Tag Archives: energy star

Check your list twice – and put home comfort and energy-efficiency at the top!

Whether your Christmas list is longer than the five-year-olds who recite their inventory of wants on Santa’s lap, or you’re looking to simplify and pare down in 2017, there’s one thing almost every homeowner has in common: This year, you can make your house a little more joyful by upping the comfort factor in each and every room.

While the word “cozy” calls to mind fleece blankets and a roaring blaze in the fireplace, no one wants to spend all winter wearing every article of clothing the closet has to offer just to keep the chill off. Now that winter’s grasp is firmly on the Hudson Valley for the season, it’s time to take a good look at what your house could use for Christmas this year.

If a complete renovation during the holidays makes you cringe more than a slice of month-old fruitcake, fear not: Basic, small changes can make a huge difference in the energy-efficiency of your home – and keep you cozy, whether it’s a blizzard or balmy outdoors.

Here’s a list of tried-and-true tactics Malcarne Contracting uses every time we make a home better-functioning and more comfortable for our customers:

  • By sealing up gaps, cracks and holes in an attic and basement, we can dramatically increase your home’s warmth factor.
  • Old heating systems don’t work as well and cost more in monthly bills than energy-efficient models: Malcarne can let you know what’s out there in terms of available systems – including newer ductless heating systems – what’s reliable, and what makes the most sense for your home.
  • Energy efficiency doesn’t mean just changing a larger item like a heating system: You can cut costs on energy bills by upgrading smaller things, from light bulbs to appliances.
  • So much comes down to one word: insulation. Simply having the right insulation – like that cozy fleece blankie – means your heat stays in and the cold winter winds stay out.
  • Santa doesn’t leave one-size-fits-all presents under the tree, and we couldn’t agree more when it comes to houses! Malcarne Contracting visits and evaluates each home as a separate entity, making sure you get what your home really needs to fix its weak spots and truly make it more snug and energy-efficient.

So make a list of your cold rooms and your high energy bills, and don’t check it twice: Instead, call Malcarne Contracting. By making your home run more efficiently and feel more comfortable, you’ll receive a gift that gives all year long.

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A more comfortable home? It’s a resolution you can keep.

We all go through it: January rolls around, and we make lists of resolutions that we struggle to keep past the first week of the year. But good intentions aside, a new year is a perfect time to say sayonara to the holiday craziness, to recover from parties and gift-wrapping, and to regroup back to a more peaceful pace.

Plus, now that schedules have returned to a somewhat manageable level, it may be time to hit “play” on the home tasks that have been paused from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Maybe it’s planning that addition that will finally give you space to host the holidays next year, or rethinking the attic’s lack of insulation that makes your home heating bills go – literally – through the roof.

For Brenda Sramek, Hyde Park homeowner since 1999, 2014 was the final New Years that she decided to live with flaws that made her home and budget uncomfortable. “Since I purchased my house, it has always been chilly in the winter,” she said. “I got used to wearing layers of clothing in the winter and dealing with it. I was tired of living like that.”

Sramek’s solution? Call in the experts: Malcarne Contracting. “I agreed to have an energy audit with Malcarne and was not surprised at the results,” she said. “It took me a year to decide to have the work done, for no other reason than wondering if the scope of the work would really work.”

According to owner Joseph Malcarne, that’s a great question to ask: Do these energy-saving changes actually save money and make your home more comfortable to live in? The answer’s absolutely yes – if they’re done correctly. With a professionally done energy audit, not only does Malcarne let you know up-front how much the job will cost, but how much you’re projected to pocket each year once energy-saving changes are made.

In October of 2014, Sramek’s home was specially insulated and caulked from attic to basement, and advanced energy panels were installed on her basement windows. “After each work item was completed, I noticed a difference in how often the heat would come on and how long it stayed warm in the house,” she said. “Once the wood tongue-and-groove cathedral ceiling was insulated, it made a huge difference. The room was much quieter – a nice surprise – and so much warmer.”

But Sramek’s love of her home is more than a feeling: It also boils down to black-and-white savings. In 2014-2015, she used 28.5 percent less fuel to heat her home – better than the 25 percent that Malcarne calculated she’d save – and that winter was colder than the previous one. “With all the work being done in the basement, especially sealing up the ductwork, I wondered if the basement would be cold since the leaky ducts were heating the basement,” she said. “It is now toasty and warm – and the basement is heated only by the heat radiating from the exhaust pipe from the furnace.”

Now that the blur of holiday concerts, shopping and gatherings is through, it’s a great time to start 2016 on the right foot. For your home, there’s no better way to do that than with a makeover that can actually help you fulfill your resolution to save more of your hard-earned cash – without pressure from someone who’s looking to make a quick buck.

“I would absolutely recommend Malcarne for the energy-saving work,” said Sramek. “When I had questions, they were answered promptly and professionally. If I had concerns or minor issues, they were resolved quickly, no questions asked. Everyone I had contact with at Malcarne is down-to-earth and a pleasure to work with. Most importantly, I trusted them.”

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