Ask the Expert: Are there any home improvements that can save money on my utility bills?

By Lana Seidman - NARI-HIC of Staten Island, Inc. 

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Paying high electric, gas and water bills are part of living in New York City.  Although the cost for comfort is sometimes difficult to swallow, the need to have air conditioning in the summer, hot water on demand, heat in the winter, and flowing water are necessities that cannot be avoided.

There are a few simple steps you can take to save energy and be more efficient.  Not only will your efforts lower the cost to run your home, they will also reduce your carbon footprint. 

Firstly, search for air leaks aroundthe perimeter of your home.   Check around your windows and exterior doors to make sure no heat escapes during  the winter, causing your heat to stay on longer and you to consume more gas.  

Leaks around windows and doors will create the opposite effect during the summer. Hot and humid air that seeps into your cool and comfortable home will keep your air conditioningrunning longer, whereby increasing your electric consumption.

Seal the leaks with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping.  If you have single pane windows, consider looking into options for replacement to a more efficient double pane window. Making the effort to seal up these leaks, combined with checking the insulation in your attic, basement or crawl space to ensure there are no gaps,  will decrease your energy bills.

Secondly, check the ductwork of your central heating and/or air conditioning system. Typically 20 to 30 percent of the air that moves through your duct system may be lost due to leaks, holes or a separation in the ductwork.   

Addressing these problems in between seasons, when your unconditioned spaces are most comfortable, is a smart choice.  Frigid temperatures in the winter or hot summer days will make checking these areas uncomfortable and more of a burden.

Resolving these duct leaks will improve the efficiency of your heating and air conditioning system and will improve your family's comfort.  It will also decrease your gas and electric bills.

Start by visually checking the ductwork that is accessible in your attic, garage, crawl spaces or unfinished basement.  Seal and then insulate, if possible, any accessible ducts.  If you notice that some of your ductwork is not secured, you may want to strap it in place to avoid it shifting in the future. If there is ductwork that you suspect is leaking, however, you cannot access, I suggest consulting a licensedand insured HVAC contractor to assist.

Next, try saving water by turning off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth. Consider turning off the shower while soaping up. You may even want to consider waiting to turn on your dishwasher or washing machine until there are full loads. Some simple water savings tips can save you about 8 gallons of water a day.

When it comes to water usage, check your faucets, toilets and hoses to ensure there are no drips or leaks.  The average American home wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water per year from easy to fix leaks and wasted use of water.  If your faucet is leaking, check to see if you can repair it with a wrench for a quick fix.  If not, consider replacing your faucet with a new one or call an experienced and licensed plumber. 

To check your toilet for silent leaks, put a few drops of food coloring into your tank and watch for about 10 minutes.  If the water in your bowl turns color before flushing, it may be time for a new rubber flapper.

Lastly, if you have not replaced your shower head over the last 10 years, consider doing so. Newer shower heads offer water saving features without compromising decor or function. This too can save you almost $100 per year.

As with all Home Improvements, if a task seems too big, consult with a licensed and insured professional that can provide you with energy efficiency options, as well as opportunities to improve your most prized possession....your home.   

Scot Troost, Vice President - Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations

(718) 667-3131      www.troostbros.com     

All our experts are licensed, bonded and insured members of the Staten Island Chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (The Home Improvement Contractors of Staten Island).  Homeowners should always consult with licensed professionals, check a contractor's license through the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs (call 311 for information) and insure that their project complies with NYC DOB regulations before embarking on any home improvement project.

 

Remodeling 50 - Big 50

Remodeling 50 

Big 50

Jeff (left) has an architectural degree and Scott (right), one in fine arts. Together, they have a great eye for good design. They moved into a showroom/office three years ago. It will soon include a house façade, not quite full scale, that showcases a variety of products. Their community visibility brings in a dozen leads a day, and before the year started, they had sold almost half a million dollars in business. “Remodeling is going to increase within three years, tremendously, because there’s no land lefton Staten Island,” Scot says. – J.F.S.

Jeff (left) has an architectural degree and Scott (right), one in fine arts. Together, they have a great eye for good design. They moved into a showroom/office three years ago. It will soon include a house façade, not quite full scale, that showcases a variety of products.

Their community visibility brings in a dozen leads a day, and before the year started, they had sold almost half a million dollars in business. “Remodeling is going to increase within three years, tremendously, because there’s no land lefton Staten Island,” Scot says. – J.F.S.

The best of the best: That is what the REMODELING editors set out to find each year for the incoming Big50 class. Recipients of this coveted award can’t just be good. They must be excellent – and excellent when measured against their highest-quality competitors. They lead the industry in business acumen and customer service. running exciting and dynamic companies that stand as models for the industry. Read on to meet them.

SENIOR EDITORS:
Jim Cory
Nina Patel
Joseph F. Schuler Jr.

ASSISTANT EDITORS:
Hayden Alfano
David Zuckerman

MANAGING EDITOR:
Christy Hartman

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:
Sal Alfano

Jeff and Scot Troost
Troost Bros. Home Renovations
Full-service remodeling
8 years in business
2003 volume: $1.5 million
staff: 4 office, 11 field

The Troost brothers are well-known on Staten Island’s north shore, where a half dozen architects refer them such jobs as roof-raising additions. 

Prompted by small lots and lack of affordable land, it’s not uncommon to add four bedrooms atop a former ranch house. 

The Troosts also refinish attics, do siding and roofing, and light commercial work- 100 jobs a year in all, averaging $15,000.

Galante Home Improvement merges with Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations

Butch Galante joining Troost Bros. Inc.

By: Lana Seidman

STATEN ISLAND, NY – Troost Bros. Inc. Home Renovations and Galante Home Improvement, both long time, local Staten Island home improvement contracting companies announced this past summer their merger of businesses, creating a stronger, more competitive and more efficient home renovation company.  

Troost Bros. Inc., established in 1996, with offices located at 470 Clove Road in West Brighton, provides homeowners with complete home renovations, additions and roof raises, in addition to kitchen and bathroom remodeling, decks, attics, window and door replacements, and roofing and siding, all with the highest level of expertise.

Jeff and Scot Troost of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement and Butch Galante, formerly of Galante Home Improvement, at the Headquarters of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement, located at 470 Clove Road, Staten Island..

Jeff and Scot Troost of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement and Butch Galante, formerly of Galante Home Improvement, at the Headquarters of Troost Bros. Inc. Home Improvement, located at 470 Clove Road, Staten Island..

Butch Galante, the sole force behind Galante Home Improvement, Inc., established in 1974, observed and had been part of the development of the Staten Island landscape since opening his doors.  With the overwhelming growth in population during the late 20th century, the need for homeowner services, like, renovations, additions, remodeling and home repairs became abundant. Galante Home Improvement provided these necessary services for Staten Islanders for over 40 years and completed thousands and thousands of remodeling and renovation projects prior to joining Troost Bros. Inc. 

Both Troost Bros. Inc. and Galante Home Improvement share the same business philosophy and therefore, the merger was effortless.  They are both strong advocates for educating consumers on the importance of hiring licensed, insured and reputable contractors.  As they are both avid proponents for providing their clients with full service, professional remodeling and home improvement services, the transition was seamless.

As long time members and active Board Members of NARI-HIC of Staten Island (the Home Improvement Contractors of Staten Island) they fortified their bond, and realized the potential for this merger.  Their knowledge and awareness that homeowners need a contracting firm that is reputable, respectful of a client’s budget, and a client’s timeline, coupled with the desire to create beautiful homes for their client’s, united the two businesses. 

According to Jeff Troost, President of Troost Bros. Inc., this merger provided the opportunity to acquire a wide variety of expertise, qualifications, attributes and skills to the already successful Troost Bros. Inc. family.  The combined company will provide a greater work force and the ability to optimize project performance. 

About Troost Bros. Inc. 

Formed by Scot and Jeff Troost, Troost Bros. Inc. has been on the forefront of Staten Island’s remodeling industry since inception.  Their hard work and dedication to the community and non-profit organizations on Staten Island, has provided them with opportunities for growth and leadership.  Their participation in the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Annual Building Awards program has allowed their business to gain visibility with the local community and amongst their peers.   

Troost Bros. Inc. maintains a perfect rating by the Better Business Bureau and is licensed by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs.  Jeff Troost is the President of NARI-HIC of Staten Island and the company is a member of the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce.

Feature in Living Staten Island Magazine

Troost Bros. Inc. is a fully licensed and insured remodeling company servicing all of Staten Island for more than 20 years, with expertise in remodeling bathrooms, kitchens, basements, decks, attics, as well as installation of windows/doors, roofing and siding. They are also known for interior alterations and roof raise/additions. Jeff and Scot Troost pride themselves on flawlessly joining new additions to existing homes as though they have always been there, maintaining the style and character of the original footprint.

The process begins at the Troost Bros. first meeting with a homeowner to discuss the project. A detailed proposal is then provided. “No facet of the job is left to the imagination,” reports Jeff Troost. “Everything is outlined and explained”. They have a team of licensed and insured sub-contractors and skilled craftsmen who have been hand-picked to expertly get the job done. All projects aspects are discussed and approved with the homeowner prier to commencing, ensuring the clients are satisfied with their renovation. If changes arise after the start of the job, they are seamlessly incorporated via the expertise of the project manager who communicates on a regular basis with the homeowner.

Born and raised on Staten Island, Jeff and Scot Troost have over 30 years experience under their tool belts. They are able to assist homeowners to identify the finest materials and offer guidance for the best outcome. They are proud to maintain relationships with industry partners and manufacturers that are well trusted.

 Jeff equates his expertise to that of a master chef: “A top chef chooses the finest ingredients and combines them together in order to create a culinary masterpiece with the finest taste and visual appeal.”

“Our decades of working on Staten Island allow us to understand the footprint and backbone of every home we renovate,” he adds. This intimate understanding makes it trouble-free to resolve and interruption they come across and “nail” each and every renovation the brothers complete.