Home Efficiency: Solar Water Heaters

  • By Jeremy Thompson
  • 15 Jul, 2013
Solar water heaters are simply water storage tanks and a solar collection system. ENERGY STAR qualified solar water heating systems can purportedly cut your yearly hot water costs in half. Such systems are designed to be used with a back-up water heating system. If you combine a solar system with a back-up gas water heater, […] The post Home Efficiency: Solar Water Heaters appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
Besides the money saving benefit, using a solar water heater is an investment in the environment. Use of a solar water heater cuts your carbon dioxide emissions in half. In fact, ENERGY STAR claims a solar water heater cuts the load of your electric water heater by as much as 2,500 kWh per year, in turn preventing 4,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from releasing into the atmosphere each year.
The cost of purchasing a solar water heating system may take up to 10 years to recoup, BUT there are tax credits you can take advantage of to minimize the expense. Through the ENERGY STAR program, solar water heaters qualify for a tax credit. The credit extends through 2016 and covers 30% of the cost, including installation and labor. The system must be installed in a home you own and use as a residence. In order for the system to qualify for the credit, at least half of the energy generated by the solar water heater system must come from the sun and the system must be certified by the Solar Rating and Certification Corporation .
The ENERGY STAR programs recommends to first determine if your site is suitable for a solar water heating before you purchase one. A solar water heater contractor can help you evaluate the site as well as recommend a system type that best suits your needs. For a solar water heating system to work effectively, your roof must receive direct sunlight from 10 AM to 4 PM and face south.
When contacting a solar contractor, find one who can not only assess the site and install the system, but ideally find one that can provide routine maintenance. Use a contractor certified by the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) . A directory of installers can be found at seia.org .
The average lifespan of a solar water heating system is about 20 years, which is longer than most gas or electric water heaters. For efficient operation, it’s important to maintain the system on a routine basis. While a qualified contractor can maintain it annually, you’ll need to know how to check it on a regular basis to ensure it’s operating properly. If you live in an area that has hard water, you may have to add de-scaling agents to the water.
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Photo Credit, Jim, the Photographer

J. Thompson Builders Blog

By 7052540976 15 Nov, 2017
Some of these considerations may not be in the forefront of your mind, but there is a long list of aspects you need to consider when building a new home. These should help to get you started thinking about some of the most important pieces of the home building process.
By 7052540976 15 Oct, 2017
This home is being built with our client’s specific wants and needs in mind. The homeowner
requested a single family home with a modern contemporary house design. Previously, he lived
in a townhome and desired a more private, spacious residence. A main floor living with a large
space to entertain and big volume ceilings were a must on the client’s list.

The client decided building as opposed to finding a pre-existing home was a better solution for
him because he wants something specific to his needs. He already had the perfect location in
mind and it was time for him to own his dream home.

The area is ideal for this client because it allows him to live in close proximity to his hobbies and
interests and it also allows him the ability to walk to nearby restaurants or bike to the
surrounding shops. This homeowner will be close to everything. He truly loves the location!
The design concept picked is pictured below. In sticking with a contemporary influence, the
design has clean, simple lines that will result in an extraordinary modern home. We combined
elements of residential and commercial materials and design to bring our client’s unique requests to life.
By 7052540976 15 Sep, 2017

You decide that you are ready to build a custom home for you and your family. Now it is time to figure out how to finance your dreams!

Let’s start with the basics. As with any loan process, do your research. Talk to several mortgage companies that specialize or have a strong understanding/history of working with construction loans. Ask questions and voice your concerns. Companies of course want your business, but they also want to make sure they are a good fit for you and what you are wanting to accomplish. Reviews and referrals are strongly regarded these days. They want to make sure you have the best experience possible.

There are several main differences between a construction loan and a regular existing home loan. An individual construction loan may require a longer credit history  or a higher credit score as well as more money down and along the way. It is more of a process, but it is most certainly worth it. With the right builder, the more involved process becomes a piece of cake; but, that is an article for another time.

Home loans can have a 30 year term whereas a construction loan typically has a max of 1 year. “The rates on this type of loan are higher than rates on permanent mortgage loans. To gain approval, the lender will need to see a construction timetable, detailed plans and a realistic budget, sometimes called the “story” behind the loan,” as reported by  bankrate . While your home is being built, it is typical to make interest-only payments. 

If you are thinking, “I don’t have enough money to pay off a newly built home in 1 year!” Don’t panic.

A popular option is the construction-to- permanent financing sometimes called “one-time close,” a “single close,” or an "all-in-one" loan. Upon completion of construction, the remaining loan balance is converted into a permanent mortgage with terms up to 30 years. Like most loans, “the rate and other terms of the permanent mortgage are set up-front when the entire loan package is closed” according to the  National Association of Home Builders .  Construction/permanent loans are offered by many different lenders, including banks and mortgage companies and are a great option for those of us wanting to finance their home purchase over an extended period of time.

Another option is a stand-alone construction loan. This type of loan can be beneficial if you currently own your home and want a smaller down payment option.   Read more about stand alone construction loans.

There are many different loan options. What makes sense for one person doesn’t make sense for everyone. Make sure you find the right product for you and your particular project. If you want to talk over some options, contact us! We would love to hear your ideas and figure out how we can build your dream home.

View our work , read our reviews on Houzz.com , and visit our Facebook page to get inspired!
By Jeremy Thompson 01 Aug, 2017
Your home should work for you, your family and the way you live. Sometimes a new custom home isn’t the answer yet. When you need to maximize the space in your current home, find clever ways to make your space more usable by maximizing storage in unique ways. Platforms add additional space and a new […] The post Clever Remodeling Ideas to Maximize Storage Space appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 15 Jul, 2017
The internet puts an incredible amount of information at your fingertips. Why would you not take advantage of it to get home remodeling advice? Often it isn’t created by experts in the field. Here are 3 remodeling myths you may have read or heard about and the truth you need to know to understand how […] The post 3 Remodeling Myths and Tips appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 01 Jul, 2017
With more and more people working from home or taking at least the occasional “work from home” day, the home office has become an essential part of a home plan. Even if you don’t work from home ever, the home office is still a great area to work on creative projects, store important files, or […] The post Designing a Home Office: Increasing Productivity, Inspiring Creativity appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 15 Jun, 2017
We’ve offered you lots of advice over the years about building a custom home. Here is a condensed version of some of the most important tips to follow. Get on the fast track to planning your new custom home! 7 Tips for Building a Custom Home Pay attention to your subdivision covenants. Yes, these are […] The post Building a Custom Home: 7 Quick Tips appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 01 Jun, 2017
Whether building a house or undertaking a remodel you have the opportunity to design your house to suit your tastes and needs. There are many flooring options available, each with unique characteristics and design. Since flooring is a long-lasting part of the house it is important to choose the right floor for each room that […] The post 5 High-Quality Flooring Options Available for Your Home appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 15 May, 2017
Building a new home is an exciting time, filled with anticipation and satisfaction as you watch your vision come to life. However, it can also be a little overwhelming when you’re unfamiliar with some of the technical terms. To help remedy this we’ve defined a few of the custom home building terms you may hear […] The post 5 Key Terms to Understand in Custom Home Building appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
By Jeremy Thompson 01 May, 2017
Whether you’ve just unpacked your first box or you’ve been living in your house for years, chances are there’s something about your home you’ve desired improving. However, before beginning a project there are a few key home remodeling terms you should become familiar with. Understanding these terms will help you navigate conversations with your remodeling […] The post 6 Key Home Remodeling Terms to Understand Before Beginning a Project appeared first on J. Thompson Builders.
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