Monthly Archives: January 2016

How to Evaluate Your Home’s Insulation

Attic Insulation PictureWhen properly installed, insulation keeps your home at a uniform temperature and reduces heating and cooling costs. Insulation is found behind each interior wall in the home and is often left uncovered in attics and crawlspaces. Did you know that 90% of homes in the US are under-insulated? With that in mind, the insulation experts at A+ Insulation wanted to share some information with homeowners about evaluating the insulation in your home. How do you know if you have enough insulation in your attic, your walls, crawl spaces, or basement? Read on to discover the best way to check your home’s energy efficiency and the best way to add insulation to areas that need more.

Different Kinds of Insulation Are Used in Different Places

It is important to know that the type of insulation should vary throughout your home. Attic insulation is typically blown in or batted. (Batted insulation: fiberglass glued to a kraft paper backing to make it easier to handle and install.) Wall insulation is usually batted because it comes in a width designed to fit between wall studs. To add wall insulation after construction, it is usually blown in because you don’t have access to the inside of the walls. Basements typically have batted insulation as well. You will need to examine the various rooms in your home to determine what kind of insulation is already there.

Evaluating Insulation in the Attic

The insulation in your attic is typically visible. To examine it, simply look at the depth of the insulation. If you can see the ceiling joists, you probably don’t have enough insulation. Generally, homes need at least 12 inches, but 15-20 inches is not uncommon in a well-insulated attic. In the Midwest, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends an R-value of between R-38 and R-60.

Evaluating Insulation in a Wall

How can you see inside your walls? The easiest way to examine the insulation inside the wall is through an outlet. Turn the power off to the outlet you’re going to work with at the breaker, then remove the outlet cover. Visually inspect the insulation and measure its thickness. You can pull a piece of the insulation out of the wall if you need to examine it closely. The most common type of insulation inside walls is fiberglass batting, but blown-in or board-type insulation could have been used in more recently-built homes. Walls should be filled to capacity as any open area will allow heat transfer. Here in Kansas City, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends R-13 to R15 for walls and cavities.

Related Read: Adding Insulation – DIY or Go Pro?

An Energy Evaluation Will Pinpoint Problem Areas

The best way to determine where you need more insulation is to find out where your home is losing energy. You can do this with an energy evaluation. At A+ Insulation, we offer energy evaluations for free so you figure out exactly where a little extra insulation could save you the most money.

Call A+ Insulation for a free home energy evaluation at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511. Also check out our FREE Window Replacement vs. Insulation Price Guide by clicking the image below.

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90% of U.S. Homes Are Under-Insulated – Is Yours?

Attic Insulation PhotoBased on new research, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) estimates that roughly 90% of existing U.S. homes are under-insulated. That means that the occupants are less comfortable, and both energy and money are being wasted. Most likely, the main reason for this is twofold; first, construction standards and codes don’t require enough insulation to be used when building, and second, because insulation is out of sight, most homeowners don’t think about it! When they think of energy savings, they think windows and doors, but not attic and wall insulation. A+ Insulation breaks down this nationwide problem a bit more below.

Boosting Insulation in Existing Homes Could Cut Costs, Reduce CO2 Emissions, and Increase Comfort

“If all U.S. homes were fitted with insulation based on the 2012 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), residential electricity use nationwide would drop by about 5 percent and natural gas use by more than 10 percent,” said Dr. Jonathan Levy, Professor of Environmental Health at Boston University School of Public Health and lead researcher on the Boston University team that investigated the subject. But more importantly, for you, you could save energy and money while being more comfortable in your home.

Curt Rich, President and CEO of NAIMA, says the top reason people aren’t adding the insulation they need is that they just aren’t aware that their home most likely has far less insulation than a home built to modern standards. For instance, did you know that insulation has a three times greater impact on the average home’s energy and comfort than windows or doors do?

How Do You Find Out if Your Home Needs More Insulation?

The easiest way to determine whether your home needs more insulation is to have an energy audit performed. At A+ Insulation, we go through your home from room to room, inside and outside, to see which areas of your home are leaking the most energy. Then we can seal and add insulation to those areas to drastically reduce the loss.

Related Read: See the Energy Leaks in Your Home with a Thermoscan

Typically, a home energy audit can run from $300 to $400. But at A+ Insulation, we do it for free. It just makes sense for us. Nobody wants to pay for something unless they need it. With 90% of homes under-insulated, we rarely run an audit on a home that doesn’t need more insulation. We look at it as a service to our customers. We can show you where your home is leaking and then make sure it doesn’t leak there anymore. Properly insulated homes have helped people reduce bills by up to $1,000 per year, so what are you waiting for?

 

If you think your home is possibly under-insulated, give A+ Insulation a call at (913) 281-2250 or (816) 268-7511 and schedule your free home energy audit.

 

Adding Insulation – DIY or Go Pro?

DIY Insulation PicAt A+ Insulation, we see a lot of insulation jobs that are sub-par. Some of these jobs are done by homeowners and sadly, some are done by “professionals”. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, and you want to do the job right, you’ll want to read this article first! We’re not saying you can’t do it on your own, but we want you to know all of the factors to consider before taking on insulation as a DIY project.

Know the Insulation Products

There are a lot of different kinds of insulation to choose from. Which type is right for the area you are insulating? Batted or blown insulation, as well as options that contain fire or moisture barriers, are all available. Some insulation types are fairly easy to install and some require technical skill, knowledge, and special equipment. So what makes the most sense for homeowners? Check out this blog post with more information on which types of insulation to use where.

Things You’ll Need to Know before You Insulate

First, you’ll need to know the correct R-value, size, and type of insulation you need to make your home efficient. Before you install the insulation, you’ll need to inspect the area you’re insulating. Attics are notorious for mold, mildew, and small animal infestations. If your attic has mold or mildew, it could need better ventilation. Furthermore, if there are leaks, they must be repaired before you install insulation. Another sign of ventilation problems that will need to be fixed prior to insulating are ice dams forming on your roof.

Related Read: How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

Additionally, any structural damage should be repaired. Look for air leaks around lights or vents and be sure to seal them. If your home was built in 1975 or earlier, you’ll want to hire a licensed asbestos professional to test your old insulation. Asbestos is most hazardous when disturbed, so don’t take chances.

Home Energy Evaluations Are A Must

Most homes don’t have enough insulation to make them energy efficient and most homeowners have never had an energy evaluation. It’s a smart idea to know where the most energy is escaping so you can make the most efficient and effective changes. At A+ Insulation, we give you a free home energy evaluation. We’ll be able to tell you where you can make the changes that will affect your bills the most.

An Insulation Job Well Done

Why would you choose a professional over DIY? Let’s talk about guaranteed work! Professionals are certified insulation master craftsmen, who have the knowledge to do the job right. Expert estimators and insulation professionals can assist homeowners in choosing the right materials and sealing and ventilating properly for maximum insulation benefits, as opposed to making a DIY “best guess”. Not to mention, professionals know to follow all of the proper building codes and take care of permits, plus, they will remove and dispose of your old insulation.

If you decide to take on the project yourself, we hope this blog post will help you know what pitfalls to look for to avoid mistakes. If you decide you’d like a professional insulation contractor to handle the job, give A+ Insulation a call.

Call us at 913-648-9290 and either way, don’t forget to have one of our energy consultants come to your home to perform a free, no-obligation energy evaluation.