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McKee Homes Installs Apple HomeKit Compatible Devices

Does your new home feature Apple HomeKit compatible devices?

Apple’s HomeKit app is a great way to control all your home’s smart devices and accessories from one app. You can even ask Siri to perform commands such as turn off your lights or lock the front door. With the HomeKit app you can connect smart devices together to make your lights automatically to turn off while simultaneously making your window blinds close at a specific time each day. Before HomeKit and the Home app, you had to manually control each device with its own separate app, and set each one to do a specific task at a certain time.

Apple launched its HomeKit app with iOS 10 and watchOS 3 in 2016. It serves as a centralized hub for managing Apple HomeKit-enabled smart accessories. The app features integration with Control Center, 3D Touch quick actions, and support for Siri. The app’s settings are also synced through Apple’s iCloud storage service, so any iCloud-enabled Apple device such as an iPhone or iPad can be used to control your Home.

Every HomeKit-enabled smart accessory automatically works with Siri once you set it up through its HomeKit-enabled app. Siri is the unified interface that allows you to use voice commands to control the smart devices and accessories. You will still need to set up each device or accessory in its own app to gain full access to settings, touch controls, and more, but once set up, you can control them from the HomeKit app with Siri.

To use the Home app, you need at least one iOS device with the Home app installed. You also need at least one home, one room, and one HomeKit-enabled smart accessory. The Home app comes pre-installed on any Apple device running iOS 10, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhone or iPad.

HomeKit also offers security for your smart home and can enforce end-to-end encryption between all smart accessories and your Apple devices. So hackers can’t steal your data, work their way into your communications, or take control of your home.

For more information, visit https://www.apple.com/ios/home/

McKee Homes installs Apple HomeKit compatible devices in all our new homes as part of our SMART Move campaign. For a complete list of available devices and accessories, please contact us at 910-672-7296.

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Electric Heat Pump Benefits

Electric Heat Pump Benefits

Heat pumps are pretty neat as they offer an alternative to running your air conditioner. If your home needs moderate heating or cooling a heat pump is a great alternative because it moves heat from a cool space to warm space, which makes the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the heating season, heat pumps move heat from the cool outdoors into your warm house and during the cooling season, heat pumps move heat from your cool house into the warm outdoors. Because they move heat rather than generate heat, heat pumps can provide equivalent space conditioning at as little as one quarter of the cost of operating conventional heating or cooling appliances.

On average you save $1,000-$2,000 annually according to energy reports. On top of those savings heat pumps come equipped with filter systems so bacteria spores don’t have an opportunity to settle in your home. Heat pumps are extremely efficient in brand new constructions homes so definitely check out McKee Homes to find your next home with the electric heat pump already installed! To see this electric heat pump feature as well as read about all of our other energy-efficient features click here.

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Improved Insulation and Air Infiltration Systems

New homes are built to a higher standard of energy saving specifications than older homes including improved insulation and air infiltration systems. Installing better insulation and minimizing air infiltration improves the energy efficiency, air quality and comfort of a new home.

A tight house will:

  • Have lower heating bills due to less heat loss
  • Have fewer drafts and be more comfortable
  • Reduce the chance of mold and rot from moisture trapped in cavities
  • Prevent dust, pollen, car exhaust, noise and insects from entering home.
  • Have a better performing ventilation system
  • Potentially require smaller heating and cooling equipment capacities.

Insulation provides resistance to the flow of heat. This is referred to as the R-value of insulation. The more resistance insulation provides, the lower the heating and air conditioning costs for homeowners. Today’s building codes require higher R-values in new homes to stop heat from escaping through the floors, walls and ceilings of insulated living space. This keeps the house more comfortable and saves money on energy costs for the homeowner.

Air leakage, often referred to as air infiltration, accounts for 25–40% of the energy used for heating and cooling in a typical home. Reduced air infiltration combined with proper ventilation not only reduces energy bills but also improves the quality of indoor air.

Air Leakage as defined by the NC State Extension website: Ventilation is fresh air that enters a house in a controlled manner to exhaust excess moisture and reduce odors and stuffiness. Air leakage, or infiltration, is outside air that enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings. It is unwise to rely on air leakage for ventilation.

During cold or windy weather, too much air may enter the house and, during warm or calm weather, too little. Also, a leaky house that allows moldy, dusty crawlspace or attic air to enter is not healthy.

House wrap, tape, caulk and foam sealants help prevent outside air from entering the house. This not only lowers energy bills and keeps the house more comfortable but also reduces the chance of mold and rot due to trapped moisture in floor systems, walls and ceilings.

New homes offer a healthier environment, lower energy costs and more comfortable living conditions than older homes due to improved insulation and air infiltration systems as well as better HVAC systems.

Contact McKee Homes to find out more about the energy efficiency of our new homes and how much it can save you on monthly energy bills.

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Energy Efficient Lighting

With as much as 25% of the average home energy budget going toward electric lighting, energy efficient lighting can be a real cost saver over time.

What is energy efficient lighting?

Energy efficient lighting generally refers to Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs that use less energy, produce less heat and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

LED lighting

LED bulbs used to require special lighting fixtures. However, manufacturers have expanded the application of LEDs by “clustering” the small bulbs. Newer LED bulbs are made in clusters using as many as 180 bulbs per cluster. They are encased in diffuser lenses which spread the light in wider beams and are available with standard bases which fit common household light fixtures.

LED Lighting Benefits

  • More Efficient: use only 6-28 watts for 400-2700 lumens (brightness) which is 1/3 to 1/30 of other bulbs for the same brightness. This also makes them ideal for use with solar panels and generators.
  • Long Lasting: last up to 10 times longer than CFLs and much longer than standard incandescent bulbs.
  • Mercury-free: no mercury is used in manufacturing of LED bulbs
  • Cool: LED bulbs don’t get hot thereby reducing air conditioning costs during hot months.
  • Durable: LED bulbs don’t have filaments so they are not easily damaged.
  • Cost Effective: LED bulbs cost more than other bulbs but the cost is recouped over time because they last so much longer.
  • Many Available Styles: LED bulbs can be purchased for standard lighting fixtures in many styles such as diffused, dimmable, track lighting pin base, flood reflector, flame tip candelabra and tube lights.

CFL Lighting

CFL bulbs are manufactured to be used in standard lighting fixtures and are essentially miniature versions of standard fluorescent bulbs. They come in warm white, which give off light similar to common incandescent bulbs, and cool white which is brighter and can have a bluish tint. However, there are some limitations to CFL bulbs. Special dimmable CFL bulbs should be used in circuits that have dimmable switches. CFL bulbs contain small amounts of mercury which can be released if the bulb is broken or during disposal.

CFL Lighting Benefits

  • Efficient: up to four times more efficient than incandescent bulbs. A 22 watt CFL bulb has about the same light output as a 100 watt incandescent bulb and uses an average of 50-80% less energy.
  • Cost Effective: initial cost is slightly higher than incandescent bulbs but the cost is recouped because they last up to 10 times longer.
  • High Quality Light: Newer CFL bulbs give off a warm light instead of the bright white light of older fluorescent bulbs. New electronically ballasted CFL bulbs don’t flicker or hum.
  • Many Available Styles: CFLs can be used almost anywhere that incandescent lights are used. Energy-efficient CFLs can be used in recessed fixtures, table lamps, track lighting, ceiling fixtures and porchlights. 3-way CFL bulbs are available for lamps with 3-way settings and dimmable CFL bulbs are available for lights using a dimmer switch.

Energy efficient lighting comparison

While CFL bulbs are less expensive than LED bulbs, the price of LED bulbs has recently gone down, which gives them the best cost-savings over the life of the bulb when compared to other bulbs. LED bulbs are not easily damaged or broken, contain no mercury, and use less power making them an ideal choice for energy efficient lighting.

However, both LED and CFL bulbs are far more energy efficient and longer lasting than traditional incandescent bulbs and will save money in the long run.

For more information about McKee Homes new home lighting packages, fixtures and options, please read our New Home Plumbing and Lighting Fixtures on the McKee Homes blog and visit our Design Studio web page.

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Tankless Water Heaters

How They Work

Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don’t need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a tankless water heater’s output limits the flow rate.

Typically, tankless water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2–5 gallons (7.6–15.2 liters) per minute. Gas-fired tankless water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric ones. Sometimes, however, even the largest, gas-fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a tankless water heater to its limit. To overcome this problem, you can install two or more tankless water heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate tankless water heaters for appliances — such as a clothes washer or dishwater — that use a lot of hot water in your home.

Many homeowners, however, see benefits of a tankless water heater beyond energy savings.

Hot water on-demand

Tankless water heaters are known as demand-type water heaters, they provide hot water only as needed.  They don’t produce the standby energy losses as the standard water heaters so in turn it saves you money! You also never run out of hot water!

Earth-friendly Benefits

Tankless technology allows maximum energy efficiency and reduces your carbon foot print.These heaters also save space with a compact design, last longer and are better for the environment because a rusty tank doesn’t end up in the landfill.

 

Click to see why choosing McKee Homes is a SMART MOVE and all the other options we offer including being Apple Homekit compatible!

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Benefits of Radiant Barrier Roof Sheathing

Lets explore the benefits of radiant barrier roof sheathing and how it can help save on your energy bill! It works as a layer of aluminum is placed in an airspace to block heat from transferring between a heat-radiating surface and heat-absorbing surface.

The aluminum foil used in the radiant barrier sheathing stops up to 97% of the radiant heat from passing through to your attic. This is extra beneficial for people who live in the southern part of the US and experience warmer clients. In the heat of the summer having a radiant barrier roof will keep your home up to 30% cooler. This is a perfect addition to having a total energy-efficient home.

Adding this extra step for future cost savings is relatively easy and can be installed at the same time of the regular sheathing for your roof!

What are the benefits of having a radiant barrier roof?

  • A cooler attic space means less heat moving to the cooler space below the attic.
  • The hotter it gets the better radiant barriers work.
  • The reduced attic temperature increases the efficiency of attic ductwork which prolongs the life of your heating and cooling systems because there are fewer cycle times.
  • In warmer climates your may be able to reduce A/C requirements by up to ½ ton.
  • Radiant barrier roof sheathing helps to improve comfort in the building interior during the warm summer months and reduces energy costs. Because heat always moves from hot areas to cold areas, radiant barrier sheathing also prevents heat transfer from the warm interior during the cooler winter months.
  • Radiant barriers may help you qualify for Energy Star: “Seal and Insulate with Energy Star”.

 

McKee Homes adds radiant barrier sheathing to all of our roofs on our homes which is just one of the many benefits we provide to all of our home owners! To read more about all of other benefits including being Apple Homekit compatible click here!

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Benefits of Low-E Windows

Low-e windows (low-e stands for low emissivity) help save energy by reflecting harmful UV rays from the outside of the home and reflecting radiant heat back into the room. This keeps the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

There are three main types of low-e glass.

  • Hard coat: created by applying microscopic layers of metallic oxides on the outside surface of glass or storm window. Hard coat is not as efficient as soft coat but can withstand the elements better. (Approx. R value of 2.45)
  • Soft coat: created by applying microscopic layers of metallic oxides on the inside surface of the glass making the window energy efficient. Soft coat must be applied on the inside of the glass, or in between two panes of a double-pane window, as it does not hold up well to extreme weather conditions. (Approx. R value of 3.50)
  • Low-E with Argon gas: created by adding a thin sheet of metallic oxides (usually soft coat) in between two panes of a double-pane window. This process creates a reflective surface and adds a thermal insulation layer to the window. The addition of inert argon gas adds even more R value to the window. (Approx. R value of 4.35)

The most obvious advantage of low-e windows is in energy cost savings by reducing heating and cooling costs.

They also reduce the amount of UV rays entering the house which prevents fading and damage to carpet and other flooring as well as drapes and furniture.

Low-e windows have less condensation during temperature and humidity extremes which reduces mold and mildew buildup and keeps the home’s environment healthier.

Low-e windows are completely transparent and allow light into the home without heat gain in the summer or heat loss in the winter. This makes the home more pleasant all the way around.

Review

Low-e windows protect people and furnishings from harmful UV rays and create a healthier environment by reducing mold and mildew buildup from condensation. They also lower energy bills and keep the home more comfortable during temperature and humidity extremes while allowing plenty of light into the house.

McKee Homes uses low-e windows in all our new homes making them more energy efficient and safer for homeowners and their families.

For more information about McKee Homes and low-e windows please contact us from our website or give us a call at 910-672-7296.

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Programmable WiFi Thermostats Save Time and Money

McKee Homes installs Honeywell programmable WiFi thermostats in all our new homes. Programming your thermostat to fit your schedule can save time, money and resources. WiFi accessible thermostats can be controlled via computer and mobile devices from any location with internet service.

Features

  • Intuitive programming for easier setup
  • Remote comfort control via computer, tablet or Smartphone
  • Universal application across more system types
  • Equipment check/change reminders
  • Programmable for annual energy savings

One of the main advantages of a programmable thermostat is that you can set your heater and air conditioner to run less when you are not at home or at night while you sleep. That not only saves resources, but also saves money. In addition, some energy suppliers offer incentives for time-shifting energy consumption such as using less energy during the day. You can save additional money by setting your thermostat to conform to your energy supplier’s incentive plan.

In addition to day-to-day settings, programmable thermostats allow you to program vacation settings to lower your energy consumption while you are away from home for an extended period.

With WiFi access you can check and set the temperature in your home remotely. You can also edit the programmed settings and even check the proper operation of your climate control system.

Another advantage of programmable WiFi thermostats is the ability to set up alerts via beeps, texts or emails to let you know when it’s time to change the filters or schedule a maintenance check of your system.

Most of the disadvantages of programmable WiFi thermostats such as higher cost, improper installation and complex setup are not a problem with a new McKee home since the WiFi thermostat comes with the home, is professionally installed and simple programming instructions are given to the homebuyer.

However it is important to insure the settings you program are actually going to use less energy and save money. If someone is home most of the time and constantly overrides the programmed settings, the cost savings can be nullified.

Overall it makes sense to take advantage of connected technology to simplify your life and give you maximum control of your home’s environment as well as the convenience of notifications and alerts. McKee Homes gives you a head start by including the advantages, convenience and added comfort of a programmable WiFi thermostat in your new home.

For more information about full home security and automation upgrades in our new homes, please visit http://buy.mckeehomesnc.com/home-automation or call us at 910-672-7296.

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Using Energy Efficient Appliances Is a Cost-Saving Smart Move!

Using energy efficient appliances is a cost-saving smart move that can increase the longevity of your appliances and save you money on your energy bill! There are lots of benefits of using these types of appliances that not only benefit you but also the environment. McKee Homes uses all energy-efficient appliances in each of our homes.  Read below for a few benefits!

 

  1. Reduced Energy Costs According to the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star appliances will reduce your home appliance energy usage and costs between 10-50%. On average, according to the NRDC American homeowners are saving about $2,000 per household using these appliances in their homes!

 

  1. Environmentally Friendly– Another great reason to utilize these appliances are its benefits for the earth! The benefits include reducing water consumption, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and reducing our reliance on fossil fuel resources.

 

  1. Do More with Less Time– This a great one for anyone that may not particularly look forward to spending an entire Saturday doing laundry! According to the NRDC using an energy-efficient washer will allow you to wash more in a single load and dry them faster!

 

Here are a few quick tips on how to effectively use your appliances in the home to continue seeing all the great energy-efficient benefits!

 

  1. Dishwasher: Use it only on full and scrape instead of rinsing your dishes before you load them. Remove the dry setting and allow your dishes to air dry.

 

  1. Stove: Use the burners that are closest to your pot size; heat is lost when the pot is too small. Turn your oven off a few minutes before your meal is done cooking the remaining heat will continue cooking it.

 

  1. Refrigerator: Check your door seal to make sure it is intact. Give your food a chance to cool down before refrigerating it.

 

  1. Washer/dryer: Wait until you are at a full load before washing. Try to use the cool water setting as much as possible.

 

 

 

There are so many benefits to using the energy-efficient appliances in your home! Contact us at 910-672-7296 to find out about all of the great features and options available to you!

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Turn Your New Home Into Your Dream Home

McKee Homes will help you turn your new home into your dream home with $10,000 in summer savings on all pre-sale homes in select neighborhoods this summer. The $10,000 gift can be used toward any part of the new home purchase including options and upgrades, fenced yard, closing costs, or deduct it from the purchase price.

Design Studio Options and Upgrades

Use it in our design studio to upgrade plumbing and lighting fixtures, flooring, cabinets, and more. Make your dream home a Smart home with our new home automation options and Apple HomeKit devices. You can also add a home theater system to your new home so you’re ready to enjoy the full home theater experience as soon as you move in.

Fenced Yard Option

Use your $10,000 toward a back yard privacy fence. A fenced back yard not only gives you more privacy, but peace of mind as well, especially if you have pets or young children. Our selections coordinator or design studio manager can help you choose the fencing style and options that best fit your new home.

Closing Costs

Use part of your $10,000 gift toward closing costs and check that off your list. With everything else you have to consider when purchasing a new home, it’s nice to know McKee Homes will take care of your closing costs when using one of our preferred lenders.

Deduct From Purchase Price

If paying $10,000 less for a new home makes it a dream come true, you can deduct the entire $10,000 gift from the purchase price of your new home. Lowering your mortgage by $10,000 will lower your monthly payments and put a smile on your face.

Additional Information

The $10,000 summer savings gift is only available in select neighborhoods when using one of our preferred lenders on a pre-sale home* and supersedes our offer to pay closing costs. However, you can use part of the $10,000 gift to cover your closing costs. Excludes pre-pays and buy downs. This offer expires September 30, 2017.

*Pre-sale homes are homes that have not been built yet, giving you the option to pick your lot,  floor plan, options and upgrades before the house is built. This offer does not apply to standing inventory and move-in ready homes.

Please contact us at 910-672-7296 or use our website contact form to get more information and a list of eligible neighborhoods.

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