Monthly Archives: February 2018

Insulating Your 1960 Home? Best Types of Insulation for Old Homes

Balcony of an old homeWarm, cozy, and full of character, you love your 1960 home.

As much as you love your decades-old abode, however, it tends to get drafty. In winter, the cold draft can get so bad that you’re beginning to see adverse effects on the health and comfort of your family. On days when it’s extra cold, moreover, your heating system has to work harder, costing you more in maintenance and replacement expenses down the road.

If you’re tired of putting up with drafty air and compromising your comfort, your most viable option is adding insulation. Insulating an old home not only makes the space more livable and energy-efficient but also helps preserve the house’s beauty and historical significance. If you decide on selling the home in the future, up-to-date insulation can give you a strong selling point.

Things to Consider Before Installing Insulation

While there are many benefits to adding insulation to old houses, it’s not exactly an easy task. If your home was built before the 1960s, chances are, there is very little insulation to none at all. Before the energy crisis happened in the 1970s, energy was cheap and abundant that it was more cost-effective to heat homes than to insulate them.

Today, it has become more cost-effective to insulate a home. There are myriad options as far as materials are concerned. Experts agree that among these materials, batts and blow-in cellulose are the easiest to retrofit into an old home. Many insulation contractors also prefer installing spray foam insulation, as this works well in regulating air flow, controlling moisture, and insulating while maintaining a high R-value (the material’s capacity to resist heat flow).

Depending on your home’s age, potentially dangerous products may have been used in the installation. A professional insulation contractor should be able to detect urea formaldehyde or asbestos, as the presence of these materials may entail remediation.

Where Do You Add Insulation?

Insulation being addedIt’s often easiest to add insulation to the attic area. If your attic is unfinished and unconditioned like many old homes, adding batt insulation to the underside of the roof is a smart move.

If the home has a basement or crawl space, you may also opt to insulate the floors of the living space above. Insulation contractors prefer to do this by installing batts into the floor joists’ stud bays.

Onboarding experts to assess the entire home should be your first step. A pro can accurately evaluate the scope of insulation, the severity of air leakage, as well as your options for re-insulation. They can also give advice or two in the areas of the home that will provide the most payback when insulated.

When in need of experienced professionals who can help you add insulation to an old home, turn to A+ Insulation. We have been the authority in batt, cellulose, spray foam and blanket insulation in Kansas City since 2004. We are prepared to add insulation to any part of the home from the walls to the attic, basement, and more.

Talk to one of our consultants about the most viable options for your home. Call us at 913-281-2250 or fill out our form today.

Why You Should Hire an Insulation Contractor Instead of a General Contractor

Insulation contractor fixing thermal insulationOne of the things homeowners can do to save on expenses each month is to install insulation. Homeowners can hire general contractors to do this, but the results may not be as they desire.

Hence, when you need someone to take care of your insulation requirements, it is best to hire a professional insulation contractor instead of just a general contractor. The following reasons should convince you to get the right contractor for your insulation job.

General Contractors Do Not Specialize in Insulation

You’ve likely heard the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none.” It is how one can describe general contractors. Many homeowners love hiring general contractors because these people know a bit about every aspect of home improvement, repair, and maintenance.

The problem with general contractors, however, is that they do not specialize in any one skill. As such, they are often a poor choice in tackling crucial jobs like insulation. Insulation contractors in Kansas City, on the other hand, specialize in insulation and can solve any issues related to it.

Insulation Contractors Are Familiar with Important Techniques

Many companies that primarily work with insulation have accredited and certified professional energy contractors. These organizations commit their operations to installing insulation correctly. Moreover, they are knowledgeable about vapor retardants, air infiltration, ventilation, and other critical insulation-related techniques. This knowledge is necessary for projects revolving specifically around insulation.

Removing Old Insulation Safely Prevents Health Problems

Insulation Contractor replacing insulationsA primary concern in padding insulation is determining and understanding the type of insulating material. Contractors who lack the qualifications to handle toxic insulation materials, such as asbestos, can cause homeowners and other occupants of the property to get sick. Thus, it is best to hire insulation contractors, as they are qualified to handle hazardous insulation materials.

Insulation Contractors Know the Various Types of Insulation

Various types of insulation exist, and a general contractor who does not have an adequate background on insulation may think that they are all the same. Each type of insulation, however, has its advantages and disadvantages. So, hire certified insulation contractors instead. They can walk you through the differences and benefits of each type of insulation.

Homeowners Can Maximize Rebates

Some homeowners may be qualified to receive certain rebates from the government, such as federal tax credits for consumer energy efficiency. Professional insulation contractors working exclusively on insulation will know the types of insulation that may be eligible for a rebate from the government.

If you are looking for a certified and qualified insulation contractor in Kansas, don’t hesitate to turn to A+ Insulation. We have been insulating residential and commercial properties since 2004. Whether your property needs blow in blanket insulation, spray foam insulation, batted wall insulation, attic insulation, or other types, we make sure to add the right amount of insulation to give you the most protection from high-energy costs and the elements.

Moreover, you can rest assured knowing that our team of insulation technicians will arrive on schedule and work efficiently to complete the project to your satisfaction.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Why is Insulation Upgrade Essential for Your Home?

Worker installing an insulationNo matter what the temperature is outdoors, you need to make sure that you obtain the same level of comfort indoors. Upgrading your home insulation in Kansas City is necessary when your current one doesn’t retain a comfortable indoor atmosphere.

You need good heat retention before the winter comes and consistently cool rooms during summer. Lack of indoor comfort can also mean skyrocketing utility bills because the HVAC system is compensating for less-than-efficient insulation. Either way, an insulation upgrade is worth the time and money.

Blown-in insulation is rated to last 50+ years, so undertaking a project now will give you a lifetime of comfort in your home. But before you earmark a portion of your yearly budget for insulation, it’s best to do an energy audit first to know whether you need an upgrade or a total replacement.

Pinpointing the Problem

Knowing that your insulation has a problem is one thing. Knowing the location or depth of the problem is another. That’s why you need an energy auditor to come by, and do an evaluation. An audit can reveal your usage pattern, where your energy bills are going, and provide ideas on how to make your house more efficient. Your auditor will also educate you about indoor air quality in your home, and if you need to improve your house’s ventilation capabilities.

Energy audits usually come with an insulation service request, so don’t worry about missing out on important pre-project details.

Knowing About R-Value

R-value is a common characteristic of insulation materials. It provides information about the durability of the material, how well it can hold up against heat penetration, and how thick it is. A higher R-value means better insulation and more expensive.

Contractor installing the proper insulationRest assured that your contractor will help you get to know the R-value of each insulation material. The climate in your area is the primary determinant of the material, but your contractor will also keep your preferred budget in mind when recommending insulation foam.

Your Insulation Options

Once you’re sure that you need an insulation upgrade or replacement, you’ll move on to your options. And while there are several characteristics you need to know, you’ll mainly choose between the foam materials.

Fiberglass – This material comes in rolls, blankets or batts. Some fiberglass insulation also comes as loose fill. (Pros: inexpensive, easy installation, low R-value; Cons: vulnerable to moisture, requires special installation equipment)

Polyurethane foam – Available in low- and high-density variants, polyurethane foam is made of furniture stuffing or bedding. It’s a common insulation material, which you can spray or inject. (Pros: inexpensive, preferred material for tight spaces, good R-value; Cons: toxic for the installer, requires special installation equipment)

Cellulose – Made of recycled paper and needs borate treatment to be fire-retardant. (Pros: cheap, easy to install, good R-value; Cons: takes time to settle, subject to moisture, requires special equipment)

There are other kinds of insulation materials, like reflective insulation and foam board, but contractors rarely recommend them to homeowners. As for the costs, there are tools available online that can provide a rough estimate of the expenses.

At A+ Insulation, we treat your home like our home. So we don’t just help you save money, our insulation technicians will pick the right materials, meet local and building codes on energy efficiency, and perform diligent, efficient work to ensure indoor comfort all year round.

Call us today to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and estimate.

Unseen Risks: Could Your Attic Insulation Be Harming Your Health?

Asbestos roof designOld houses hold a nostalgic appeal for their architectural features unique to a bygone era. But the aesthetic could come at a cost: dated structures have a higher chance of containing harmful materials like asbestos.

Asbestos dates back to ancient Rome, where it was used in building construction. The practice continued to modern times where it was widely used in US house construction during the post-war manufacturing boom. It was a popular manufacturing material then because it was inexpensive and fire-retardant. It could also store heat, maintain dryness in damp areas, and keep cement strong.

It’s not all upsides to this building material, though. It has its dark side, as well.

The Dangers of Asbestos

Exposure to asbestos could lead to health complications like asbestosis and lung cancer. Detecting the material is difficult, however, because its fibers are microscopic. People cannot see, smell, or taste them, so it’s easy to unwittingly inhale or swallow the dust. Furthermore, exposure to asbestos has no immediate symptoms; an asbestos-related illness may take about 20-50 years to develop.

Until the formal ban of the deadly mineral in 1999, asbestos was present in about 50% of all residential properties.

Adding to the complication is the fact that asbestos fibers are difficult to destroy. Once they enter the body, they’re difficult to break down. While some of the fibers may stay in the nose and throat where it is still possible to remove them, others can make their way to the lungs or digestive system.

Identifying Vermiculite Attic Insulation

Workers installing Asbestos InsulationAsbestos fibers can lurk in various corners of your home like floor tiles and water pipes. Sometimes, you might even find thousands of loose particles of asbestos inside walls or beneath attic floorboards. That’s why it helps to identify whether your attic insulation is a secret haven of the dangerous mineral.

The main source of asbestos danger comes from vermiculite insulation, a pellet-like mineral. While not all vermiculite poses a health risk, those that come from the Libby mine are risky because they contain tremolite, a mineral similar to asbestos.

Here are some signs to look out for to identify whether your property contains asbestos:

  • Specific colors – Vermiculite insulation has a gray-brown or silver-gold color.
  • Rough textures – The asbestos will have a piano-like appearance as a result of the particle puffing up.
  • Flat appearance – Unlike loose-fill fiberglass insulation that looks fluffy, asbestos with insulation looks firm and flat.

Dealing with Asbestos Insulation

Any disturbance can release asbestos fibers into the air. If you really need to go to your attic, you should try to limit the number and length of the trips to lessen exposure.

If you suspect the presence of asbestos in your insulation, don’t panic. Asbestos fibers usually only have the worst effect when exposed to intense concentrations on a regular basis over a long period.

To limit the spread of the harmful mineral, the Environmental Protection Agency suggests you do the following:

  • Limit the disturbance of asbestos insulation in your walls and attic
  • Avoid storing boxes and other items in places with asbestos insulation
  • Do not proceed with a do-it-yourself method of removal
  • Get in touch with a professional contractor to safely remove the asbestos from your home

Without asbestos, attic insulation has significant benefits. It will improve the comfort of your home as well as its energy efficiency. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation energy evaluation.