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Insulation in Older Homes - Worcerster, Boston

11 March 2013

In the older homes around Worcester and Boston, many people wonder where to spend home rehabilitation money. Insulation is a great place to spend money if you want to save money.

The best place for insulation is in the attic floor, not in the walls. Also, if there's a drop stair or a door to the attic, make sure it's insulated and sealed too.

Once that's done, the attic should be properly ventilated. Insulation lets the attic stay near the outside temperature  in the wintertime. The ventilation and insulation let the attic space stay near the outside temperature of the summertime too.

If a historic house needs attic insulation, have a contractor put 1 to 2 inches of expanded foam sheeting down over the old floor, then put half-inch plywood flooring on it and use long screws to join the sandwich to the old attic floor.  The attic itself is then separated from the building envelope.

Around the sills, between floor joists, is another place where it's essential to insulate.  Batt insulation placed there with the shiny metal facing the inside of the basement also act as firebreaks, preventing a fire in the basement of an older balloon-framed house from spreading due to the chimney effect of the tall empty spaces between the studs.

For more information on adding insulation to older or historic homes, contact Custom Insulation.

Excerpts myeasternshoremd.com

Copper Gutters for So Many Reasons

5 March 2013

Building a home? If so, you can set your new home apart from the others, while also cutting down on home maintenance costs down the road. How? With copper gutters.  But even better, if you are trying to make your home as “green” as possible, copper gutters do that too!

Copper gutters add a level of class and quality to your home that is a step above the rest. They have a look to them that is far beyond what aluminum gutters will provide, showcasing your home with the flare you are looking for.
 
Copper gutters are also low maintenance. They will last forever because they will never rust or rot; whatever the weather copper gutters can withstand it. As a result copper gutters are much easier to maintain than vinyl. Copper is one of the most resilient materials you can choose to protect your home from water.

Copper gutters are also a green product because most, if not all, of the copper used is recycled. But they also have durability and longevity with a lifespan of at least 100 years.

When you require functionality, aesthetic and performance from your gutter system, contact Custom Insulation about copper gutters.

Save on Energy Costs and Insulate

27 February 2013

There are many ways to make your home more energy-efficient and reduce your home heating bills. Insulated homes are comfortable homes. When you home is insulated properly, the temperature remains constant throughout each room in the winter and summer months.

Attic insulation
Loft insulation works by preventing heat from escaping through the roof. It’s relatively cheap and quick to install. The exact amount will vary according to the size of your loft, but it is usually relatively inexpensive. You will also recognize a savings on your investment very quickly.

Wall insulation
Around 35% of heat is lost through the external walls of your home. By insulating your exterior walls, your home will heat up quicker and stay warmer for longer. The process involves drilling holes into the walls of your home and filling the space with insulation.

Usually you will have paid for the investment through energy savings in about two years.

Floor insulation
Installing insulation foam between the joists underneath the floor will trap heat and stop cold air from rising up through the gaps. This is particularly suitable for floorboards and laminate flooring, because they allow more cold air to rise than carpeting.
 
For more information on insulating your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Insulation Keeps Out the Cold

19 February 2013

It is cold, and more snow is on the way. If you are tired of paying high heating bills, or of being too cold because you have your heat turned way down to avoid high heating bills, it is time to evaluate your homes efficiency.

According to projections the heating bills will rise 20% for oil households, 15% for natural gas, 13% for propane and 5% for electricity. These are high increases that will bite into everyone’s wallet.

If you’re concerned with saving money on your home’s heating bills, your home heating practices need to come under scrutiny. An energy audit is a great place to start. Increasing or adding insulation is also a very good idea.

Attic insulation, or adding insulation to crawl spaces is the perfect way to keep heat in your home and decrease heating bills. No one wants to heat the attic or crawl space, and this is what you are doing when you don’t have enough insulation.

For more information on improving the insulation in your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Icicles? You Need Attic Insulation

12 February 2013

The weekend’s storm brought loads of snow. That snow has resulted in some very beautiful icicles hanging from homes all over Worcester. Who knew that something as pretty as icicles is actually quite telling of issues within your home.
 
If you have icicles hanging from the roof, then you need better attic insulation. Icicles also means that an ice dam may be forming on the roof. Ice forms when snow melts higher up on the roof then refreezes as it reaches the eave.

The snow on your roof melts as a result of heat loss. You are losing heat through your attic because of poor insulation. You need to stop the heat from you living area from entering your attic. Adding more attic insulation over the ceiling will help greatly. Additionally, you will dramatically reduce your home heating bills.

If you have icicles on your roof, contact Custom Insulation.

Massachusetts Rebates For Wood Burning Fireplace Inserts

7 February 2013

Massachusetts is expanding an incentive program to prompt residents to get rid of inefficient wood stoves.

The program has another $800,000 in rebates for the replacement of inefficient wood stoves and wood burning fireplace inserts.

Residents who qualify for the program could receive a voucher of $2,000 to buy lower-polluting newer models that use less wood. Other residents are eligible for a $1,000 rebate on the cleaner-burning stoves.

If you are thinking of replacing your older, inefficient wood stove with a wood burning fireplace insert, contact Custom Insulation for more information on this rebate program.

FoxProvidence

Buying a Pellet Stove?

31 January 2013

If you bought a pellet stove in 2012, or if you are planning on buying one this year, then you can qualify for the Federal Tax Credit for Pellet Stoves of  up to $300.

Last year’s tax credit has been reinstated for 2013 and is retroactive for 2012. So if you are interested in buying a new pellet stove to cut down on your heating expenses, and it is at least 75% efficient you can receive up to $300 back.

The biomass stove federal tax credit allows for a 10% tax credit up to $300 for stoves bought in 2013 and it is retroactive, so that all eligible stoves purchased in 2012 can also get the credit.

if you are interested in a new pellet stove for  your Worcester home, contact Custom Insulation.

Preventing Winter Freeze Ups and Ice Dams

23 January 2013

Preventing Ice Dams

Keep your attic well ventilated. Cold attics prevent ice accumulation on the roof from melting, resulting in refreezing. This is done by having the right amount of attic insulation.

Keep the attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising through hte attic from within the house.

Install ice dam prevention underlayment as part of your roofing system.

Install new or additional insulation in order to prevent heat loss.

Remove ice and snow from roofs with a snow rake.

Preventing Winter Freeze Ups

During winter months, do not turn the thermostat off when leaving your house. Instead, lower the thermostat to a temperature warm enough to keep pipes from freezing, no lower than 55 degrees.

Fit exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or wrapping to slow the heat transfer. Check water hoses for signs of cracks or bubbles. Replace faulty hoses.

Consider installing an electronic leak detection system. When water touches the sensor, the valve closes, protecting everything downstream. Some systems can also alert remote securty monitoring services.

Forced hot water systems should have an appropriate antifreeze mixture.

On very cold days, open cabinet doors under sinks, allowing warm air to circulate around the pipes. Let a slow trickle of water to continually flow from faucets to prevent freezing.

Exterior faucets should be shut off for the winter. Hoses should be disconnected and the valve left open.

For more information on better insulating your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Massachusetts Property Insurance Underwriting Association

Spray Foam Insulation FAQ's

15 January 2013

Does spray foam insulation release any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)?

Polyurethane foam is not considered to emit VOC's. After curing there should be no emissions. To be sure, check with your foam supplier.

Can it be used to insulate underground water pipes?

Yes! Regional climate changes will be a part of the decision making process. During application, no moisture can be allowed on or in the foam until it has cured.

Should fiberglass insulation be removed before applying spray foam insulation?

Yes! If left in, there will be a problem with ventilation and temperature control. More clearly, the temperature of the attic floor will be different than amidst the fiberglass and the temperature amidst the fiberglass will be different than above the spray foam. The job of the spray foam is to balance temperature and humidity with the environment so condensation is prevented.

Does the surface where it will be applied have to be clean?

Yes! Any oil or dust on the application surface will prevent the spray foam insulation from adhering. A careful vacuuming job covering every nook and cranny will often be adequate.
For applications where the surface is steel (or any other metal) it is even more important for the surface to be free of dust and oil.

Does an attic need to be vented if spray foam insulation on the rafters?

That depends. If you are applying the spray foam to the roof deck and gable walls, then you want everything under that surface to be a part of the temperature conditioned space. Vents in an attic with insulation above it would be a waste of money. If you are applying spray foam to just the attic floor, then the conditioned space is below the attic floor. Vents will be necessary for preventing excess humidity.

There are likely many more questions concerning spray foam insulation. For more insulation contact Custom Insulation.

Ezine Articles

Adding Attic Insulation Saves Energy

12 January 2013

Now that winter is in full swing, you may be tired of paying high energy bills. By installing additional attic insulation you can keep winter heating bills and summer cooling bills down.

Generally, the recommendations for insulation are:

Attic ---------------------------R 38
Wall ---------------------------R 13
Floor --------------------------R 25, Over Unheated Space
Crawl Space Wall -----------R 25
Basement Wall Interior -----R 11

These insulation levels balance the cost of insulating and the return in energy savings.

There are two types of additional insulation that can be installed in your attic: fiberglass batts (blanket insulation) or blown-in insulation, either cellulose or fiberglass.

Blanket insulation or batts gives you a slightly better R value per inch.
 
Remember the better you home is insulated, the lower your heating bills. Adding insulation will pay for itself through energy savings.

For more information, contact Custom Insulation.

Insulation helps keep your house cool in the summer!