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Custom Insulation Boston Worcester Blog

New Insulation in Your Home in 2011 - Use the Federal Tax Credit

20 March 2012

Don’t forget as you do your taxes that the IRS is offering home owners a Federal Tax Credit for qualified home energy improvements. If you recently added new insulation to your home, you may qualify.

Here are the details of the tax credit for putting new insulation in your home.

The Non-business Energy Property Credit Homeowners who install energy-efficient home improvements may qualify for this credit. The 2011 credit is 10% of the cost of qualified energy-efficient improvements, up to $500. Qualifying improvements include adding insulation, energy-efficient exterior windows and doors and certain roofs. The cost of installing these items does not count. You can also claim a credit including installation costs, for certain high-efficiency heating and air conditioning systems, water heaters and stoves that burn biomass fuel. The credit has a lifetime limit of $500. Qualifying improvements must have been placed into service in the taxpayer’s principal residence located in the US before Jan. 1, 2012.

Get Comfortable with Insulation

13 March 2012

Homeowners spend a lot of time and money making their homes comfortable. But you need to put some of that effort into what's behind the walls, or you’ll miss out on all the comfort and savings.

Proper insulation decreases the heat flow and helps you keep your home at a comfortable temperature. Good insulation can improve indoor air quality, protect your home from winter damage, and save you money.

  • Indoor air quality - Moisture can build up in your walls, causing the interior to slowly rot. Not all insulation can prevent mold, however. Spray foam insulation forms an air barrier, which protects your walls against moisture.          
  • Protection from ice dams in winter - In winter, as warm air from your home comes in contact with the inside edge of your roof, snow melts on that section. As it slowly trickles down, it refreezes, causing ice to build up. Water can then leak into your home, causing damage.
  • Saving money - Air leakage can run up your energy bills significantly. Making sure you close air leaks with weather stripping, caulking and insulation helps reduce your heating and cooling bills. The U.S. Department of Energy says that floors, walls and ceilings account for 31% of the air leakage in most homes.
        
There are a number of different insulation types to choose from. They all have an R-value, and the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulation.

Spray foam insulation has great long-term benefits.  The others may have a cheaper up-front cost, but in the long run, spray foam protects better, lasts longer, and can reduce your energy bill by up to half as much as with older insulations.

For more information on spray foam insulation for your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Market Watch

With Copper Gutters you Get Distinctive Visual Appeal

6 March 2012

Winter is just about over, and you have started your "spring home repair list". This year, add copper gutters to the list. Copper gutters are really gaining in popularity, and you need a gutter system anyway.

Besides aesthetics, copper gutters are a great home investment. They don’t rust or rot and they need very little maintenance.  Copper gutters are an excellent addition and investment for the exterior of any home and they also add value to your home.

Copper gutters have an exclusive look that will set your home apart from the other homes in Western Massachusetts, but you will be getting a product that lasts longer and is easier to maintain. Add a distinctive style and flare to your house which is different than your standard gutters with copper. This style of visual appeal can only be accomplished with copper gutters. Contact Custom Insulation for more information.

Testimonial to New Insulation

28 February 2012

At Custom Insulation, this is some feedback we received from a customer who purchased a wood burning stove from us, and had their second floor bedroom ceiling insulation replaced.

“I have an antique home, and last winter we got ice dams. During the repair process, I the attic insulation replaced in my bedroom ceiling. The difference in the warmth of my home throughout the winter was very noticeable. I realize that this was a more mild winter, but cold is cold, and you still have to heat your home.

We use our wood burning stove primarily to heat our home, and with increased and better insulation in the second floor ceiling, the oil heat barely ever came on - all winter long.  The upstairs of our home used to be very cold throughout the winter and very hot throughout the summer. I can’t wait to see what happens this summer. I suspect that it will be so much cooler and enjoyable.
 
The difference in my oil heating bill was outrageous, in fact we have not used an entire tank! The difference was so great, that this spring I am going to have the rest of the upstairs and attic insulation replaced.”

Curb Appeal Sets Your Home Apart in the Real Estate Market

20 February 2012

It is not officially spring but it sure feels like it and spring is when home sales really pick up. If you are in the process of putting your home on the market, investing in home improvement projects to give you the upper hand in this volatile housing market where competition is intense.
 
If you are putting your home into the real estate market, you know there is plenty of competition and the prices are very low. With so many choices for potential home buyers, it is important to set your home apart.  What can you do while being confident you will get back your investment in the sale of the home? Copper Gutters.

Every home needs curb appeal. As prospective buyers arrive, the front of your home will make a first impression. It is important to make an effort in your homes outside appearance. Copper gutters are sure to set your home apart.  Copper gutters are a popular choice. More people are choosing copper gutters because they are durable, unique and look beautiful. More importantly, they are very low maintenance.

Imagine when buyers arrive for your open house and see copper gutters, they will love your house before they even step inside. Contact Custom Insulation for information and pricing.

Make your Home More Efficient Through Insulation

14 February 2012

Winter is here and your home may not have enough insulation. Your home is not energy efficient when you have high heating bills and cold, drafty rooms. Proper insulation in the walls and attic increases energy efficiency and can reduce heating bills by as much as 30-50%.

The first step for homeowners who want to reduce their heating bills is to determine if their home is energy efficient, check the insulation. Having adequate ceiling and wall insulation can reduce heating bills by as much as 30 to 50%.

There are external signs that your home lacks the proper insulation, but so far this winter we have not been able to use those guides: icicles, snow melting on your roof, ice in the gutters, and snow melted around the perimeter of your home.

But there are internal indicators as well: cold, drafty rooms; uneven temperatures from room to room; and walls and/or ceilings that feel cold.

Between 50% and 70% of the energy used in an average US home is consumed by heating and cooling systems. When looking to maximize your home's energy efficiency, the US Department of Energy puts inadequate insulation as a leading cause of home energy waste. Contact Custom Insulation for more information on increasing  your home’s insulation.

Pay Less for Heat with Pellet Stoves

8 February 2012

We are certainly having a more mild winter here in the Worcester area this year, but you still need to heat your home. This year, despite the mild temperatures, those with pellet stoves in their homes paid far less for heat than those without.

Pellet stoves have an average efficiency rating of 80- to 85%. A 40-pound bag of pellets produces less than a cup of ashes. This means that people can efficiently and easily use a wood pellet stove for heat without much maintenance other than adding pellets. Additionally, because pellet stoves have higher combustion and heating efficiency than wood stove less air pollution is being produced.
 
Custom Insulation can help you choose among the best wood pellet stoves for your home and there are many models to choose from. With free standing pellet stoves,  in both traditional and contemporary styles you can find a pellet stove to enhance your décor.

Reduce Home Heat Loss

31 January 2012

This winter may not have had a lot of snow so far, but the house still gets cold. A great way to increase your homes heating (can cooling) efficiency is to increase your home’s insulation. Adding additional insulation, especially in the attic, can make a huge difference in the temperature of your home all year round.

At the same time that you are checking your attic insulation, you should be sure that there is proper insulation around your pipes as well.
 
Typically, a home loses heat in the following areas: ceilings, walls, floors, windows and doors, and “infiltration (air loss).” Even though your home loses heat from all these areas, they don’t all lose the same amount of heat.
 
Here is how each area stacks up in terms of percent heat loss in a home:

  • Infiltration / Air Leakage: 35%
  • Windows and Doors: 18 – 20%
  • Floors and Below Grade Space: 15 – 18%
  • Walls: 12 – 14%
  • Ceilings: 10%

Contact Custom Insulation for your insulation needs.

Raise the Resale Value of your Home with Insulation

23 January 2012

What features in a new house will affect its resale value? The curb appeal and the new kitchen surely will. But, as the cost of heating and cooling continues to rise, your home’s insulation and the quality of that installation could be a compelling factor.

Insulation slows the passage of heat through your walls and roof and so reducing the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. In winter the insulation helps to keep the heat from seeping out; in summer it keeps the heat out.

Blown-in cellulose insulation has a high recycled content, and relatively little energy is used in its manufacture. Blown in insulation is the top choice of many builders for standard wood-frame home construction.

Fiberglass batt insulation is more widely used than cellulose to insulate walls, but it must be installed correctly. When it is not, the insulation is seriously compromised. The problem lies in the fact that fiberglass batts must be carefully cut to fit tightly around plumbing pipes, wiring, boxes for outlets and light switches, and any other irregularity in the outside wall. When there are gaps, heat passes easily through the wall. This is why it is best to have batt insulation installed by insulation professionals.

There is also a less common type of fiberglass called spray foam insulation because it completely fills the space between the wood studs, leaving no gaps. It contains about 25% recycled material and costs less than batt insulation.

Your home has more winter heat loss through your roof than through your walls, and you’ll need more insulation in your attic area under the roof than in the exterior walls below. The extra insulation will also cover summer heat gain, it is not uncommon to have summer temperatures in an attic exceed 140 to 150 degrees F. Because it’s faster to install blown-in type insulation into an attic cavity, most home builders use it.
 
For information on what type of insulation will be best to increase the value of your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Original Article - Washington Post

Increasing Insulation Increase Your Homes Efficiency

17 January 2012

Making your home perfectly energy efficient can be challenging unless you’re building a custom home right now. Your best bet to energy efficiency now is tightening up the building’s envelope: caulking and weather stripping, more insulation, and better windows and doors.

Plugging air leaks and topping up insulation can save over $400 a year, according to energy provider Direct Energy. Upgrading insulation in a 1,200-square-foot attic saves enough money in energy savings to make up for the cost of the project.

For insulation, anything less than R12 in the walls and basement, R20 for exposed floors and cathedral ceilings and R40 in the attic should be upgraded. Going from R10 to R20 gives you the biggest boost: it’s the first few inches that are most important.

Adding rigid Styrofoam to the outside walls can bridge thermal gaps, which are heat leaks where the fiberglass insulation stops at the studs, although you may need to remove the exterior siding to do so.

For free quote for replacing insulation in your home, contact Custom Insulation.

Insulation helps keep your house cool in the summer!