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Complete Pool Closing Checklist

Summer is coming to an end in St Louis – Do you know how to close and winterize your pool?

If you’re like most people, you dread having to close your pool. Unfortunately, if it’s not winterized correctly, it may mean a green, murky mess when you open it again next summer.

This checklist will help you keep your pool in top shape. Don’t skip any steps!

Balance the Water Chemistry

About a week before pool closing, take the time to check your pool water’s chemical levels.

  • Your PH should be between 7.2 and 7.8
  • Your alkalinity should be between 80 and 120 ppm
  • Your calcium hardness should be between 180 and 220 ppm

Once these levels are all correct, sanitize the water with a shock agent then wait for the chlorine level to fall back to a desired range.

Get Everything Out of the Pool

Next, remove the ladder, any baskets, or any other accessories that are normally in the pool.

From here, you’ll want to remove all the debris that is in the water or the bottom of the pool. Vacuum the floor, surface scrub the walls and generally ensure your pool is clean.

Lower the Water

Now is the time to get the filter pump going and start lowering the water. You’ll want to lower it until it is a few inches below any tile along the edge or return lines.

You can skip this step all together if your pool is lined with vinyl.

Drain the Pump and Filter

Now you can drain the pump, filter and any chlorinator or heater you have. If you forget this step, winter will be hard on the equipment. Freezing and cracking can occur if even a little water remains.

If you have an in-ground pool, the plumbing lines will also need to be blown out. Once they are empty, place plugs at the end of the lines.

Winterize

Next, add a winterizing chemical kit to the water. This will help keep the green stuff, along with rust and other bad things out of your pool! Make sure to follow the instructions on the kit that you get.

Secure the Cover

Lastly, secure your cover over the pool. Make sure it fits tightly. If there are any holes or damage in the surface material, debris may be able to enter your clean pool.

Make sure to secure it tight for the winter and then relax, because you are done!

If you have any questions or need help closing your pool, contact us today and we will be glad to help!

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Insulation

Insulation Removal Services

One of the most often un-thought of services that Beldner’s Insulation offers is insulation removal.  Insulation is like rice, it multiplies when you try to remove it yourself.  Beldner’s Insulation owns equipment specifically designed to remove insulation without the need for damaging shovels and trash bags.

Why, you might ask, would you want to have insulation removed from a building.  The first and most apparent reason is water damage.  For any loose fill or batted insulation, cellulose, fiberglass or any other type, once it gets wet the efficiency of the product decreases.  Water adds weight and will compact the insulation possibly rendering it a better conductor than insulator.  That compaction also slows down the drying time potentially leading to microbial growth, MOLD.  That mold can build up in your attic and eventually into your home leading to a number of health hazards.  Products that are in the field that have chemical additives to prevent fire and mold may no longer work with the chemicals being washed out of them.  This has created not only an are where there is little effective insulation, but also a possible fire hazard.

insulation removalRemoving insulation is also the best way to cut down on the debris created when renovating a home.  In particular, fiberglass is a very lightweight product that is easily airborne when tampered with.  Airborne fiberglass fibers have been linked to cancer, a warning that is carried on every insulation label.  By removing the insulation before renovation of a ceiling takes place, the airborne particles of insulation are all but eliminated.  Once the work has begun, the labor becomes more efficient with electricians and plumbers no longer having to fight through a mess to correctly complete their work.  This leads to less time on the job site and happier customers.

Fire damage is often a cause for renovations to begin, but in order to get rid of the odor that persists after a fire all porous materials need to be cleaned.  Furniture can be cleaned, walls can be cleaned and painted, but insulation in your attic can only be removed and replaced.  The residue from the smoke will linger for years to come and the removal will eliminate the odor and allow for the renovation to continue with minimal additional time and labor.

The final reason that a removal may need to take place is a direct result of Mother Nature.  Animals find their way  into our homes whether we like it or not.  The animals we find in attics are often varying in size from mice and bats to squirrels and raccoons.  Yes, that is right, the pitter patter you hear coming from your attic may be coming from one of these pests.  And, as always, with a pest comes feces, carrying with it another odor that can permeate through a house.  I have even had customers say that other trades (cable repairman, electrician, etc…) will not work in an unhealthy environment like one that is infested with animals.  Removal is the only option to guarantee a clean, healthy work space.

As a byproduct of any insulation removal is the ability to then re-insulate and air seal a home to the greatest level.  Yes, air sealing can be done with insulation present but the work takes longer and the possibility of not having a full seal is always present due to loose dust and debris.  With the insulation removed the labor costs can be decreased and the job charge is less.

As you can see, there are many reasons to remove and replace attic insulation.  If you are in one of these situations, you may want to consult insulation and energy conservation experts to make a better informed decision on your renovation needs.

Note:  Due to the uncertain nature of vermiculite and the possible presence of asbestos, we cannot remove vermiculite without it first being tested and certified that the vermiculite does not contain asbestos.

 

Categories
Insulation

How to Insulate a Basement

I am often asked about insulating basements and what the best methods are.  Basements are often the most complex areas of our homes to insulate.  There are a few things to keep in mind before you even start insulating.

First, and for most is moisture control, if there are leaks and cracks in your floor those are the first thing that need to be addressed.  Source control is the only way to stop the moisture from penetrating through the walls’ cracks.  If the wall is in good condition, the next thing to think about with regards to moisture is wicking through the wall.  Since there is no way to ever completely stop this the next best option that I have found is concrete sealer on the wall, by no means is it mandatory but it is a great way to stay a step ahead of the game when it comes to moisture mitigation in your walls.

The next area that I look at is the sill plate and band joist in the basement.  These areas contribute the second largest amount of air infiltration in our homes.  Often times all that is in the way is a fiberglass batt, which as I am sure you have heard me say before is great when used correctly but is little more than a filter when air is allowed to pass through them.  The best way I have found to address this is with foam.  A foam product will both add insulation and air sealing to the space, and at that point you are able to replace the fiberglass batting and get the maximum R-value benefit from the space.

As for the walls, you are truly able to insulate any way that you choose.  Fiberglass batts in an air sealed cavity, full cavity foam, or even wet spray cellulose.  All will not be a problem so long as the moisture source control has been taken care of.

Finally, I am often asked if the walls in a basement should be wrapped in poly to protect from mold.  For the St. Louis area’s vastly changing temperature zone there is no area that is best for applying a poly.   The rule of thumb is that the moisture barrier should always be to the conditioned side of the house.  That means in cold, heating climate zone the moisture barrier should be to the inside of the house and in a hot and humid, cooling climate zone the moisture barrier should be in the outside of the house.  In mixed climate zones like that of the St Louis area the moisture source is dependent on the season and thus there is no recommendation to install a vapor barrier. If the cavity is air sealed I see no reason to add the additional cost and time to a job to add a vapor barrier.

While we are on the subject of wrapping walls with a vapor barrier, I must point out a few things.  Exterior house wrap is semi permeable.  Meaning, it stops bulk wind and moisture.  It is not a full air block which is why it does not air seal a house.  An air sealed house does not need to be wrapped on the interior because by stopping the air completely you are also stopping the moisture.  You have created a healthier environment in your home even within your walls.  With proper moisture mitigation through vent fans and range hoods, moisture in your home should be very unlikely to reach levels where mold is commonly found.

Back to the basements… The common ways of insulating a basement are great when you have furred out walls but, if you do not plan on framing out the walls of your basement you still have the option of applying a foam board to the walls.  One note about doing this is to make sure that you have the proper foam board on you walls.  Common foam board and sprays must be covered with a fifteen minute fire barrier to meet building code.  One of the only products that can do this is Dow Thermax foam board insulation.  We recently had a great deal of success with this and as you can see from the views below.  The look is great for a storage area and the results are great.

 Uninsulated basement

Basement insulted with Dow Thermax Foam Board

We have the experience to help you make the best choice for each building. Give us a call at (314) 428-6095 and we can help you maximize the quality of the space you have in your home and save you money doing it.

Categories
Pool & Spa

Why can’t I drain my fiberglass pool?

Why can’t I drain my fiberglass pool?

The water in your fiberglass pool is dirty; your first reaction is to drain the pool and refill.  When you own a fiberglass pool draining your pool is a big no-no.

The design of a fiberglass pool does not allow for the water to be removed.  The simplest explanation is that the walls of your pool may buckle crack or worse collapse.  The manufacturers of fiberglass pools will not warranty or repair damages caused by external pressure on the wall of a pool.  Because of soil conditions such as sand, dirt, and water that settle against the walls, this can cause them to buckle, crack, or move. Therefore, by keeping internal pressure against the walls, the will not become distorted.

Most fiberglass pools do not have a main drain with hydro-static relief valve to equalize hydraulic water pressure under the pool.

Because water is above plumbing fittings, we use a different procedure to winterize the pool.  Always check your plugs to ensure a good seal takes place each year.  This will help prevent water from getting into piping under the ground.

What can you do to prevent dirty water in your pool during the winter months?  The best thing to do is add chlorine and algaecide to the water about once a month.  If you own a mesh safety cover then adding these chemicals is a must as the water is constantly getting sun throughout the winter months.

Professional Industries offers a service where we visit your pool once a month to add chlorine and an algaecide to help keep your pool water as clean and clear as possible during the winter months.

Categories
Insulation

Insulation Sale “Sort Of”

Recently, I received an email from one of those coupon companies that offers a sweetheart deal; don’t pass up this kind of offer for attic insulation, from one of our competitors.

The coupon was from St. Clair Corporation for 50% off attic insulation.  Believe me when I tell you, half off of anything grabs my attention and probably yours as well.  Obviously, since it was a competitor of Beldner’s Insulation I wanted to know more about the offer. I was also concerned as to how we could compete with such an offer.  As I read about the offer I was amazed as to how much St. Clair Corporation was charging for attic insulation plus how they sold insulation in general.  The way St. Clair is pricing out their product is not only deceptive but violates the Federal Trade Commission mandate on how companies are allowed to sell insulation which is by R-Value.  R-Value is the thermal resistance that the insulating material has.  R-Value is equal no matter what type of insulating material you choose.

In the coupon St. Clair claims that for 1800 cubic feet of blown in fiberglass insulation; that will cost you $4230. After the discount you pay $2115. While reading and digesting this; it took me a few minutes to figure out what 1800 cubic feet of blown in insulation translated to in layman terms. My best guess is that St. Clair is installing an R-30 (12 inches) of blown in fiberglass to an 1800 square foot home.  That is just over $1.18 a square foot. That does not sound too bad to reduce your energy bill by 20% or more. Then I looked at our price for the same amount of insulation.  Beldner’s Insulation charges $.63 a square foot for a better grade of fiberglass insulation. That is almost half of St. Clair’s sale price.  Not to wheel and deal even more, but if you went with cellulose insulation (which I believe is a superior product, check out my other blog) our everyday price for an R-30 is $.50 per square foot.  For the same 1800 square foot project our price for fiberglass insulation would be $1134.00 and $900.00 for blown in cellulose insulation. Not such a deal from St. Clair is it?

Because I also want the consumer to know the whole truth; one other inaccuracy in the advertisement concerns the tax credit that is currently available. St.  Clair states that you can earn a 30% tax credit for insulating your attic when in reality the available tax credit is only 10%. And the tax credit expires on 12/31/2011.

If you would like for me to forward you the email coupon from St. Clair let me know, I will be happy to do it.  I guess this shows in all home improvement projects it is best to get three estimates. And you should call Beldner’s Insulation at (314) 428-6095 for one of them. One last thing, we do have our own coupon on our website that will save you $25.00 off our price.

Categories
Insulation

Cellulose vs. Fiberglass

Opinions vary constantly as to which is better, cellulose or fiberglass.  But it is important to get the facts straight about each.  Both are excellent insulators and when used correctly can extend the durability and comfort of your home for years.  Each can be used in flat attic spaces and in wall cavities.  In the end, the decision as to the product you choose is yours to make and we at Beldner’s Insulation have the experience and skill to make sure it gets done right.

Fiberglass comes in both the common batt form and the loose fill blown form.  Loose fill fiberglass insulation is blown in and is very light weight.  This light weight aspect of the insulation can extend the life of the product by minimizing the settlement of the product over time.  The same blown in insulation can be dense packed into walls to give excellent coverage and ensure the full fill of each cavity.  This BIB system of insulation is the highest value of fiberglass insulation that you can get into a wall.  A fiberglass batt, on the other hand, does the same job insulating the wall but has the possibility of leaving small gaps around the exterior of the batts.  We, as insulators, are constantly working to minimize this effect but it is a constant battle right up to the point that the dry wall is put in place.  Fiberglass batts are also the most cost effective way to insulate underneath the floor boards of crawl spaces.  By using simple metal hangers, a fiberglass batt can be placed in the floor cavities and insulate for years to come.

Cellulose insulation is recycled paper that is chemically treated to be fire resistant, mold deterrent, a pest deterrent as well as an excellent sound barrier.  Cellulose insulation comes in only the loose fill form, but has many uses.  Cellulose insulation is significantly denser than fiberglass which gives it a better R-value per inch than fiberglass, meaning that in cases where there is a low pitch roof line and there is little space to fit insulation to maximize the insulation level with blow-in insulation, cellulose will be the better choice.  The density of the cellulose also makes the product heavier allowing it to be a great way to retrofit an attic that already has fiberglass insulation in it.  The weight can actually compact and increase the R-value of the fiberglass while not only adding it own R-value but reducing the amount of air that can settle into the product in extreme temperature days.  The additional weight does have a disadvantage as the product does have a settlement factor, a factor that is known by the manufacturers and is accounted for when blowing insulation by adding more insulation than is called for allowing the product to settle to its determined level.  In wall cavities the insulation can be sprayed with water to hold it in place, preventing the settlement and making it a stable product that gives excellent coverage and can be an excellent sound barrier.

We at Beldner’s Insulation carry both products and are well versed in their application.  In the weatherization field, the correct application means everything and we stand by our services with our one year guarantee.  We would be happy to meet with you to help you choose the product that works best for your individual situation.  Please give us a call at (314) 428-6095 or visit our website’s homepage to request a consultation.

Categories
Insulation

Radiant Barriers are a Great Way to Cool Your Home from the Sun’s Heat

Radiant Barriers are the next generation in making your home more energy efficient.  If you own a two story home and are having issues cooling the second floor; installing a radiant barrier is a great way to help with this issue.  They also work great for ranch style homes as well.

Radiant Barriers will reduce attic temperature by BLOCKING 97% of the radiant heat that attempts to enter your attic.  By blocking the radiant heat it helps maintain the climate in your attic and in the living area of your home.  The radiant barrier reduces the air temperature of your attic especially when it is warm outside.  Radiant barriers help extend the life of your HVAC unit.  During the colder months radiant barriers help by reflecting the heat loss back into your living space.

Call us today at (314) 428-6095 for a free estimate!  Currently until June 30, 2011 we will deduct $50.00 from the purchase and installation of a radiant barrier in your home.

Radiant Barriers also qualify for the 10% Federal Energy Tax Credit!

 

Categories
Pool & Spa

Financing Available to Upgrade Your Swimming Pool and its Surroundings!

Our swimming pool distributor is proud to announce that it has partnered with Lending Club to make loans to upgrade your swimming pool equipment at competitive interest rates.  Items that can be financed included heaters, pumps, liners, filters, and salt chlorinatorsRenovations such as plastering your pool or painting your pool are eligible.

Click on this link for more information and to apply.

http://www.swimmingpool.com/lending-club

 

Categories
Pool & Spa

Beware Before You Purchase a Swimming Pool Heater Online

We all like the convenience of shopping online.  It is great not to have a salesperson lurking over your shoulder while trying to make a decision on what you would like to purchase.  This information about products online is very plentiful.  A lot of times the items online may even appear to cost less.  That may even be the case when considering buying your new swimming pool heater online.

Sometimes, upon further review, buying your heater online is not such a great deal.  Did you know that many swimming pool heater manufacturers void their warranty if you purchase your heater online?  This means if anything should be defective or falter in your heater; you are financially responsible for the repair costs.  The average minor repair cost on a heater starts at $150.00 and goes up from there.  Attempting to install the heater yourself is very difficult and potentially very dangerous.  Our heater technicians undergo extensive training by the manufacturer and by our swimming pool association.  Many online retailers carry last year’s stock.  Many times the products you receive are older, discontinued, or outdated models.

Think of it this way…Would you ever consider buying a furnace for your home online? Buying a heater online is the same thing.

Professional Industries, Inc. carries all of the top swimming pool heater brands and installs them.  Not only that, but we are the warranty repair station for most of these manufacturers.  If you ever have any problems we will take care of everything.  If you are ready to replace your existing heater or want to install one for the first time; we have the right products at competitive prices plus we have the trained staff to install them right way.  Call us today at (314) 428-6095 or email us at pools@professionalind.com.

 

Categories
Insulation

The Next Generation in Insulation and Energy Conservation

Come to our Open House for Contractors!  Visit us at our open house to learn more about the Owens Corning Energy Complete system. It is the next generation in Insulation and Energy Conservation.