What Can You Learn from a Frosty Roof?

Viewing a frosty roof, or a one without frost on an icy morning, can provide useful information about the home’s insulation.

Frosty roof photos (and why it matters)

Here are some homes in Los Gatos viewed early one winter morning when the sun had barely risen.   The home on the left shows some ice over and near the eaves, but not higher up on that roof.  The house on the right  has frost all nearly all of its roof except over the garage where it connects to the 2nd story.   What is happening?

 

Two homes on an icy morning - one with more frost than the other

 

In the left house, the roof is warm and the frost is melting or gone, while on the right the roof is not warm except in one spot.

Frost is a good indicator that the insulation in the attic is keeping the heat in the home and that it’s not being lost to the attic and roof. The house on the right is very well insulated. The one warm spot may be close to the furnace, water heater, washer, or dryer – something in the garage is heating up that corner of the roof.

This has nothing to do with the roof type, by the way. The one on the left is metal and the one next to it is composition shingle. In the photos below, at the left is another comp shingle and to the right of it has a concrete tile roof.

Let’s look at another example:

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Santa Clara Valley Water District – rebates for conservation measures

Waste no waterThe drought is ongoing, and the state and the Santa Clara Valley Water District are both pressing all of us for greater conservation.  Silicon Valley residents will be tempted by local water agencies (and PG & E) offering some pretty tempting rebates, some of which have been recently and temporarily increased, for improvements made to your home and yard which lessen the amount of wasted water. For instance, changing toilets and faucets to “low flow” models will net consumers a little cash back. But it’s much more than that.  How about getting your washing machine’s gray water to a second use in the yard?

Some of these updates may not be optional in the future, so consider getting them while the rebates are still available.

Please click on the link below to view the available programs:

http://www.valleywater.org/programs/rebates.aspx

San Jose Water Company’s rebate page: https://www.sjwater.com/for_your_information/save_water_money/rebates_incentives

Also, view the SCVWD “Fact Sheet” for more info on what’s happening with our water. (This is a pdf on the Town of Los Gatos website).

 

 

 

 

How’s that water conservation coming? Do you know how to check?

The State of California is in the 3rd year of a serious drought.  There are areas in CA where there is no water going to homes at all unless it’s being trucked in (at a very high cost).  We are all being asked to conserve as much as possible, with 20% being targeted not just in Silicon Valley but in all areas of California.  How are your conservation efforts coming?  Do you know how to check your water usage as compared to a year ago?

If you have San Jose Water, you won’t need to dig into your 2013 water bills to see how you’re progressing with water savings.  The San Jose Water statement comes with a great breakdown so you can see if you’re cutting back as much as you think.   Here’s an example:

 

water bill historical usage

 

What’s nice is that the gallons per day is shown, so that even if the number of days varies, you can get a pretty solid sense of use.

In this case, year over year, the family is saving an average of about 137  gallons per day, which is about a 25% savings from the same period a year ago. A lot of it’s coming from more careful use of sprinklers in the yard.  Not bad, but they are trying to improve it more.

What about you?  How much have you been able to cut back as compared to last year?   We can all pitch in!

 

 

 

In California, Low Flow’s the Way To Go: New Regulations Coming!

I’m going to ask you something personal…regarding your bathroom habits.  Is your toilet low flow?

If your house was built before 1994, soon your toilets will need to be “low flow”.  So too will your shower heads and faucets.

In 2010, a bill was passed in California (SB 407 Padilla) requiring all homes (all residential properties) built prior to 1994 be retrofitted with low flow devices when remodeled as of 2014.  If not remodeled, the change still must take place by 2017 for all residences built prior to 1994.

So if you are updating your kitchen, wet bar, or bathroom any time soon, remember: low flow’s the way to go!

For those selling, it should not come as a surprise that this will mean another disclosure to make (whether or not the retrofitting has been done).