Let me cover another W.E. Brown focus group favorite—knowledge sharing. Something that is near and dear to my heart is new construction and home efficiency. It’s not obvious and so I’ve created an article and blog on the topic: The choices you make behind the drywall should be as remarkable as the ones in plain sight.
Behind the studs are the hidden gems that create your home’s central nervous system— plumbing, electrical,
heating, and air—working in harmony with the individuality of your blueprint. Some options just come down to the way you live. Ask these questions to make sure you build a healthy home.
Your HVAC system works with your walls, insulation, and siding to keep you comfortable regardless of weather. So HVAC options require much more data than just the square footage. A Manual J calculation determines the heating and cooling loads based on your home’s specifics like orientation to the sun, duct tightness, appliances, and occupants: People add heat and humidity to the load!
And your ductwork is just as important. Manual J calculates the exact heating and cooling load that must be delivered to each room to maintain a comfortable temperature.
Along with any heating and cooling, air cleaners, humidifiers, and ventilators will compliment any system you’re considering to boost the air quality of your home.
Electrical code requires one outlet for every twelve feet of wall space, one bathroom outlet, one outlet on the front and back exterior of the house and so on. You get the idea, right: The government minimum.
Electrical design should reflect your routine and the way you live. Walk the floor plan during framing, think about what your family will be doing in each room and plan for future upgrades, outdoor space, convenience, and holiday lighting. You should also make sure the panel box is placed near a heavy load center, the meter is installed close to the panel box, and consider pre wiring now for that hot tub or whole-home generator— any future upgrades you now have in mind.
Whether through copper or PEX, get expert advice based on your water supply, lot location, and personal preferences. Copper resists chlorine, bacteria, performs well outside, is 100 percent recyclable, and has a larger inside diameter allowing maximum flow. A lot of new construction uses PEX which offers cost savings, chlorine resistance, faster installation, and holds heat better than copper making it a no-brainer for closed-loop heating applications like radiant-heat flooring. Although PEX is more resistant to bursting in freezing temperatures than copper, it’s not adequate for outdoor use.
From consult to installation, our plumbers are experienced in all construction phases. So ask if you have questions about water-heater size, or where to put the main water shutoff.
Ask now, before the drywall is smooth and painted that perfect shade of cool-gray.
Creating a more efficient world at home,
As the weather gets colder and days get shorter, your family is likely spending a little more time indoors. It’s important to ensure the air circulating in your home is as healthy and dust-free as possible! Even when it’s too cold to open a window, there are some ways to proactively protect your indoor airRead More
Are you receiving high electric bills or noticing strange noises or smells from your heating system? When our customers call us and mention warning signs like this, we recommend a service check immediately! Bad Smells Strong, foul odors are a common warning sign of a heating system that needs attention. The bad smells could beRead More
Most people only call a plumber in crisis mode or when installing new fixtures. However, there are some common signs of wear and tear that shouldn’t be overlooked! #1: Slow Drains and Persistent Clogs Do you have a stubborn drain that always holds water? This is likely due to hair, grease, debris, or other debrisRead More
Here in Central Virginia, fall is quickly approaching! While the fall season brings many fun activities and autumn treats to look forward to, it also means dropping temperatures and rising heating bills. We’ve gathered our best tips for preparing your home for the fall and winter seasons to help you be as energy-efficient as possible!Read More
As a homeowner, you want to feel safe and equipped to fix common, simple issues. However, when it comes to electrical, many of us don’t know much except where the breaker box is located. If you don’t know where your panel is…this is your sign to go find it! Breaker boxes are often located inRead More
Maintaining a healthy and comfortable indoor environment is essential year-round. However, we’ve found that managing indoor air quality can be trickier in the summer when you’re less likely to bring in fresh air through open windows. Here are 10 tips that will help you optimize your HVAC system’s performance, control humidity levels, and minimize indoorRead More
Each year, more homeowners make the switch to programmable thermostats. Why? Because these devices can make it easier to stay comfortable and use your HVAC system as efficiently as possible. Here’s how we advise our customers to strike a balance of comfort and energy efficiency: Make a Small Temperature Change The Google Nest team recommendsRead More
Are you building a home or adding an HVAC system to your existing home? You’ll need to choose either central air conditioning or a ductless system. While there are pros and cons to both systems, the choice depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. Cost Considerations Since ductless systems are less expensive and less complicatedRead More
Does your family struggle seasonally or year-round with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory difficulties? It may be time to think about ways to improve your indoor air quality. Deep Clean to Get Rid of Potential Allergens To help alleviate allergy symptoms, it’s best to eliminate dust mites and pet dander from your home by cleaningRead More
When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget or ignore routine home maintenance tasks. However, identifying minor problems can keep issues from turning into major, expensive repairs. Here are five home maintenance tasks you should never overlook: Fix leaky faucets: Fixing leaks is about more than just saving water and avoiding flooring or wall damage.Read More
W.E. Brown has thrived in the Charlottesville area since 1922 and every year, we try to find ways to give back to this amazing community where our customers live. This year, we’re partnering with our friends at NBC29 to host the W.E. Give Back Program. The goal of this program is to recognize and giveRead More
During the cold winter months, owning a generator can bring peace of mind. Being without power in frigid weather can be inconvenient and even dangerous. Here at W.E. Brown, we believe that investing in a generator is a step you can take to ensure that your family stays safe and that you don’t have toRead More
When a breaker trips in your home, it’s due to overcapacity or a short: The breaker trips, stopping the flow of electricity as a safety measure. A tripped main breaker will cut the power off to your entire house. SOME COMMON CAUSES CAN INCLUDE: too many appliances; appliances that require too much electricity; damaged breakers;Read More
Routine maintenance makes sure your heat pump is working at peak performance. But if one room is typically colder than the rest of your home, here are a few DIY tips you can do to help. Test your thermostat. Affix a thermometer on your wall next to your thermostat. Place a towel behind the thermometerRead More
To ensure that your toilet doesn’t overflow, remove the lid from the toilet tank and close the rubber flapper—unless you have a pressure-assisted tank. You may also reach behind the toilet and turn off the water supply. (Make sure you turn the supply back on when you’re ready to flush again.) PLUNGER Grab a heavy-dutyRead More
What is emergency heat—and why do I need it? As a follow-up to our recent blog “My A/C won’t keep my house cool enough on a 95-degree day,” we’re taking a look at how heat pumps use emergency heat to perform adequately during the winter. Emergency or auxiliary heat is a supplemental heating component installedRead More
It’s 95 degrees outside, and you can’t get your indoor temperature to go below 75 degrees—even with your thermostat set on 72 degrees. It seems as if the AC can’t keep up. First thing you might think; okay, let’s get a larger AC to keep perfectly cool when summer temperatures hit above 93 degrees. However,Read More
One year ago in May, severe rain in Charlottesville, Va. caused the banks of rivers and streams to flood; so much so that people lost their lives. I recently sat with Diana and Scott outside their home in White Hall to talk with them about the flood and how it changed their perspective on service.Read More
If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, an R-22 refrigerant phase-out has been taking place in the air conditioning industry (since 2013) that will affect you—if it hasn’t already. (Some systems after 2010 were manufactured with the use of R-22. You can check the nameplate on your condenser for the refrigerant type.) The R-22Read More
There are many steps you can take to create a more air-friendly indoor environment. Some of the devices and claims can make the topic of air filtration confusing. Well, it doesn’t have to be. Read our blog and take a look at the simplified diagram to see if we can help clear the air onRead More