Is Your Home Ready for the Bitter Cold?

It’s almost that time of year!

Time to make the rounds at your house and make sure that it’s ready to withstand the colder temperatures ahead.

Cover the basics.

If you’re going into the winter months without making sure that your home is properly insulated and your basement and crawlspace pipes have been sufficiently wrapped, you should expect to run into some winter trouble.

We recommend finding a good checklist, like this one here, and making sure you’ve covered all the basics.  

Get your ventilation inspected.

Proper ventilation is crucial when it comes to effectively keeping your home comfortable despite inclement weather.

Even more importantly, a well-ventilated home lessens your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas stoves and furnaces can be sources of carbon monoxide if left unchecked. That’s why we recommend installing carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of your house.

Make sure your furnace is in tip-top shape.

The furnace is your best friend during harsh winter months, but it can quickly become your worst enemy if it stops working. Make sure that you have the best furnace for your home and that it has been inspected before it starts working overtime.

One way to make sure that your furnace doesn’t get overworked is to make sure your furnace filters have been changed. Learn more about how to take care of your furnace filters here!

Consider the possibility of an outage.

You never know when you’re going to have a severe ice storm that knocks out the power on your block. Being prepared with the right generator for your home makes all the difference in the world! Check out last month’s blog on being severe-weather-ready right here.


Want help making sure your home is winter-ready?

Call us to schedule your winter maintenance appointment today!

Managing Home Heat Loss

Is Your Home Losing Heat?

When it snows, have you ever noticed how some houses collect snow on the roof and other houses don’t collect any?

As heating & cooling experts, our hearts break when we see the houses with no snow on their roof.

Why?

Because those houses are releasing all the heat from inside through the roof, melting all the snow!

When this happens, the homeowners are wasting loads of money on heating the house, because the heat can’t stay contained inside.

At BNG Heating & Cooling, we specialize in the systems that keep up with your home’s heating needs, but we also specialize in preparing your home to contain that heat for optimal energy savings.

Here are the things our experts look for when identifying the sources of energy loss:

Uninsulated Crawl Spaces and Attics

We remind our customers of this, time and time again, because it’s one of the most common problems we run into when inspecting houses.

You don’t ever think about your crawl spaces, and you kind of expect your attic to be uncomfortable, so it’s easy to forget that they play an integral role in your total home comfort.

If you’ve never insulated them, or if the insulation there has deteriorated over time, you need to take action now. That may mean getting a full insulation installation, or just an insulation topper.

Broken Thermostats

Have you ever updated your thermostat from the one that came with your house?

Most people don’t think to do this. They’ll live with a finicky thermostat and learn all the tricks in the book for making it work before making a simple upgrade!

Sometimes, we’ll get calls to repair a broken system just to discover that the thermostat is the problem. If you think you’re ready for an upgrade, consider a truly smart thermostat—you’ll thank us later.

Air Leaks

Especially around doors and windows, unsealed crevices in your home are prime suspects for letting cold air in and hot air out!

You may hear a faint whistle of wind coming through these spots, but oftentimes you don’t realize at all that there’s an opening.

That’s why we recommend sealing these openings before winter becomes harsh. We wrote a blog with our best tips for sealing openings—check it out here.

Ready to talk directly to one of our home comfort experts?

Call one of our locations or go online to schedule your consultation today. We’ll be happy to perform an energy audit that pinpoints the greatest needs of YOUR home.

What is an insulation “topper,” and do you need it?

When the only problem with your insulation is that it has deteriorated over time or shifted in a way that has exposed some holes in its layers of protection, the experts at BNG Heating & Cooling often suggest installing an insulation topper.

The topper is simply an additional layer of insulation that fills in any gaps and strengthens the existing insulation.

Does your home need an insulation topper?

Every home is different.

That’s why you need to have an expert come in to assess your insulation’s existing condition.

Once they’ve determined the cause of your energy loss and the potential areas for improvement, then you’ll be able to enter into conversations about your best next steps.

Candidates that benefit from insulation toppers aren’t confined to just blown cellulose insulation. Extra layers of insulation can be added to any kind that has previously been laid, if that insulation is in good condition.

While attics are the major player in the insulation game, many of our insulation topper customers need the additional R-Value mainly in their crawl spaces, which often go unchecked for years—sometimes even decades—and can almost always use additional insulation.

what is

Give us a call or go online to schedule your consultation. It may be time for an insulation topper!

An Energy-Efficient Sunroom

It’s sunroom season! If this sunny weather has you thinking about building an addition onto your house, we’ve got some tips that you should pay attention to, if you want your sunroom to be as energy-efficient as possible.

Already have a sunroom?

Even without any major construction changes, you can take a few measures to keep the heat down, despite the heavy sunlight coming through!

Keep the Shades Drawn

If the shades are closed while nobody is enjoying the room, you will keep heat from coming in when you don’t need it. If you don’t like the aesthetic of heavy curtains blocking sunlight all day, you can opt for a light, airy curtain, so that the sunroom maintains its look while still protecting against heat.

Insulation, Insulation, Insulation.

While insulation is always important for maintaining the energy-efficiency of your home, it’s especially important for a sunroom, since it’s walls are mostly windows (which are the quickest way a room gains and loses heat). Because of this, ceiling insulation is especially important for a sunroom! It will be the largest insulated surface area in a room that desperately needs to be insulated.

Mini-Split AC Systems

Perfect for sunrooms, as well as any other room without great duct-work, these ductless AC systems keep one room—or multiple rooms!— hot or cold , as well as improve air quality. While the sun is letting heat in, your mini-split AC system will be working to keep the temperature cool inside!

Building a new sunroom?

Even better. If you build with energy-efficiency in mind, your whole house will benefit!

Heat-Rejecting Window Panels

As illustrated in the photos below, certain windows have insulation within the glass to keep heat out in the summer and cold out in the winter. While this extra measure isn’t necessary all over your home, a room made completely of windows poses a high risk of absorbing all the sun’s light and heat, then warming up like an oven—slowly spilling its heat into the rest of your house. Even if your room isn’t new construction, you can apply a film to your windows to achieve the same effect.

Would your home benefit from any of these services?  Give us a call or go online to schedule your spring consultation—we have the tools you need to make your home as efficient as possible!

Rethinking Insulation: Infrared Light

As summertime approaches, you’ll begin to see these dear old friends pop into car windshields. Maybe you faithfully keep one in your own car?

At BNG, we’re encouraging you to take notice of these this summer, and be reminded of how the same concept applies to your home comfort! Here’s how they work:

When your car is parked in the summertime, the un-shaded windshield allows sunlight to filter into your car and create a greenhouse effect (this makes the temperature inside your car even higher than the temperature outside of it—the reason why we dread getting back into our parked cars in the summer!).

It seems simple: the windshield shade is there to block the rays from getting into your car! Well, it IS a little more complicated than that! The reflective surface that trademark the shades actually bounce the light back outside of the car, reducing the car’s interior temperature. This phenomenon is achieved because the light trying to come into the car is actually different than the light that gets bounced out of the car!

The light that we’re talking about is infrared light, which is really, really good at heating air. It’s composed of different wavelengths—some visible and some invisible—and the foil on your windshield shade keeps out the visible light by bouncing it back out of the car! Because of that bounce, less of that heat gets trapped inside your car.

We can apply this same concept when it comes to your home. Insulation keeps heat out of your house in a similar, but different, way. For example: If your home were not properly insulated, you could try covering it with foil or painting it white so as to bounce visible infrared heat off of it. If your home is properly insulated, the bounce-back happens on the outside of your home, ensuring that the heat of the sun is blocked from entering the air conditioned space of your home! On the inside, the dense properties of your insulation also ensures that the clean, cool air produced by your HVAC system is not released back outside of your home. Find a diagram of that process below.

diagram of a home in winter and summer

So, next time you see a car protecting its interior from the heat with an aluminum shade, take a moment to consider if your home is properly protected!

Home insulation is BNG’s bread and butter. We’d love to make sure your home is properly protected from the upcoming summer rays! Call or go online to schedule your insulation check-up today!

Are your floors colder than they should be?

Do you dread walking on your tile floors when it’s cold outside? We may have the solution that will completely improve the comfort of your home this winter!

Some types of flooring are, of course, naturally cooler to the touch than others (you wouldn’t be quite as alarmed at cold wood floors as you would be to find cold carpeted floors!). But you shouldn’t be living with floors that are unbearable to walk on and that may be affecting the temperature of the rest of your home.

We’ll break it down for you:

What is Crawlspace?

First – you should understand the purpose of a crawlspace. It’s a small area underneath houses, in the attics of houses, and sometimes between the walls of houses, created to provide a space for air circulation through the home in addition to access to plumbing and electric.

When your crawlspaces are not insulated, poorly insulated, or have damaged or deteriorated insulation, something called the “stack effect” occurs, and the hot air produced by your HVAC unit is pulled through your uninsulated crawlspaces and released into the air outside of your house.

Conversely, the cold air from outside will be pulled inside.

Hint: that’s why homes with poor insulation really stand out after a snowstorm.

It’s also the reason why you walk on cold floors that are nearly unbearable! When that space beneath the floor is uninsulated, there is no buffer between the conducting properties of your floor and the cold air running beneath it.

Inefficient Insulation

Maybe you’re thinking that poor insulation can’t be the reason why your floors are cold – because you know there’s tons of insulation in your crawl spaces!

If that’s the case, your problem may be that you have fiberglass insulation that has become ineffective after absorbing humidity and condensation from the summer heat.

You would be wise to replace that fiberglass insulation with specialized crawlspace insulation methods, even if you haven’t yet experienced the discomfort that cold floors can create.

Making this change could save you thousands in energy bills, give you an opportunity to make sure that your important crawlspaces are in tip-top condition, and make your home a more pleasant, comfortable space during the winter months.

If you’d like an expert inspection on your home’s crawlspaces and insulation before the worst of the winter weather heads our way, call BNG Heating & Cooling. We can pinpoint the areas of your home that are the biggest expenses in your energy bills, and provide solutions that will keep your feet warm (and your wallet well insulated) all winter long!

How does insulation deteriorate over time?

First, it’s important that you understand exactly how insulation works. To put it simply, it’s a layer of protection between your walls that keeps your inside temperature comfortable by taking the beating of hot air in summer and cold air in winter. Since insulation is always taking the heat for you— literally— installing it is not a one-time thing, although many homeowners forget to include insulation in their regular maintenance checklists.

Some of the major culprits in the deterioration of your insulation are moisture, dirt, chemical deterioration, exposure to sunlight, and natural wear and tear from aging. You can’t be sure that you don’t have any of these factors creeping in on your insulation until you check for yourself.

There are plenty of signs to look out for, like feeling a draft or noticing that your energy bills have skyrocketed, but you should also check your insulation when your home has been hit by an extreme storm, even if you haven’t noticed any signs yet. You could save yourself a lot of money and heartache if you catch a leak or potential leak before it soaks your insulation (which also leads to dangerous mold!).

Another threat to your comfort and also to your health are rodent infestations. Sometimes, especially in the winter, little furry friends will burrow through unnoticed openings that lead to your insulation. In the process of making your insulation into its perfect winter home, the rodent will have weakened the integrity of your insulation and implanted its diseases into your home.

Cellulose insulation actually repels rodents and insects, because of its active fire retardant, borate, which is also the most common ingredient in many household insecticides. We intentionally choose cellulose insulation with borate for this reason, as many other cellulose insulation options use ammonia sulfate as its fire retardant, which not only does not repel insects but has also been found to corrode metal.

While mold and rodents may have you checking your insulation every weekend, it may be deterioration over time that creeps in without you even noticing— until you find yourself shivering indoors and paying too much for energy bills.

Our experts say the quickest way to know that you need an insulation tune-up is to take a peek into your attic. If the beams and floor joists are showing, it’s time for new insulation!

Go ahead and check your home today. If you find areas where your insulation is deteriorated or has been damaged, you should call in an expert to carefully replace that insulation. Your biggest mistake would be to try to patch the damaged areas and create more opportunities for damage than you had before.

The Inside Scoop On Insulation

Some of the most important parts of your home or business are those that are hard to see, hiding behind walls or under floorboards, but intrinsic to keeping your home comfortable, safe, and secure. Your insulation and weatherization are often relegated to the sidelines of home improvement, but you’re doing a disservice to your home, and your energy bills, by ignoring these key components of HVAC maintenance and care. So with Summer in our sights, properly insulating your home to keep the heat and cold air in can be on the top of your to-do list!

Not all homes are created equal, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to insulation and weatherization. Weatherization may sound intimidating, but the term simply means adding improvements to your home that save energy. This could mean sealing air leaks, improving ventilation, or adding insulation.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly insulating walls and roofs can provide both short and long-term energy savings. On average, they say the return on low-cost efficiency upgrades like these are valued at 2.2 times greater than your original cost! When selecting the right insulation for your home, it’s also important to pay attention to a product’s thermal performance rating, known as the R-value. Additionally, different insulations have varying methods of installation, each with their pros and cons.

BNG Blowing Sidewalls

Blanket (Batt and Roll) Insulation

Blanket insulation is the most common and widely available type of insulation, and can be purchased in the form of batts or rolls. It consists of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass, but can also be made from mineral wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers. Manufacturers often attach a facing (such as kraft paper, foil-kraft paper, or vinyl) to act as a vapor and/or air barrier. Handy for fitting between standard joists and studs, this style remains very popular, however the published R-values for fiberglass insulation are only valid at around 60 degrees. If the temperature swings much colder or hotter than that, the R-value drops significantly.

Blown Cellulose Insulation

Blown cellulose insulation has notable benefits over traditional fiberglass insulation. Unlike other materials, blown cellulose can be applied to new homes, or retrofitted in older homes by simply creating a small hole in the top of the wall to spray the insulation into. Another great advantage, blown cellulose has the highest recycled content of any insulation, and takes less energy to create than its counterparts, making it a worthwhile investment to reduce your environmental footprint and cut cost through short and long-term savings.

Offering a high R-value and fitting into any super tight space, the blown cellulose insulation forms a crust, providing the perfect air barrier to keep your home cozy. It can also cut down on other home weatherization tasks, such as caulking, due to the spray installation method.

The best way to determine where your home is wasting energy (and wasting valuable money) is through an energy audit. An added benefit of performing this type of preventive maintenance, especially in older homes or buildings, is that it brings attention to the often-overlooked sections of your home. BNG is equipped to complete your audit for you and make the necessary fixes to improve your home or offices’ energy efficiency. Call us at 812-858-4000.

Insulation and Crawl-Space Weatherization

The most important parts of your home or business are the things you can’t see, like the time you spend there together and the fun memories you create. While only you can create those intangibles, we’re here to help with the other things you can’t see- the things that keep you and your family comfortable.

One way that we see often neglected is your insulation and weatherization. If you’ve only taken notice of your insulation needs during times when it’s failed, you’re doing a disservice to your comfort and are most-likely wasting valuable energy and money.

Weatherization may sound intimidating, but that term simply means adding improvements to your home that save energy. This could mean sealing air leaks, improving ventilation, or adding insulation.

Doing An Energy Audit

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these improvements provide both short and long-term energy savings. While properly insulating walls and roofs can save you money and energy over the lifetime of your house (30 years or more) taking other steps to make your HVAC systems more efficient can maximize the impact of your weatherization and insulation for 10 to 15 years. On average, the U.S. Department of Energy says the return on low-cost efficiency upgrades like these is valued at 2.2 times greater than your original cost.

The best way to determine where your home is wasting energy (and wasting valuable money) is through an energy audit. An added benefit of performing this type of preventive maintenance, especially in older homes or buildings, is that it brings attention to the often-overlooked sections of your home. This audit works as much as a safety check as much as it does an energy check.  If you don’t want to do the audit yourself, BNG is equipped to complete your audit for you and make the necessary fixes to improve your home or offices’ energy efficiency. Call us at 812-858-4000.

Heat Loss from a House

A picture is worth… in this case, lost heating dollars. This thermal image–taken by a professional energy auditor–shows warm air escaping through windows and cracks. The red shows where the most warm air is escaping. (c/o Energy.gov)

An auditor will be able to identify areas where your home is leaking the most air, and will analyze how your home’s energy systems work together, comparing that to your energy bills. An auditor will then recommend cost-effective energy enhancements, and that’s where BNG comes in. We have extensive experience in home insulation and weatherization, serving the energy needs of homeowners in the Indiana communities of Evansville, Newburgh, Boonville, and Rockport.

Blown Cellulose Insulation

Blown cellulose insulation has notable benefits over traditional fiberglass insulation. Unlike other insulation materials, blown cellulose can be applied to new homes, or retrofitted in older homes by simply creating a small hole in the top of the wall to spray the insulation into. The blown cellulose has the highest recycled content of any insulation, and takes less energy to create than any other insulation. With our focus on efficiency and eco-friendliness, using materials like cellulose that are energy efficient for your home or business and is also made from recycled material is a worthwhile investment to reduce your environmental footprint and cut cost through short and long-term energy savings. You’re helping yourself, your friends and family along with the entire planet!

All of the cellulose is treated with boric acid, which despite the intimidating name, is commonly used as an antiseptic. It also repels insects, rodents, prevents dry rot, and is fire retardant. In fact, it is the only insulation that creates a two-hour firewall, critical time to save your home during a fire.

As we mentioned earlier, blown cellulose can be applied to new homes or retroactively during an energy upgrade. That is because the insulation is blown into wall cavities. By opening up a small section of the wall near the roof, technicians can spray the insulation into the cavity if fiberglass batting isn’t in the wall cavity or can just be sprayed directly onto a new wall. If there are fiberglass batts in an attic, cellulose can be blown on top of it to create a “cap” of new insulation without removing the old batts, ensuring your home is completely sealed and protected against the cold.

Scientifically, blown cellulose is the best choice in wall cavities where you have electrical wires, plumbing, or some other types of utility features, which are present in more than half of all wall cavities in a home. This is because the blown cellulose particles can fit much closer to these utility features than is possible by cutting fiberglass batting. Air pockets left in insulation can reduce the overall efficiency of the wall, so having the best seal possible is key. Blown cellulose can even be used in places where traditional insulation is too heavy, like in sloped ceilings. The cellulose will protect, but not cause walls or roofs to sag.

Our experts can perform an air audit, monitor the performance of your HVAC system, and provide the advice you need to make improvements to your home or business that will increase your energy savings and increase overall comfort. Call us to make an appointment today.

Bring on the FALL

With cooling temperatures, fall is a great time to tackle some home maintenance tasks that you may have been putting off. Getting these done now will help you get ahead of holiday crunch-time and bad winter weather; once you’ve checked these off your list, you’ll be able to enjoy your fall weekends guilt-free!

Prepare your home for Winter Outdoors…

As much as fall is about getting some holiday decorations and events underway, it’s also the time to inspect the interior and exterior of your home. Outside, look for any cracks in the foundation, or openings around windows, doors, and where pipes and wires enter your home. Caulking is an inexpensive fix, but can save you a lot of money from air leaking in or out of your home. This is also the time to clear away any dead tree branches or shrubbery before a winter storm comes to knock them into your home. Since plants go into winter hibernation, fall is a great time to prune without damaging any of your favorite foliage.

hand for the Indoors…

This is the time to get your holiday decorations up and get a head start on your event planning. Decor items like pumpkins and gourds and fall flowers work all season long, so you won’t have to switch out any decorations between Halloween and Thanksgiving. If decor inspiration is what you seek, MidWest Living  has some easy projects to get you started.

Prepare for Winter Emergencies

While we hope you never have to face any winter emergencies, you should always be prepared. October is National Fire Prevention month, so use that as a yearly reminder to ensure all of your smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and smoke dampers are fully-functional. Smoke dampers are placed into your HVAC system and in the event of a fire, close off ducts to prevent smoke from spreading throughout the house. Make sure you have a working fire extinguisher on hand, and check your home for radon gas, which can come from the soil and rock beneath your home and potentially cause cancer. With windows and doors shut all winter, this could build up in your home. Learn more about radon from Houzz.

While you’re checking your safety devices, take the time to schedule your furnace’s routine maintenance before the weather gets too cold. It’ll save your time before our technicians get too busy, but it’ll also save you from facing a cold-weather HVAC emergency. We always suggest having your furnace and HVAC systems’ inspected regularly to keep cost low and ensure your system is operating at max efficiency as much as possible.

We have maintenance plans as low as $15/mo. that can keep your home or business HVAC system operating smoothly. Finally, you should check your winter preparedness kits in your home and car in case of a storm. If you don’t have kits, here are some good ideas for what should be in your car and your home.

Make the most of fall and winter but make sure your AC unit and furnace are up to the tasks by giving us a call at 812-858-4000! BNG serves the heating and cooling needs of Evansville, Boonville, Newburgh, and Richland in Indiana.