A little attention to detail can provide a big return on your investment.
You don't see them every day, but hidden spaces play a big role in your home's comfort, safety, structural integrity and energy consumption. Left unattended, the crawlspace and attic can create problems that range from dampness and mold to rotted structural elements, unhealthy air and an overworked HVAC system. That's why insulation and home cleaning services are so important and can give you a high return on investment.
Here are five services that are worth every penny, and then some:
#1: Attic Insulation
Most homes have some insulation. But in many homes, it's insufficient, improperly installed, or has a combination of problems. Insufficient insulation means more heat is lost through the ceiling and into the attic. That's a lot of energy wasted, not to mention the cost of heating an unused attic. If it's installed incorrectly, it won't work as well.
New or improved insulation helps keep your home warmer. The U.S. Department of Energy explains that the Puget Sound area offers up to a 50 percent rebate on insulation improvements. If what's there is old, it's probably dirty and compacted, making insulation less effective. If it's installed incorrectly, you could also find yourself with an expensive structural repair later.
#2: Crawlspace Insulation
It's true that much of a home's lost heat is transferred up through the ceiling. But that doesn't mean a cold and neglected crawlspace won't affect your home's comfort. It's true for carpeted homes, and it's especially true for homes with hard flooring. Bare feet on a bathroom floor in January show just how cold a floor can get.
Heat rises, but nearly half of the air in your home comes from the chilly crawlspace. If there's no vapor barrier, the problem is worse. Not only will you have cold floors, but dampness in the crawlspace will travel up, often all the way into the attic. HGTV says good crawlspace insulation plus a vapor barrier can affect the whole house. Benefits include lower energy bills, warmer floors, and less chance of damaging condensation and mold throughout.
#3: Air Duct Cleaning
Not every home needs air duct cleaning. Some very new systems are sealed tight and have a lower risk of dampness in the ductwork. But if your ductwork is dirty, the benefits of having this professional service done are hard to even measure.
Dirty ducts send stagnant odors into your home, and they also release dust particles. For allergy sufferers, ductwork cleaning can make life a lot easier. If ductwork is very dirty, your HVAC unit might work harder and still not perform well. That means higher energy bills and a system that requires replacement sooner than it should.
The existence of insulation doesn't say much about its effectiveness.
#4: Attic or Crawlspace Cleanout
Attics and crawlspaces aren't exactly the cleanest places in your home. Dust is a big problem. So is dampness. Because those spaces aren't used, they're inviting to a number of pests, from mice and rats to squirrels and raccoons. Pests can destroy existing insulation and they leave droppings behind. They can also carry nesting debris in from outdoors.
Professional attic and crawlspace cleaning means your whole home is cleaner. Air leaks are sealed, bad insulation and pest debris are removed, and dampness issues are corrected. That means the air is cleaner, your HVAC system gets a break, and your home will smell fresher, too.
#5: HVAC Duct Insulation
Sometimes the effectiveness of a heat and air system has much less to do with the system itself and more to do with the duct work. Even a brand new system can't warm or cool your home as well as it could with ample insulation around the duct work.
Duct work insulation works in winter and summer. When it's warm outdoors, duct work stays cooler because heat can't transfer into the ducts as easily. And when it's cold outdoors, heated air doesn't cool down as much as it makes its way through the duct work. This often-overlooked insulation job makes your home more comfortable with less effort from your HVAC system, reducing energy consumption and system wear and tear.
The most effective HVAC system and the best tidying-up habits are only part of what you need for an energy-efficient, healthy home. Cleaning and maintenance of those hidden areas help your systems work better and keep your whole house cleaner with a lower risk of long-term problems.
Clean Crawls has worked to improve quality of life for home owners in the Northwest since 2001 and we've received the Angie's List Super Service Award for eight years in a row. Contact us to learn more about the many ways we can help transform your house into a cleaner, healthier and more efficient home.