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Insulation: Important for Maintaining Heat in Your Home

Energy efficiency is the key to reducing your energy bill these days, particularly in the winter months when you have to run your heater. With insulation options these days, you should have no problem retaining the heat in your home to reduce your dependency on energy. Insulation’s primary function is to slow down the heat flowing into and out of your home. In summer months, insulation keeps the outdoor heat from creeping inside while in the winter months, it traps heat inside the home to prevent it from escaping.

Choosing the right kind of insulation and knowing how much to use is important. You also need to know how it should be installed in the attic, walls and ceilings and even the foundation and floors of your home. When you can ensure there are no air leaks in your home and add proper insulation, you can greatly reduce your energy bill and reliance on fossil fuels.

Four Basic Kinds of Insulation

House InsulationFour basic kinds of insulation exist: liquid foam, loose fill, rigid foam and rolls or bats (blankets). The blanketed and loose fill is most often used in homes, particularly in attics, between floor joists, in the walls and between rafters in the roof. Liquid foam is primarily used in walls as it is a perfect material to seal any potential air leaks and create an airtight home. Rigid foam resembles sheets of foam and is usually used in the out walls of a home and other outdoor applications.

When you choose insulation for your home, there are several factors you should consider. First, will the insulation pose any type of danger to your family? Is it composed of materials that are harmful to the environment, specifically your home? Consider the long term performance your insulation will provide. You want its insulating properties to last for years.

If you already have insulation but you are replacing it or adding more, you must find out how much is already there. Measure the thickness of the insulation already present so you can get an R-value from the home improvement store and decide whether you need to add more insulation and how much. The R-value fluctuates depending on where you live as well as what heat source you use – gas or electric. Your goal is to strive for a higher R-value than what is required by your area to ensure optimal insulating properties.

You will notice in your insulation shopping that there are a variety of materials to choose from. Fiberglass is by far the most popular in the rolls of insulation that you lay out but it is tough to work with because the glass-like fibers can get into your skin. Special protective gear is must when working with fiberglass. Cellulose, cotton, mineral wool, lamb’s wool and recycled paper and fabric are also used as insulation.

Each type of insulation material has a different R-value so you must keep that in mind when shopping for not only the type of insulation but the material it is made from. Of course, where you are using the insulation is another mitigating factor in your decision.

If you have any questions about insulation, or need someone to analyze the insulation in your Myrtle Beach home, call us for a free evaluation and recommendation. Brown & Reaves Services, Inc., is a full service heating and air conditioning service, serving all of the Grand Strand and Myrtle Beach areas. Call us today. 843-497-9867.

Winterize Your Myrtle Beach Home – Save on Heating Costs

Tips to Winterize Your HomeWith temperatures falling and meteorologists predicting a colder than normal winter, the easiest and most cost efficient way to keep your home’s heat inside, while keeping your heating bill respectable, is to add fresh insulation to your attic, ceilings, basement, and walls.  Mark Wolf (of the National Energy Assistance Directors’ Association) states that these do-it-yourself home upgrades could cause instant energy savings between 10 and 20%.

Here is a list of four cheap and easy tweaks to seal up and insulate your home that will surely lower your heating bill this winter.

  • Update Your Thermostat– Cost $80, Yearly savings $200+According to Consumer Reports, a memory management thermostat unit can cut 20% from your heating and cooling bill. You can program the thermostat unit to save heat while you sleep and wake up to a warm and toasty home in the morning by upgrading to a programmable thermostat.


  • Weatherize your Doors and Windows– Cost $100, Yearly savings $200+This is an important, yet easy step to insulating your home. First, apply water-based acrylic caulk to seal small leaks around doors and windows.  Second apply weather stripping to your doorframes to seal air leaks around movable joints. Last, apply shrink film to old windows, single-pane windows, or unused openings (like a small pet door) to keep cold air out and warm air inside.


  • Insulate Water Heater (Pipes)– Cost $30, Yearly savings $200Exposed hot water pipes can lower water temperature at the tap by as many as four degrees. Insulating these exposed pipes on your water heater with fiberglass or foam sleeves costs less than $30 in most cases and can save you five times that amount yearly (via heating bill).  An insulating blanket for the tank of your water heater costs $20  but will save you nearly 9% on your heating bill.


  • Cover Wall Openings– Cost $50, Yearly savings $150Spray insulating foam sealant around the holes for outdoor faucets, wiring, and outlets. Nearly 15% of air leakage manifests at wall openings.  Foam sealant will keep the cold air from entering through these small openings.

Inflation is elevating the cost of living in many facets of life, but a lower heating and cooling bill can be obtained through the methods listed above.  Insulate your home properly and beat the winter chill with lower heating bills.

Federal energy tax credits were eliminated on December 31st of last year, meaning, home improvements on insulation can no longer qualify for the $1,500 tax credit.

5 Renovations That Are Cheaper in the Summer

Depending on where you live and the local climate, the summer months can be an ideal time to do home renovations, especially if outdoor work is involved.

Here are ideas for projects that can be completed more efficiently in the summer and may save you time and money along the way:

Driveway paving

If you have an asphalt driveway that’s loaded with patches of grass growing through the cracks, summer is the best season to have it redone. The main reason is that asphalt is much easier to work with in higher temperatures, so you can avoid problems and additional costs by doing it right the first time.

Creating a smooth asphalt surface requires time and high temperatures to prevent the material from prematurely hardening. The lower the temperature dips, the less time the contractor will have to evenly spread the asphalt to form a level surface. Otherwise, you may be left with an irregular surface with bumps and valleys.

Home addition

Adding a room or an upper floor will require you to open up your home to the elements. Doing this during the summer will likely minimize the exposure and allow the work to be completed more quickly. It will also probably save you money in the process.

Finish the design work and find a contractor several months before the work will start. You don’t want to be held up because materials aren’t available or the permit process hasn’t been completed. If there isn’t time to get something this major done this summer, think about postponing that major addition until next year.


If you plan to gut your kitchen and do a complete remodel, you may be faced with eating in restaurants until the work is finished. Since that can get expensive, another alternative is to cook outdoors. If you have a grill and burner, you’ve already got what you need to cook a majority of your meals.

Move your refrigerator to another room or into the garage. Use paper or plastic plates and utensils if you don’t have access to your kitchen sink or dishwasher. If you’ve ever considered adding an outdoor kitchen, this would be the time to do it. It will add to your enjoyment of the outdoors once your inside kitchen is completed.

Prepare for your kitchen remodel early in the year, after the holidays. Once you have a plan, purchase the materials that you will need. Many retailers conduct some of their best sales in January and February to clear out their unsold Christmas inventories. It’s a good time to buy appliances, tile, fixtures, lighting and new cabinetry. If any of your items require special ordering, this will ensure that everything arrives in time for the work to begin on schedule. You’ll also get more attention from design consultants who can help you put your kitchen layout together.

Again, just like with the major addition above, if there isn’t enough time left in the warm season to do this, think about better planning next year, and take advantage of times when you can catch things on sale and not pay full price for them.


The summer months are also a good time to upgrade your landscaping and home exterior. If you’re thinking about saving time and money maintaining your yard, consider a landscape design that incorporates native plants that don’t require much water or fertilizer. It’s also a good time to install an automatic sprinkler system that is timed to turn on and off at the best times of day.

Incorporate a wide variety of flora that will enhance the look and texture of your landscape. If you enjoy wildlife, consider plants that attract the types of birds and other animals that you’d like to see. You might add some solar-powered lights to accentuate walkways and decks.

You can also save money and add color and diversity by planting your own garden. Initially, you may incur some cost to create the right soil conditions, but the long-term payoff is enjoying your own fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers.

In-ground pool and deck

If you live in a climate where the ground freezes, you have to wait for the thaw before you can do any serious digging in your yard. Start this project during spring and finish it in time to enjoy for most of the summer.

Warmer temperatures are also needed for properly installing and curing the materials used to construct the pool. These include gunite, plaster, cement and certain polymer compounds.

One way to save on a pool is to find one or more neighbors who want to install a pool similar to yours. Since pools are constructed in stages, it’s more efficient and less costly to a contractor to simultaneously build more than one. The savings could be applied to installing a new deck area around the pool. Beyond the enjoyment value, it will add to your home’s resale potential.

Bottom Line

Summer is a good time to get things done outside, when some contractors may be looking for work. Accomplish common maintenance items such as caulking windows, applying weather stripping, cleaning gutters, washing windows, repairing fences, treating wooden decks, painting the exterior or adding siding. Do your homework and get multiple estimates before you commit to anything.

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