Monthly Archives: August 2016

What to Look for in a Home Remodeling Company

A Seattle home remodeling company should not be chosen merely because it’s the first one that appeared in the phone book or because it’s the one with the cheapest rates. Most people these days care so much about convenience and economy that they end up sacrificing quality because they don’t want to exert a bit of effort in finding a company that can do the work for them. As a result, they end up with homes that look nothing like what they envisioned.

Make sure that the renovation company that you’re getting actually specializes in remodeling. Consider for a second construction companies that have shifted towards remodeling. Because they came from a different field, their mindset about the work is radically different. For them, as long as they finish the job, then that’s it. Contrast that with remodeling companies, who know full well that there’s more to renovations than simply building things and reorganizing. They see to it that everything is considered, from beginning to end, including the cleanup.

With regards to price, certainly budget is always a factor that you will need to consider. However, it shouldn’t be the only criterion in your mind when you’re looking for a company to do the remodeling for you. If the offer sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is. You might end up either scammed or left with substandard work, since you’re getting what you actually paid for. Even if it’s slightly more expensive, a renovation company that actually gives a quote with a detailed breakdown of the costs is more reliable than one that gives a lump sum without telling you where the expenses are going.

Before you choose a company that will do the house renovations for you, make sure you consider these factors. Remember, it’s your home they’re going to be working on, so making that extra effort will be worth it in the end.

Install a Geothermal Heat Pump During Your Green Home Remodel

If you plan on green home remodeling, consider an alternative energy source such as geothermal. It seems counter-intuitive that a technology which depends on circulating liquid through pipes in the ground could be used to both heat and cool a house, but that’s exactly what a geothermal heat pump (GHP) or ground-source heat pump does.

What is a Geothermal heat pump?

While large-scale geothermal installations used by utilities rely on hot water under the ground, the geothermal heat pump heats and cools an individual building using the constant temperature of the Earth (the top 10 feet of the Earth’s crust are usually between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit).

A typical GHP system includes pipes buried near the home, a heat exchanger, and ductwork in the house. During the winter, the ground is warm compared to the air temperature so this warmth goes through the heat exchanger into the house. During the summer, the house’s warm air is pulled through the heat exchanger into the cooler ground. The system can save additional energy and money during the summer by heating water with the hot air removed from the house.

What are the savings?

GHPs consume 25-50 percent less electricity compared to conventional HVAC equipment, so installing one is a great green home remodeling project. In other words, a GHP needs only one unit of electricity to move three units of heat compared to a ratio of 1:1 or 1:2 for other systems. GHPs can decrease energy consumption and the accompanying emissions by as much as 44 percent compared to air-source heat pumps and as much as 72 percent compared to standard electric heat. GHPs can achieve efficiencies of 300-600 percent on the coldest winter night; air source heat pumps can only reach 175-250 percent on just a cool day. GHPs also maintain an approximate 50 percent indoor humidity level, making them desirable in humid areas.

The up-front cost of geothermal as a home renewable energy source is steep. However most experts agree that you can recoup this investment in 5-10 years through lower energy bills, making it even more attractive as a green home remodeling project. Federal, state, and local tax incentives and other programs can help offset the cost of the initial investment as well. With few moving parts, a GHP system is also durable and needs little maintenance. Many manufacturers warranty the pipes for 50 years and the pump itself usually lasts 20 years.