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To Stop Ice Dams You Need a Cold Roof - Boston, Worcester

Joseph Coupal - Monday, February 10, 2014

There has been a lot of snow around Boston and Worcester. Your home may look beautiful with all the icicles hanging off the roof, but in actuality, looks can be deceiving. Icicles are a sign of a much larger problem, which can become costly: Ice dams.

Ice dams and icicles form when snow melts, runs down your roof and refreezes near the edge. This only occurs when part of your roof warms to above 32 degrees F, warm enough to melt the snow, while the roof edge remains below freezing. This scenario is often the result of a warm attic. In most homes, heat escapes through ceilings into the attic and warms the wood and shingles directly above it. Although the outdoor temperature is below freezing, the snow melts over the warmed section of roof. When the water from melted snow and ice runs down the roof, it hits the cold edge not warmed by the attic. There it freezes, creating a rim of ice. This rim can grow, trap more water behind it, and bingo—you have a full-fledged ice dam.

The key to preventing ice dams is simply to keep your attic and roof cold. After a snowfall, a cold roof will have a thick blanket of snow. A warmer roof, however, will soon have clear spots where the snow has melted off, and may well have icicles hanging from the eaves.

To keep your roof cold, follow these three steps:

1. Close up attic bypasses

In the average home, about one-third of the heat loss is through the ceiling into the attic. And most of that loss comes from air leaks caused by unblocked walls, gaps in drywall, and cracks around light fixtures, plumbing pipes, chimneys, access hatches and other ceiling penetrations. Air leaks can be tough to stop. You have to climb into your attic, pull or rake back insulation, and plug the leaks using foam, caulk and other methods. Low roof angles make some air leaks difficult to reach.

Bonus: By stopping air leakage to mitigate ice dams, you'll save energy and reduce both your heating and your air conditioning bills.

2. Measure your attic insulation level

You should have the depth of your attic insulation checked and measured. Building codes require about 12 to 14 in. of fiberglass or cellulose. Have more insulation added if you have less than 8 inches and if you have had ice dam problems in the past. Blown-in cellulose and fiberglass are usually better than hand-placed batts, because they fill more tightly around rafters, joists and other obstructions, leaving fewer gaps. It's usually worth hiring a professional for this job; you won't save much by doing it yourself.

3. Add roof and soffit vents

Attic ventilation draws in cold outdoor air and flushes out warmer attic air, cooling the attic and the roof in the process.

In addition:

Insulation, especially blown-in insulation, can block the airflow. Insulation specialists should make sure the spaces between rafters over the exterior walls are open. Baffles usually prevent this problem. If you don't have them, have them added before installing additional insulation. A shot of air from a compressor hose from the outside will open plugged soffit vents.

For more information on adding insulation to prevent ice dams, contact Custom Insulation.

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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.

Various Insulation Efforts are Efficient and Ecofriendly

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The movement toward green technologies has been widely discussed recently, as more companies and consumers have looked for ways to become more ecofriendly.

One such green, energy-saving technology not receiving much fanfare is spray foam insulation, which contractors apply through high-pressure pumps, which then expands within cracks and various crevices to block any areas that air flows through.

Custom Insulation provides this advanced type of insulation as well as bio-based fiberglass batts.

 With three solutions now available, spray foam, blown in and blanket insulation, they have the ability to work with various clients.

There are places where blanket insulation is best, others places where blown in is best and then there are places where they will advise using spray foam. And all three products may even be used on the same house.

The efficiency of the insulation can lead to greater long-term savings. Within three to five years, most home or building owners witness this increased savings.

The Proper Insulation will Keep your House Cool

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, June 08, 2011

As the days get warmer you might start dreaming of air conditioning. But, there are some other ways to keep your house more comfortable during hot summer days that are easier on your wallet and the environment.

Attics can reach temperatures over 140 degrees F on hot summer days. If there isn’t much insulation between the ceiling and attic a lot of this heat is going to be transferred into the house.  Increasing attic insulation can make a big difference in the comfort level of a home and will also cut your heating costs in the winter. By adding R40 insulation to a poorly insulated attic the temperature inside the house will drop by 6-8 º F on hot days.

Proper attic ventilation is also important in keeping your house cool and extending the life of your roof. Without it, as the sun goes down your attic won’t cool off as much and will continue to heat your house throughout the night.

The use of spray foam insulation has been rapidly growing as Architects, Builders and Homeowners become aware of the long term energy savings and comfort benefits associated with using spray foam. However, if you have a walk up attic, blanket insulation would be fine to use.

Blown In Insulation is Perfect if you do not Want to Take Down Drywall

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 10, 2011

There are a lot of people in and around Worcester, Massachusetts who are finally having their home repairs taken care of from this past winter’s ice dam damage. We have found that people who are having their interior ceilings and or walls pulled down and replaced are finding that their insulation is more than lacking. However, who wants to rip down interior ceilings and walls in undamaged rooms, just to replace old and ill fitting insulation? No one!

Blown in insulation is really about the only way to insulate existing, closed-up walls and ceilings. Tthe only other option is to start pulling off siding or rip out interior drywall.

Consider this if you are a DIY and are considering renting a machine. One reality of blown in insulation is that it is an imperfect process. It is not easy get cellulose fibers to pass through a two-inch wide hole and settle uniformly and completely all throughout a wall cavity. Especially in older homes, wall obstructions are everywhere in criss-crossing electrical wires, plaster "keys", blocking, etc.

Those who work with blown in insulation consider it almost an intuitive process. Most insulation technicians are experienced at finding blockages and wires, and know how to work around them. Contact Custom Insulation today to improve your home’s insulation and energy efficiency.

The Advantages of Blown in Insulation

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Few homeowners are aware that there different ways to insulate their home, and that there are some differences among the two methods. Rolled insulation, or batting, is the most recognizable option to most home owners. Many consider it the neatest, cleanest and easiest to install, but it has its advantages and disadvantages just like the blown in insulation which is installed by a professional.

The main advantage of Rolled Insulation is convenience. Rolled insulation can quickly and easily be installed, and is sold at home improvement stores for the do-it-your-self homeowner with time on their hands.
 
The advantages of blown in insulation are performance and the speed of install. Despite the fact that rolled insulation is manufactured to fit in between standard sized studs - it still does not exactly match the "fill" of professionally installed blown in insulation. Blown in insulation has optimal performance because it fits securely into every nook and cranny. It fills every crack and crevice and surrounds every piece of conduit and obstacle, which makes for a much more effective barrier than rolled insulation.

Custom Insulation Company, Inc will come to your home and insulate in a few hours, what could have taken a few days to do with rolled insulation. And again, blown in insulation will get into areas that would have never have gotten to with rolls.

This brings up the point of price. Considering the cost of materials, the higher level of protection, and the amount of time and work that a do-it-yourselfer would have to invest, it could be very well worth a bit higher initial investment to have the blown in insulation installed by professionals. You may come to find that the money you are saving on your energy bills will help pay for that extra cost in no time

Essential Energy Efficiency Starts with Attic Insulation

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, March 10, 2011

When it comes to a home improvement that reduces energy use and improves the interior comfort of the home environment, many first look to energy efficient air conditioning and heating units as the answer. Energy Star HVAC units are indeed energy savers. They are also very costly investments and even those have limited effectiveness if other areas of the home where heat is gained or lost are not also addressed. The place to begin is with the attic.

Attic Insulation Attic insulation and ventilation is a critical part of energy conservation in a home. Significant heat enters the home through the attic in summer and heat is lost from the attic in the winter. Attic insulation systems work less hard with less energy needed. Making sure you have proper attic insulation is key not only in the winter time but also in the summer time to prevent heat loss and cold air exiting through cracks.

Adequate attic ventilation is equally important to prevent heat and moisture from being trapped in the attic. Keeping the air circulating properly in the attic also aids in preventing unwanted heat gain and loss and prevents damaging moisture from rotting wood and promoting the growth of mildew and molds. If you are looking to make a home improvement that pays for itself in reduced energy usage as well as one that protects your most valuable investment, then contact us today. We will be happy to assess your insulation needs!

Our National Fiber's Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation is a Energy Efficient Choice

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 24, 2011
If you want the most for your money, our cellulose blown in insulation is the top choice. It out performs most other insulation methods on the market and is less expensive too. Cellulose is also a natural organic, recycled material which has no harmful effects on people or the environment. The building industry has been using fiberglass as the old stand by and recently builders and home owners have been looking for a better solution.

Dense packed cellulose has an R-Value of 4.0 per inch which is better than most others with R-Values of 3.67 per inch. Fiberglass is in last place with an R-Value of 3.2 per inch. Cellulose also wicks moisture better than any other insulation meaning that cellulose insulation is still effective if it's wet. Air infiltration is also reduced greatly with the use of dense packed cellulose. Sound control is another huge reason to choose cellulose as many music studios have dense packed cellulose integrated in the sound control designs.

Our National Fiber’s Cel-Pak is a premium, all borate cellulose insulation with proven energy savings. Our cellulose insulation is non-irritating to skin and has no health problems associated with it. With its significant sound barrier and moisture control you can increase the value of your new buildings and existing homes. Contact us today to learn more about our insulation methods.

Keep Warm and Secure This Winter with our Blown-In Insulation

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Heat loss from your house might seem like a massive jolt to your domestic budget. Imagine having your heating system work overtime just because you are not warm enough. Yet, to keep yourself safe from repair costs, and keep the heat inside your house, you need to insulate it well through different methods. Well Custom Insulation has the solution and that is our blown-in cellulose insulation.

Cellulose insulation
is excellent for the environment. Like any other insulating system, cellulose insulation keeps the heat inside your house and doesn‘t let it escape. This type of insulation is more energy efficient than other methods because it uses insulating fibers, a composition of which is 80% post-consumer recycled newspapers. Similarly, the energy involved in making these fibers is comparatively lesser than traditional fiberglass or rock wools. This method is also energy efficient because it does not involve any harmful emissions. Therefore, it is environment friendly.

Because cellulose insulation is sprayed, it ensures that there is no sagging or drooping. Complete coverage will mean that heat and air are not flowing from room to room. This will also be a precaution from any potential fires in the house. Moreover, this method of insulation also seals incoming wires and plumbing holes. Covering these small holes ensures that you are living comfortably during extreme warm and cold weather. This method uses water to bind the insulation with the surface. The adhesion provided by water is durable and hard because it does not require any netting or mesh wire. The bond complex becomes hard as it dries, and therefore it is self-supporting.

Custom Insulation's cellulose method not only provides insulation for the heat it also offers the best sound insulation, thereby preventing noise pollution. This acoustic insulation will mean that you can relax in your house without exterior sounds bothering you.

In all, insulating your house by this method is the right option you should select! Contact us today to learn more about our insulation methods. Be sure to browse through our other services as well and start saving money today.



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