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3 Energy Efficient Materials You Should Upgrade in Your New Home

Energy efficiency is a buzzword in today’s home building industry, and with good reason. Switching to more energy efficient materials can save homeowners thousands of dollars in utility bills over the years.

1. Spray Foam Insulation

We recommend spray foam insulation where possible to our homeowners for several reasons.

  • Using spray foam insulation can provide an average of 30% more in energy savings than traditional batt insulation.
  • Closed cell spray foam is water resistant, providing increased protection from water damage in the event of a flood.
  • Spray foam insulation is made of an inert polymer, which means that there’s no source of food for mold or bacteria. This gives you enhanced protection from mold and mildew.
  • Spray foam insulation has a significantly longer life span when compared to other insulation products, meaning it is unlikely you will need to upgrade or replace your insulation for decades.

2. Variable Speed AC Units

There are three types of AC units you can install in your new home – single stage, two stage and variable speed. Most American homes have single stage air conditioners, as they have been the standard in residential construction for years.

Single stage air conditioners always operate at 100% capacity – full blast – and continuously turn themselves on and off throughout the day to maintain your home’s indoor temperature. If your unit is set to 75 degrees, your single stage AC will kick on when it reads your indoor temperature any higher than 75 degrees, then kick off as soon as they reach the mark you’ve set.

In comparison, variable speed AC units operate at less than 100% capacity, which means they can run much longer cycles. By running longer cycles, these units actually work to dehumidify the air in your home. As a result of the lower humidity level, you actually feel more comfortable at higher temperatures – giving you savings on your utility bills!

As a bonus, because variable speed AC units run more consistently, they filter your air more efficiently.

Here’s the simple breakdown – single stage AC units blast cold air into your home, and then turn off. Variable speed AC units blow a steady stream of cool air into your home constantly to maintain your desired temperature, and they rarely turn off.

3. Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as demand water heaters, do just that – produce hot water on demand. They only heat water when someone turns on the faucet to request hot water. Water flows directly through your tankless water heater, and is heated as it flows by a gas burner or electrical element. This means a continuous flow of hot water, no matter how long your shower lasts.

In comparison, traditional water heaters store water and maintain that water’s temperature until the tap is turned on. When you run out of hot water in your tank, it must refill and reheat.

Tankless water heaters are about 30% more energy-efficient than traditional tank water heaters, which translates to annual savings for you as a homeowner! Plus they offer continuous hot water – a luxury if you’ve ever run out of hot water in the shower.

Tankless water heaters can be 2-3x more expensive than traditional tank water heaters, but we think that the convenience and financial savings they offer are worth it.

Are you ready to build your custom, energy-efficient home in the Bayou region? Reach out to the Chris Ledet Homes team and let’s start the conversation.

How To Prep Your New Home for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season is quickly approaching, and we don’t take this time of year lightly in the Bayou region. If you’ve recently built a new home or renovated your existing home, thinking about the impending hurricane season can be stressful. Here’s some advice from local and national experts about how you can prepare your home for hurricane season.

Consider the 5 S’s in your home: shingles, soffits, seals, shutters and surroundings.

  • Shingles: Roof damage is the biggest homeowners insurance claim following a storm. Check your roof for any loose pieces, and ensure that the most vulnerable parts of your roof (the first course of shingles and along the gable ends) are secure. This is a good time to clear your gutters as well!
  • Soffts: Loose soffits can be blown around, allowing wind-driven rain to enter your attic space. Ensure soffits are secure with polyurethane sealant and stainless steel screws.
  • Seals: Check holes on the exterior of your home where wires, cables and pipes enter or exit your home, and caulk where needed.
  • Shutters: Hurricanes bring high winds, which can cause flying debris to damage windows. If you have functioning shutters, do a test run before hurricane season to ensure they are working properly. If you do not have functional shutters, consider investing in lightweight, translucent removable storm panels that are significantly easier to install than traditional plywood boards.
  • Surroundings: In advance of hurricane season, survey the trees in your yard and address any dead or decaying trees around your home that could cause problems. Prior to an impending storm, secure loose objects such as patio furniture, potted plants, bird feeders, etc. Don’t forget about any chemicals you may store in your garage or carport – make sure chemicals like gasoline or pesticides are in secure locations and placed high enough so they will not be affected by any flood waters.

Hurricane season runs June – November, but historically Louisiana has seen the most dangerous hurricanes in the months of August and September.

Remember that the time to prepare for hurricane season isn’t when a storm has been named – set time aside in May or June to review this checklist and ensure you have time to make any necessary updates to your home.

Designing a Home: For Your Four-Legged Family Members

Pet-lovers, you are welcome here – we consider our pets as family members too! If your furry friends are more like children than pets to you, you’ll want to consider them when building your new home or renovating your existing home. Keeping their needs, as well as their routine, in mind during the pre-construction design process of building or renovating your home can save time and money down the road. Here are a few of our favorite ways that homeowners have designed their home for their furry friends.

Make your laundry room do double duty as a pet station.

Laundry rooms should be designed to withstand any mess – from dripping wet clothes to piles of clean (or dirty!) laundry. Why can’t they handle your pet(s) too? Here’s a list of our favorite laundry room/dog room ideas:

  • Built-in kennels with functional counter space on top
  • Tiled basin area with handheld shower heads for bathing dirty dogs
  • Custom cabinetry with built-in dog bowls – we’ve even seen some with water faucets for easily filling empty water bowls!
  • Dutch door from laundry room to main house that creates a self-contained “pet zone”

Incorporate durable, pet-friendly materials throughout your home.

Luxury vinyl plank (LVP) is a great flooring option for pet-loving families who want the look of hardwood without the maintenance. LVP is completely waterproof so there’s no need to worry about Fido dripping water across your new flooring. LVP is also scratch resistant – the perfect solution to usual wear-and-tear from sharp dog nails.

Try to avoid wall-to-wall carpeting, which can harbor stains, odors and hair from pets for years. Area rugs are easier to clean and can be switched out for a new look for considerably less than new carpeting.

Consider your pet’s habits.

Does your dog enjoy watching the squirrels in the backyard? If so, thinking about adding a full-length window to allow him or her to have a prime view.

Maybe your dogs bark non-stop at anything (or anyone!) they see come down the street – a glass front door probably isn’t the best option for you in this case.

Are you ready to build your custom home in the Bayou region? Reach out to the Chris Ledet Homes team and let’s start the conversation!

Designing the Perfect Space

with Chris Ledet

The key to better building is about better design. I’ve been talking a lot about green building and how it’s better not only for the environment, but also for value, efficiency and quality. It’s all those things and it starts with thinking through your home’s design for maximum results.

And that’s where we come in. We love to help families design their homes starting from the very beginning with house plans all the way to helping you choose the best windows and doors.

Design is really just all about choices. We’ve gone to conferences, done lots of research and just experienced what works best. In the beginning, you have to choose a house plan that works for you. We can help you with a plan of your own or we’ve got a great selection of plans that look and feel great in South Louisiana.

Designing well also means picking the best components from windows to flooring for your home. Navigating questions like, “Should I use the more expensive doors just on the front of my house?” and “What space do we really need?”

Building the best home for your family starts with good design. Let us help you design the best space for your family and

Let’s Talk Green Building

with Chris Ledet

I recently went to a conference about green building. Now wait, before you think green building is just an expensive, unnecessary alternative to “regular” home building, let me talk to you about how it’s really a total approach to building that delivers the best value for families.

It’s smarter building because it’s about designing and building homes that are long lasting, efficient, eco-friendly and that use less energy and water. So green building is about quality; just the next step in quality. And that’s what we want to build at Chris Ledet Homes: quality homes for any budget.

First of all, durability is really important, especially in South Louisiana where weather and insects can cause damage. So we look at elevation, proper drainage, wind-resistant elements like roofing and windows, and bug resistant products and building practices. We want your home to last.

And when we’re talking about efficiency, we review options in areas such as caulking, water heaters, insulation, windows, glazing and HVAC. If you don’t choose the right products, your home can become inefficient and expensive to operate.

Eco-friendly means choosing products that not only have less impact on the environment, but also support the environment where you and your family live — outside and in. We look at things like using renewable materials as well as ways to keep pollutants out of your home.

Green building is really just good building practices. And we know you’re not in the building business, so we’ve done the research for you. We’ve figured out what works for South Louisiana and we want to help you build a home to last.