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Tag: energy efficient siding

How to Weather the Winter Cold – Home Energy Tips

Home Energy EfficiencyTemperatures in the single digits…not one, but several rounds of arctic vortex weather events last year…the weather in Maryland and Virginia can be extreme. Sustained frigid weather may be the norm for people living far to our north, but for those of us here not so much! Not only does extreme weather wear on us physically, it wears out our wallets, too. When temps dip down into the teens and below, our home heating systems are forced to work extra hard to accommodate. So what’s the best way to keep your family warm and not blow your budget on energy bills? We have a few helpful tips…

Insulate

The #1 way to keep the cold out, and the warmth in is insulation. And when it comes to insulating your home, there are several areas to pay close attention. We’ll start from the top down.

  • Attic Insulation – The largest area of heat loss in most homes is through the roof. Heat rises, so naturally the first place it will try to escape is up to your attic and through the roof. Investing in high quality, high R-value insulation won’t break the bank and it will provide a substantial energy savings. At S&K, we recommend using AttiCat blown-in attic insulation from Owens Corning. Just 15.5 inches of AttiCat Insulation can save you up to 20% on your heating and cooling costs. Fiber glass insulation is non-combustible and non-corrosive by nature, which means that it will never settle or lose its energy-saving abilities. In addition, AttiCat offers an incredible R-49 value rating – the recommended attic R-value rating for the Maryland climate zone. For more information, visit our Maryland attic insulation page.
  • Siding Insulation / Wall Insulation – When homes are built, contractors insulate the space between the exterior and interior walls with either blown-in or rolled insulation. This greatly decreases air’s ability to come from the outside in, and it helps keep water pipes from freezing. Pretty standard stuff. But did you also know that there is such a thing as insulated siding? Unlike standard vinyl siding which is made from a single layer of formed vinyl, insulated siding is backed with a foam-like substance. This added layer works like a blanket, blocking cold air from making its way behind siding. Another added benefit of insulated siding in noise reduction. Insulated siding acts a bit like the foam walls you see in recording studios, helping to block outside noise. Learn more about the benefits of this type of siding on our Maryland insulated siding page.

Replace Drafty Windows and Doors

  • Energy Efficient Windows – If you have old or inexpensive windows, you have most likely at one time or another been shocked to stand near a window and feel a ‘breeze’…when the window is closed! Poorly installed windows, windows with single pane glass, and windows that have wood or non-insulated frames are susceptible to energy loss. In winter, not only does cold air come into your house through low efficiency windows, your precious heat escapes! Today, innovations in energy efficiency have lead the way for replacement windows that help keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. S&K recommends double-paned windows with insulated frames for maximum efficiency. And just as important as the window itself is its installation. Be sure to have replacement windows installed by a professional. S&K offers the very best in replacement windows in Maryland. Learn more about these windows and energy efficiency on our Maryland replacement windows page.
  • Doors – Much like windows, the doors in your home are prone to energy loss through poor installation and poor quality. Entry doors and sliding doors should be well made and installed to be sure that you’re not losing energy. And when it comes to entry doors, and added layer of protection can be put into place with a storm door. As the name suggests, storm doors help keep the elements out, and your energy in. Learn more about the doors that S&K carries on our Maryland doors page.

Consider an Alternate Heat Source

  • Fireplaces, Stoves and Inserts – Another way to help combat high energy bills is through the installation of an alternate source of heat — namely a gas, wood or pellet fireplace or stove. Fireplaces and stoves can quickly and efficiently heat spaces like family rooms and large bedrooms, allowing you to keep your thermostat at a reasonably low rate. (Not too low, though – you want to be sure that those pipes don’t freeze!) Fireplaces and stoves come in a wide variety of styles from ultra contemporary to down-on-the-farm traditional. We recommend visiting the hearth experts in Maryland at Ace Hardware & Hearth. Learn more on their Maryland fireplace dealer page.

Beware Hidden Energy Hogs

  • All Things Electric – While the Green movement has us more aware than ever of recycling and using energy efficient light bulbs, here are a few things you can do to reduce your energy usage even more. First, search your home for items that are plugged into the wall, but rarely used. Anything that is plugged into an outlet – even when turned off – draws a trace amount of electricity. Therefore all of those little things that are plugged in add up.  Next, take a look at your electronic devices. In today’s always-on-the-go, always-in-touch world, it takes laptops, tablets, cell phones and hot spots just to keep up. And it takes electricity to keep those devices going. But if you’re like most, you are probably over-charging those devices. Over-charging not only can wear out the device itself more quickly, but it’s an unnecessary draw on your electricity. Check your devices frequently and when fully charged, unplug them. Additionally, when your computer is not being used, be sure that it is put into sleep or hibernation mode. This will greatly decrease its energy consumption. And finally, do like your mother always told you and turn those lights off when you’re not in the room!
  • Hot Water – We all love a nice hot shower or bath, don’t we? Well that hot water comes at a price. And the older your hot water heater is, the higher that price is likely to be. If your hot water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s a good idea to have it checked by a professional. Hot water heaters generally last less than 15 years, so the 10 year mark is a good time to have it looked at. When you’re ready for a new hot water heater, look for those with higher efficiency ratings. And as common sense will tell you, when you are trying to conserve energy, make that daily shower just a little less hot, and a little shorter. Even a small reduction in time and temperature will make a difference. For hot water and plumbing needs in Maryland, consider our friends at AVS Plumbing & Heating in West Friendship. Visit their Maryland plumbing and heating page for more information.

So while we can’t solve the issue of arctic weather, we hope these tips on how to increase your home’s efficiency will help just a little. As always, if you have any questions regarding exterior home improvements, contact the home experts at S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows. Family owned and operated since 1980, S&K is here to help now, and for the long haul.

Stay warm!

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Keeping Your Maryland Home Beautiful with Today’s Trends in Siding – Top 4 Siding Choices for MD Homes

Nothing will impact the appearance of your home more dramatically than the exterior siding you choose.    When shopping for exterior siding for your Maryland home, look for a siding material that not only suits the style of your home but also performs well in the vastly different climate and landscape changes that Maryland offers.  Maryland has often been called “America in Miniature” because of its mixture of land and water in its 10,460 square miles.  You can find just about any natural feature in Maryland except a desert.  So, whether you are searching for siding for your beach front property or new cedar shingles for your mountain getaway S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows offers a wide variety of choices to suit your Maryland home.

While the housing market has continued to suffer across the country, Maryland has held its spot as one the better areas when buying or selling a home.  Whether you are looking to add value to your Maryland home or simply make changes to your home’s overall aesthetics, upgrading the siding is a logical place to start.   When looking at your siding options you should first consider the type of weather or climate changes your home will see.  Next you should consider the style of your home and how your new siding fits into your current lifestyle.  Finally you should always consult a siding professional to make sure the job is done correctly.

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows offers a variety of siding options including vinyl siding, fiber cement siding, insulated siding and cedar siding.  First let’s look at vinyl siding.  Introduced in the 1950’s as an alternative to aluminum siding, vinyl siding is the most frequently used siding option in the United States.  Due to its ease of installation and lack of required maintenance vinyl siding owners will recoup as much as 80% of the installation cost thus increasing the value of the home.  Vinyl siding carries warranties from 20-40 years and will hold up well in Maryland’s hot and humid summers and also its cold winters.  Vinyl siding requires little if any maintenance, never fades and if vinyl is scratched it doesn’t need to be painted because vinyl doesn’t rust and the color of the vinyl permeates the entire thickness of the panels.  Whether you are in the sprawling suburbs of Central Maryland or down by the ocean, vinyl siding is excellent cost effective an option.

Fiber cement siding is fast becoming the next wave in siding options.  Fiber cement siding is made from cement, wood fiber (cellulose), sand and other components.   Uniquely designed, fiber-cement siding resembles wood and boasts all the characteristics of wood.   However, unlike wood, it weathers much better and holds paint longer.  Fiber cement siding does require some maintenance and may need to be painted every 4-5 years.  Known as a green alternative to traditional vinyl siding, fiber cement siding is often made of recycled materials.  Fiber cement siding also carries warranties of 50 years or longer.  Among the many enticing qualities that fiber cement siding offers is it’s imperviousness to rain, cold, salt and snow thus making it ideal for your Ocean City summer home or your western Maryland retreat.

Another interesting siding option available today is insulated siding.  Insulated siding is essentially vinyl siding with rigid foam insulation that is laminated or permanently attached to the inside of the panel.  This type of siding not only keeps the cold out, but also reduces energy loss through framing or other building materials.  Insulated siding is described by builders as a “green building” material.  By reducing energy consumption insulated siding can reduce air pollution.  This product also boasts an average lifespan of 50+ years.  Insulated siding is ideal for the harsh weather conditions that exist throughout the state.

A gorgeous alternative to traditional siding options is cedar siding.  Cedar siding is commonly cut from the Western Red Cedar.  Cedar siding shingles are durable and if maintained properly can carry warranties of up to 25 years.  These shingles do however require a bit of maintenance.  Cedar must be sealed and stained every few years and it is recommended that you power wash your cedar siding to remove dust, cob webs and other dirt particles that build up over time.  Cedar is known to hold in the heat during the winter while keeping the heat out during the summer.  The most common enemy of cedar siding is excessive moisture.  Cedar may not be the best option for the ocean air but may be perfect for your central Maryland farm or a home in the more mountainous regions of the western part of the state.

Siding is your home’s skin; it adds stability to the frame and protects it from the elements.   Siding helps prevent moisture penetration and the growth of biological contaminants such as mold, dust mites and bacteria.  Understanding all of your options before you make a selection is a small investment toward adding value to the home while also preserving it for years to come.  A carefully chosen siding, appropriate for your climate and the amount of care you are willing to devote to its maintenance, will not only give your house a new look, but protect your family’s health and safety.

Siding MD — Maryland possesses a great variety of topography and offers homes in a vast range of sizes and styles.  Whether your home is located on the sandy dunes of the eastern shore, the piney mountains of western Maryland or the city suburbs of Washington, DC or Baltimore, S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows has everything you need to make an educated choice in choosing your home’s new siding.  Please visit https://skroofing.com and check out all of the different siding options.  Refer to the siding FAQ’s page where many of your siding questions will be answered.

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