Monthly Archives: April 2019

Safety and Insulation: A Complete Guide

Contractor installing the proper insulationInsulation is the wonder material that keeps you comfortable in your home. It keeps the interiors warm in winter and cool in summer. For all the good it does, however, insulation can pose a threat to your home’s safety and to your health when not installed properly.

Safety Hazards of Insulation

Improper insulation can cause costly damage to your property, depending on what type you have. That’s why it’s essential to have a professional evaluate your current insulation for safety and health implications. They consider the following during an evaluation:

Fire safety – insulation materials can be susceptible to fire, so it’s important to determine the fire resistance of the material before using it. Insulation materials have different levels of fire resistance, for example:

  • Fiberglass and mineral wool insulation – these materials are noncombustible and don’t require extra fire-retardant chemical treatments. Specific fiberglass and mineral wool facings like kraft paper and foil, however, are flammable. A code-approved barrier, together with proper installation, won’t make these facings a fire hazard.
  • Cellulose insulation – the materials used in this insulation consist of newspaper, a highly combustible material. It has to be treated with fire-retardant chemicals before being installed; otherwise, it can cause a fire in your property.
  • Spray Foam insulation – this type of insulation is likely to ignite at 700°F.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) – clean IAQ is vital for a safe, healthy, and comfortable living environment; keeping your home’s IAQ in optimum condition reduces allergy and asthma triggers. Your insulation also contributes to the level of indoor pollutants like asbestos, a toxic mineral substance present in building materials that’s dangerous when inhaled.

If your safety from asbestos has been compromised, it increases your risk of contracting various diseases, such as:

  • Pleural plaques
  • Asbestosis
  • Lung cancer
  • Mesothelioma
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer

Improving the IAQ of your home should also involve controlling both indoor and outdoor pollutants, as well. Other indoor pollutants include pesticides, tobacco smoke, and stoves. Outdoor pollutants, meanwhile, include automobile exhaust and industrial emissions.

Choosing the Right Insulation for Your Home

If you’re planning to replace or install a new insulation, you have to choose from different types according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), which include:

  • Blanket: batts and rolls
  • Concrete block insulation
  • Insulating concrete forms
  • Foam board or rigid foam
  • Loose-fill and blown-in
  • Reflective system
  • Rigid fibrous or fiber insulation
  • Sprayed foam and foamed-in-place
  • Structural insulated panels

Each type uses different materials, from fiberglass to spray foam. Their performance varies, too, depending on what part of your home you want to insulate and the material’s R-value (its resistance to conductive heat flow.) Working with an insulation professional helps you identify the right material to use in your home.

Professional Installation of Home Insulation

Although you can do some basic installation work with some insulation materials on your own, hiring professionals is still the best option. They have the expertise, tools, and knowledge needed to install insulation correctly to minimize safety problems. DIY installation could also affect the efficiency of the insulation, which can cause higher electricity bills in the long run.

A+ Insulation provides insulation services to homes in the Kansas City area. Our High-Performance Insulation Professionals (HPIP) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certified insulation technicians install safe and efficient insulation in any area of a home to keep your indoor living area comfortable all year. We will assist you in finding the insulation that suits your home and your budget.

Schedule an appointment with us today.

Spray Foam Insulation: More Expensive but More Effective

Proper insulation is essential in keeping your house toasty on cold winter nights and cool on warm summer days. Because of its versatility in providing comfort within the home, the average American can save around 20% in heating and cooling costs, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) guide to home insulation. The DOE also noted that good quality insulation could save you up to 10% of your home’s total energy costs.

The Federal Trade Commission suggests that one way you may determine which material is best for your home – whether you live in a warm area like Kansas or a cold one like Minnesota – is by looking for a high R-value. The R-value is a material’s ability to resist heat flow.

One of the insulation materials known for its high R-value is spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation. SPF, when used correctly, resists heat better than standard batt insulation. Here’s what you need to know about SPF insulation and its benefits to your home.

Open and Close

The American Chemistry Council describes SPF as a cellular plastic mixed with chemicals to create a foam. It insulates indoor air and protects against moisture. There are two types of spray polyurethane foam: closed-cell and open-cell. Closed-cell SPF is compact, while the open-cell SPF has cells that are not fully closed, making it less dense. In effect, closed-cell SPF insulation is more superior because it has better heat, air, and moisture resistance. It’s also better at sealing leaks than the open-cell counterpart. The only advantage of open-cell SPF insulation is sealing the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies, according to Family Handyman.

A Thermal Advantage

wall-insulation

When it comes to thermal performance, the American Chemistry Council says SPF can offer up to 7.0 R-value per inch of thickness. As such, it provides energy savings for half the amount of space that traditional insulation offers. In its article, “The Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Advantage: Understand Why SPF is an Excellent Insulation Choice for Your Home or Building,” the 113 million single-family homes in the United States could save around $33 billion annually if they all use SPF to insulate their homes. Apart from thermal performance advantages, the material can provide other benefits to your house as well.

Braving the Elements

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) classifies SPF as one of the flood damage-resistant materials you can use for your home. The agency, in their technical bulletin about flood damage-resistant material requirements, said that SPF could withstand repeated wetting and drying and it can be cleaned up easily.

An article about spray foam wall construction by the Building Science Corporation (BSC) also showed the material’s durability in extreme conditions. The authors said that SPF significantly minimizes air leakage, making it an effective air barrier that makes a standard wall system stronger. They also stated that the material is excellent at reducing wintertime and summertime vapor. The piece also gave SPF credit for its ease of use, making the construction of weather-resistant walls more straightforward.

The Cost of Good Insulation

Spray Polyurethane Foam insulation’s benefits, however, come at a higher price than other materials. At its lowest R-value of 22.4, cost guide portal Fixr says a person could pay up to $0.65 (3-inch thick) per square feet. Its highest heat rating of 76.8 (12-inch thick) can set you back about $1.20 per square feet. This is $0.6 more than 12-inch thick batts or rolls that have an R-value of 38. SPF, however, is cheaper than loose fill (R-42 12 inches, $1.45 per square feet) and structural insulated panels (R-48 12 inches, $6.87 per square feet).

Despite SPF’s higher cost per square feet, the material’s thermal resistance, durability, and versatility make the higher upfront costs worth it in the long run. With spray polyurethane foam insulating your home, you’ll save up on energy, heating and cooling, and repair costs because you don’t have to crank your HVAC system up to feel comfortable.

Get A+ Standard Insulation For Your Home

Now that you know that the benefits of SPF far outweigh its costs, it’s time to hire a trusted contractor to apply it to your home. Here at A+ Insulation, we put our customers’ needs first when it comes to installing insulation. We make sure that our customers are in the loop about every part of the process, from assessment to the final product. Our goal is to provide customer service as warm as the insulation we install.

Contact us at 913-281-2250 now to give your home A+ standard insulation.

Pre-Season Prep: Getting Your Home Ready for a Hot Summer

A+-insulation-kansas-city-attic-insulationSummer in Kansas City officially starts with the Memorial Day weekend, ushering a season of huge, yearly blowouts with Celebration at the Station. Summertime can also get hot in the city. Meteorologists pointed out that the hottest period for the city historically happens from July 15 through July 30, with an average high of 89 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature can go higher than that, though. The highest ever recorded in Kansas City, in fact, was on August 14, 1936, with 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

During warm temperatures, homeowners should take steps to keep their house stay cool without skyrocketing their energy bill. Here’s how you can get your home ready for the season’s heat:

Paint Your Roof White

Steven Chu, a Nobel prize-winning scientist and former U.S. Secretary of Energy, proposed painting the roofs white. He believed that doing so would be like getting rid of every vehicle from Earth for 11 years. Additionally, homeowners can expect their utility bills to drop when they have a white roof. Light colors, such as white, bounce both heat and light back into space rather than into the attic of the house.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

These useful devices enable you to set temperature controls for energy efficiency and maximum comfort. You can keep your utility costs low by maintaining temperatures higher when no one is at home.

Practice Smart Landscaping

Use your green thumb to strategically plant leafy trees and shrubs near the windows of your house. This is a great way to stop those same windows from shifting excess heat into your home.

Upgrade Your Windows

Windows that are energy efficient can make all the difference. If replacement is not in your budget or your windows are too new, you can reduce solar heat gain by installing low E film.

Clean the Coils of Your Refrigerator

Refrigerators, when they’re not operating at an adequate level, can cause high energy usage. If you want to enjoy the best performance for your appliance, clean up the unit’s condensing coils.

Install Ceiling Fans

These fans pull warm air up against the ceiling and push it down against the walls. It simulates a chilled breeze inside your house. If you want this wind-chill effect to work, make sure your ceiling fans are turning in a counter-clockwise rotation.

Update the Insulation of Your Home

Pay attention to your attic and the levels between the unconditioned and conditioned spaces of your house. You can add extra insulation in this part of your house to stop cold air from escaping.

Following these steps will help keep your house cool during summertime and avoid incurring high energy costs. When it comes to insulating your house, A+ insulation is ready to help you in this area. We add insulation to maintain the desired temperature in all parts of your home. The insulation we install holds in heat during the winter and prevents cold air generated by the AC from escaping during the summer. Rest assured we’ll arrive on schedule and work efficiently and diligently to complete your insulation project to your satisfaction.

Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.