Pro tips to warm up your home for winter.

Winterize your home with useful tips from Total Construction

With the winter chill fast upon us, it’s the perfect time to be proactive and prep your home to save on your energy bills. While there are dozens of things you can do to get your home ready for winter, we’ve trimmed down the list to a few simple and highly effective steps.

Change your furnace filter. This simple action is cheap, quick and serves a double purpose: enabling a more efficient, cost-saving flow of air through your home, and filtering your home from airborne bacteria, mold, viruses and pollen. With your windows sealed tight during the cold months, the quality of your indoor air can make a vast difference. For best results, avoid fiberglass filters and seek electrostatic and HEPA filters.

Turn down your water heater and thermostat. Most water heaters are set to 140º F—an often-needless amount of heat that converts to steam you don’t use anyways. Lower your water heater to 120º to reduce your costs by as much as 10%. Want to lower energy bills even more? Lower your thermostat. For every degree you go down, you can save an additional 3% on your monthly heating. Bypass high thermostat temps by wearing your favorite sweater instead—and the results will show.

Tax credits are everywhere. You could enjoy federal tax credits up to 30% when you do things like upgrade your insulation, install energy-efficient windows, or install an energy-efficient furnace—just to name a few. Contact a construction contractor for further advice on special offers that you can utilize. You’ll also be insulating your wallet in the process.

Install storm doors and windows. A new storm door can increase energy efficiency by more than 40%. And storm windows are no different in their effectiveness against cold winds. As you know, poor-quality windows and doors can become a freeway for cold air, which zaps your heat efficiency. A contractor can tell you the best options available.

Insulate your water pipes. Wherever your water pipes are warm to the touch, insulation is likely needed. Insulating your pipes not only serves as a preventative measure for pipe bursts, but also reduces the cost you pay for hot water. Ask a local hardware store for pipe insulation that you can install yourself—quickly and painlessly. You can also receive federal tax credits in the process.

Find a solid contractor. When it comes to fortifying your home for winter, nobody helps to better prepare you, answer your questions, or audit the energy use of your home like a good construction contractor. In addition to serving homes in Omaha and surrounding areas for decades, Total Construction has received the 2015 Better Business Bureau Integrity Award. Whatever your needs, or your queries, we’re here to help.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Get ready for summer: De-winterize your home.

The summer sun is coming. Get your home ready.Winter is receding and the summer sun is teasing its way in. Now’s a perfect time to prepare your home with a few simple steps to maximize your comfort and minimize any issues this season.

Test your outside water lines. Turn your outside water line back on and check your outside faucets to ensure they’re working correctly. Reattach your hose and test it also. If there’s a small leak, you can easily repair it using a garden hose repair kit available at most retailers.

Check your home’s exterior. Now’s the time to see how your home handled the winter and preemptively address any needs before spring storms and summer swelter begin their annual barrage. Are there any shingles missing from the roof? Are there loose boards in the siding? Gaps in the windows? Torn or bent screens or any cracking in the foundation? Points where the snow leaked into the home? These are all things that can be promptly solved by a professional contractor before the problem grows more intense along with the weather.

Make sure your attic is properly ventilated. An attic that’s properly ventilated by professionals ensures that undue heat is never trapped in your home (poorly ventilated attics can reach 150ºF in the summer) while also preventing unwanted moisture. When moisture builds, it can form into mildew and molds on your infrastructure—which can sometimes become a health hazard. So let your attic breathe. The benefits may surprise you.

Get your HVAC system checked. Make sure you’re prepared when you revive the AC for another season of cooling. Professionals can check your unit to ensure it’s running correctly, locate any leaks and tune it to run most efficiently.

Test all of your outside electrical outlets. Are they working correctly? Again, a professional contractor can assist if you locate a dud, which may indicate a greater problem.

Know your market. It’s wise to be prepared. With the seasonal changes on the horizon, be sure to have a trusted contractor on hand in the event of a problem or emergency. You can ask your home insurance provider for a list of trustworthy names. But above all, look for someone who receives local awards and real testimonials indicating overall excellence and customer service.

A well prepared home decreases the likelihood of issues during the hot months, but more importantly, enables you to more easily enjoy the summer. After all, isn’t that the point?

If you have further questions on de-winterizing your home, or for anything home-related, call Total Construction any time to speak with a friendly representative.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

6 useful tips to prevent pipes from freezing

Where there's frozen water, frozen or burst pipes can follow.

It’s no mystery in the winter: the main culprit of bursting pipes is frozen water. Namely, how frozen water blocks the normal flow of liquid through the pipes, causing backup and pressure to build. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not expanding ice that actually makes a pipe finally burst: it’s the remaining liquid water finding nowhere else to go but out. Using this knowledge, there’s a few simple tips you can follow now to prevent any watery disasters in the future.

1. Ensure your pipes are insulated. Sure, homes in the north are often equipped with well-insulated pipes. But regardless of latitude, homes throughout the Midwest, especially farther south, should ensure their pipes are properly insulated—especially in vulnerable areas such as attics, crawlspaces and outside walls. If this year’s frigid cold has taught us anything, it’s this: where the cold is less commonplace, so is preparation. So don’t be a victim: avoid costly emergencies by adopting a mindset of better safe than sorry. For advice on insulation, you can always contact a construction contractor.

2. Seal those seams. To keep cold wind away from your pipes, seal cracks and holes in your walls with caulking. Simply walk along the walls of your house and feel for drafts. And for fainter drafts, light an incense stick. When the smoke is offset, there’s a draft.

3. Some doors are best left open. Did you know? Kitchen and bathroom cabinets can keep warm inside air from reaching pipes under sinks or in adjacent outside walls. It’s a good idea to keep cabinet doors open during cold spells to let warm air circulate around the pipes and prevent freezing.

4. Unfasten your hose. If a hose is hooked up to your backyard or the side of your house, remove it and shut off the valve that leads to your outdoor hose. By shutting off your valve and ensuring all water has dripped out, it removes the risk of a freeze.

5. Don’t hesitate to use your taps. As long as water is running and pressure doesn’t build up, there’s a far lower risk of freeze and pipes bursting. Also, it’s okay to let faucets lightly drip where you believe there could be risk of cold pipes. The slight relief in pressure prevents potential buildup within your pipes.

6. Leaving for a trip? Don’t over-lower the heat. While understandably it saves money to lower your thermostat when you’re away from home, it’s important to not be overzealous and allow your home to cool excessively in your absence. A home kept reasonably warm will ensure pipes share the same cozy condition.

Aside from the obvious pipe burst, a telltale symptom of winter creeping into your infrastructure is lowered water pressure—or worse, no water activity whatsoever when you twist your faucet on. While this requires immediate professional assistance, you can also call a professional ahead of time for additional precautionary tips on how to prevent this worst case scenario.

For the best repair and restoration in the instance of water damage and other incidents, contact a certified construction contractor serving homes and businesses since 1987.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com

Storm or hail damage to the roof? A third party manager can work miracles.

Total Construction Services Roofing Restoration ExpertsWe’ve all heard the old saying, “the calm after the storm.” But can there be peace of mind after storm damage to the roof, especially when it seems like all roofers are suddenly overbooked and unavailable? Thankfully, there’s an answer. It’s a smarter, lesser-known approach to gain fast access to a top network of roofing contractors in the area, a better warranty, and most importantly, the level of repair your home deserves.

Why a third party should be a first choice.

In a nutshell, a third party management repair program is a network of local, regional and national roofing contractors who serve much like an elite national guard wherever roofers are needed (especially after heavy storms). This roundtable of roofing experts have all undergone a rigorous credentialing process and have delivered proven craftsmanship and customer service on every job. Only the best pre-qualified roofers get in, and by contacting or registering with a third party, you’ll reap major benefits:

Faster response. There’s often a shortage of roofing manpower for weeks, or even months, after a storm. A third party solves this by managing a network of readily available contractors.

An extended warranty.
Up to five years, which is currently the best roofing warranty in the industry.

A watchdog for you.
Above all, a third party serves as a manager on all ends. They manage the roofing contractor assigned to you to ensure everything is inspected accurately and repaired on time, on code. But they also bring more experience to the job, enabling them to handle necessary paperwork and work with adjusters to pinpoint exaction. There’s no hassle, guesswork, or improper estimates when a third party is managing all sides.

An emerging trend in the roofing industry.

A third party management solution stemmed recently from a legitimate need for a better industry-wide solution. In a sense, it’s a modern repair to the roofing industry as a whole. Homeowners love it, insurers love it, and it’s a great way to ensure you receive better, prompter repairs after a storm—whether it’s your roof, siding, or gutters.

Total Construction Services is proud to claim that we are an approved third party roofing and restoration contractor, providing acclaimed roof, restoration and repair services across the Omaha, Norfolk and Lincoln metro areas since 1987.

In fact, it’s likely that we’re already registered as a preferred contractor of choice with your carrier. Check us out at www.mytotalconstruction.com.

Learn more about Third Party Management.

402.572.7457 | mytotalconstruction.com