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What are the Biggest Sources of Energy Loss During Winter?

Saturday, November 29th, 2014 by Danny Peterson

Allow us to state the obvious: Winter can be an expensive season. And not just because of Christmas shopping or travel expenses, either. Winter brings with it a number of seasonal home maintenance issues and needs, not the least of which is a drain on energy bills. As any Baltimore homeowner can readily attest, it takes a lot of money to keep a home comfortable during the coldest months of the year.

The Importance of Auditing

That’s why we recommend that homeowners conduct a home energy audit, which will highlight some areas in which you can improve energy efficiency—ultimately slashing your winter utility costs. Consider this example: Finding a hole around your kitchen window, where heat escapes and cool air is let in, and then patching that hole, can lead to discernable savings on your utility bills. In other words, identifying the primary areas of energy loss—and taking some measures to avert that loss—can pay for itself, over time. The question is, what are some of the most significant areas of energy loss, particularly during the winter season?

Some Problem Areas

A few of the most significant areas for winter energy loss include:

  • Many of the biggest trouble spots are found in the attic. Take attic holes, for example—holes made to accommodate pipes and vents that go down into the house. Even a small opening around a pipe or duct can lead to immense heat loss. An attic insulation specialist can help remedy this problem; else, you can try to patch things up with some simple foam insulation spray.
  • Attic access hatches are also problem areas. A ceiling opening, up into your attic, can lead to heat loss, as the warmth from your home drifts up into the cold attic. Make sure you have weather stripping around the edges of these openings. Also, the backside of the hatch should be insulated. Again, an attic insulation professional can assist, if need be.
  • Do you have any recessed lighting in your home? This can be another area where heat loss occurs, as there will be a gap in attic insulation where these recessed lights are located. You can fill any gaps you see with caulk.
  • Of course, much energy loss happens around your windows and doors. As noted above, spotting gaps, cracks, or holes where air can escape can lead to huge energy savings. Caulk and weather stripping can be used to seal these areas.
  • Believe it or not, even electrical outlets can prove problematic, as cold air can seep through the sockets—but using some foam gaskets can significantly reduce this effect. This may be a job for a professional electrician, mind you!
  • Do you have a fireplace in your home? If so, be mindful of your fireplace damper. An ill-fitting damper—or even a missing damper!—can allow air to move up and down your chimney with total freedom, which can obviously lead to some heat loss. If you suspect an air leak in your flue, it may be advantageous to have a new one installed.
  • Finally: Make sure to remove your window air conditioning units, now that winter is near. If you can’t remove them, seal the area around them with some caulk, or get a special insulation blanket for that window.

Clearly, there are many areas to watch out for as you think about winter energy loss. Being mindful of these areas can ultimately save you big bucks on your heating bills, so taking the time for a full-house inspection is definitely worthwhile!

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Recently we hired Integrity Pro to design and complete a combination bathroom and Laundry room in our basement.We knew for quite sometime this would be a big time consuming job. We actually interview at least 6 other construction companies. We found out that a lot of plumbers were not interested in the construction aspects of this type of work. We found out that anyone offering to do this for 7-8 thousand dollars was not trustworthy.More than once we were ready to pull the trigger only to walk back from the ledge for different reasons.The first thing that stood out on the Integrity estimate was that big fat liability policy that was part of the estimate proposal. As a retired Casualty Insurance Professional this was definitely a determining factor. The other was the fixture allowance.But it did take 2-3 conversations to lead to the big hand shake.Then the next “feel good” factor was Alberto the lead carpenter. He came in on a Saturday after the plumber because he needed to get a jump on things. He worked every Saturday until finished.We saw Mike the Project Manager like 4 times. Very reassuring.The door to the laundry room needed some creative thinking. Once again great results.For us this was a once in a life time project, we had much to loose if done incorrectly, but much to gain when done right. That is where we are, on the plus side. Well done.Anthony Bynum
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Our project coordinator on site was Alberto. He was so fastidious, and was so committed to making the job look fantastic at the end. He even came back after he realized he forgot to put some thing on our final cabinet installation even thought he was in his truck, on his way out. He was just so excellent and we can’t have asked for a better project result.
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My wife and I reached out to Integrity Home Pro for a quote to repair/replace wood under our bay windows that started rotting years ago. Within a few days, we had an estimate with several different options, and reasonable price set for the work done, as well as an estimate for how long the work would take.Within 3 weeks, Integrity Home Pro sent out their team to replace our rotted wood with panels and had finished the work within the time originally estimated. We're so happy with the work they've done, that we will certainly be reaching out again for more work on our home.Long and short: Integrity Home Pro has shown us professional courtesy, impressive workmanship, and genuine care for our needs. The quality of service is a rarity, and we plan on reaching out to Integrity again in the near future.Photos provided to show the before and after
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Monica BriggsMonica Briggs
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Integrity Home Pro did an excellent job at remodeling our bathroom. They are very skilled, professional, and they work together to get the job done in a timely fashion. They were very patient, attentive, and courteous, and always kept us abreast every step of the way. Our newly remodeled bathroom exceeds our expectations and is simply beautiful. We could not have asked for a more dedicated and devoted team.
Kerry WesterveltKerry Westervelt
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Integrity Home Pro were very pleasant and easy to work with when our roof was damaged by a tree branch. They replaced my roof quickly in the morning. Also, I am a returning customer knowing they did a great job replacing my roof 20 years ago.
Jeanne BeansJeanne Beans
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Integrity Home-Pro just completed remolding our kitchen. The process took two weeks. Elmer Lopez did the work. He worked non-stop everyday; his workmanship is premium. Tera Ingwersen guided us through the process from the office on a regular basis and was always available to answer questions. Integrity's quote for the work was significantly less than a quote given by another company. Integrity's owner, Danny Peterson, personally came when we called about getting a quote. He followed up on two occasions as the work was being done. Integrity Home Pro has done other major projects on our home and we have been pleased each time.
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