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How Much Heat Is Leaking Out of Your Home? – Worcester, Boston

7 October 2013

We know we are a home insulation company, but it is important to understand all of the ways your home could be losing heat and wasting energy other than insufficient insulation.
 
Here are some fun facts to consider as the cold weather approaches.
 
Guess the answers to all three questions correctly, or even close, and you’ll know that at least you’re not going uninformed into the heating season.

How much of the air leakage in your home can come from small openings: leaks in doors, windows, fireplaces?

Up to 35% percent, or roughly a third.

How much can you save on your energy bill by lowering your thermostat by a single degree when the heat’s on?

3% percent.

What’s the average annual energy expenditure per person in the U.S.?

$3,460

That’s all according to the U.S. Department of Energy, But informed doesn’t necessarily mean prepared, and taking a quiz online doesn’t mean your house is ready for cold weather. Here are some additional tips for meeting fall and winter weather:

  • Check window seals, and weatherstrip or caulk anywhere the air can get in or where windows are loose.
  • Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans. Clockwise rotation means the warm air near your ceilings gets pushed down into your living spaces. This is particularly important for homes with very high ceilings.
  • If you’re not using your fireplace/chimney, keep your damper closed. Leaving it open is equivalent to leaving a window wide open.
  • Reinsulate the attic. This keeps heat where it should be – where you live – and not where it shouldn’t. in your attic. A too-warm attic can melt the snow and ice on your roof only to have it refreeze in a gutter, which can push water under your eaves and onto your walls.

And don’t forget these outdoor chores:

  • Cut down or prune back branches that have grown out and over your roof before they break and crack off, or blow about in downslope winds, scraping the roof.
  • Add mulch! Organic mulch breaks down and compacts over time, losing its weed-fighting and weather-insulating capabilities. Even gravel mulch can get scattered around.
  • Set a time to clean gutters after the last leaves fall – or even sooner if think they may be clogged.
  • Don’t forget the annual sprinkler-system blowout. If you don’t have an appointment for this, get one now.
  • Finally: Change your furnace filter and get that monster checked out by a pro. Then check the batteries in your smoke detectors.

For information on saving on energy costs and in reinsulating your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Denverpost.com

Insulate Wall Cavities and Crawl Spaces for a Warmer Home – Boston, Worcester

1 October 2013

Too many homes have cavity walls - which means there's a gap in the middle of exterior walls - and filling them with insulation can make your home more energy efficient. This means reduced heating costs, and you'll be making your house 'greener' in the process.

Finding out if your home has cavity walls isn't hard. In general, houses built after 1920 do, and those built before don't. However, you can't tell by the house's age alone.

Look at the brickwork - if the bricks are all long (whole) ones, then the walls have a cavity in the middle, but if the bricks are both long and short ones, there's no cavity because the short ones go through the wall.

Adding wall cavity insulation will produce significant savings on your home heating bills. But the walls need to be in good condition and not exposed to driving rain, and the cavity must be at least 5cm deep.

Homes less than 10 years old should already have cavity wall insulation. If you're not sure about yours, contact an insulation specialist.

Keep in mind this is not a DIY job. A insulation specialist should add the insulation. They'll do this by making small holes in the external walls, blowing insulation material into the walls and then filling the holes. As long as all the external walls are accessible, the job should only take a few hours, depending on the size of your house.

Insulating homes with solid exterior walls (usually brick or stone) is more expensive, but the savings are greater.

For more information on adding insulation to wall cavities and crawl spaces, contact Custom Insulation.

shropshirestar.com

Winterize your Home by Adding Insulation – Boston, Worcester

23 September 2013

The seasons are changing and weather is getting cooler. With winter on the horizon many homeowners have already started to brace themselves for harsh heating bills. But others are getting their homes, and wallets, better prepared for the cold.

Some people have started to consult experts and home improvement centers to find answers. And they are finding that winterizing a home is all about common sense.

There are a number of simple steps that homeowners can take to cut down on winter heating costs, but one of the most effective, especially in the older homes around Worcester and Boston is adding insulation.
 
Older attics may need an extra layer of insulation. Many older homes were not insulated to the standards that have been created for today’s new construction. This winter will be particularly cold, so says the Farmer’s Almanac.

On way to know if you need insulation is if your home has had ice damns before. If so, more insulation and/or ventilation may be needed in your home.
 
Here are 5 signs that you need to add more insulation to your home this winter:

Vintage or antique home: Prior to consistent building codes, most homes built before 1980 were not insulated. If your home has no materials trapping heat, energy conservation is an uphill battle. Walls, ceilings and floors are the most important areas to add insulation for immediate savings on your energy bills.

Furnace runs non-stop: Does your furnace run all the time in the winter? The right amount of insulation leads to less maintenance on your heating system. It will last longer, runs less and will require less maintenance for long-term cost savings.

Temperature inconsistency: If you feel cold spots coming from the walls or attic, or one room of your home is colder than another, you may need to increase your home insulation. The fireplace, walls and attic are prime spots for drafts.

Roof hot spots: If your shingles are exposed after a snowfall, chances are these "hot spots" are indicative of warm air escaping. Check your attic for adequate insulation.

Mold Growth: Mold in the corners of ceilings could mean your current insulation slumps and holds moisture. If this occurs, it's time to replace your insulation with one that does not store or transfer moisture and is completely resistant to mold, mildew, rot and bacterial growth.

Additionally, poorly connected and insulated heating ducts can create a chilly house. Duct work in the attic can be easily insulated while adding attic insulation and while adding insulation to crawl spaces.
 
To find out if you need more insulation in your home, contact Custom Insulation in Worcester.

shepherdstownchronicle.com

Insulation, Signs You Need to Add More – Worcester, Boston

16 September 2013

The average family spends more than $1000 annually on heating and cooling costs. That’s nearly half a home's total energy bill. Unfortunately, a large portion of those expenses are wasted due to poor home insulation.

Getting your home ready for winter and stop the energy waste cycle by taking a closer look at your home insulation. As one of the fastest and most cost-efficient ways to reduce energy waste and lower bills, insulation traps warm air inside a home’s walls to regulate a home’s temperature. But how do you know if your home is properly insulated?

There are telltale signs that can alert any homeowner that it’s time to add to or replace their home insulation -- before the temperature plunges and the energy bill rises.

Homeowner should run through the following checklist to determine whether their home has adequate insulation:

Vintage home:
Prior to consistent building codes, most homes built before 1980 were not insulated. If your home has no materials trapping heat, energy conservation is an uphill battle. Walls, ceilings and floors are the most important areas to add insulation for an immediate, positive impact on a home’s energy usage and bills.

Non-stop furnace: Does your furnace seem to run non-stop in the winter? Adequate insulation leads to less maintenance on your heating system, as it lasts longer, runs less and will require less maintenance for long-term cost savings.

Temperature inconsistency: If you feel cold spots coming from the walls or attic, or one room of your home is drafty and another one warm, you may need to beef up your insulation. The fireplace, walls and attic are prime spots for drafts. Look for insulation that can fit snugly in rafters and other tight areas.

Roof hot spots: If your shingles are exposed after a recent snowfall, chances are these “hot spots” are indicative of warm air escaping. Check your attic for adequate insulation. If you can easily see your floor joists, you should add more.

Mold Growth: Mold in the corners of ceilings could mean your current insulation slumps and holds moisture. If this occurs, it’s time to replace your insulation with one that does not store or transfer moisture and is completely resistant to mold, mildew, rot and bacterial growth.

For more information about properly insulating your home contact Custom Insulation.

Don’t let cool weather take you by surprise. With proper insulation, you can improve the comfort of your home significantly and enjoy energy savings.

Scoop San Diego

Pellet Stoves to Supplement Your Winter Heating - Worcester, MA

9 September 2013

If you are considering a change in your home heating this winter, consider a new pellet stove. Pellet heat is an economical, efficient way to heat your home. Even better, pellet stoves can be added to any room with an outside wall, no existing chimney is necessary. This makes them a convenient and easy way to supplement your heat this winter.
 
Pellet stoves can meet the needs and styles of every home while providing a clean and labor free way to heat your home. There's a reason why a large number of homeowners use pellet stoves - they are timeless and offer efficient heating with a very unique style.

This winter, a pellet stove will give you powerful, fully automatic heating and customizable style options to create reliable warmth and timeless beauty for your home.  The Winslow pellet stove is an attractive pellet stove that delivers inviting and reliable heat that can be customized to complement the décor and style of any home and it is convenient and easy to use.

The Winslow pellet stoves can be used with a thermostat too, so that you can set the temperature and your pellet stove will turn off and on to maintain a cozy, warm temperature. Easy to use, easy to maintain, pellet stoves are an easy alternative if you need or want to supplement your winter heat.

The large and easy-to-load hopper holds up to 60 lbs of pellets with means that there is less loading and longer burn times.  This pellet stove delivers hassle-free automatic starts and works with a thermostat for easy operation and has Multiple design options to customize to your taste as well as an optional log set to provide realism.

For more information, contact Custom Insulation.

Save Money with More Insulation - Worcester, Boston

3 September 2013

When you’re using energy you don’t have to use, you’re wasting money. Or if the air you are heating is heading outside, you are also wasting money.

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), a typical home’s air leakage can account to up to 40% of the energy used for heating and cooling. That translates to a loss of up to 40 cents on every dollar spent heating or cooling the average home.

Homeowners looking to put that money back in their pockets will find that sealing air leaks can significantly reduce energy bills and also make their home more comfortable.

Many air leaks in homes are obvious, such as around windows, doors and electrical outlets. But others like those in attics, around chimneys, crawlspaces and through recessed lighting fixtures, which are often the more significant sources of energy loss in a home, can be more challenging to detect.

Many builders and remodelers recommend a “whole-house” assessment before homeowners start sealing air leaks for energy efficiency. Some contractors can use special diagnostic tools to help pinpoint your home’s actual leakage and make recommendations for sealing the building envelope and ducts, adding insulation if needed.

Along with saving money, an overall growing sensitivity to the environment has added to the momentum behind energy efficiency and helped bring sustainability concerns to the forefront such as the use of renewable building materials and the use of recycled products including insulation made from recycled materials in home building and remodeling, water conservation and reuse, indoor air quality and healthy homes, and even renewable energy sources.

Recent history shows that consumers will choose “green” options or greener homes as long as they are convenient and affordable – especially once they clearly understand the long-term benefits from both a financial and environmental perspective. More and more, we are seeing how simple actions can make a big difference.

For more information on making your home more green with added insulation, contact Custom Insulation.

NWTimes.com

Adding Insulation can Save Money - Worcester

26 August 2013

Does your home need more insulation? Unless your home was constructed with special attention to energy efficiency, adding insulation will probably reduce your utility bills. Many of the existing homes in the US were not insulated to the levels that are used today. On top of this, older homes are likely to use more energy than newer homes, leading to higher heating and air-conditioning bills.
 
Where and How Much
Adding insulation where you already have some insulation, such as in an attic, will save energy. You can save even greater amounts of energy if you install insulation into places in your home that have never been insulated. Some of the building spaces that should be insulated might include an un-insulated floor over a garage or crawlspace, or a wall that separates a room from the attic.
     
Unless your home in Worcester and surrounding towns was specially constructed for energy efficiency, you can probably reduce your energy bills by adding more insulation. In fact, many older homes have less insulation than newly built homes.  But adding insulation to a newer home can pay for itself.

For more information on if you could save money by adding insulation to your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Excerpts - DOE

The Benefit of Combined Spray, Rolled, and Foam Insulation

22 August 2013

Spray foam insulation is the current popular trend, but how does it stand up compared to rolled insulation  or blown insulation for homes in and around Worcester MA? Chances are your home has a combination of both. This has been the Worcester Mass home insulation trend for years. over the last 80 years.

Spray foam insulation is a liquid applied insulation product that covers the vertical rafters and is applied to the attic ceiling. Immediately the spray foam insulation expands and fills any holes, sealing off the attic from the outside, thus making it into its own conditioned space. This eliminates the need to be ventilated. When the two types of insulation are combined, they create a sealed air space that saves energy. There are drawbacks. There is more space to heat and cool and your HVAC equipment might not be able to handle the upgrade.

With that said, the benefits of combining the different types of insulation far exceed the drawbacks. Even though your space needs to be conditioned, that doesn't necessarily mean pumping in air-conditioning, it may only mean dehumidifying the space. A simple dehumidifier can fix that problem and may not even be needed at all.

For more information on adding insulation to your home to reduce energy costs, contact Custom Insulation.

Reduce Home Energy Costs - Worcester, MA

13 August 2013

Are you trying to figure out how to save money on home energy costs? Before the winter begins in Worcester, make energy efficient changes to your home. There are many things that you can do.

Consider your windows, doors, insulation, heating and cooling equipment and appliances. All of these things can make a big difference to your home energy costs, and boost your home value at the same time.

Install low-flow showerheads and faucets: Modern faucets use 40% less water. Replacing faucets with models that have a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute can cut your water usage for showers in half.

Switch to fluorescent light bulbs or light-emitting diodes: They cost a little more, but you can save $50 over the life of just one bulb.  Energy efficient bulbs use about 75% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and last at least six times longer. They also produce about 75% less heat, so it's safer to operate and can cut energy costs associated with home cooling.

Buy ENERGY STAR appliances: The average homeowner annually spends about $2,000 on energy bills, according to ENERGY STAR. Change to appliances that have earned the ENERGY STAR rating, and you can save hundreds of dollars a year in energy costs.

Seal and insulate: Sealing and adding insulation to the shell of your home - its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors - is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. Adding insulation to your home keeps the warm, heated air in your home and keeps the cold air out of your home. The extra four inches of insulation in the walls, along with the airtight windows, eliminates drafts in the house.

Consider getting rid of the old appliances. Refrigerators built before 1993 can use two to three times more energy than newer models.

For more information on adding insulation to your home to reduce energy costs, contact Custom Insulation.

Excerpts – Leader Telegram

What Type of Home Insulation Should You Choose? Worcester, Boston

5 August 2013

Homeowners are now beginning to think about how they are going to reduce home heating bills this winter. The right amount of home insulation at the right R-value is a great place to start.

Home Insulation is measured by the R-value of the product. The higher the R value the better the insulation will be at preventing heat loss or gain. The R-value depends on the type of insulation you choose and its thickness or density.

If you are insulating an attic space, you want to install as much insulation as possible without letting the insulation come in contact with the underside of the roof's decking. But first you need to select the insulation materials you want to use based on budget, performance and installation styles. You can use fiberglass blanket or  batts, blown-in, spray foam insulation or wet spray cellulose insulation.

Blanket insulation - Knauf EcoBatt® Insulation - EcoBatt Insulation combines sand, one of the world’s most abundant and renewable resources, post-consumer recycled bottle glass and ECOSE Technology to create the next generation of sustainable insulation. Knauf EcoBatt Insulation is cost-effective thermal and acoustical barriers for energy-efficient construction.

Blown-in insulation - Cellulose insulation is blown-into your home by using two holes in every wall bay insuring each bay is 100% full.  Blown-in insulation increases the value of your new buildings and existing homes. It adds a significant sound barrier and moisture control.

Spray Foam Insulation – Your heating and cooling costs are typically reduced by 30-50% when you use spray foam insulation.

Wet Spray Cellulose insulation - Wet Spray Cellulose insulation increases the value of your new buildings and existing homes.  It provides a significant sound barrier and moisture control with a proven energy savings.

For more information on home insulation, contact Custom Insulation.

Insulation helps keep your house cool in the summer!