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Improve Home Insulation – Boston, Worcester, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 03, 2014

For energy efficiency in all kinds of weather, your home should be properly insulated. Too often only in the everyday living spaces are insulated, leaving attics, basements and garages chillier.

Rolls and batts of insulation, made of fiberglass or rock wool, are inexpensive and quick to install in open areas such as an attic floor.

Those are the spots where the most energy is lost. This not only can cause the house to be uncomfortable, it can lead to higher energy bills.

Insulating Errors

The biggest mistake made is "overstuffing the space."

When there's too much insulation, it stops being an insulator and actually becomes a conductor. Expansion rates vary with foam insulation, and too much can actually cause walls and jambs to buckle. That's a case where too much works against you.

Other examples of what not to do:

Failing to fill the smaller spaces, such as around windows and doors. Even tiny spaces can become big energy loss problems.

Not leaving room for air to circulate. Failure to do this can lead to mold and condensation build-up.

Types of Insulation

Insulation is made of a variety of materials, and comes in four types.

Rolls and batt insulation (blankets) - flexible products made from fibers, such as fiberglass or rock wool. These come in different widths to fit the standard spacing of wall studs and attic or floor joists. Fiberglass batts, the insulation found in most homes, are inexpensive and quick to install. Like other batt-type insulation, fiberglass is rolled and secured into place, but may be difficult to fit around obstacles without leaving gaps.

Loose-fill insulation - usually made of fiberglass, rock wool or cellulose in the form of loose fibers or fiber pellets. This should be blown into spaces using special equipment. It conforms to odd-sized openings.

Rigid foam insulation - typically more expensive, but very effective when used in exterior walls and for special applications such as attic hatch doors.

Spray- foam  insulation - can be blown into walls, on attic surfaces or under doors to reduce air leakage. There are several types, depending on the space that needs to be filled and how much you'd like the insulation to expand.

Where to Insulate

Insulating the following areas of your home can help keep you comfortable year-round:

Unfinished attic spaces - between and over floor joists; attic access doors.

Finished attic spaces (with or without dormers) - between studs of "knee" walls (vertical walls with attic space directly behind them); between studs and rafters of exterior walls and roof; ceilings with cold spaces above.

All exterior walls - between living spaces and unheated garages, shed roofs and storage areas; foundation walls above ground level.

Floors above cold spaces - vented crawl spaces and unheated garages; any portion of the floor that is cantilevered beyond the exterior wall below.

For more information, contact Custom Insulation.

NorthJersey.com

Add Home Insulation and Keep the Heat In – Worcester, Boston

Joseph Coupal - Monday, November 25, 2013

Winter is quickly coming and it is time to dig out warm coats and turn up the furnaces. That means that higher heating bills aren’t far off either. Heating costs are your largest home energy expense, why not make this the year to increase your insulation.

A well-insulated house is like dressing properly for the weather. A wool sweater will keep you warm if the wind isn’t blowing and it’s not raining. On a windy, rainy day, wearing a nylon shell over your wool sweater helps keep you dry and warm.

A house is similar. On the outside, underneath the brick or siding, there’s an air barrier that does the same thing — it keeps the wind from blowing through. Then there is the insulation (like your sweater) and a vapor barrier that helps keep moisture away from the house structure where it can do damage.

Signs of Insulation Problems

In the winter, cold walls and/or floors, high heating costs, uneven heating levels, mold on walls.

In the summer, uncomfortably hot inside; high cooling costs, ineffective air-conditioning system, mold in basement.

Insulation Effectiveness

R values are a way of labeling the effectiveness of insulating materials. The higher the R- value the more resistance to the movement of heat.

There are numerous types of insulation such as blanket or batting, spray foam, blown-in and wet spray insulation. Choosing the appropriate type to your specific need is important.

Installation also plays a large role in its effectiveness. Compressing insulation, leaving air spaces around the insulation and allowing air movement in the insulation all reduce the actual R value of the insulation.

Attic Insulation

The attic is often the most cost-effective place to add insulation. Usually, a contractor blows bown-in insulation into and over the top of ceiling joists. Batts insulation laid sideways on existing insulation is another solution. The air barrier at the ceiling line must be tight to ensure warm moist air from the house doesn’t get into the cold attic and condense in the winter. Check ceiling light fixtures, the tops of interior walls and pipe penetrations for air leakage. Ensure that soffit venting is not blocked by added insulation; baffles may have to be installed.

Basement Insulation

Basement walls are unique because they must handle significant moisture flows from both inside and outside the house.

Exterior insulation is the preferred method. Insulate the wall on the outside with rigid insulation suitable for below-grade installations, such as extruded polystyrene or rigid fibreglass. This works well with damp-proofing and foundation drainage as rigid fibreglass acts as a drainage layer, keeping surface and ground water away from the foundation. Basement walls are kept at room temperature, protecting the structure, reducing the risk of interior condensation and increasing comfort.

Interior insulation can also be used. When finishing the basement, batt insulation in stud cavities or extruded polystyrene and strapping on the face of perimeter walls is used. If the basement won’t be finished, then rolls of polyethylene-encapsulated fibreglass over the wall is installed.

Insulate and keep the heat in. For more information, contact Custom Insulation.

LFPress.com

Eco-Friendly Insulation Options

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 04, 2012

What are some eco-friendly options for insulating an unheated room of my home?

Enclosing a rarely used 3 season room is a great way to add year-round useable square footage to your home. Adding insulation lets you comfortably connect the room to the rest of your home. Foam installation is an effective solution because it's fire-resistant and provides a strong temperature barrier in tight spaces.

Knauf EcoBatt® Insulation doesn’t look like any insulation you’ve ever seen, but that’s because its natural brown color represents a level of sustainability we've never before achieved. EcoBatt Insulation combines sand, post-consumer recycled bottle glass and ECOSE Technology to create the next generation of sustainable insulation.

Another eco-friendly insulation option is cellulose insulation, which is a plant fiber that is typically made from recycled newspapers and contains 855 recycled content. Cellulose spray is considered one of the most environmentally-friendly insulation products available, and it effectively seals against air infiltration and blocks water vapor while containing no formaldehyde, asbestos, mineral fiber, or fiber glass. Cellulose also takes 10 times less energy to produce than fiberglass and does not support mold or fungus growth.

Eco-friendly insulation allows you to rest assured knowing your home is performing at its peak efficiency while becoming a healthier dwelling for you and your family. Consider all environmental aspects of foam and cellulose before investing in insulation.

For more information on eco-friendly insulation options, contact Custom Insulation.

Daily Camera

A Small Tax Credit is Better Than No Tax Credit

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Many homeowners are making home improvements to save energy this winter. Right now, all over Massachusetts, people are feeling the cool breeze and are beginning to think about getting their homes ready for winter. At Custom Insulation we thought we would remind you of the tax credit and how you can take advantage of it.

To qualify for the energy tax credit, the improvements must be on an existing home and your principal residence.

Insulation: Adding adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective home improvements that you can do.
The tax credit amount is 10% of the cost, up to $500.

Typical bulk insulation products can qualify, such as batts, rolls, blown-in, and spray foam insulation.
Insulation that air seals (reduces air leaks) qualify, as long as they come with a Manufacturers Certification Statement. Keep in mind that the tax credit doesn’t include installation costs.

Biomass stovesPellet stoves burn biomass fuel, wood pellets, to heat a home.

The tax credit amount is $300 and the thermal efficiency rating of the pellet stove must be at least 75%.

If you are interested in learning more about the Energy Tax Credit, or how Custom Insulation can help you with energy efficient products, contact us.

U.S. Department of Energy Says Add or Re-Insulate Your Attic to Reduce Energy Bills

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Properly insulating and air sealing your attic will help reduce your energy bills. Attics are often one of the easiest places in a house to insulate, especially if you'd like to add insulation.

Warning: if you think you have vermiculite insulation in your attic, there's a chance it could contain asbestos. Don't disturb it. Only insulation contractors certified to handle and remove asbestos should deal with vermiculite insulation.

Loose-fill or batt insulation is typically installed in an attic. Loose-fill insulation is usually less expensive to install than batt insulation. Often, loose-fill insulation usually provides better coverage.

Also, before having any type of insulation installed in your attic be sure to seal all attic-to-home air leaks. Most insulation does not stop airflow.

Also be sure to insulate and air seal your attic access if it's located in a conditioned part of your house.

You'll want to properly insulate and air seal any vertical walls with attic space directly behind them in your home as well.

Contact Custom Insulation Company for ideas on how to better insulate your home to decrease your energy bills this winter.




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