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Keep Your Home Cool This Summer

Here are some ways to beat the heat this summer, with a few key improvements that will not only improve the efficiency of your home but also save money and energy from Tom Kraeutler.

Attic insulation

* Adding attic insulation isn’t something you might think to do in summer, but doing so can help keep hot attic air out of your house as well as save energy year-round.

* Seal all duct seams to keep that hard-earned cool air from escaping into dead ends. As much as 20% of circulating air is lost to leaks and faulty connections.

* Now’s the time to get your central air conditioning system serviced for optimum summertime efficiency. Even if it seems to cool well, low-refrigerant levels may mean it needs to run longer to do the same job cooling your house, which raises cooling costs significantly. After servicing, help your AC system keep up the cool by changing filters at least once a month.

* Use a programmable thermostat to sync home comfort with your household’s summer routines. Set it for a higher temperature when you’re away from the house, and program the cooling to begin about an hour before you’re due to arrive home.

Read more tips here

Henges Insulation & Fireplaces is dedicated to providing professional service to homeowners, builders and commercial contractors in the KC Metro and surrounding areas. We assist with choosing the proper insulation or finding the fireplace that fits your lifestyle. Our certified professionals then install your product at a fair price. We can help you save on energy costs, conserve energy, and make a valuable investment in your home.

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Home Issues And Solutions

Residential Energy Services Network has put together a list of home problems and solutions. Use these steps to make your home more energy efficient and significantly lower energy costs.

Home Issues And Solutions

image credit RESN
  1. Drafty Rooms
    • Possible causes:
      • Cold air leaking into your house around windows, doors, electrical outlets and light fixtures
      • Biggest culprits for leaking air include the attic and recessed lights
    • Solutions:
      • Air sealing 
      • Check out your HVAC system – your filter may need changing
  2. Moisture on Windows
    • Possible causes:
      • Inefficient windows (e.g., single pane with aluminum frames)
      • Inadequate ventilation combined with high moisture
    • Solutions:
      • Reduce humidity levels in your home by using ventilation fans in the kitchen and bathrooms
      • Make sure your clothes dryer vents directly outside
      • Install storm windows or ENERGY STAR labeled ones
      • Install a shrink film or a polyethylene sheet window insulation
  3. Cold Floors
    • Possible causes:
      • Insufficient insulation
      • Air infiltration
      • Leaky ducts
    • Solutions:
      • Air sealing
      • Improved insulation
      • Check your HVAC system to make sure it’s functioning properly or if the filter needs changing
  4. Dry Indoor Air
  • Possible causes:
    • Humidity levels are too low
    • HVAC system not functioning properly
    • Air leakage, which lets warm humid air escape and draws in drier, colder air instead
  • Solutions:
    • Set proper humidity levels in your home (between 30%-50%)
    • Seal all air leaks

Henges Insulation & Fireplaces in Olathe, Kansas, is a leading contractor in the insulation and fireplace industries in the Kansas City area. We have provided high-quality products and services to builders, remodelers, designers, architects and homeowners since 1932.

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Fast Facts About Fireplaces

Did you know? Fireplaces and stoves can actually reduce your heating costs. Or that installing a fireplace insert can significantly boost its efficiency, and for less money than you might think?

We thought we’d share five surprising tips about fireplaces, courtesy of an article in the Creston News.

1. You can conserve energy, live a greener lifestyle and combat volatile heating costs with a high efficiency fireplace or stove.

2. A fireplace can be installed in your existing home without the hassles of adding a traditional chimney.

3. Your inefficient wood burning fireplace can be transformed into a powerful and beautiful heat producer.

4. You can control the heat produced by today’s fireplaces.

5. Modern fireplace design is pushing traditional boundaries.

Want to know why? “5 Suprising Facts About Fireplaces” goes into great depth.

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Introducing the Majestic Echelon

At 50”, the Majestic Echelon is the largest see through fireplace on the market. Says Dave Campbell, Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing at MHSC, “The Echelon gives you the opportunity to add contemporary style and warmth to two rooms at the same time – including outdoor spaces.”

Monessen Hearth, a leading purveyor of direct vent, natural vent, vent-free, wood-burning and electric fireplaces, inserts and stoves, announced earlier this month the release of the first wide view, see-through fireplace that can be installed between an interior and exterior room. How neat is that? The unit can also be installed between interior walls.

“With its highly modern style and leading-edge technology, the Echelon fits perfectly into any modern décor. With a BTU range of 23,000 to 34,000 and standard Signature Command™ System remote control, the new Echelon from Majestic has turned up the heat on contemporary fireplace design,” he says.

Check in with Henges Insulation for more information on the Majestic!

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Downtown KC Urban Living Tour

Whether you’re looking to downsize, pare down on lawn and house maintenance or simply have the itch for urban living, the Downtown KC Urban Living Tour this weekend, where you can catch a ride on a chartered bus to 30 locations, is for you.

Now in its 10th year, let the tour jumpstart your decision. See details below!

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Before you Tackle that Remodeling Job, Do your Research

Last week, we posted about why homeowners need to hire a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) certified contractors or remodelers when tackling remodeling projects, and based on an article we’ve found an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that details just why it’s so necessary.

“The home improvement industry is going to be one of the leaders in the economic recovery as people are fixing what needs to be fixed or getting their homes shined up to compete in the market,” said Fred Elsberry, president of the BBB’s region covering metro Atlanta. “Any time there is a potential growth industry, people come in who are less than stellar.”

As the article notes, “While all remodeling jobs are a pain, homeowners who do their research and follow sound advice stand a better chance of being satisfied once the pounding and paint fumes are gone.”

To learn more about few the basics, check out “Do the Research for Home Projects“.

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Why Use a NARI Contractor or Remodeler?

The best case for using NARI remodelers is seeing what can happen when you don’t. The Kansas City NARI chapter has a great overview video that demonstrates why finding a trustworthy, reliable contractor is so important.

Selecting a Kansas City NARI contractor gives you peace of mind because you know the remodeling professional working in your home has the desire to be above the competition by completing the many steps required to join this organization. To join NARI, a remodeler must be in business for more than one year, fill out a three-page application listing client and trade references, agree to follow the organization’s established code of ethics and show proof of insurance. The defined purpose of Kansas City NARI is to promote professionalism and education in the remodeling industry; employing a remodeler who supports that purpose shows you are working with the very best.

Find out why hiring a NARI professional is a must here.

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How Spray-Foam Insulation Saves you Money

A poorly insulated home hits homeowners where it hurts the most–their wallets. And, dollar for dollar, according to SprayFoam.com, “with its energy efficient R-value, green value, effectiveness and installation ease, spray foam insulation is a money-saving home improvement that will pay for itself season after season and year after year, simply by reducing energy bills. You may even qualify for an energy tax credit that could save you additional money.”

As we’ve reported on this blog earlier this month, Henges Insulation is now carrying Spray Foam insulation. “When you couple new insulation with additional energy efficient measures, such as sealing gaps in windows and doors and switching to energy-efficient heating and cooling mechanisms, the savings can really add up.” Make sure you’re not throwing away good money by clicking here.

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Build Green Kansas City

Are you familiar with Build Green Kansas City? A program out of the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, it’s devoted to bringing green to the mainstream for all local homebuilders and remodelers.

The HBA has established a Build Green Council for industry professionals members with an interest in sustainable building practices and providing consumers with new homes that help protect the environment.

Membership in the council is open to anyone with an interest in green building. Membership for HBA members is just $100 per year. Click here for more information on Built Green Kansas City and to learn why going green should be part of your business plan.

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Frame of Reference

When it comes to buying furniture, are you guilty of judging a chair by its fabric? Kansas City Homes & Gardens recently published a great article on how choosing quality furniture keeps more green in your pocket in the long term–and leaves fewer items for the landfill.

First things first: Try not to succumb to guerrilla sales tactics. Do your research and ask questions. Avoid impulse purchases like the plague.  “If something isn’t exactly what you want, but you’re willing to settle because of price or immediate availability regardless of quality, it will probably become an albatross down the road,” says Dennis N. Myers, manager of KDR Designer Showrooms, a premier to-the-trade resource, in the article.

According to “Frame of Reference,” here are four important things you should look for in a quality piece of furniture:

Frame — “Kiln-dried is desirable, which means the wood’s moisture content is gone, and the frame is solid and won’t warp or distort,” Myers says. “Sustainable forest woods such as maple and alder are good choices.”

Spring — Eight-way hand-tied springs are best, and pieces incorporating them fetch top dollar. Quality and comfort are still attainable with S-shaped springs that are cut and tied to the frame and cost a bit less. Both Madden and Myers say to avoid one-piece units that are made separately and put into several different pieces —  initially they may feel good but probably won’t stand the test of time. Joints should be solid, such as dovetail joints or wooden dowels.

Cushions — Look for quality fill, such as high-density Dacron, that will hold its shape for years. Feather and down cushions give unquestionable luxurious softness but make sure they’re ticked.  Davis suggests unzipping a cushion. “If it’s just foam without a liner, it’s going to wear pretty quickly,” she says.

Fabric — It should match your taste and be colorfast and durable. “A proactive designer offers options to customize a piece to your style,” Myers says.

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