Attic - Walls - Floors - Basement - Crawl Space - Insulation
Jan122013

Home Tax Credit Extended

Published by Admin at 5:36 PM under Blog

 

As tax season comes into full swing, many of you are probably looking for any tax breaks you can get. The great news is a home tax credit that was valid through 2012 was just extended through 2013. Homeowners can claim up to $500 in tax credit to cover material costs of energy-efficient upgrades to existing homes. This means that homeowners who made these upgrades during 2012 are also eligible for the credit, along with anyone who wishes to upgrade their home during 2013.  
Great news!
 

 So what does it cover?

 The tax credit can be applied to any of the following upgrades:
  •    Insulation - Additional insulation to walls, ceilings, or other part of the building envelope that meets the 2009 IECC (& supplements) specifications.
  • Windows - 10% of material cost, up to $200 for replacement windows and skylights, and exterior doors that meet EnergyStar requirements.
    • Windows must be equal to or below a 0.30 U factor and a Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) of 0.30. Storm windows that meet the IECC in combination with their paired external window are eligible (taking into account the applicable climate zone). Storm doors paired with U-factor rated wood doors are eligible provided they do not exceed the default U-factor requirement for the combination. See the 2009 IECC for details.
  • Window Films -The product must meet the requirements of a "qualifying insulation system" and be manufacturer certified.
  •   Home Sealing - Sealing cracks in the building shell and ducts to reduce infiltration and heat loss in a manner consistent with the 2009 IECC.
  • Electric Heat Pump - Must yield an energy factor of at least 2.0 in the standard Department of Energy test procedure.
  • Natural Gas & Propane Furnaces - Credit of up to $150 for furnaces that meet an Annual Fuel Use Efficiency (AFUE) 95 or higher. Oil furnaces and gas, oil and propane boilers must meet an AFUE of 90 or better.
  • Central air Conditioning Units and Air-Source Heat Pumps - Credit of up to $300 for units that meet the highest tier standards set by the Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) as of February 17, 2009, which in most cases requires a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 16.
  • Natural Gas, Propane, or Oil Water Heaters - Must have an energy factor of at least 0.82 or thermal efficiency of at least 90 percent.
  • Biomass Fuel Property - A stove that burns biomass fuel to heat a dwelling unit located in the United States and used as a principal residence by the taxpayer; or to heat water for said dwelling unit, and must have a thermal efficiency rating of at least 75 percent.
 

What if I already upgraded?

 
If you made any of these upgrades during 2012, you can claim the $500 tax credit on your 2012 tax return. Just tell your tax preparer that this is listed under section 25C of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
 

How can this help during 2013?

 

The tax credit can only be claimed once, so if you plain to claim it on your 2012 taxes, you will not be able to use it again in 2013. However, if you were on the fence about any energy-efficient upgrades before, this should certainly push you in the right direction.
 
Energy efficient upgrades already have a very high return on investment, as they lower your utility costs and eventually pay for themselves. Now, thanks to this tax credit, you can speed up that return on investment quite a bit. If you make any of the eligible upgrades during 2013, you can expect up to $500 back from your 2013 tax return. Not a bad deal, right?
 

So how do I know what I need?

 
You can leave that up to us. We can take a look at your home and figure out exactly what you need to make your home more energy efficient. We can also help make sure that any and all upgrades are eligible for this particular tax credit. Just give us a call at 877-526-3202 or send us an email at info@affordablecomfort.bi

Jan072013

Are Your Heating Your Home or The Neighborhood?

Published by Paul at 3:26 PM under

With the first snow falling just a couple weeks ago, we think it's safe to say that winter is upon us.

Snow is actually a great way to figure out whether your are simply heating your home or all the air around it.

Take a look at these photos:

 

 

These photos were both taken 2 days after the snow had originally fallen. The first photo is the home of an Affordable Comfort employee. The second photo shows his neighbor's home. Each house sits in direct sunlight, on the same street - so why is one roof still covered in snow two days after the original snowfall?

That's the difference insulation can make. 

Thanks to proper insulation, home #1 is staying nice and toasty on the inside without letting all the expensive heat escape through the roof. Home #2 is paying much more money just to keep the same comfort level as home #1, simply because their insulation is not up to standards.

There is a good chance your insulation could use an update.

Chances are, the residents of home #2 feel pretty comfortable and haven't put much thought into their home's insulation in years. Their home may feel warm, which gives the impression of a properly insulated home. However, a quick look at these pictures shows that their insulation is not working as well as it could.

So what does your roof look like?

If the snow melted off your home in no time after the last snowfall - it's time for an insulation update. Give us a call and we'll take a look. With all the financial incentive programs paired with the return on investment you will see on your lower utility bills, the repairs may ring up to a very reasonable rate.

Give us a call at 1-877-526-3203 or send us an email at info@affordablecomfort.biz.


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Nov202012

Get Home Insulation At Almost No Cost to You

Published by Rease at 5:34 PM under

Updating your home insulation can greatly benefit both your comfort level and your wallet. Not only will your home be easier to heat and cool, your utility bills will cost you significantly less. Sounds pretty good, right? What if you could get those repairs for without paying any money upfront?
 

Laclede Gas Is Making That Possible

 Right now, Laclede Gas has an incredible incentive program that allows you to update your home insulation and not have to pay for it upfront. It may sound too good to be true, but this program practically pays for itself.

Here's how it works

Laclede gas will lend you up to $2000 for home insulation repairs, which will usually cover all the work needed. Then, you pay back the loan at a very low interest rate of 3% on your Laclede Gas bill.
 
Thanks to the improvements to your home, your gas bill will most likely be the same as it was before, if not lower, even with the added 3% interest. That means you can get new home insulation without spending any more money than you already do!
 

How can Affordable Comfort help you?

 As a BPI certified and preferred contractor working with Laclede Gas, we can provide the home energy audit you need to get a quote on the improvements your home needs. We can then take care of those repairs and help you apply for the financing program that will allow you to get all that work at no upfront cost to you. We realize that this may seem a little too good to be true, but we are happy to talk with you about it in more detail anytime. Feel free to give us a call at 877-526-3202 or send us an email at info@affordablecomfort.biz.

Nov142012

Laclede Gas Energy Rebate Program

Published by Rease at 5:16 PM under Blog

We have great news for anyone looking to save money on their utility bills. Laclede Gas currently has a High Efficiency Rebate Program that will allow you to make improvements on your home at little or no cost to you. Here's how the energy rebate works:

1. You apply for rebates for purchasing energy-efficient items such as gas furnaces, gas boilers, thermostats, and water heaters.
2. If you qualify, Laclede Gas will send rebate checks to help cover the costs.
3. You save money on your utility bills! 

Here's a quick look at some of the available rebates:

Gas Furnaces: $150-$200
Gas Boilers: $25
Electronic Programmable setback thermostat: $50
Gas Storage Water Heaters: $50-$125
Gas Water Heater: $200
 

 

 

Where can you buy qualifying appliances?

 You can get your energy efficient water heaters, furnaces, thermostats, etc right from Affordable Comfort. We can help you pick out the appliances that will not only make your home more comfortable, but also qualify for these great rebates. . Plus, after we install them, we're happy to help you apply for the rebates that will save you money.

So how do you apply?

 Print out this application.

  Mail it here:

EFI - Laclede Gas Rebate

40 Washington Street

Suite 2000

Westborough, MA 01581

 

The application does not take long to fill out and, if you qualify, you will basically get some extra cash just for increasing the value of your home and saving money on your utility bills. This program certainly makes going green easier.

 


Oct152012

Welcome to BlogEngine.NET 2.8

Published by Admin at 10:00 AM under

If you see this post it means that BlogEngine.NET 2.8 is running and the hard part of creating your own blog is done. There is only a few things left to do.

Write Permissions

To be able to log in to the blog and writing posts, you need to enable write permissions on the App_Data folder. If your blog is hosted at a hosting provider, you can either log into your account’s admin page or call the support. You need write permissions on the App_Data folder because all posts, comments, and blog attachments are saved as XML files and placed in the App_Data folder. 

If you wish to use a database to to store your blog data, we still encourage you to enable this write access for an images you may wish to store for your blog posts.  If you are interested in using Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, SQL CE, or other databases, please see the BlogEngine wiki to get started.

Security

When you've got write permissions to the App_Data folder, you need to change the username and password. Find the sign-in link located either at the bottom or top of the page depending on your current theme and click it. Now enter "admin" in both the username and password fields and click the button. You will now see an admin menu appear. It has a link to the "Users" admin page. From there you can change the username and password.  Passwords are hashed by default so if you lose your password, please see the BlogEngine wiki for information on recovery.

Configuration and Profile

Now that you have your blog secured, take a look through the settings and give your new blog a title.  BlogEngine.NET 2.8 is set up to take full advantage of of many semantic formats and technologies such as FOAF, SIOC and APML. It means that the content stored in your BlogEngine.NET installation will be fully portable and auto-discoverable.  Be sure to fill in your author profile to take better advantage of this.

Themes, Widgets & Extensions

One last thing to consider is customizing the look of your blog.  We have a few themes available right out of the box including two fully setup to use our new widget framework.  The widget framework allows drop and drag placement on your side bar as well as editing and configuration right in the widget while you are logged in.  Extensions allow you to extend and customize the behaivor of your blog.  Be sure to check the BlogEngine.NET Gallery at dnbegallery.org as the go-to location for downloading widgets, themes and extensions.

On the web

You can find BlogEngine.NET on the official website. Here you'll find tutorials, documentation, tips and tricks and much more. The ongoing development of BlogEngine.NET can be followed at CodePlex where the daily builds will be published for anyone to download.  Again, new themes, widgets and extensions can be downloaded at the BlogEngine.NET gallery.

Good luck and happy writing.

The BlogEngine.NET team


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Oct092012

What is Spray Foam?

Published by Rease at 5:14 PM under Blog

Many people have begun to hear the word spray foam as a buzzword in the insulation industry. This high-quality insulation is great for many applications and in some cases can be very cost effective. However, it's important to know what you are buying and in which situations this high-performance insulation makes sense.
 
 

What is Spray Foam?

 

This polyurethane foam is an expanding substance. It sprays on thin and expands to create a barrier. Open cell foam will expand more than closed cell, but that does not necessarily mean one is better than the other.
 
Closed cell foam only expands a little bit, but it creates an airtight barrier. It acts as an air barrier, thermal insulator, and moisture boundary. This type of spray foam is great for ceilings, but not for roofs. When used for roofs, it can trap moisture from leaks and condensate, which will lead to mold growth.
 
Open cell foam expands much more than closed cell because it is not airtight. The open cell foam allows air and moisture to travel through it, making this foam ideal for attic or roof decking. Instead of trapping the moisture like a closed cell foam would, this type of foam allows the moisture to travel through and dissipate, preventing rotting.
 

When Should Spray Foam Be Used?

 
Spray foam is an expensive material, so you certainly do not want to spend money on it unless you are going to see a return on your investment. Spray foam is great for new construction, or modifying homes in areas such as the ceiling, attic, or roof. Due to the high cost of the material, it is best to combine the foam with another type of insulation. Affordable Comfort created a Hybrid System that uses a small amount of spray foam paired with Cellulose insulation. This system allows you to get the high performance benefits of the foam without breaking the bank. If you were to insulate your entire home in spray foam, the cost would be too high to ever see a return on your large investment.
 

When Shouldn't Spray Foam Be Used?

 
Spray foam should not be used exclusively to insulate an entire home, due to the aforementioned high cost issues. You also wouldn't want to add spray foam directly on top of existing insulation.
 
Overall, spray foam is an excellent choice for insulating a structure. It is just important to know when and how to use it, as well as how much should be used in order to save money without sacrificing results. We here at Affordable Comfort are more than happy to walk you through the process.

 

 


Sep132012

Weatherization Program for Low Income Families

Published by Rease at 4:59 PM under Blog

 The US Department of Energy's Weatherization Assistance Program is free improvement program for low-income households - and Affordable Comfort is proud to be apart of it.
 

 

 This program allows us to provide valuable weatherization services at no cost to the households that truly need it. Many homes can benefit greatly from the weatherization work we do to improve the insulation of the house. These measures will allow your home to heat and cool more effectively, which can save you hundreds on your utility bills.

So what do we do?

If you qualify for the Weatherization Program in our area of service, we'll come out to your home, inspect it, and make a plan for repairs. We'll take care of all those pesky air drafts, update your insulation, and ensure your furnace and water heating are running safely. In the end, you'll find our home is much more comfortable in every season of the year, and your utility bills will be significantly lower.

Remember, this program is FREE for those who qualify, absolutely all weatherization labor and materials are provided free of charge through federal fundin

Who qualifies?

Qualification depends on the size of your household and total household income. Here is a basic chart:

 
Size of family      Total income
1                           $22,340

2                           $30,260

3                           $38, 180

4                           $46,100

5                           $54,020

6                           $61,940

7                           $69,860

8                           $77, 780

Each additional member adds $7,920

How to Apply

Call 314-446-4436 or go to www.dnr.mo.gov.mowxworks

 


Sep042012

What is Spray Foam Insulation?

Published by Rease at 4:53 PM under Blog

We here at Affordable Comfortable offer very high quality BASF Spraytite 178 series spray foam. You may be wondering exactly what spray foam insulation is and what the benefits are - allow us to explain!

 

 

The polyurethane foam is an expanding substance. It sprays on thin and expands to create an airtight barrier, which not only insulates your home, but also acts as a pest barrier. This type of foam is a 2-part foam, meaning two ingredients are sprayed together to create a chemical reaction that causes the insulation to expand and seal tightly.

 

What makes spray foam different from other insulation types?

 Spray foam is an incredibly high-performance insulation with an R-value of 6.7 per inch. To give you some context, the next best insulation material, cellulose, has an R-value of 3.8 per inch. The combination of these two insulations makes our hybrid system both affordable and effective. If we were to use only spray foam to achieve the desired R-value, the cost would be significantly more, and would take several more years to pay itself off. The hybrid system, on the other hand, involves a base coat of the high-performance spray foam, which is then topped off with the cellulose insulation. This system gives you the quality materials you need to take care of your home without digging too deeply into your pockets. On average, customers pay back their investment through utility bills savings within 2 years.

 Is it safe?

Spray foam is very safe for you and the environment. The blowing agent used with spray foam is certified to have zero ozone depleting qualities. This insulation also blocks moisture, which protects your home from dangerous mold growth. The material itself is non-fibrous, so it won't come apart and irritate your skin like the old fiberglass you might already have in your home.

Another added bonus you get with spray foam is that it actually asks as a structural enhancement for your home. Once the foam dries, it hardens and strengthens the beams in your home, which can help protect from storm damage.

Spray foam can be used in a variety of spaces within your home such as walls (during new construction), band sills, floors/crawlspaces, foundation walls, craw space walls, attic floors, and knee walls in the attic. It's also great for filling in odd spaces where air may be leaking. Spray foam is a superior insulation that can protect and enhance your home, while still holding up to our high standards for environmentally safe materials as it causes no damage to the ozone layer. Plus, it eventually pay for itself in utility bills savings! It's win-win all around.

 

 


Aug132012

What is R Value?

Published by Rease at 4:30 PM under Blog

 The term “R value” gets thrown around a lot when discussing construction, building materials, heating and cooling systems, and insulation. Everyone loves to tell you about their R Value, but if you don’t know what it means, what good is that information to you? Allow us to explain.

 

 

Quick definition

 
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. Building materials such as metal or glass have a low R value, while insulation has a much higher value.
 

Why should I be concerned about R Value?

 
As the definition states, the higher R value your home has, the more resistant it is to heat flow. Basically, a higher R value means better temperature regulation in your home and thus lower utility bills. Sadly, many builders only meet the bare minimum, so while they may try to impress you by throwing out arbitrary numbers, it’s important to recognize the difference between “standard procedure” R value and optimal R value.
 

How is R Value calculated?

 
R value is calculated based on the material. For insulation, the calculations are as follows:
 
Cellulose: 3.5 per inch
Fiberglass: 2.8 per inch
Rockwool: 3.2 per inch
Vermicullite: 2.7 per inch.
 
So, if you have 10 inches of fiberglass, you have an R value of 28.
 
Cellulose:
 

 

Fiberglass:                     

                                                                                                     

 

So what’s a good R value?

 
The “bare minimum” R value is R 38. However, based on our experience, we have found that most homes are only working with R 15. Sadly, neither of these values are what would be considered optimal. The optimal value varies by location, but in the St. Louis area, the recommended R value for optimal performance is between R45 and R60.
 
Chances are your home was built with the bare minimum and has since deteriorated down to R15 or lower. By bringing your R value up to optimal performance standards, you will be enhancing your home’s ability to regulate temperature, which means much lower utility bills and a more comfortable home.
 
Still not sure? Take a look at our online quote calculator and get a quote within 5 minutes. No obligation, just information!

 

 

 


Aug092012

Is Do-It-Yourself Attic Insulation a Good Idea?

Published by Rease at 4:21 PM under Blog

 

If you’ve decided to tackle your attic insulation issues to save money on your heating and cooling costs, you’re on the right track. Attics are very connected to your home and are often to blame for excess energy loss that ends up costing you more money on your utility bill.

Should I try DIY Attic Insulation or hire a professional?

There are plenty of people out there who are perfectly capable of fixing things around the house. When it comes to repairing a broken door hinge or fixing a leaky faucet, there is nothing wrong with doing it yourself. However, when the leak you are fixing is related you’re your insulation, the process can become a little more complicated. You’ll need to do an energy audit to figure out just how efficient or inefficient your current insulation installation is, check all your window and door seals, and perhaps even investigate the possibility of your insulation pumping polluted air into your home.
 

Tricky for you, business as usual for us

 

All of those steps can be difficult and a bit daunting for even the most seasoned do-it-yourselfers, but we here at Affordable Comfort are experienced experts. We’ve been in this business since 1993. We know exactly where to look and what to look for when it comes to the analysis process of installing attic insulation. We can streamline the process and have your new insulation installed in as little as one day. That’s right, one day and you’ll be on your way to lower utility costs, a greener home, and cleaner air.

 

What about the costs?

 If you are worried about the cost of hiring a professional to take care of your insulation woes, we can help. You can use our Online Audit Calculator and get a dollar amount within minutes. All you need to do is answer a few questions and you’ll have your quote without having to deal with any pushy salesmen. If you decide to go forward with your insulation installation, all you have to do is submit your quote to us at the end of the calculation and we’ll get in touch with you right away. So why go through the hassle of trying to do it yourself when we can make it so easy? Get your quick quote right now!