Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Crawl spaces can create significant problems for homeowners. Is your crawl space insulated and air sealed? Here are four problems that can be lurking in your crawl space, and how insulating and air sealing can help.

Drainage and plumbing problems can create significant problems in a crawl space. Moisture damage in crawl spaces go unnoticed and lead to a host of other problems! Moisture is the number one enemy of a crawl space. Air sealing and insulating your crawl space as well as ensuring proper drainage around your home can help eliminate moisture and the problems associated with it.

Although not included in your home's square footage, the crawl space impacts your home’s interior and has a direct impact on the air quality inside your home. Building science shows airflow in a home naturally goes up, from ground to sky. As your home naturally breathes, moist air flows up and into the living areas of the home through unsealed penetrations points between the crawl space and the first floor of your home (points such as air ducts, wiring holes, holes around plumbing, etc). Any air quality issues in a crawl space are guaranteed to impact your home’s living area.
Have a family member with allergies, asthma or other breathing concerns? Problems in the crawl space like mold and odors can have a direct impact on everyone, in particular family members with these concerns. Air sealing and insulating your crawl space will improve the air quality will help keep these pollutants out of your home, helping to keep your family healthy.

Your crawl space may be providing free room and board to some pesky tenants… and you don’t even know it! Crawl spaces are ideal for pests for a variety of reasons:
  • Damp environments create ideal living conditions for pests.
  • Any heating ducts that are leaking into the crawl space provide warmth during cold months,
  • Wet or damp wood framing provides an excellent food source for termites and other destructive insects.
Air sealing and insulating your crawl space will prevent access points to your crawl space, as well and eliminating these factors that attracted the pests in the first place.

If the integrity of your home’s structure and indoor air quality aren’t enough to convince you to insulate and air seal your crawl space, consider what it’s costing you not to. An unfinished crawl space affects your monthly energy bills. An unsealed crawl space can lead to:
  • Cold floors in the winter
  • Uneven temperature between rooms
  • High heating and cooling bills
Your crawl space is a huge opportunity to save energy (and money)! By air sealing and insulating your crawl space you can reduce drafts, eliminate cold floors, keep your home comfortable, and save money on your energy bill each month.

Upgrading your crawl space is an investment in your home, your family’s health and can save money on your energy bills. What are you waiting for? Contact us to schedule your free estimate!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

There are many factors to consider when choosing replacement windows for your home. The most important feature to consider is how well your windows insulate. Factors that contribute to the energy efficiency of windows are material, style, glass, and ENERGY STAR rating.

Here is a breakdown of each factor so you can make your window replacement decision with confidence.
  • Material
    At Complete Residential we have found that Vinyl windows offer the style and function our clients are looking for. We exclusively install vinyl windows because they:
    • Are low maintenance. Vinyl windows never need painting or staining and are easy to clean with soap and water. They also don’t age as quickly as windows made from other materials.
    • Are reasonably priced. Vinyl is an inexpensive material, but this doesn’t mean vinyl windows are cheap. Our vinyl windows are durable and it won’t rust or corrode.
    • Have low energy costs. Vinyl windows are extremely energy efficient. This reduces heating and cooling needs, which result in lower energy bills.
    • Are available in many styles. Vinyl windows have many color, size, and style options, and if that we’re enough, they can also be custom made.
  • Style
    Certain window styles are more efficient than others. Consider this:
    • Double-hung windows: These traditional windows are one of the most popular styles (the bottom slides up to open the unit). They can be an efficient choice, but in extreme climates, they may lose some energy efficiency value because of the potential for air intrusion between the sliders.
    • Casement windows: These windows operate with a crank that swings the window outward to open, and tend to seal tighter than other styles of windows.
    • Picture windows: Glass choice and gas-filled interiors are especially important in these larger non-opening styles.
  • Glass
    The type of glass you choose for your windows will have the greatest effect on the energy efficiency of your window. Consider this an investment in the energy efficiency of your home, as a quality glass selection will keep your home comfortable and energy efficient for years to come.  Some options to consider are:
    • Low E: Low-E glass works by reflecting infrared light. Which means it keeps heat inside in the winter and outside in the summer. Low-E glass can also help keep your carpet and furniture from fading.
    • Gas Filled: Gas filled windows contain either Argon or Krypton between glass panes which provide greater insulation than regular air. 
    According to energystar.gov, replacing old windows with new ENERGY STAR certified windows could lower your utility bill by up to 12 percent. ENERGY STAR labeled windows are verified to meet or exceed current U.S. energy efficiency guidelines. Here in Georgia, ENERGY STAR labeled windows can help combat the effect of the hot summer sun by reducing “heat gain” into your home. This means your new windows will keep out the heat, but still allow in plenty of light.

One last factor when replacing old windows is choosing to work with a professional. Even the best replacement windows can be drafty or under-perform if not installed correctly. Complete Residential has been expertly installing windows since 2000. We’re here to help with every step of your window replacement process. Learn more here, or give us a call!

Friday, April 29, 2016

An allergy sufferers worst fear -- a field of allergic weeds
After a long winter, the thought of green grass and plants in bloom is a welcome one. But for those that suffer from seasonal allergies, there's dread in the air. 

Air sealing can change that.  Here's how:  

In an unsealed house, polluted, moisture-laden, and pollen-filled air is sucked in from the outside through many leaks in a home’s envelope – leaks  homeowners don’t even know exist. These leaks can be anywhere, and commonly are found around chimney chases, recessed lighting, windows and anywhere else there is a hole in the home’s exterior.

Sealing air leaks helps keep outside air (and outside pollutants) out of your home. Homeowners see many benefits from alr sealing their home, including:
  • Reduced Allergies. Air Sealing makes the air in your home healthier by not letting environmental contaminates like mold and pollen get into your home as easily.
  • More comfortalbe living environment. Air Infiltration can contribute to problems with moisture, noise, dust, as well as the entry of pests.
Happy kid in air sealed home with less allergies

Has your home recently been air sealed? Great! Here are a few other tips to help reduce indoor allergens:
  • Vacuum carpeting and upholstered furniture often using a HEPA filter.
  • Dust mop hard floors instead of vacuuming.
  • Don't wear shoes inside (they track in a surprising number of allergens!)
  • Deter mold growth by keeping your home’s humidity low (40% or less) with a dehumidifier.
  • Encase your pillows and mattress to reduce dust mites (make sure the pore size is 10 microns or smaller).
  • Consider using laundry additives specially formulated to deactivate allergens.

Intersted in air sealing? Contact or call us today for a free Air Sealing estimate!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Beyond obvious signs like sagging, tipping, bends, rust or dents, some not-so-obvious damage to your gutters could be the most important reason to replace them this spring. Here are five warning signs to look for when considering replacing your gutters.

1. Cracks
No matter their size, cracks in your gutters can defeat the purpose of them all together. Keep in mind that while larger cracks are visible when your gutters are dry, smaller cracks may only be detected while it is raining. Cracked gutters allow water to flow wherever it wants instead of where you want it to go. This could lead to pooling water at your foundation, washed out landscaping or damage to your siding. While some cracks may be repaired, extensive cracking is one good reason to consider replacing them. 

2. Broken Seams 
Gutters are often most vulnerable at the seams – where two horizontal sections meet. This can be caused by a multitude of reasons including loose (or missing) fasteners, worn parts or misalignment. Similar to the results of cracking, broken seams allow water to flow to undesirable locations potentially causing damage both outside and inside your home. 

3. Peeling Paint 
Peeling paint on your exterior siding can be a sign of malfunctioning gutters. Check your exterior for any paint that has bubbled up or peeled away due to excess moisture. If you come across an area of damaged paint, check the condition of the nearest gutter. In cases where damaged paint extends beyond more than a couple of areas, it is time to consider gutter replacement, not simply repair.

4. Rot and Mildew 
Rot and mildew aren’t words a homeowner wants to hear. If you have mildew or moisture problems in your basement or crawlspace, malfunctioning gutters may be to blame. Water accumulation near your foundation seeps into the ground and potentially into your basement or crawl space. Similarly, if you find rotted exterior wood siding or wood trim, leaking gutters that might be funneling water directly to these wooden surfaces might be to blame. A quick fix is to make sure your downspouts end at least six feet from your home. If that is already the case, it is time to inspect your gutters for damage and possibly consider replacement.

5. Maintenance 
You’re not alone if you are tired of cleaning your gutters year after year. This tedious, sometimes dangerous, job of cleaning out clogged gutters can often be overlooked and neglected. This can lead to more serious problems as discussed above. If this sounds familiar upgrading your gutters to a leaf guard system might be right for you.

Have questions on the state of your gutters or thinking about upgrading? Give us a call. Estimates and advice are free! 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Updating your shutters is an easy way to add curb appeal to your home! Selecting the right shutter for your home could seem tedious. Here are some tips on how to make the process easier so you can make your home pop and add value too.

Shutters originally were designed to cover an opening around a window and protect the interior of a home (e.g. from weather, animals). Different styles were needed in different climates. Hot and  humid climates gave rise to the ventilated louvered shutters. Raised panel shutters were needed in the colder climates where winter wind, ice and snow could damage window frames and glass. In rural areas more simple board and batten shutters were most common.
Based on this, we recommend considering your home style when selecting your shutter. A New England colonial heritage style home works well with raised panel shutters. Homes based on Southern architecture should have louvered shutters. An “informal” styled homes often look best with board shutters.

Determining the size of your shutter is easy! Each shutter should be exactly one-half the width of the window, regardless of how wide the window is and the length should exactly match the window.  This will give a believable appearance that the shutters could actually be closed to protect against sun, storms, or cold. The rule of thumb on the width means shutters rarely work on multiple-window openings (see photo to right). They look silly if the shutters aren’t big enough to cover the opening and ridiculous if they are.
We offer shutters in a variety of standard widths and lengths as well as custom sizing to ensure you get the perfect fit.

A typical home color scheme has two or three colors. Shutters should be painted the accent color. This means your new shutters should match the color of the front door or windows. For a subtle look, stay within the same color family as your home’s exterior. For a dark exterior, choose a shutter color a few shades lighter and for lighter exteriors a few shades darker. For a bold look, use dark or brightly colored shutters on a light exterior like deep red, charcoal gray or forest green. Still unsure? Stick to the basics. When in doubt, white or black go with any exterior color scheme!

Because they don’t need to be functional, shutters are often attached directly to a home’s siding or brick with screws. We recommend attaching shutters with actual hinges, either working or simulated. With a hinged attachment, the shutters will fold back slightly against the wall giving a greater sense of depth. Shutter “dogs” hold the shutters against the side of your house and keep them from swinging in the breeze.

Shutters should always be mounted on the side window trim rather than against the outside edges of it. This is so that if the shutters were actually closed over the window there wouldn’t be a gap in between.

Shutters don’t work on a house that doesn’t have room for them – plain and simple. If a window is too close to a corner or to close to another window, adding shutters simply won’t fit. If you have an oddly placed or sized window, consider leaving it without a shutter instead of calling attention to it.
Following these steps should ensure you select the proper shutters to accentuate your home.

Still have questions? We’ve been installing shutters for years and can help with your selection process or advise on a question not addressed here. Give us a call.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways a homeowner can save money on their annual energy bills! No matter the season, insulation helps to keep your heating or cooling bills in line. Thanks to the renewed energy tax credit, you can save both on your utility bill and your insulation investment!
Here is what you need to know to take advantage of the offer:
·      Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost of the product, up to $500 (credit does not cover labor or installation costs)
·      How to Apply: File IRS Tax form 5625. You can download the form on the IRS site here ( then search "5625").

Have questions? Contact our office.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Why Spray Foam?

If you’re not familiar with two-in-one benefits of spray foam insulation, we’re here to help! To understand the benefits of spray foam insulation, think of a foam coffee cup or a foam ice chest. Both products keep heat or cold in, while protecting the exterior from transferring temperature. Foam insulation does the exact same thing.

Foam insulation doesn’t only insulate your home like other insulation products like fiberglass and cellulose insulation – it also seals air leaks. Why does this matter? Air sealing prevents air from inside your home from escaping through the cracks and crevices in your home. Leaks are often found around recessed (can) lights, plumbing stacks, electrical wires, attic hatches or doors, around chimneys or flues, and duct chases. When these are sealed conditioned air you’ve already paid for stays in your home.

As a spray foam insulation contractor, we are proud to install products Icynene.

Why invest in spray foam insulation?

With so many ways homeowners can spend money on their home, why should you invest in the best insulation system for your home and its air sealing benefits? Here are just a few reasons:
  • Insulation and air sealing are key components of any green building program.
  • The cheapest energy is the energy that isn’t used. By properly insulating and air sealing, you are keeping energy you have already paid for in your home.
  • A leaky home is not the same as a properly ventilated home. Ventilation is fresh air that enters a house in a controlled manner to exhaust excess moisture and reduce odors and stuffiness. Air leakage, or infiltration, is outside air that enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. Relying on air leakage for ventilation can result in too much or too little air entering the home.
  • Is your home built on a crawl space? A leaky house with a moldy, dusty, or pest-occupied crawl space might allow that air to move up into your home which brings those contaminants with it, into the air you breathe.
  • Proper insulation and air sealing reduces energy use and annual energy bills (up to 10% of a home’s total utilities)
  • Reducing your home’s heating and cooling reduces the wear and tear on your HVAC system.
Ready for spray foam insulation? Contact us for a free estimate, or call 706-868-8925.

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Augusta, GA 30909

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