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Home Blown-in Insulation & Gutter Solutions
9 December 2013
Home insulation; most homes have it. But do they have enough. Winter is here and many communities around Worcester and Boston got their first snow of the season already. The best way to keep your home warm and to keep your heating costs down is to be sure that your home is properly insulated.
Attic insulation – Heat rises, and in an uninsulated home a quarter of the heat is lost through the roof. Insulating your attic is a simple and effective way to reduce the amount of heat leaving your home and lower your heating bills. Many homes already have some attic insulation, but the amount of heat lost and the energy savings gained will directly relate to the current thickness and condition of the insulation. If you live in a home that’s older than 10 years, it is probably time to check on- and add to- your attic insulation.
Floor insulation - Insulating under the floorboards on your ground floor could save you money. Although older properties are more likely to have suspended timber floors these can be insulated with spray foam insulation or blown-in insulation as it performs better between joists as it will take up thermal movement and cut down air movement around the insulation. Newer homes will have a ground floor made of solid concrete. This can be insulated if it needs to be replaced, or can have rigid insulation laid on top.
For more information on adding home insulation, contact Custom Insulation.
Excerpts – Messenger Newspaper
2 December 2013
This lakeside cottage was the first of three identical summer camps built in 1909. It took 2.5 cords of wood and almost 800 gallons of oil to make the mostly uninsulated home livable year-round.
The owner grew up spending summers in this cottage, and didn’t change anything when she moved in year-round 15 years ago. But heating the uninsulated camp house was taking a toll on the house. Her builder suggested that insulation might solve the home’s heat, air, and moisture problems.
Uninsulated walls cavities and huge air pathways that allowed warm air to leak into the attic and led to moisture problems in the walls and roof were identified.
Opportunities were identified to cut the energy use in half by air sealing and adding attic insulation, insulating wall cavities, and basement foundation walls. This created a continuous thermal barrier between the conditioned living space and the exterior.
Fuel use dropped dramatically after adding home insulation, and the propane costs went from $200/month to only $82/month!
For more information on adding home insulation, contact Custom Insulation.
25 November 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
18 November 2013
The cold weather is here, the nights are much colder than they were just a few weeks ago. As you get your home ready for the cold weather, you can also be sure to reduce your home's energy consumption and save on heating bills along the way.
The following tips can make your home more energy efficient and help you get the most from your home heating dollars.
Check your attic insulation. If you don’t have enough insulation in the attic, your heat (and your money) is literally going through the roof. You should have at least 7 inches of the currently recommended minimum R-value, but you could opt for up to R-50 for better protection against energy loss.
Seal ductwork. Making sure your ducts are sealed will prevent heated air from leaking out as it makes its way from the furnace to the rooms in your home.
Save on heating water. Cover your water storage tank with an insulated blanket and lower the thermostat setting by 10 or 20 degrees to reduce your water heater’s energy consumption. Wrap any exposed hot water piping with inexpensive foam pipe insulation. If your storage tank unit is getting older, replace it with an on-demand heater, and you can save the cost of keeping gallons of hot water ready and waiting.
Stop air leaks. You’ll increase your home heating savings when you prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping. Easy ways to do this include adding weatherstripping around exterior doors, caulking around windows, and closing your fireplace damper and/or installing a chimney balloon. Be sure to check for air leaks wherever heated and unheated spaces meet, such as the garage and attic.
For information on home insulation, contact Custom Insulation.
11 November 2013
Winter is in the way and the cold weather is here. It is a good idea for homeowners to winter-proof their homes to ensure that they are warm and saving money on heating bills.
With energy prices rising, millions of homeownerss are planning on reducing their bills by cutting back on the heating. Minimizing the heat loss in your home will help it stay warmer for longer, saving you money on the heating bill and allow you to be more environmentally friendly.
Adding home insulation can cut down on or prevent heat loss in a home. With additional insulation you can cut down on your heating bills too. The majority of heat is lost through the roof and walls, therefore, to reduce heat loss these should both be insulated properly.
Although forking out the money for insulation in one lump might seem a little pricey, some of these procedures will pay for themselves within a year. There is also a tax credit available on heating and energy home improvements which homeowners can take advantage of before December 31, 2013.
Walls can be responsible for up to 33% of heat loss. Cavity wall insulation can increase energy efficiency in a home by huge amounts, reducing heating costs by up to 15%. Insulating a cavity wall requires the space between the inner and outer walls to be filled with insulating materials. Only a registered contractor should determine if the homes are suitable for a cavity fill and carry out the insulation.
Cavity wall insulation can save a homeowner hundreds of dollars a year. The money saved will almost pay off the cost of the insulation in three years. 26% of heat in homes is lost from the roof, so save on the heating bill and keep warmth in by insulating the roof.
These small steps are affordable, will save you money, will usually pay for themselves within the year or so and will keep you warm. For more information, contact Custom Insulation.
Excerpts - EcoSeed
4 November 2013
If your heating system runs constantly or your home is drafty in the winter or hot in the summer, you might have a weatherization problem. Insulating your home and replacing your windows is a worthy consideration. It's an investment upfront, but it's a proven long-term strategy for lowering your heating and cooling costs while improving your home's comfort.
State energy codes set minimum levels of insulation for new homes and remodeled homes. The insulation requirements are based on the cost-effective savings for the region over the life of the home with a specified level of insulation. And those codes have changed over time.
Exactly how much insulation your home needs depends on the cost of the fuel you use to heat it. An economic rule-of-thumb is — the less you pay for heating fuel, the less insulation you need to install.
Homes built during the 1960s and 1970s had little insulation. During those decades, heating fuel was cheap and neither builders nor homeowners could justify investing in insulation. But times have changed. Heating and cooling costs have increased and continue to rise. So today, builders and homeowners alike believe investing in insulation for the long term pays off.
Today, new homes must have R-38 insulation in ceilings (15 to 18 inches of blown-in insulation) and R-30 insulation in the crawl space or basement under floors (a 10-inch thickness). Some new homes are also built to the Energy Star standard, making them more energy efficient all around.
Depending on the construction of your home, its age and how much weatherproofing work previous owners have done, the amount of insulation you need to reach these R-ratings will vary. By measuring what's installed in your attic and under the floor or in the basement ceiling, you may find you simply need to add enough to bring your home up to an R-rating that makes sense for your home's heating system.
For more information on increasing the insulation in your home, contact Custom Insulation.
28 October 2013
Temperatures are dropping which means your energy bills will be rising. Since heating and cooling uses 54% of a typical homes energy use, it also represents the largest energy expense for most homeowners. One of the most effective ways to manage a home's climate, comfort and energy costs is by ensuring that your home is properly insulated.
"Insufficient insulation, particularly in basements and attics, can allow heat to escape, resulting in higher energy bills and a less comfortable indoor environment," said Don Kosanka, product program director for Owens Corning. "The great thing about insulation is that it is an investment that returns itself. It's something that homeowners can install themselves and it provides year-round benefits. Not only does insulation keep homes warmer in winter and cooler in summer, it delivers energy and cost savings all year long."
In fact, sealing and insulating a home can help save up to $200 a year in heating and cooling costs, according to the EPA. In addition to cost savings, there are three other key benefits of insulating your home:
* Energy efficiency - The primary purpose of home insulation is to control heat flow in a home to save energy on heating and cooling. It's estimated that homeowners can typically save up to 20% of heating and cooling costs by air sealing the home and adding insulation. For optimal energy efficiency, a home should be insulated from the roof down to its foundation.
* Environmental impact - The energy saved by insulating a home also benefits the environment, but it is important to note that not all insulation products have equal environmental impacts. Look for products made from recycled materials.
* Enjoyment - Simply put, a well-insulated home is a more comfortable home. Insulation provides a protective barrier between the conditioned areas of a home and the outside elements helping to control moisture and temperature. Additionally, fiberglass insulation acts as a sound absorber, reducing the transmission of sound from one room to another or from the outside.
An added incentive for homeowners to improve home insulation this year is the 2013 Federal Tax Credit for Consumer Energy Efficiency. Those who install qualifying insulation products before Dec. 31 can receive a tax credit of 10% of the cost, up to $500.
For more information contact Custom Insulation.
22 October 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:
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
14 October 2013
When insulating your home, you can choose from many types of insulation. To choose the best type of insulation, you should first determine the following:
The maximum thermal performance or R-value of insulation is dependent on proper installation.
When hiring a professional certified insulation installer:
Blanket: Batt and Roll Insulation
Blanket insulation -- the most common and widely available type of insulation -- comes in the form of batts or rolls. It consists of flexible fibers, most commonly fiberglass. You also can find batts and rolls made from mineral (rock and slag) wool, plastic fibers, and natural fibers, such as cotton and sheep's wool. Learn more about these insulation materials.
Batts and rolls are available in widths suited to standard spacing of wall studs, attic trusses or rafters, and floor joists. Continuous rolls can be hand-cut and trimmed to fit. Manufacturers often attach a facing (such as kraft paper, foil-kraft paper, or vinyl) to act as a vapor barrier and/or air barrier. Batts with a special flame-resistant facing are available in various widths for basement walls and other places where the insulation will be left exposed. A facing also helps facilitate fastening during installation. However, unfaced batts are a better choice when adding insulation over existing insulation.
Loose-Fill and Blown-In Insulation
Blown-in insulation consists of small particles of fiber, foam, or other materials. These small particles form an insulation material that can conform to any space without disturbing structures or finishes. This ability to conform makes loose-fill insulation well suited for retrofits and locations where it would be difficult to install other types of insulation.
The most common types of materials used for loose-fill insulation include cellulose, fiberglass, and mineral (rock or slag) wool. All of these materials are produced using recycled waste materials. Cellulose is primarily made from recycled newsprint. Most fiberglass contains 20% to 30% recycled glass. Mineral wool is usually produced from 75% post-industrial recycled content. The table below compares these three materials.
Spray-foam insulation materials can be sprayed, foamed-in-place, injected, or poured. Some installations can have twice the R-value per inch of traditional batt insulation, and can fill even the smallest cavities, creating an effective air barrier.
Today, most foam materials use foaming agents that don't use chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) or hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are harmful to the earth's ozone layer.
Liquid foam insulation -- combined with a foaming agent -- can be applied using small spray containers or in larger quantities as a pressure-sprayed (foamed-in-place) product. Both types expand and harden as the mixture cures. They also conform to the shape of the cavity, filling and sealing it thoroughly.
Slow-curing liquid foams are also available. These foams are designed to flow over obstructions before expanding and curing, and they are often used for empty wall cavities in existing buildings. There are also liquid foam materials that can be poured from a container.
For information on types of insulation, contact Custom Insulation.
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?
What’s the average annual energy expenditure per person in the U.S.?
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:
And don’t forget these outdoor chores:
For information on saving on energy costs and in reinsulating your home, contact Custom Insulation.
Insulation helps keep your house cool in the summer!