Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Rebates Until March 31, 2014!

LiveSmart BC Offers Rebates for Energy-Efficient Home Upgrades.

Participants have until March 31, 2014 to complete their upgrades and a post retrofit evaluation with a Certified Energy Advisor.


 

LiveSmart BC Efficiency Incentive Program

  • Up to $4,000 in rebates available for insulation, air sealing upgrades and regional bonus offers.
  • Complete energy-saving improvements with House Smart Home Improvements. We can help you  book and complete a post-retrofit assessment with a Certified Energy Advisor by March 31, 2014.
  • The energy advisor will confirm the upgrades were safely installed and will help the homeowner apply for LiveSmart BC rebates. 
  • The post-retrofit assessment also gives the recipient’s home a final EnerGuide® rating, which is a standard measure of a home’s energy efficiency.

 

Fortis BC Commitment to You: 

Fortis BC is committed to helping customers conserve energy and get the most out of their energy dollar by providing financial incentives and energy saving tips for natural gas and electricity. 
Since it was founded in 1989, Fortis BC’s Power Sense program has helped Southern Interior electricity customers save more than 445 gigawatt hours. 
That’s enough electricity to power 35,000 homes for a year.

House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades, give us a call. We do it the job right. 604-585-2020

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Windows and Doors Vancouver BC - Just Another Satisfied Customer

Posted by Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements

 Smart Home Reviews - November 2013


I have never had such a polite and respectful crew in my home ever.  They worked at a fast and steady pace finishing the job sooner than I ever expected.  I am so pleased with my new windows and could  feel the difference in the interior warmth immediately.  When we can finally afford to lay new flooring we will be as toasty warm as we could ever want to be.

I must admit, I had to “suck up” the hurt feelings over the polite refusal of my fresh home baking. This was a first time in my life from any construction crew . HA HA!  It is good to know you have such health conscience  people working for you.  They were an inspiration to me.  It was awesome to have a female – the only other female crew that did work for us were a two woman crew who installed carpet at one of our other homes.  It would be nice to see your female worker that was here go into schools and let young girls know how great it is to choose a trade – a welder, no less.

Thanks again and I have been referring your company to friends and co-workers steadily since Tuesday.

- Pam & Ed Vandeyck


House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades, give us a call. We do it the job right. 604-585-2020

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saving Power and Money over the Holidays - Reduce Your Green-House Gas Emissions

Posted by Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements

Use Energy-Efficient Christmas Lights

For many of us, Christmas lights on our trees, around our mantels and even in our gardens are essential seasonal decorations. They create such a cozy, atmospheric glow that it's tempting to turn them on indoors during the day, as well as at night. This helps to contribute to the fact that we currently consume much more energy at home over Christmas, which in turn has an impact on the environment and climate change. So it's worth switching to LED tree lights, as well as using energy-efficient light bulbs in your home. If you leave a set of conventional Christmas tree lights on in your home for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas, you'll produce enough carbon dioxide, one of the main greenhouse gases, to inflate 64 party balloons. Outdoor lights tend to use even more energy, since they are usually high-wattage and, therefore, less energy-efficient. However, it's easy to save energy and still enjoy a wonderful light display.

LED Lights

Light-emitting diode, or LED, Christmas tree lights emit a bright, vibrant light that uses 80 percent less energy than conventional tree lights. They are also longer-lasting and stay cooler than traditional bulbs because they don't have a filament. The brilliance of their color makes LED lights suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Solar-powered lights are also a good choice, as even on a wintry day they can soak up enough sun to illuminate an indoor or outdoor Christmas tree without the need for an electricity supply.

Energy-Saving Light Bulbs

Like LED lights, energy-saving bulbs use around a quarter of the electricity of standard bulbs and last up to 12 times longer. Advances in technology mean that these bulbs are now sold in a range of fittings, shapes and sizes. Look for government and industry-approved energy-saving logos to find the most energy-efficient products when you shop.


Energy Facts

A household with an extravagant Christmas light display will spend enough money to heat and power an average house for six weeks, and produce 882 pounds of carbon dioxide -  more than enough to fill two double-decker buses.

Only 10 percent of the electricity used to light an ordinary light bulb is turned into light. The other 90 percent is wasted as heat.

If every household only used energy-efficient bulbs, enough energy could be saved to close several power plants.

One energy-efficient light bulb will save up to $14 and around 88 pounds of carbon dioxide a year. And because it lasts up to 12 times longer, it could save around $120 before it needs replacing. These savings take into account the higher cost of energy-saving light bulbs.

Recycle all energy-efficient light bulbs safely, as they contain small amounts of mercury: Wear gloves to pick up a bulb, put it in a plastic bag and recycle it at a local recycling facility.

This from DK - A Greener Christmas © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited
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House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. We do it the job right. 604-585-2020
 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

HALLOWEEN SAFETY REMINDER

Protect Yourself AND Your Trick-or-Treaters Around Your Home ~



Keep candles and jack o' lanterns away from landings and doorsteps, where costumes could brush against the flame. Make sure candles are away from curtains, decorations and other items that could ignite. Do not leave burning candles unattended.

Or as an option, put little tea lights in the luminaries so there is no worry about the trick or treaters catching their costumes on fire as they walk up the steps. You can buy some of those little battery-operated flameless tealights at the Home Depot or Walmart.

If you use a real candle, practice extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside Jack-o-lanterns, use long fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways and yards.


Many people enjoy transforming their homes into eerie scenes. Be sure to keep the path leading up to your door free of obstacles for the little ones, especially those with masks who might have trouble seeing in dim light. This reminder from House Smart Home Improvements. 

House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. 604-585-2020

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How to draft proof your home:

Posted by: Sound Marketing
via the House Smart Home Improvements Website

  • It’s good to start at the bottom of the house and work your way up.
  • Remove any old, damaged caulk or weatherstripping before you begin.
  • Caulk around baseboards, sump pump lids, openings in the attic and between an uninsulated attic or basement and the living areas of the house. Seal the top of foundations for added efficiency.
  • Use a smoking incense stick to find leaks or run your hand over windowsills, doors and walls to feel for cold drafts.
  • Doors get warped by use and weather, leaving gaps between the door and frame. If your exterior doors are drafty, caulk between the door frame and the wall and add weatherstripping along the top and edge of the door. For added protection, you can also put weatherstripping along the vertical doorstop to press against the face of the door when closed.
  • Install a door sweep on the bottom edge of your door, or attach weatherstripping along the bottom of the door or on the threshold. Weatherstripping attached to the door itself needs to be extra durable.
  • Use weatherstripping and caulking to seal around windows.
  • Joints shift over time and with changes in moisture and temperature, leaving gaps and cracks. Use caulking to seal the spaces between interior joints, around non-opening windows and spaces around water pipes and vents. Choose a caulking that is appropriate to the task. Refer to the Buyer’s Guide for information on selecting a product.
  • You can purchase gaskets that fit behind the cover plates of electrical outlets and lighting fixtures to reduce leakage. Caulk the edges of these gaskets.
  • Child safety plugs fitted into infrequently used electrical outlets can help reduce heat loss into exterior walls.
  • Hang interior window coverings to help regulate temperature. See our Shade Your Windows tip to learn more.
  • Cover single-paned or inefficient windows with plastic in the winter.
  • It is possible to over seal your house, leaving it prone to mold or carbon monoxide issues. While it is unlikely to do so with weather stripping and a caulking gun, keep in mind that controlled air circulation is essential for a healthy and comfortable home. Have an electrician install a dehumidistat in your bathroom. These devices can be set to automatically turn on the fan when moisture levels get high. See our Upgrade Your Ventilation tip for more information.
  • If you are ready to upgrade your heating further, look to Tune-up Your Existing Heating System and Adding and Upgrading Insulation.
  • Call House Smart Home Improvements today about having one of our professionals draft-proof your home for you!
Call for Free Home Estimate:
House Smart Home Improvements
Phone: 604 581 1904 / Fax: 604 581 1985
info@housesmarthomeimprovements.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Preparing Your Home for Fall / Winter - House Smart Home Improvements Vancouver BC



Posted by Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements

Tackle the Outdoors to Save Energy

Cleaning Your Gutters


Clean: Taking a plastic bucket with you, climb a ladder and use gloves to remove debris so it doesn’t freeze and damage the gutter. (If you have someone to help, you can use a rope to raise and lower the bucket.) Consider getting gutter guards to use year-round to block out most gunk. We like mesh covers that allow water and some debris to pass through, rather than models that promise no debris, which tend to feature tiny holes that get plugged up. Try Amerimax Home Products White Vinyl Snap In Gutter Guard ($1.49; The Home Depot). 

Check for moss: While you’re up there, glance around the gutters and roof for moss and algae. It grows at a glacial pace, but can do a lot of damage by keeping the roof below permanently wet and causing rot. If you see any, make a mixture of 5 parts water, 1 part bleach and a heaping tablespoon of trisodium phosphate (from a home improvement store), and spray it on the moss to kill it.



Chimneys


Seal: To prevent costly, damaging leaks to your brick, block or cement chimney, seal it every five years. A pro charges around $75 per hour, but if you’re comfortable on a ladder, apply clear acrylic water seal to all outside surfaces of the chimney, just like you’re painting. One to try: Thompson’s WaterSeal Multi-Surface Waterproofer.






 

Tackle the Indoors to Save Energy

Thermostats

Program thermostats: Set the thermostat to click on every time the daytime temperature drops below, say, 68°F (it’s cheaper to maintain a temperature than to turn a thermostat up and down). If your thermostats aren’t programmable, replace them: They’re easy to install and cost anywhere from $35 to $250—which you’ll make back in a month or two. By turning it up only when you’re home, you’ll save as much as 30 percent on your heating bill; setting the temperature at 68°F instead of 72°F can save 20 percent.

Replace filters: Change the filters in your furnace and, if you have one, forced-air system. (If you’re not sure where filters are or how to replace them, ask at your next heating inspection.) Dirty filters force the system to chug, wasting energy and costing you anywhere from 10 to 30 percent more.

Clear the path: Make sure that no furniture or objects are within 3 feet of space heaters or radiators. Even if that chair looks perfect near the heater, move it—it’s blocking the heat, and it’s a fire hazard besides.

Insulate: If you have a forced-air heating system, look for ducts running through unheated parts of the house, like the garage and attic. Measure those ducts and head to the store for precut insulation, which wraps right around them, keeping the hot air in the ducts (and in your home) toasty warm. About $1 per foot at The Home Depot can save you 10 percent on your bill.



Weatherization

Face it: You’re blowing hundreds of dollars on heat that immediately escapes to the outdoors. A mere $20 can eliminate most of that waste.

Caulk: And foam. Light a candle and move it around windows and doors; where it flickers, you’ve got a draft. (You can also test by dampening your hand.) Seal the gap with latex window caulk or foam sealant. You’ll still be able to open the window, and in the spring you can remove the caulk with a razor blade.
If you won’t be opening the window, caulk the sash (where both parts of the window meet in the middle). And don’t forget the attic! Plug door bottoms with stick-on weatherstripping from a hardware store ($5 to $10). Winter heating bill savings: $100 to $300.

Insulate water pipes: Starting at your hot water heater, look for uninsulated hot water pipes running along the walls or ceilings. (If they’re not labeled, you can usually place a hand near them and feel the heat.) Polystyrene insulation, which has a slit in the middle, slips right over the pipe. And once you insulate, the heat stays in the pipes longer, so the hot water heater doesn’t need to work as hard. 25¢ per foot at The Home Depot. Savings: $50.

Insulate the water heater: Your heater should have a “blanket”—they look like giant versions of the little insulator bags for travel coffee mugs. If it doesn’t, take a snapshot of your water heater, measure the length and diameter, and head to the store (blankets are $20 to $40). Exceedingly smart investment, since the blanket will keep heat in and your hot water heater won’t have to turn on as frequently. Winter heating bill savings: $100.

Block dormant fireplaces: Not using the fireplace? Block it off so warm air can’t escape. Though home stores sell expensive seals, you can simply take cardboard, purchase an expanding foam at any hardware store and seal it. Put a pretty fireplace screen in front of it and no one will see. Check that the foam sealant (usually $6 to $9 per canister) can be used with the material your fireplace is made of. When warm weather comes, follow the removal instructions to take off the sealant, leaving no marks. Try Dap Kwik Foam (12 oz, $6; at any hardware store).

Is it Time to Replace Your Windows?


There are probably sexier ways to spend your home improvement money -- on a shiny new bathroom or a glamorous kitchen remodel with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, for example. But there are few things as rewarding as replacing your windows and front door, which can yield a variety of benefits, from lowered utility bills to better soundproofing and greater curb appeal.
There are obvious reasons to replace windows: the wooden frames are rotting or the glass is broken or fogged, transforming your charming historic home into an eyesore that sets neighbors’ tongues wagging. But there are other reasons for replacement that might not be as readily apparent -- or as galling to the neighbors.
For instance, single-pane glass windows, which are present in most homes built before the mid-1990s, are hugely energy inefficient and allow heating and cooling dollars to fly out the window and noise to cascade in. At House Smart Home Improvements serving Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, the majority of customers are switching from single pane to double pane glass to gain more energy efficiency in their homes.
House Smart Home Improvements provides ENERGY STAR® labelled windows. Energy Star windows can reduce condensation and outside noise, reduce heating costs, and increase comfort by regulating temperature in hot and cold seasons
Thanks to advances in technology, today’s ENERGY STAR qualified windows, doors, and skylights offer greater savings than ever before. Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR qualified windows lowers household energy bills by 7-15 percent. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house’s carbon footprint.
ENERGY STAR® windows can reduce condensation and outside noise, reduce heating costs, protect from sun damage and fading, and increase comfort by regulating temperature in hot and cold seasons.

They are an excellent long-term investment in comfort and value for your family and your home. Call House Smart Home Improvements today to find out more. We offer free in-home consultations. 604-585-2020.




House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. 604-585-2020


Monday, September 2, 2013

Increased Fireplace Rebate to $300

Posted by Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements
This information from the www.fortisbc.com website.

Purchase an EnerChoice fireplace between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013 and you may qualify for a $300 rebate from FortisBC.

What is an EnerChoice fireplace?









All fireplaces sold in Canada have an EnerGuide™ label that tells you how energy efficient it is. There is no ENERGY STAR® rating for fireplaces, so in BC, manufacturers developed the EnerChoice designation to identify the most efficient models.
When shopping for a new fireplace, look for this logo. It means that the model is among the top 25 percentile of efficiency.
To qualify for EnerChoice status hearths must have minimum efficiency ratings of:
  • 62.4% or higher for fireplaces
  • 61% or higher for inserts
  • 66% or higher for free-standing stoves

How to apply for a rebate

  1. Review the terms & conditions.
  2. Purchase an eligible EnerChoice fireplace and have it installed by a gas contractor registered with the BC Safety Authority (BCSA). You can find a list of retailers at enerchoice.org.
  3. Complete the application form and include copies of the invoice showing details of all worked performed, including the date of installation, make and model.
  4. Send us the completed application and invoice to:
    EnerChoice Fireplace Program
    FortisBC
    P.O. Box 9090
    Surrey, BC, V3T 5W4
  5. If you qualify, we'll mail you a cheque for $300. Please allow a minimum of 90 days to process.

Deadlines

  • Fireplaces must be purchased between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013.
  • Applications must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2014.

Questions?

Call us toll-free at 1-800-663-8400 or email us at rebates@fortisbc.com

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House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. 604-585-2020

Thursday, August 1, 2013

List of Rebates Now Available:


BC homeowners can choose from a huge list of renovation rebates from the Government of BC including:

Insulation
  • Attic insulation up to $600 (LiveSmart BC)
  • Exterior Wall insulation up to $1200 (LiveSmart BC)
  • Basement insulation up to $1000 (LiveSmart BC)
  • Crawl Space up to $800 (LiveSmart BC)

Water Heating
  • Up to $500 to replace your aging water heater with a qualifying natural gas ENERGY STAR model
        – 
    (qualify by December 31, 2013) up to $500 (Fortis BC)
Air Sealing (Draft Proofing) & Ventilation
 
 One of the experienced professionals at House Smart Home Improvements can help you decide what renovations would best upgrade your home while staying inside your budget, during your Free In-Home ConsultationHe / She will also put you in touch with a Certified Energy Advisor in a timely manner.
Call us today at 604-585-2020.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Water-Saving Tips Around the Home

Posted by: Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements.

Our Fresh Water is a Precious Resource that Needs to be Reserved

Canada has 20% of the world’s fresh water, a huge global endowment and an abundance that has led to a false sense of security.
That is because globally, freshwater species populations have fallen by at least 35% in the past 40 years. Nature needs fresh water to flourish and communities need healthy rivers and watersheds to prosper.
Every action we take to reduce our water footprint, both big and small, helps to improve the overall well being of our rivers and lakes, and the waters that sustain all life on earth.




With fresh water sustainability in mind, along with saving money on our water consumption; what can we do to preserve it around the home? Here are two important things to consider:


Buy a Low-Flow Showerhead



A ten minute shower can use up to 190 litlres of hot water with a conventional showerhead. But a low-flow showerhead can cut this by half and still maintain water pressure - conventional ones use 15 - 19 litres per minute while low-flow ones use about 8 - 9 litres.

Other water saving tips would include taking short showers in place of baths, and avoiding running the water in the bathroom while you're shaving or brushing your teeth.

 

Save Water as You Care for Your Lawn

  • Can you stand the thought of not having as green a grass as your neighbours? Then why not let your lawn go brown during the summer months. A sprinkler uses up to 1,300 litres of drinking water per hour. If you must water, make sure not to over water your lawn. This wastes water and damages the grass. Mature lawns only need about 2.5 cm of water per week to survive. Place an empty tuna can where you are sprinkling. When it fills up, stop watering. In B.C., relying on natural rainfall is often all you need to maintain your lawn during most seasons.
  • Let your grass grow a little longer. This allows the roots to be more shaded so that they hold water better. Set your mower blades to 5-8 cm.
  • Leave lawn clippings on the lawn to reduce moisture loss.
  • Use compost. Spreading compost on the lawn will provide natural nutrients and increase its moisture retention ability.
  • Reduce the amount of lawn you have, opting instead for patios and vegetable gardens.
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    House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. 604-585-2020

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Ground Source / Air Source Heat Pump Rebate or Loan

Posted by: Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements. 

This pilot program is currently only available to South Okanagan customers who receive their electricity bills directly from FortisBC. Contact FortisBC PowerSense to apply. View terms and conditions.

Ground source heat pump rebate or loan

A ground source heat pump can save you up to 65% on your home’s heating and cooling costs, and provide you with heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Solar energy stored in the ground is captured in a solution circulating through underground pipes and carried back to a heat pump installed inside your home.
The heat pump distributes heat indoors during cold weather, displacing conventional heating systems and collects it during hot weather, acting as an air conditioner.

Rebate & loan details

Rebate is calculated at $0.05 per kWh in savings, with an average rebate on a 4000 sq. ft. home being approximately $900. You can also apply for a loan of up to $5000 OAC financed over 10 years at 4.9%.
Apply for the rebate and loan through the Home Improvement Program.
Call for details at House Smart Home Improvements! 604-585-2020. We offer Free In-Home Consultations.


Air source heat pump rebate or loan

Living in BC has its advantages. But did you know that our climate in the Southern Interior is ideally suited to using a heat pump and could save you up to 40 per cent on your home’s heating and cooling costs?
Air source heat pumps absorb heat from the outdoor air in winter and removes heat from inside during the summer to create a comfortable space all year round resulting in comfortable, evenly distributed heat in the winter and cooler air circulating in the summer. Heat pumps are an efficient and renewable way to heat and cool your home.

Rebate & loan details

Take advantage of one of a number of incentives to help save money on the installation of an air source heat pump from FortisBC.

FortisBC Rebates

  • Air source heat pump: $200 per ton (or per 12,000 BTU’s) about $600 for an average home
  • Ductless heat pump: $300 per ton (or per 12,000 BTU’s) about $450 for an average home
To qualify for rebates or loans, the back-up heating system must be electric.

FortisBC  financing program

For more information visit: http://www.fortisbc.com/Electricity/PowerSense/Pages/default.aspx

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House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. 604-585-2020

Monday, July 15, 2013

7 Ways to Keep Your Home Cooler in Summer!












"We're havin' a heat wave" in the lower mainland of BC presently, and this can make our homes uncomfortably hot especially at night when we are trying to sleep. Of course installing central air conditioning is one way to fix the problem, but what about considering more environmentally friendly and economical ways to keep the temperature lower in your home? In this article we will provide you with a seven simple ideas you may want to consider:


1. If the sun shines right into your windows, keep the coverings drawn during the day. Your furniture and carpets actually absorb the sun when it shines through non-coated clear windows during the day.  Heat cannot escape and gets trapped in the room. This is why a room can get really warm, even on a cold, sunny day. You may even want to consider dark, light blocking curtains if you have west facing windows that let a lot of sun in during the day.





2. Install a heat pump to your furnace. According to the Canadian Office of Energy Efficiency, adding a heat pump to your existing heating system can save you between 25 and 65 percent on your heating and cooling costs, depending on what type of heat pump you American Standard Heat Pumpselect. In the summer, heat pumps move hot air from inside your home to the outdoors. In the winter, the process is reversed, using earth-heated air to help heat your home.
FortisBC offers two rebate or loan programs to help with the cost of a heat pump:
Ground source heat pump rebate: Rebate is calculated at $0.05 per kWh in savings, with an average rebate on a 4000 sq. ft. home being approximately $900. You can also apply for a loan of up to $5000 OAC financed over 10 years at 4.9%.
Air source heat pump rebate or loan: Air source heat pump: $200 per ton (or per 12,000 BTU’s) about $600 for an average home; ductless heat pump: $300 per ton (or per 12,000 BTU’s) about $450 for an average home.


3. Add a summer switch to your furnace. The air in a closed up house during the summer can get pretty stale. Adding a summer switch to the circulating fan on your furnace will keep the air moving throughout the house, and will filter the air without heating it to improve the quality of your indoor air.  Basements are typically cooler than the rest of the home, so circulating the air in your home will “mix” the warmer upstairs air with the cooler air from below.  


4. Insulate and air seal the attic, home, and crawlspace. Adding insulation to your attic can keep the hot air that collects up there in the summer from entering your living space. Conversely, during the winter months, attic insulation will keep the warm air in your living attic insulationspace where it belongs.  Insulation in the walls and crawlspace will also help keep the heat out in the summer months, and keep the cold out during winter.  Be sure to air seal the home to reap the greatest benefit from the new insulation.  Heat always “fights” to move toward cold, so any open air pathways or lack of thermal resistance (insulation), will allow the outside air to move inside more quickly.  If you have central air conditioning, air sealing and adding insulation will reduce the amount of electricity required to cool the home, because they will keep the cooled air inside the home longer than if you had poor air-sealing and inadequate insulation.
Check out the rebates available through the Live Smart BC program to help cover the cost of insulation
 and air sealing.  



5. Have Whirlybirds installed. Whirlybirds will remove the hot air from your ceiling making your home cooler and more comfortable.
For the best result, at least two Whirlybirds should be installed in a high up position on your roof. This should be combined with the installation of eave vents on either side of your home to allow cool air intake. Installing one on its own will not make enough difference, as two work best together to bring in cool air while expelling hot air.
They will save you money by helping to reduce your air conditioning costs and at the same time making them very environmentally friendly. In Winter, Whirlybirds help to remove moist, damp air that can accumulate in your ceiling during the cold and wet months, keeping it drier and lessening the chance of mold occurring in your home.



6. Close your windows during the day, and open them at night. An open window does not always mean a cool breeze! Heat actually moves toward cold, so if it is hotter outside than it is inside your home, opening windows will actually have a reverse effect and draw the outdoor heat into your home.  Conversely, opening windows at night will allow your home to ‘lose’ heat to the outdoors because the outside air is cooler than the inside air.  Leaving your windows open at night means that when you wake up in the morning and close all your windows, your home will be naturally cooler – without the use of an air conditioner.



7.  Keep ventilation fans running all night.  Every bit of air your fans exhausts from your home must be replaced by incoming air.  At night, the outdoor air is cooler than the air inside your home, so the air that is drawn in to replace the exhausted air is cooler.  Sometimes a lack of wind outside will mean that air is not being exchanged between your home and the outdoors.  Using ventilation fans (the one in your bathroom and the one over your stove) that are exhausted directly to the outdoors will create air exchange regardless of environmental factors.

  
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House Smart Home Improvements are experienced professionals with an  A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau. When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades,  give us a call. 604-585-2020

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Home Mainenance Schedule

Posted by: Sound Marketing on behalf of House Smart Home Improvements.

We know you are (or would like to be) a responsible home owner and do whatever you can to protect your precious investment! That is why we want to share this useful home maintenance check list to help you keep your home in great shape throughout every season. The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation has a great check list routine that you can follow which we will borrow for this article. Going through these steps is really quite easy and it takes the mystery of out of wondering if you left anything out. Establish a routine for yourself.
 A regular schedule of seasonal maintenance can keep your home in great shape, and help you become aware of any smaller issues that need tending to now,  in order to avoid more costly problems later on. Do a little at a time, or pick a day to go through the entire check list.

While most maintenance is seasonal, the following 5 steps are things you should do on a frequent basis year-round:


Make sure air vents indoors and outdoors (intake, exhaust and forced air) are not blocked by snow or debris.
Check and clean range hood filters on a monthly basis.
Test ground fault circuit interrupter(s) on electrical outlets monthly by pushing the test button, which should then cause the reset button to pop up.
If there are young children in the house, make sure electrical outlets are equipped with safety plugs.
Regularly check the house for safety hazards, such as a loose handrail, lifting or buckling flooring, inoperative smoke detectors, and so on.


Summer Home Maintenance Check List

In this blog we will share the schedule for Summer. 

Quickly Like our page on Facebook to be notified of your upcoming Fall Checklist and other great home improvement tips!

 

 

 

 Here We Go....

Monitor basement humidity and avoid relative humidity levels above 60 per cent. Use a dehumidifier to maintain relative humidity below 60 per cent.
Clean or replace air-conditioning filter, and clean or replace ventilation system filters if necessary.
Check basement pipes for condensation or dripping and, if necessary, take corrective action; for example, reduce humidity and/or insulate cold water pipes.
Check the basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water; refill with water if necessary.
If you have a plumbing fixture that is not used frequently, for example, a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub or shower stall, run some water briefly to keep water in the trap.
Deep clean carpets and rugs.
Vacuum bathroom fan grille.
Disconnect the duct connected to your clothes dryer, and vacuum lint from duct, the areas surrounding your dryer and your dryer’s vent hood outside.
Check security of all guardrails and handrails.
Check smooth functioning of all windows, and lubricate as required.
Inspect window putty on outside of glass panes of older houses, and replace if needed.
Sand and touch up paint on windows and doors.
Lubricate door hinges, and tighten screws as needed.
Check for and replace damaged caulking and weatherstripping around mechanical and electrical services, windows and doorways, including the doorway between the garage and the house. See the About Your House fact sheet Attached Garages and Indoor Air Quality for more information on preventing garage-to-house air transfer.
Lubricate garage door hardware, and ensure it is operating properly.
Lubricate automatic garage door opener motor, chain and other moving parts, and ensure that the auto-reverse mechanism is properly adjusted.
Inspect electrical service lines for secure attachment where they enter your house, and make sure there is no water leakage into the house along the electrical conduit. Check for overhanging tree branches that may need to be removed.
Check exterior wood siding and trim for signs of deterioration; clean, replace or refinish as needed.
Remove any plants that contact — and roots that penetrate — the siding or brick.
From the ground, check the general condition of the roof and note any sagging that could indicate structural problems requiring further investigation from inside the attic. Note the condition of shingles for possible repair or replacement, and examine roof flashings, such as at chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage.
Check the chimney cap and the caulking between the cap and the chimney.
Repair driveway and walkways as needed.
Repair any damaged steps.


After this, pour a cold drink and relax in the sun!




Visit House Smart Home Improvements or call 604-585-2020 to set up your Free Consultation Today.
When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades, give us a call. We do the job right. 604-585-2020

Friday, May 10, 2013

Lowering Your Utility Bills...a House Smart Article by Janice Naisby


We just replaced our 30-something-year-old windows. Late last summer, during a particularly vicious thunder storm, with rain driving horizontally at our south facing elevation, one of the living room windows created an interesting fountain effect from water driving through the rotting wood.
With basins strategically placed, the decision to replace was irrefutable. The porosity of the windows also meant that severe air infiltration problems were clearly impacting on our heating and cooling bills.
Simultaneously, we made the move to replace the equally-aged furnace, water heater and air conditioning units with energy efficient models. Apart from being voracious energy guzzlers, the furnace, in particular, was close to giving up the ghost completely - not an event to entertain on a cold mid-winter day. I noticed an immediate drop in energy consumption after installation of the new HVAC system and I am looking forward to another drop in energy bills now that the windows have been replaced.

There are a number of other, less expensive, energy saving solutions that we will be implementing to impact positively on our family's energy consumption. These include caulking and weather-stripping around doors to eliminate drafts. Heat-generating appliances will be used at night during the summer months when temperatures are cooler. Cold water laundry washes will save on hot water consumption and air drying clothes conserve power. There is nothing nicer than the smell of laundry that has dried courtesy of a solar power. Ceiling fans will be installed to supplement the air conditioning unit - air movement helps to enhance cooling. By putting computers on standy and unplugging phone chargers and camera battery chargers we will conserve energy. Our programmable thermostat helps to avoid heating or cooling an empty house or closes off rooms not being used at all. air filters will be replaced regularly - dirty filters restrict air flow, increasing consumption.
Our next move will be to replace the front and side doors with more energy efficient models and improve insulation levels in the attic. The ceiling fans will be installed in the catherdral ceiling in the lving room - date still to be determined.
We are all capable of effecting small changes in our lifestyles to reduce gas and hydro consumption, which eases the stress and strain on our wallets and lightens the load placed on utility companies.

By Janice Naisby, Editor-in-Chief
http://homesandcottages.com 

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Sherry's Review

5 Star Review
  • 5 Star Rating
  • 5 Star Rating
  • 5 Star Rating
Summary: Very Happy With our New Windows
Review: Very professional, efficient..in and out in a day...new windows have brought our house into the 21st century. We will recommend HouseSmart to anyone who asks.
  • Reviewed By: Sherry R.
  • Review Date: 02 Nov 2012
  • Reviewer Location: Abbotsford, BC
Visit House Smart Home Improvements or call 604-585-2020 to set up your Free Consultation Today.
When it’s time to replace your windows, doors or furnaces and heat pumps, or to install  insulation, and other energy-efficient home upgrades, give us a call. We do the job right. 604-585-2020