Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service and health providers, has awarded Standard Energy Solutions the 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award for outstanding customer service – an honor reserved for approximately five percent of the highest rated businesses listed on Angie’s List.
Standard Energy Solutions, the energy efficiency division of Standard Solar Inc. specializing in energy audits and home energy improvements, had to meet strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their clients and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines to win the annual award.
“Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “The fact that Standard Energy Solutions can claim Super Service Award status speaks volumes about its dedication to consumers.”
“Positive recommendations from satisfied customers are invaluable to every business,” said Rick Berube, Vice President of Operations, Standard Solar. “We are honored to have achieved this kind of reputation within the Angie’s List community.”
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In the last installment of this multi-part series of blog posts, Dave Condon of Standard Energy Solutions explained some of the sealing and insulation problems he commonly encounters in attics when conducting home energy audits. In this post, Dave will explore attic ventilation and will explain how attic ductwork can negatively impact the efficiency of a home’s air conditioning system.
Inspect attic ductwork and air handler – In many homes, part of the HVAC system is in the attic where summer temperatures can soar well into the triple digits. The chilled air flowing through the system inevitably picks up some of the attic’s heat, forcing the system to work that much harder to keep the house cool.
Inspecting attic HVAC system – To make sure your HVAC system is operating as efficiently as possible, check the system for air and water leaks. All of the ductwork should be sealed and insulated against the attic’s temperature extremes and there should be no sign of condensation. If you can feel cold air leaking from the ductwork, or if any part of the system is cold to the touch, you probably need to have the ducts sealed and insulated.
Verify adequate ventilation – An attic vent fan can dramatically lower summer attic temperatures. Attic fans can be mounted behind a gable vent or through a dedicated hole in the roof. They can be wired into the home’s electrical system or powered by a small, dedicated solar cell on the roof. Some vent fans include thermostatic control and motorized vent covers to prevent heat loss in winter. Unless you are comfortable cutting holes in your roof and/or are an experienced electrician, professional installation is strongly recommended.
Attic vent fan – According to what we just told you about the benefits of an attic fan, it may seem like a no-brainer. But before you make an appointment to have one installed, make sure you won’t be replacing one problem with another. An attic fan can lower attic temperatures by forcing hot air out of the attic and drawing cooler outside air into the attic space. However, if your attic isn’t adequately sealed off from the living space, an attic fan may draw conditioned air into the attic and out of the house!
Dave Condon explaining proper attic ventilation
Call in a pro – Handy homeowners can tackle many of these jobs themselves, but there is no substitute for an experienced professional with the right tools and training. Standard Energy Solutions offers a comprehensive home energy audit that covers everything from overall air infiltration rates to HVAC efficiency. The audit concludes with a comprehensive report complete with infrared images of problem areas and a list of recommended improvements. From there, the homeowner can decide which, if any, improvements to make themselves or elect to have Standard Energy Solutions complete the recommended work.
Dave Condon describing audit process
Stay tuned for the next part of this series when we will come down from the attic to explore some of the ways outdoor temperatures may be getting into the main levels of your home.
With this summer’s record-breaking heat wave still fresh in their memories, the prospect of an equally brutal winter has many homeowners thinking about energy efficiency. In this multi-part series of blog posts Dave Condon of Standard Energy Solutions will walk you through some of the things he looks for when conducting a home energy audit and will share some tips to help you help keep your house comfortable and your energy bills under control year-round.
An unfinished attic is an excellent place to look for ways to make a home more comfortable and energy efficient. During the summer months, attic temperatures can soar well into the triple digits. Most attics have some level of insulation to help keep heat from escaping into the attic during winter, and to prevent summer heat from making its way into the living space below. While the insulation in your attic may be adequately isolating you from the temperature extremes above, you may be surprised by the ways in which high attic temperatures are impacting the environment inside your home and beyond. Here are some of the ways that attic heat can find its way into your living space, and what to do about them.
Check insulation – In most climates, a minimum R-value of 30 to R-49 is a pretty good place to start. The R-value of most types of insulation is marked on the paper or plastic surface of the insulation itself. Loose or blown-in insulation should have an average depth of around 10 inches above the drywall. If you find that your insulation doesn’t cover the rafters, consider adding another layer to keep things comfortable.
Check for air leaks – Everywhere that your home’s walls intersect with one another, with the floor below and with the ceiling above is a potential source of air infiltration or evacuation from the home. This is especially true wherever exterior or unfinished interior spaces border living areas. Air moving in and out of the living space carries dust (and your conditioned air) with it – often leaving a visible stain around fixtures and along door, window and baseboard trim. This air transfer also can stain the edges of wall-to-wall carpets in the living space and can darken attic insulation – giving you a visual clue as to which areas need attention.
Attic air often seeps into interior walls through gaps around the pipes, wires and ductwork. Sealing these gaps with expanding foam can cut significantly the amount of air flowing into the walls from the attic. Light fixtures (especially the recessed type) and attic hatch doors are other common problem areas. A bead of caulk can help keep air from leaking in around overhead fixtures and trim. Use rigid foam insulation and weather stripping to insulate and seal the attic hatch.
In the next installment of this multi-part series, Dave will explain the ins and outs of attic ventilation and will share some tips for keeping attic-mounted air-conditioning systems operating at peak efficiency.