Moonworks' Home Improvement Blog

It’s Peak Solar Roofing Season: How You Could Benefit

Solar roofing
For the Northeast region of the country, summertime is when residents can get the most benefit from a solar roof. If your roof is south-facing and is at a favorable angle, you could get 30 to 60 percent of your energy needs from solar roofing, according to Dow Powerhouse.

Is Solar Roofing Really Worthwhile?

Sure, residents of California or Hawaii can reap the benefits of solar roofing, but is it really cost-effective for the Northeast region of the country, where the sun’s rays are much weaker? Although it may take a little bit longer for the investment to pay off, solar roofing can still be advantageous for residents of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.

The federal government is giving a 30% tax credit for solar installations until 2019, and a graduated smaller credit until 2022. This significant tax credit brings down the cost of getting . . .

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How a New Roof Can Pay For Itself

New roof
The materials you select for your roof replacement can determine whether the roof will pay for itself with a combination of lower energy costs and increased home value. If you are interested in replacing your roof, the following information will help you choose the right materials and get the best value from your investment over time.

Benefits of a Cool Roof

There are several different ways to get a cool roof. If you are replacing your roof, you can choose light colored or white shingles, or shingles with a reflective paint coating that reflects heat and sunlight during warm weather months. You can even get the reflective coating painted onto your existing roof if you don’t need roof replacement but want to have the benefits of a cool roof.

Cool roof materials can keep a roof up to 60 degrees cooler than traditional materials, which . . .

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Can MassSave Increase Your Summer Energy Savings?

Energy audit
Saving money on energy costs is easier with MassSave.

The goal of the MassSaveĀ® program is to help residents of Massachusetts save money on their energy costs. The program gives homeowners and businesses information, suggestions and incentives to cut their energy usage and be more energy efficient.

Participants can start the process of saving money by having a free energy audit to find out ways their home may waste energy. Moonworks is a participant in the MassSave program and provides free energy audits.

Many times, homeowners are more concerned about their energy usage during the winter months, but summer energy usage can be just as high or even higher than it is in the winter. Having an energy audit during the summer months can reveal new ways to reduce your energy usage and save money.

Saving on Cooling Costs

If your air conditioner seems . . .

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6 Ways Energy Reviews Reveal Summer Energy Savings

Energy savings
Tuning up or replacing your HVAC system can lead to significant energy savings.

An energy review will provide comprehensive information about how your home uses energy. Many homeowners will get energy reviews in winter, but summer may actually be the season when the most energy is used in your home. When you get an energy review in summer, it can reveal ways to reduce your energy usage when the most energy is being used.

1. Sealing Air Leaks

Most homes are not airtight, and in the summer, hot air can enter the home through openings around doors and windows, or cool air can escape and cause the indoor temperature to rise, or your HVAC system to work harder. Energy reviews will show where air leaks occur, and sealing them is an inexpensive, fairly easy process that can lower your cooling costs by . . .

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How Long Does Insulation Last? And Other Insulation Questions

Energy audit
If your older home is insulated but your electric bills don’t seem to show it, you may wonder whether the insulation has worn out over time. How long does insulation last anyway? Does it degrade over time? Knowing the answers to these questions will tell you whether you need to replace or add insulation to your home to make it more comfortable and energy efficient.

Life Span of Various Insulation Types

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, or InterNACHI, most types of insulation have a life span much longer than homeowners might think. Housewrap, wrap tape and spray foam last 80 or more years, while loose-fill, foamboard, cellulose, fiberglass, rock wool and loose fill all last 100 years or more.

But before you dismiss the need to replace your insulation, these life spans are all for ideal conditions only, and your home . . .

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Does an Outdoor Living Area Make Sense for Your Lifestyle?

Clean gutters
Outdoor living spaces are a popular addition these days, but it makes sense to carefully consider whether to add these spaces to your home and yard. You may already have a porch, deck or patio, but outdoor living space goes beyond these essentials to provide comfortable, livable space in which to spend your leisure time, relax and entertain.

Some factors to consider when deciding whether to add an outdoor living space include the following:

–How much time you or other family members currently spend outside, and how much you enjoy the outdoors. If you already eat or entertain outdoors several times a week, you would probably make good use of a nicer outdoor living space. However, if your family prefers eating indoors the majority of the time, you may find that you don’t use your outdoor living space, and it will be money wasted . . .

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Unusual Roofing Materials You May Want to Consider

Replacing a roof

If you’re considering a roof replacement in the near future, you may have looked into the kinds of roofing materials available. In recent years, some new and different materials have gained popularity, which can make roof replacement more interesting — and confusing. Here is a look at some of the more unusual options and what distinguishes them from traditional roofs.

Dimensional shingles are asphalt composite shingles that are made to have the appearance of cedar. They are available in many different shapes and styles that mimic other, more expensive roofing types. They are typically thicker and more durable than asphalt shingles and can last up to 50 years.

Concrete tiles are versatile and can be made to look like clay tiles, shingles, shakes and even slate, with greater durability and lower cost than at least some other types. Concrete roofing solutions can last . . .

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Solar Roof vs. Traditional Roof: Factors to Consider

Solar roofing

It’s time to replace your roof, and there are so many choices. The government is giving major tax credits for installing solar roofing, but what is the cost and savings? There are also all the other roofing options — asphalt, metal, ceramic tile, slate, and copper. Here are some factors to consider when deciding what kind of roof to install.

Advantages of Traditional Roofing

Asphalt composite shingles are typically the most economical roofing materials, and they are widely available. Asphalt shingles vary in quality, with some lasting 10 to 15 years and others carrying 20 to 25 year warranties. In colder climates, asphalt roofs can help save on energy costs because they are typically dark colored to absorb the heat. Asphalt roofs are also easy to repair.

Pros and Cons of Solar Roofing

As technology advances, the price of solar roofing continues to fall. Additionally, the . . .

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8 Most Cost Effective Home Renovations

Home renovations

Homeowners renovate for many reasons — to improve the appearance of the home, its function, or to cut energy costs and save money going forward. In addition to these reasons, many homeowners renovate to increase the value of their homes, particularly if they plan to sell in the near future.

Most home renovations will increase a home’s value, but for many the increase will not cover the entire renovation cost. According to studies, different home renovations have differing returns on investment (ROI). It’s helpful to know which renovations yield the best return when making decisions for your home. Here is a list of the most cost effective home renovations for 2016, according to Remodeling’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report.

1. Fiberglass attic insulation is the only renovation to top 100% ROI in this year’s listing. It is also one of the least . . .

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What to Do When You Can’t Afford to Renovate

Renovate

Most home renovations cost thousands of dollars, but homeowners often don’t have any way to pay for that new roof or HVAC system they so desperately need. It is possible to renovate your home when you don’t have cash in hand. The answer to your cash crunch may be closer than you think.

Get a Second Job or Work Overtime

If your schedule allows, you may want to take on more work in order to pay for a needed home renovation. It might take a few months to save up enough money to install a Gutter HelmetĀ® or replace your rotting windows, but unless the renovation is urgent, such as replacing a leaky roof before hurricane season, you may feel more comfortable waiting until you have the money in hand to complete your project.

Borrow from Your Retirement Account

Your house is usually your largest . . .

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