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Before Updating HVAC, Update Insulation – Boston, Worcester

Joseph Coupal - Monday, March 10, 2014

After this winter, many homeowners are considering replacing their heating or HVAC system. But there are some questions you should ask yourself before you make that big investment.

Have you recently upgraded the thermal envelope of your house? The thermal envelope of your house is everything that separates the living space from the outside, including walls, doors, windows, insulation and the roof. If you’ve been sealing leaks, eliminating drafts, replacing old windows or adding insulation, you’ve been making your home more energy efficient.

With thermal envelope upgrades, the home will lose less heat in the winter and therefore the heating appliance likely won’t need to provide as much energy. Depending on the reduction in energy use, it’s possible that your heating appliance could become oversized and a smaller system may operate more efficiently. Upgrading and updating your home insulation means that your home will stay warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, reducing energy costs year round.

Is your current heating appliance more than 20 years old? Appliances made today are far more efficient than older models. They use less fuel, they are also safer, and they are more efficient. Also, the methods to size a heating system are better and can be tailored to individual homes.

Do you have rooms that are always too hot or too cold? This can be the result of air leaks, inadequate insulation, an improperly sized heating appliance or lack of zoning in your heating system. If you need to add insulation or seal leaks, take care of that before upgrading your heating system so that the heating system will be sized properly for your home.

For more information on updating home insulation, contact Custom Insulation.

newsminer.com

Add Insulation and Keep Warm this Winter – Worcester, Boston

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, October 22, 2013

If you're warm to the idea of keeping your house comfy, but cool to the thought of wasting energy dollars, check your home insulation.

Like just about anything else, insulation can deteriorate over time, becoming less efficient at retaining your home's cold air in summer and warm air in winter.

Highly-rated insulation experts told the consumer research team at Angie’s List that two-thirds of U.S. homes are insufficiently insulated. Meanwhile, properly insulating and weather-stripping your home can cut 10% to 20% off your annual energy bills.

Signs of insufficient or ineffective insulation include difficulty keeping your upper floor heated or cooled, or if ice dams form along the roofline. But even if you're not experiencing these problems, it's still a good idea to periodically check your insulation.

Our team recommends that you start in the attic. Insulation blanketing the attic floors prevents heat from escaping as it rises to the attic through the thermal flow process. In general, experts tell our team, if you can see the attic floor joists, you don't have enough insulation.

While it's usually easy for most homeowners to check attic insulation, other areas of the home can be difficult to assess, such as insulation tucked inside walls. In such a case, consider hiring a professional energy auditor, who can use infrared technology to find gaps in insulation.

If a service provider suggests that you add insulation, be sure to ask for a recommended R-value, which indicates the insulating power of a particular product. The higher the R-value, the more powerful the insulation. For most attics, Energy Star - a voluntary energy-savings program of the U.S. government - recommends an R-value of 38, which is about 12 to 15 inches of padding. An R-value of 49 may be recommended for areas with a colder climate.

Do some homework before hiring a company to install insulation:

  • Ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations, and check reviews on a trusted online site.
  • Get multiple bids. The cost to install insulation throughout an entire house can be several thousand dollars.
  • Ask for and check references, as well as proof of insurance and any required licensing. Check also if the company or its employees are certified by or affiliated with such organizations as the Insulation Contractors Association of America or National Insulation Association.

A federal tax credit for insulation is available through the end of this year. You can receive a tax credit of 10% of the cost of the product, but not installation, up to $500. Other products, such as weather-stripping, may also be eligible for the credit if the product comes with a Manufacturer's Certification Statement.

Weather-stripping is another way to reduce your home's energy costs. It involves applying an adhesive pad or foam along the edges of windows and doors. Pros who offer winterization services can add weather-stripping, but it's also an easy do-it-yourself project.

For more information on  adding home insulation, contact Custom Insulation.

Angie Hicks - sunherald.com




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