very good value. The kits include plastic and sealing tape so you can cover your windows with plastic, keeping the cold air out and the warm air in. These disposable treatments are a great way to hold your home over until you can afford to replace those drafty windows.


2. Buy a caulk gun - Caulk guns are an inexpensive tool that you should definitely buy if you don't have one already. Spend a few hours canvassing your home to seal up cracks, gaps, and voids around the house. The best place to start is in your basement. If you see daylight peeking through into your home, seal it up with caulk and block cold air.


3. Invest in a programmable thermostat - Does your home really need to be at 67 degrees 24/7? I doubt it. Chances are, there are times when no one is home, or everyone is bundled up in bed, so why are you wasting money on blasting the heat? Programmable Thermostats allow you to set a schedule so that the temperature automatically adjusts throughout the day. The very popular Nest Thermostat will only cost you around $250 and it can be controlled through your smart phone. That means you can use your phone on your way home from work to tell your heater to get your house nice and toasty just in time for your arrival. That is a seriously convenient and budget-friendly piece of equipment! Installing a programmable thermostat can save you between 10%-15% on your heating/cooling costs.


If you are looking to boost that 10%-15% savings to 25%-30% total energy savings, it's time to consider updating your home's insulation. Insulation is a sound investment that will immediately improve the comfort level in your home and pay itself off quickly through energy bill savings. Take a look at our Price Quote Calculator and get a price quote within minutes and without any obligation or sales pitch.





Categories: Blog
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

How To Maximize Home Performance

Published by Rease at 6:08 PM under Blog

Most of you are off to a good start with living “Green”. You have switched over to energy efficient light bulbs, sealed up some of the cracks around the house, and you are recycling. These are great steps, as you are beginning to understand the value of reducing, reusing and conserving. Now it’s time for you to move to the next level. There is so much more that you can do at home. We are here to help simplify the process.
Home performance can be confusing, you are seeing so many new and great ideas popping up everywhere and are be being pulled in many different directions, this can be overwhelming. The question is:

Where to Begin?

Affordable Comfort is here to help. We have sorted things out and put them into 3 easy-to-understand categories:

1-Thermal Boundary


3 - Baseload

Organizing your efforts this way will be less confusing and help simplify the process.  Please allow us to explain these categories in a little more detail.

Thermal Boundary

The thermal boundary consists of a continuous air barrier and plenty of insulation.


HVAC equipment includes the furnace, air conditioner, and ventilation. 


The Baseload items include the appliances, electronics, lighting, and water.
Everything that impacts the home’s energy use can be neatly put into one of these three categories. It really is that simple! Armed with this knowledge, you are ready to get started.


First things first, you will need to do an audit to check your current situation, then develop a management plan to address problem areas.
Lets start with understanding the thermal boundary. The thermal boundary consists of a continuous air barrier and plenty of insulation. You need to close up all the unintentional holes and make sure you have enough of the right kind of insulation. This thermal envelope includes your attic, walls and floors, and, if applicable, the basement and crawl space.
You need to take some time to inspect each of these areas carefully. In most cases, the builder did not make sure that everything was airtight and they probably did not install insulation to exceed building codes. Unfortunately, up until very recently the building code only called for R-30 in the attic.
The Department of Energy recommends we build up to R-49 or even R-60. 
So you can see that most homes have half the insulation required to achieve optimal efficiency, and if your home is more than 15 years old it may be less than that because insulation can settle over time and have a diminished R-Value. The same can be said for the basement, walls, floors, and crawl space. You will need to carefully check all these areas.
Next, you will need take a look at your HVAC equipment. Technology has made a tremendous impact on the efficiency of Heating and Cooling equipment in the past 20 years. So if your home has older equipment it may be time to consider a newer and more efficient model. Many older furnace units are 70-80% efficient (if they are running at their peak performance). That means 20-30% of the fuel cost is wasted right from the start.  Newer units run at up to 95% efficient, so they save 25% or more on heating cost.  These same principles apply to our air conditioning units. This is why you need to check out your systems so that you know how efficiently they are operating.   
Up until the point that you are ready to invest in new equipment you need to keep your current equipment maintained, this will help to keep it running at peak efficiency. We recommend a once a year cleaning and checkup. This will save you money and can prevent the 911 service call on the hottest day of the year.
Finally we will finish up with the baseload items. These items consist of the electronics, appliances, lighting and water. Technology has really come a long way with helping manufacturers produce energy efficient appliances and electronic equipment.The Energy Star program makes it easy for us to know what models to choose.

The good news is that you can do much of the baseload improvements yourself. 


There are a few small investments you can make that will help lower your baseload energy usage. For example, paying more for a CFL light bulb as opposed to the cheaper, inefficient bulbs will actually save you money both in usage and product costs, as these bulbs use less energy and last several years.  You can also purchase Smart Powerstrips. Many electronics such as stereos and computers use electricity even when powered off. Smart Powerstrips make sure these devices don't suck up power unnecessarily.  Lastly, you can upgrade older appliances to EnergyStar rated products, which are much more efficient and waste less energy. We need to take a survey of these items to identify the opportunities to increase efficiency.
Achieving optimal home performance does not need to be a complicated or expensive task. You can start saving money right away by taking care of a few things on your own, such as lowering baseload and cleaning/servicing your appliances. For bigger jobs, such as insulation, we are here to help.


Categories: Blog
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

How Regular AC Service Will Save You Money

Published by Rease at 6:02 PM under Blog

Would you drive your car for an entire year without getting an oil change? I doubt it. Most people understand that paying for a regular check up keeps their car in good working order and avoids costly repairs and untimely breakdowns. AC service works in the same way. The difference is, AC tune ups won't just save you money in the long run, they could very well start saving you money right away. 


Spring Cleaning AC Service - now is the time!

 There are certain temperature constraints when it comes to serving your AC. In order for the check-up to be accurate, the outside temperature can't be much lower than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Spring provides the perfect window of opportunity - the winter chill is gone and the summer heat has yet to arrive. Now is the time to call up an HVAC tech to take a look at your AC and make sure everything is running smoothly.

What Does the Check Up Involve?

First, the tech will thoroughly clean your AC. You'd be surprised how great an effect dust can have on your AC's performance. Let's say your AC's fan is meant to run at 1500 cubic feet per minute. Even a thin layer of dust could cause the fan to slow down to 1400 cubic feet per minute, all the while using more power to give you less results.
The tech will also use meters to check several parts within your AC. While some components may still be functioning, that doesn't mean they are operating at their full potential. Sometimes components are slightly off, which means that before long, that component will simply cease to work. If your tech can spot the problem early on, you'll save money on the service call. More importantly, you'll avoid that horribly stressful (and expensive) 911 call on the hottest day of the summer when your house is full of both sides of the family. Don't you think a little tune-up is worth avoiding that disaster?

Let Affordable Comfort Make It Easy

We really want everyone to have a comfortable summer without spending a fortune on energy bills. Give us a call and we will get your AC all cleaned up and working at peak efficiency.



Installing Insulation: When to Update and How to Do it

Published by Rease at 5:51 PM under Blog

Much like every other part of your home, insulation needs an occasional update. All types of insulation hold their original R-Value for about 15 years. Remember, R-Value is a measurement of thermal resistance or heat transfer. The higher R-value a building has, the more resistant it will be to heat flow.
Insulation will maintain its R-Value for around 15 years as long as it was properly installed. That means that insulation installed at 10" will sink down to around 6" after those 15 years. If the contractors cheated a bit, the R-Value will have sunk even lower.

How Do Contractors Cheat?

Some contractors may fluff up the insulation more than it should be, which makes the attic look nice and full, for a short period of time. However, within a few weeks, the fluffed-up insulation will settle down quite a bit, leaving you with significantly less insulation than you need. This little trick saves the contractors money on material costs, while you get charged for the full amount. You can check on your attic a few weeks after installing insulation, but chances are you wouldn't even know what to look for. It's best to use a contractor you trust.

How will diminished R-Value affect the efficiency of my home? 

Insulation that has settled will still have some R-Value, but the lower the R-Value, the less efficient your insulation will be. Updating your insulation will help keep your heat in during the winter and your cool air in during the summer without making your heating and cooling systems work overtime, which will cost you big time on your energy bills.

Can I just add more insulation on top of what I already have?

While you can simply top off your insulation to get back up to the proper R-Value, it is not the recommended route. The downside of using this technique is that attics have a limited amount of space, which limit the capacity for insulation. Leaving the old insulation in will limit your ability to get to a higher R-Value. Another downside is that the old insulation will be dirty. This dirt can be brought into the house, polluting the air in your home.

What's the best solution?

 The most effective solution would be our Hybrid System. This system uses a combination of spray foam (which will never settle) and cellulose. This system will last for 25 years or more. If the Hybrid System is not for you, you will need to remove your old insulation and install new insulation every 15 years.



How to Be Energy Efficient

Published by Rease at 5:42 PM under Blog

There are so many ways to improve your home, whether it is during new construction or after construction has been completed. There are simple, inexpensive ways to make your home more efficient, which will not only save you money on your utility bills, but also minimize your carbon footprint. Here are a few tips on how to be energy efficient.

Let's break it down.

The four basic categories we need to look at are: insulation, air sealing, HVAC, and baseload. We'll take a look at what we can do to help, as well as what you can do on your own. All these steps will get you well on your way to a more energy efficient home with lower utility bills.

Insulation and Air Sealing

Over the past 20 years, Affordable Comfort has made over 10,000 homes more energy efficient. Of those 10,000, we can count on one hand how many houses had the proper amount of insulation installed before we began working on them. Chances are, your home could use a serious insulation update. The issue is, building codes are not really up to par with what would make your home energy efficient. The builders rarely want to go the extra mile and spend the extra money to provide your home with quality insulation.
It's the same story for air sealing. You may notice that certain areas of your home are draftier than others. Many people write this off as something that cannot be helped, but that is far from true. If you invest in updating the insulation and air sealing in your attic, you will feel an immediate difference in your home's comfort level. Plus, you'll see lower bills within the first billing cycle after your repairs.
Band sill insulation is another area of your home that has a very high return on investment. Band sills are the set of boards that sit on top of a foundation wall and run around the house. To better insulate band sills, we use a closed-cell 2-part spray foam insulation.



HVAC equipment often comes with the home and simply sits there until it ceases to work. Just because your air conditioner, heater, water heater, etc is functioning, does not mean it is functioning efficiently. HVAC equipment generally has an expiration date of around 20 years, so if you are nearing that mark, you should take a look at how your equipment is functioning. You may want to consider updating appliances early and switching to something with the Energy Star logo, which guarantees a more energy-friendly system. If you don't have the extra room in the budget to replace everything at once, start replacing one or two appliances per year. The return on investment you see from the new Energy Star rated appliances will most certainly help fund any further updates.

What is baseload?


 Baseload is any energy use outside of heating and cooling. Basically, this is the amount of energy you use in your home during the months that neither your air conditioner nor heater is in use. Things such as refrigerators, lighting, small appliances and water heating are combined to create your baseload. Lowering your baseload will, of course, lower your energy use overall, so it's a good idea to take steps towards lowering it. The good news? Lowering your baseload is easy to do on your own.
Once again, switching to Energy Star rated appliances will be a huge help. You can also install energy efficient lighting in place of incandescent light bulbs. In fact, this will soon be mandated and incandescent light bulbs will cease to be manufactured, so you might as well switch over now. To save on water heater costs, you can lower your water heater by a few degrees and install low-flow showerheads and faucets. You will most likely barely notice a difference in your showers, but you will be saving a significant amount of money on water and water heating costs. Even installing a simple insulation blanket around your water heater will have a noticeable impact on efficiency.

What else can you do?

Outside of lowering your baseload, you can also make some simple air sealing changes to help keep conditioned air within your home. Visit your local hardware store and pick up some sealing supplies, then seal up your windows and doors throughout your home. You'll notice that the air near these windows are doors will feel similar to the air in the rest of your home. The sealing keeps the conditioned air in, and the outside air out.
If you are serious about becoming more energy efficient and aren't sure where to begin, give us a call. We can come out to your home and perform an energy audit that will let you know exactly where your home stands, as well as make recommendations. No obligations. Give us a call at 314-209-8700 or send us an email at





YouthBuild Training Program - Giving Young People a Second Chance

Published by Rease at 5:38 PM under Blog

YouthBuild USA has programs around the nation, but Affordable Comfort has a special relationship with the St. Louis chapter, as we currently employee three graduates from the program. We truly believe in this wonderful association and would like to get the word out about it.
YouthBuild is a program that accepts young men and women who might have had a rough time in life. They may be high school dropouts, or simply young people who are having a hard time getting started in the professional world. YouthBuild welcomes these young people into their program and gives them the skills they need to land a good job.
The YouthBuild program focuses on construction-related specialties such as weatherization, BPI, OSHA, and lead safe training. The hands-on training gives the students the skills they need to work in the industry, but the directors take it a few steps further. Young people in this program are also taught about the importance of reliability, respect, and other important life skills. YouthBuild recognizes that their students need to be stand up citizens as well as skilled workmen in order to start their career.

So what are people saying about?

"These guys are polite, that's refreshing," says David Femmer, owner of Affordable Comfort.
Femmer goes on to explain how Affordable Comfort got involved with this program and how it continues to be a trusted source for great employees. "We took 3 or 4 of these guys right away. One of the original guys we got from YouthBuild is now part of our management team."
When asked if he ever worried about the stereotypes surrounding a program that helps at-risk youth, Femmer shook his head and said, "YouthBuild doesn't send anyone they don't believe in. I can put them on the job right away."

How do YouthBuild participants feel about it?

Affordable Comfort currently employs 3 YouthBuild graduates, Rafael, Matthew, and Ricardo.
"I think YouthBuild is an extraordinary program. There are stereotypes about the program, some might say that they're trouble kids. Instead, they're just young men and women who need help," says Rafael.
"They are more close knit and everyone is family there. Youthbuild has a lot to do with where I'm at in my life today. YouthBuild gave me many opportunities that I would not have received anywhere else. They taught me the leadership and life skills that will take me where I want to be in life. Honestly, I don't know where I would be if I was never a part of YouthBuild," adds Ricardo.
"They believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. They showed me it's OK to makes mistakes, that you can you fix them and, in a way I always knew I could do different things I just needed a little push and now I cant stop!" says Matthew.

This program really works.

This program shatters all the stereotypes that accompany at-risk youth. These men prove that with the right training and motivation, lives can be turned around and put back on track. Affordable Comfort is proud to employ YouthBuild graduates and will continue to look to them for quality employees.

Categories: Blog
Actions: E-mail | Permalink | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed