Each year my energy bill is exponentially higher than the previous one, are there any steps I can do to lower the amount I pay on heating and air-conditioning my home?

Heating and cooling can be an expensive process in their respective seasons, the reason being that there are cracks that are releasing the inside air, increasing the amount of energy required to sustain a constant temperature. Proper installation and maintenance of windows, doors, attics, and basements are all paramount in the regulating of heat or cool in a house; if one of these systems is compromised then there will be an increase of energy required.

Windows can be the designing pride of a room, the focal point that ties a room together, however if isn't properly installed, cracked, or simply in need of replacement it can be an eye sore for the home owner. The common issue regarding windows is that if their airtight seal has broken, they will be letting the inside air out and vise versa. A common warning sign is condensation appearing between the panels of glass of the window, determining that there is a break in the seal or glass.

Without proper ventilation in the attic, if there aren't enough vents, the existing vents are blocked, or they aren't installed properly, this can be quite problematic for the homeowner. The attic vents circulate the air, as the heat within rises into the attic; the air is then released cooling the house. This heat regulation is very important as without it, the heat in the attic will begin to condense and mold on the joists, in addition to overheating the rest of the house.

Damages in the foundation, in addition to non-insulated basements of a house, not only can cause water leaks, but can greatly reduce the heating systems effectiveness of a house. Because the basement is already the coldest level of a house, it is important that any heat that is circulated to those areas will not dissipate. By insulating the concrete walls, and fixing any foundation irregularities, the basement is able to maintain a temperature, without the issues of heat loss.

I have just had my roof replaced, what are some steps I can follow to further ensure the life of my new roof system?

Constant air flow, through the air intake and outtake ventilations systems, is paramount in the prevention of roof damage. When there is insufficient air flow, either through a ventilation blockage or designing error, the roof system is subject to fail. The attic becomes overheated, and the moisture trapped in the attic will condense and become mold, weakening the integrity of the joists and plywood. The shingles also begin to curl up at the edges, allowing more potential water to enter the attic through improper drainage. Keeping the air vents free of obstructions and clean will greatly extend the life of your roof.

One of the most common reasons for roof system malfunctions is improper drainage of water due to obstructions in the eavestroughs and downspouts. Standing water will slowly erode the shingles and wood, so it is very important to always keep your eaves and downspouts clear of debris by cleaning seasonally or as needed.

Avoiding the constant walking on the roof seems like an obvious prevention method, but homeowners may not realize the amount of traffic of their roof. Raccoons, in addition to other woodland critters, can have a devastating impact on the condition of the roof and soffits. It is important to properly protect against the potential nesting of these animals, and if a nest is found, to contact animal control for immediate removal.

The removal of snow after a large snow fall is another great preventative measure. This will limit the amount of weathering and erosion on your roof, along with the constant weight placed on it. To ensure the continuing validation of the roof system warrantee, the hiring of a professional contractor is recommended for homeowners.

I am concerned that my roof requires to be renovated, what are some of the warning signs I can look for?

The most oblivious sign that a roof requires maintenance is if there are missing or broken shingles. When a shingle is missing, it compromises the drainage system of the roof, and that water can run underneath the remaining shingles causing water damage to the rest of the plywood and eventually pour into the attic. It is very important to notify a contractor immediately after such a discovery before the problem escalates.

Damaged sealants around the flashing of the roof, along the bricks, and chimneys. These are great spots for water to leak under the roof's membrane and into a house. The continuing erosion of the sealants will lead to attic leaks and compromised structural integrity of the chimney and any other associated brick work.

Shingles do not have to be missing or completely broken to compromise the roof water flow system. The noticeable curling of the edges of the shingles increases the chance of attic water leaks and disintegration of the plywood.

Leaking or large wet spots in the drywall ceilings of the home. These usually determine that there has been a leak into the attic, through a failure in the roof system. The contacting of a certified roofing company is imperative at this point, as the damages will only persist and the costs to repair will escalate considerably.

The job has started, how can I check its progress without having the knowledge a contractor has?

The simple answer to this question is to check the terms of your contract and make sure that the details specified there are accurately being followed.

Make sure they started on the day mentioned in the contract, or if not, gave prior notice to a change in the start date. Also, make sure that they start punctually every morning of the job, unless notified prior. This is important as it shows the contractors commitment towards your renovations.

Contractors can find ways to cut corners to increase their profits, one way is to reduce the material costs.Make sure that the materials that they are using are the same products that are mentioned in the contract. (i.e. the shingles for your roof are the exact color and brand name mentioned in the contract)

When renovations are in progress, whether it being interior or exterior, there has to be a respect for the home and the cleanliness of the home owner. A simple method is to check the clean up at the end of the day. A good contractor should leave the site in the same state they arrived to, if not cleaner. Furniture should be moved back, floors in the area should be vacuumed, garbage disposed of, and all tools either stored in an out-of-the-way location onsite, or taken at the end of the day. (John McLellan Contracting has received several positive customer reviews regarding the cleanliness and respect of our workers, See Testimonial Page.)

A successful and respectable contractor should always have time to answer any questions that a home owner has. They are providing a service and allowed into a homeowner's home, on the assumption that they are to renovate without issue, so if something seems out of place, or you have some concerns, do not hesitate to ask.