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Adding Insulation Keeps Your Home Warmer – Worcester, Boston

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.

The Columbian

Insulation can Help Cut Energy Costs – Worcester, MA

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.


Add Insulation and Keep Warm this Winter – Worcester, Boston

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:

  • Ask friends, family and neighbors for recommendations, and check reviews on a trusted online site.
  • Get multiple bids. The cost to install insulation throughout an entire house can be several thousand dollars.
  • Ask for and check references, as well as proof of insurance and any required licensing. Check also if the company or its employees are certified by or affiliated with such organizations as the Insulation Contractors Association of America or National Insulation Association.

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

Types of Insulation - Worcester, Boston

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:

  • Where you want or need to install/add insulation
  • The recommended R-values for areas you want to insulate.

Installing Insulation

The maximum thermal performance or R-value of insulation is dependent on proper installation.

When hiring a professional certified insulation installer:

  • Obtain written cost estimates from several contractors for the R-value you need, and don't be surprised if quoted prices for a given R-value installation vary by more than a factor of two.
  • Ask contractors about their air-sealing services and costs as well, because it’s a good idea to seal air leaks before installing insulation.

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.

Sprayed-Foam Insulation

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.


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.?


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.


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.


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.


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.


Insulation helps keep your house cool in the summer!