Category Archives: General News

Stay Warm in Winter: Leak-Prone Spots You Might Overlook

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With winter right around the corner, homeowners carry out last-minute preparations to protect their homes from the chill. With most focusing on their drainage, gutters, and other exterior elements, it’s easy to overlook certain areas—such as your home’s insulation.

While poor insulation is mostly felt during the winter, its consequences can be felt year-round. From higher utility bills to internal damage, your entire household is affected by this structural issue. Make sure your home is protected from the elements this winter to keep it comfortable.

Insulation Inspection: Which Areas are Often Overlooked

It’s typical for homeowners to forget checking the insulation, because it’s rarely seen after a construction or renovation. Checking parts of your home that lack insulation will help you determine the areas prone to leakage and where you can apply spray foam for better insulation.

Pipes

As the temperature drops, uninsulated pipes are at risk of freezing. The ice that accumulates will expand and create cracks in your plumbing. Once it thaws, the water may leak through the gaps and cause damage to your home. At worst, certain areas in your home might flood once spring arrives.

Doors and Windows

The areas around your doors and windows are treated with weatherstripping to prevent cold air from entering and warm air from escaping. However, this will deteriorate over time, rendering it ineffective. Aside from the cold draft, this will create condensation, resulting in moisture damage and mold growth.

Outdoor Faucets

Much like your pipes, outdoor faucets are prone to frost during the winter. When the area surrounding the spout is not insulated, it’s prone to ice expansion, which creates holes in your walls come springtime. Although most choose to use specialized faucets to prevent frost, insulating the surrounding area is also essential for your home’s structural integrity.

Attics and Basements

Your attic is a good heat source during the winter, because it keeps heat from escaping. However, holes in its insulation will prevent your attic from effectively trapping heat. A poorly insulated basement, on the other hand, causes mold and mildew growth. These spaces require a balance between ventilation and insulation to ensure the right indoor temperature all year.

Garages

Most garages don’t need to be insulated. However, if you use your garage for hobbies and anything other than basic storage, it will need the same treatment as the rest of your home. Leaving this space uninsulated will create temperature problems, like cold drafts and excessive condensation, that can be felt throughout your whole property.

Vents and Ductwork

The vents and ductwork in older homes often have damaged insulation. When this is left unaddressed, you risk cold air leaking into your home. Damaged insulation will also let warm air out, causing your heating system to work harder and consume more energy.

Crawlspaces

Most homeowners tend to overlook their crawlspaces. However, these spaces are essential to maintaining your home’s temperature and air quality. Poor insulation will allow cold drafts to enter through your floors, which, in turn, will increase moisture build-up in the air.

Exterior Walls

The installation of insulation is part of the initial construction process. Unfortunately, poor building practices can lead to gaps, and sometimes inexperienced builders will forget about this crucial step. If either of these situations occur on your exterior walls, your home is at risk of several structural issues. In addition to excessive condensation from ice build-up, the absence of insulation can allow pests access to your home.

Chimneys

Your chimney provides you with an additional heat source, but it can also be the source of drafts during the winter. Older chimneys often have cracks and gaps in the area attached to your home. These holes allow downdraft to enter, lowering your interior temperature.

Ceilings

Much like new exterior walls, the ceilings of additional rooms are often left uninsulated. They become a source of cold drafts, moisture damage, and pest infestation.

Year-Round Protection: Why You Should Use Spray Foam Insulation

Insulation comes in different forms, but more and more homeowners are seeing the benefits of using spray foam insulation. Unlike blanket batts, reflective barriers, and other alternatives, spray foam provides your home with an airtight seal from the elements. When installed by professionals, this provides your home with benefits aside from additional warmth.

It Reduces Energy Bills.

The polyurethane used in spray foam expands up to a hundred times its original size. It gives you better coverage, especially in hard to reach areas like cracks and edges. Once it expands and hardens, spray foam gives you better temperature control. It reduces heating costs during colder months, allowing you to save on energy. It also prevents cold air from escaping during warmer months, reducing the stress on your air conditioning unit.

It Prevents Moisture Damage.

Moisture is a year-round problem for any homeowner. Any compromise to your roof or walls can let water into your house and cause damage. When left unaddressed, this can result in mold and mildew growth. Spray foam provides an airtight and moisture-resistant solution to this problem. Proper insulation prevents moisture from seeping into your home, which preserves its structural integrity.

It Has a Longer Lifespan.

Insulation is essential year-round, even if its use is only felt during the colder months. Using spray foam gives you a year-round advantage because of its durability. Unlike traditional insulation options, this alternative lasts longer and requires less maintenance. Although it isn’t the cheapest option available, it’s a worthy investment, as it helps you protect your home from the natural factors that affect its performance.

It Prevents Pest Infestations.

Aside from improving temperature control, insulation prevents pest infestations. Termites, insects, and small rodents usually enter your home through cracks, holes, and crevices in the roof and walls. Since spray foam expands and fills in the smallest of these gaps, it prevents these pests from entering and multiplying in your home. Spray foam hardens once it dries, making it near impenetrable for these small critters.

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Red Flags: How to Identify Signs of Poor Insulation

Determining your home’s insulation condition can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. In addition to the places mentioned above, there are signs you should watch out for. These red flags will help you identify the insulation problem.

Higher Energy Bills

The easiest way to check your home’s insulation is to review your energy bill history. If the amount increases excessively within in a short period, it might be a sign of insulation problems. Leakage will cause your HVAC system to work harder, as it tries to adjust to the sudden changes in temperature.

Chilly Drafts

Use the colder months to check your rooms for drafts. If you still feel a chill even when doors and windows are closed and the heater is running, it can be a sign of poor insulation. Even the smallest gap can let cold air inside your home.

Cold or Damp Walls

Conduct a “touch test” on your walls. If you put your hand up against a wall and it’s cold or damp, you can use it as a sign of poor insulation. This is also a red flag for moisture damage. In addition to looking for air gaps, check your walls for water leaks.

Wet Spots on Ceilings

Water can quickly enter poorly insulated homes. If you have leaks or see wet spots in your ceilings, there might be a problem with your insulation. Inspect your attic first for holes and gaps before doing the same to your roof. If you find any, you will have to repair them immediately to prevent them from growing worse.

Mold or Mildew

Excessive mold and mildew can grow when there is too much condensation in your home. When either of these issues is left unaddressed, they compromise your home’s air quality. It creates an environment where allergens increase and dust mites thrive, creating health risks for your household. If you notice mold in room corners or mildew in bathrooms and the kitchen, consider inspecting your insulation.

Pest Infestation

Insulation prevents pests from entering your home. If you notice pest droppings on the floor or see termite holes in your walls, you may have a problem with your insulation. In addition to hiring insulation installation services, you will need to find an exterminator to control your pest problem.

Work with the Pros: Why You Should Hire a Professional for Your Insulation Needs

Winterizing your home is essential to keeping it comfortable and safe throughout the year. When it has poor insulation, it is at risk of several problems that may compromise its durability and protection against the elements. However, adding insulating on your own may not always lead to the best results. Professional services will ensure a job well done.

A+ Insulation has been providing spray foam insulation to homeowners in Kansas and Missouri since 2004. We know how to determine which areas of your home are most compromised. Let us help you keep your home warm this winter. We offer a FREE, no-obligation inspection and estimate.

Learn more about our spray foam insulation services!

Get the Most Out of Your Insulation by Air-Sealing Your Home

Air leakage happens when outside air enters your house through openings and cracks. These drafts replace the conditioned air in your home, affecting the indoor environment you try to control with your heating and cooling systems. But there are also less obvious spaces that let air in and out of your home. These gaps can be anywhere on your walls, basement, attic, and even ductwork.

Why Air-Seal Your House?

Some homeowners rely on drafts to try and improve their ventilation, but this is an unwise strategy. Too much cool air can enter your house during the colder months. And when the warm season comes, humid air can make your home feel hotter, creating an uncomfortable indoor environment.

Air leakage also carries moisture into your house. High levels of moisture can damage your home’s foundation. Water vapor settles on various surfaces, causing wood to rot, paint to peel, and electrical wirings to malfunction. Pest infestation also becomes more probable, since termites, cockroaches, and other bugs thrive in damp areas.

Aside from compromising your home’s structural integrity and your health, indoor moisture can cause your energy bills to soar. Humid air feels heavy on the skin, forcing you to up your cooling system usage thus increasing your utility bills.

Finding and blocking those air leaks is imperative to reducing your heating and cooling costs, helping you achieve maximum energy efficiency. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that air-sealing your home can cut 15 percent off your heating and cooling costs.

With summer still several months away, now is the perfect time to conduct a thorough air leak detection in your home.

How to Detect Air Leaks

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You can either perform the inspection yourself or hire an energy auditor to do it for you. A home energy audit provides the most accurate measurement of air leakage in your home. Some home insulation companies offer energy evaluations to determine areas in your home that aren’t properly insulated

Home Energy Audit

A qualified technician will conduct an energy audit to see the whole picture of your home’s energy use. This assessment determines how much energy is used and lost, as well as the problem areas you need to address to make your home more efficient.

The professional energy auditor will do a blower door test. A powerful fan will be mounted into the frame of an exterior door. It pulls the air out of the house, decreasing the pressure inside. The outside air, which is higher in pressure, will rush in through the unsealed cracks. A smoke pencil will be used to locate the openings.

If you’d rather assess the house yourself, you have two ways of locating air leaks: visual inspection and the pressurization test.

Visual Inspection

Below is a checklist of all the areas of the house where gaps commonly form. These are spots where two different building materials meet. Due to poor construction or craftsmanship, the two surfaces may have lined up unevenly, creating spaces where air can pass through.

Outside the house:

  • All exterior corners
  • Faucets connected to exterior walls
  • Joints where chimneys and the siding meet
  • Areas where the foundation and the siding or bottom exterior brick meet

Inside the house:

  • Baseboards
  • Vents and fans
  • Door and window frames
  • Weather stripping around doors
  • Electrical outlets
  • Switch plates
  • Fireplace damper
  • Attic hatches
  • Mounted conditioners
  • Where dryer vents pass through walls
  • Electrical and gas service entrances
  • Cables that extend outside

Make sure the weather stripping and caulking, especially around doors and windows, are applied properly. If you can rattle your windows or doors on their frames, it means they’re not properly fitted into the wall.

Pressurization Test

You can perform a simpler version of the blower door test on your own. Decrease the pressure inside your house to increase air infiltration through the gaps. You can achieve depressurization by doing the following steps:

  1. On a windy day, shut off all combustion appliances, such as stoves, furnaces, and water heaters.
  2. Close all exterior doors, windows, and fireplace flues.
  3. Turn on all exhaust fans that blow outside to suck the air out of the house.
  4. Pass a lighted incense stick around the common leakage spots. If the smoke is sucked out of the room, there’s a draft.

Once you’ve located the air gaps, it’s time to reseal them. Below is a rundown on best air-sealing practices for different areas of your house, from the attic and basement to the exterior.

Exterior Air Sealing

Siding panels, especially vinyl ones, expand and contract due to changes in temperature. That’s why you have to nail the cladding down with enough room for the panels to move accordingly. Otherwise, they’ll get warped.

Warped siding creates spaces between the panels where air and water can get in. Repair the damaged part immediately to seal these gaps. You don’t have to replace the entire siding system if the deformation is concentrated on one area. You can cut a small portion from a new, similar panel and patch it onto the affected part.

Another method is to replace individual siding planks if the damage is too big for the cut-and-patch technique. But a system replacement may be necessary when a large part of your wall cladding has been abused by time and temperature changes.

For the outside of your home, you also want to examine the exterior sheathing, or the nailing bed of the siding. If your house is slightly old, it probably uses solid board lumber for its sheathing. This material is prone to shrinkage and cracks, so be sure to check for air gaps. Caulking can easily seal these holes, reducing air infiltration.

Wall Air Sealing

Apart from the exterior of your house, the walls are also known to have tiny cracks that let air in and out.

When it comes to interior walls, your first line of defense against drafts is insulation. It helps maintain a pleasant temperature in your home by preventing the warmth from passing through the walls. Aside from reducing heat transfer, insulation seals up the spots where cool air can enter.

Insulation comes in a variety of options. Choose from loose fill, spray foam, batts, or rolls. Consult a professional to determine which type is most suitable for the structure and location of your house.

Strengthen your wall’s defense against air leakage further by installing foam gaskets behind all light switches and electrical outlets. These minimize the air flow between the indoors and outdoors, reducing the chances for leakage. Child-proof plug covers also perform the same function, keeping air from passing through unused outlets.

For wall air sealing, replace all windows that are more than 20 years old to increase their energy efficiency. Because they’re made of glass, windows absorb more heat during summer and lose more in winter than any other surface in your home. Installing storm windows further reinforces your home’s insulation and airtightness.

Attic Air Sealing

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Another part of your house that’s prone to air leakage is the attic.

Warm, humid air rises naturally since it’s lighter than dry air. The airflow going up the attic and out the roof draws cold breeze into the openings at the lower part of the house. This phenomenon is referred to as “stack effect,” which is how drafts get into your home.

Prevent the consequences of the stack effect by insulating your attic. Blanket insulation comes in rolls or batts, so they’re easy to install by yourself. But this type only works for attics with evenly spaced beams and joists. The large space ensures that the batts of insulation fit the vents tightly for maximum efficiency.

If your attic has plenty of obstructions and very limited space, loose-fill insulation would be the better option.   The loose material easily stuffs tight spaces, effectively insulating even the smallest nooks and crannies of your attic.

Meanwhile, spray foam insulation offers the most impenetrable protection from drafts. With foam cells that expand, this insulation creates a solid barrier against air leakage. But unlike blanket insulation, spray foam requires professional tools and gear. Hire an insulation technician to make sure that the foam is installed properly.

Basement Air Sealing

To fully safeguard your house from the stack effect, insulate your basement as well for further protection from drafts.

Your crawlspace has a close relationship with your attic, since the two spaces push air in and out of your house. You need to air-seal both the top and bottom parts of your home to eliminate the sources of airflow.

The rim joists, or the lateral support of your entire floor, normally has plenty of holes for wires, pipes, HVAC lines, vents, and other utilities. Block these openings by caulking them. Air-seal the rest of the rim joist cavities with spray foam insulation. The expandability of spray foam ensures that every crevice in the joists are well insulated.

For most parts of your house, insulation is the optimal solution to air leakage. But insulation systems depend on your home’s foundation, style of construction, and the local climate. An experienced insulation contractor will help you determine which air leakage solution is best for your home.

A+ Service from A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation is a trusted insulation expert in Kansas City. Our team of experts will examine your house to locate the air leakage, so we can arrive at the best solution. We use only quality materials and tools, guaranteeing the longevity of your insulation.

Schedule an appointment today and have one of our consultants do a free, no-obligation home energy assessment. Contact us here.

First Time Homeowners? Here’s What You Need to Know About Insulation

Man laying insulation material in atticFor first time homeowners, there’s a steep learning curve about the what goes into purchasing and making a great house a home. Insulating your home is not something that immediately springs to mind but the benefits it provides should put it high up on your priority list.

Insulating will help control and maintain the temperature of your home, making the living environment more comfortable, especially during weather conditions which are too hot or cold. Insulating materials can also act as sound and moisture barriers, keeping unwanted sounds out and preventing the development of moisture.

Insulation helps save up to 15% on heating and cooling costs. That’s an average of 11% on total energy costs. According to the US Energy Information Administration, more than half of the energy used in the average American home comes from heating and cooling activities.

How much insulation should I have installed for my home?

The amount of insulation your home needs is dependent on several factors. One is the location of your home. Obviously, you will probably need more insulation if you are from the Northeast than if you are living in Southern California.

The International Energy Conservation Code requires minimum R-value of insulation in different states. R-value is the measurement of the insulating material’s heat resistance. The higher the R-value, the greater the heat resistance of the material.

For example, the R-value recommended for ceilings and attics in Missouri is R-49, which is the minimum requirement for homes located in the colder regions. Homes located in warmer climates require an R-38 or higher.

If your house is newly built, it may have optimal levels of insulation already, depending if energy conservation was taken into account during its construction. If the house you bought is older, you would probably need more insulation.

To know if your home has enough insulation, it is best to call an insulation company and request an energy audit.

What parts of the house should I insulate?

To ensure that your home is fully insulated, you need to install insulators in parts known as thermal envelopes, or places in your home where heat escapes. These places are the attic, walls, ceiling, exterior doors and windows, floors, ducts, crawlspaces and the basement.

Depending on what part of your house is being insulated, there are different types of insulation materials that you can use.

Types of Insulation

Applying spray foam insulation

Batted insulation are perfect for walls, floors and ceilings because it is made from fiberglass and has a broad range of R-values.

For unfinished attic floors, sprayed foam and blown-in blanket system, or bibs insulators, are ideal because they can seal even small, uneven areas that would otherwise cause heat loss.

Achieve efficient insulation with A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation is your go-to insulating company in Kansas City, where we’ve been insulating homes in since 2004. Our team of experts will help pick the right materials and ensure that your house is properly insulated and compliant with state and local building policies.

We provide services like attic insulation, wall insulation, spray foam insulation and bibs insulation in the Kansas City area.

Schedule an appointment today and let us help you achieve that optimal level of insulation for your home. Contact us here.

Insulating a Workshop Shed: Why It Shouldn’t Be Overlooked

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There are a lot of possible reasons why people decide to build their own workshop shed. It may be for extra storage, a place for your own time and for quiet, or a place where you can work on your own personal projects. No matter what is the reason behind building it, it is likely that your outdoor shed has become one of your favorite places at home and where you spend many hours.

However, an ideal workshop needs to be practical and functional in any kind of weather and season. Your workshop shed may become uncomfortable during the winter and summer, halting your productivity and delaying your projects.

If you have a hard time using your shed when it’s too hot or too cold, insulating your workshop shed may be the addition you need in order to be able to use your workshop shed all year round.

What are the benefits of insulation?

Effective insulation can significantly lessen your energy bills. Your workshop shed may not be the first part of your home you will think of insulating, but your workshop shed is somewhere a lot of your time is spent and most of your goals and projects are achieved.

Adding an insulation system for your workshop shed makes for better storage space. Insulating your workshop shed will protect your valuables from the damaging effects of excessive heat. It improves the comfort of your shed making it perfect for various activities. Once it’s insulated it can double as a hobby room, games room, and personal gym.

What type of insulation is perfect for my shed?

For a workshop shed that is relatively tiny and is only mostly used by one person, an insulation system that is economical but also for the long-term is what you’re looking for. Aside from preventing additional energy bills, blown insulation helps you save money by not having additional expenses in repairs. It also takes less time as it is less messy and is easy to apply.

Who should do the insulation?

A lot of articles on the internet may suggest and may make you believe that you can do the insulation by yourself but hiring a professional is always the ideal way to insulate a part of your home. Insulating your workshop shed may sound like a fun do-it-yourself project but a home necessity such as this should not be taken lightly.

There are also health hazards involved in installing insulation. If you don’t have the proper safety equipment, you should not even be considering doing it on your own as it can pose threats to your health. Inhaling fiberglass can cause lung damage and other respiratory diseases.

Although it can look relatively easy, there’s a lot of time and work that goes into installing insulation. Insulation professionals have the correct tools and years of experience and it’s better to trust them to do the job than waste more money and more time due to your mistakes.

Ready for your workshop shed to reach its maximum potential?  A+ Insulation will provide proper insulation and A+ service for your shed so you can comfortably use it all year round. Contact us today to get a quote.

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

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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.

Find the Right Contractor by Asking These Questions

Proper insulation is vital to keeping your home comfortable all year. It also makes your heating and cooling system efficient, leading to lower energy bills. All in all, it’s a smart investment. You can install some minor insulation materials on your own, but calling in the professionals for the bigger projects is always smarter. Their skill and experience reduce costly mistakes and ensure that you get quality output.

5 Questions to Ask Your Insulation Contractor

Not all insulation contractors, however, specialize in installing insulation. That’s why it’s crucial to screen them carefully. While eliminating inexperienced and unreliable companies can be tough, asking the right questions will reveal weak points you can use to cut your list down. Soon enough, you’ll find the contractor that provides the best value out of your project.

Questions you may ask when interviewing potential contractors include:

Do You Have a License?

Hiring a licensed contractor not only protects your interests for quality service but also ensures that you’re on the right side of the law. Checking the license of a potential contractor confirms that it’s in the home insulation industry legally. The permit also indicates that the contractor has the expertise and skills to perform the job you’re hiring them for. Only qualified companies receive a business license from the government.

What Personal Protective Equipment Does Your Team Wear?

As a client, you have to make sure that the contractor has safety measures in place while the installation is on-going. Installers should wear appropriate gear, use the right equipment, and follow safety procedures. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that people working with insulation materials, particularly spray foam, should be trained to handle chemicals properly. Proper training is essential for each installer to avoid exposure to chemicals and work-related injuries. Make sure to discuss this with your prospects before deciding who to hire.

How Many Years Have You Been Operating?

The number of years an insulation contractor has been in the business gives you an idea about its experience and ability to handle a project like yours. Seasoned contractors naturally have an edge over the greener companies.

On the other hand, newer contractors may also deliver excellent services. They might have access to more modern equipment and know the latest techniques for a better installation process. So, you’ll have to dig a little deeper with this question to determine what kind of candidates you’re working with.

What Insulation Products Do You Offer?

When searching for the right contractor, you might encounter a company that only offers one product. Treat it as a red flag. You’re looking for a company that can assess your home and recommend different insulation products that suit your home’s needs and your budget.

Can I See Your References?

Look for a contractor that willingly shows reviews and feedback from previous clients. Praise from satisfied clients can help you decide whether or not to trust the contractor. Conducting further research can help you scrutinize a contractor better. You may also ask your prospect if it has negative reviews.

The answers from your potential contractors can help you come up with the right decision and hire the right insulation contractor. If you need further assistance with your insulation installation project, contact our team today.

 Insulating Your New Home: The Key to Energy Efficiency

Today, both businesses and consumers are realigning to become more sustainable and energy-efficient. Energy efficiency focuses on minimizing the power required to use certain products and services. Not only does energy efficiency reduce heating and cooling costs, but it also helps the environment by reducing emissions released by power plants.

The average household in the Midwest spends $3,000-3,500 per capita on heating. This translates to fossil fuels burnt and more emissions. If you want to save on energy bills and be environmentally conscious, the first step is to make your home energy efficient by installing insulation. The best time to do this? Right when you’re building your home.

Want to Build an Energy-Efficient Home? Start with Insulation

Insulation Planning

Insulation for Newly-Constructed Homes

While you’re planning and building your new home, you should follow the required R-value of insulation in Missouri as stated in the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC). These are just the minimum requirements, though, and you should aim to exceed them if you’ve set out to make your build more energy efficient. Insulating your home adds to your home’s market value.

A properly insulated home is protected from the elements from top to bottom. It’s easier to ensure this right at the beginning of construction because your insulation options are much more varied compared to retrofitting your walls and attic after you finish building.

With that said, these are the key areas that need insulation installed in your new home for optimal energy efficiency, according to the U.S. Department of Energy:

  • Attic
  • Walls
  • Ceiling
  • Exterior doors and windows
  • The floors (especially above unheated spaces like the garage)
  • Ducts/crawlspace
  • Basement

In structures such as residential homes, there are areas called thermal envelopes. These are the areas listed above, where heat tends to escape. Typically, 15 percent of heat escapes through uninsulated basements and floors. Uninsulated attics, windows, and doors each let out 25 percent of heat, while uninsulated walls let out 35 percent.

With this much heat loss, you’re likely to spend more heating up your home, driving your energy use. By installing installation in these areas, you’re making sure that you optimize your energy efficiency.

Types of Insulation for New Homes

Once you’ve pinpointed the areas that need insulation, it’s time to decide what type of insulation material to install. You have a variety of options, but it’s best to consult your insulation experts to know which type fits specific parts of your home.

Batted Insulation

Batted insulation made from fiberglass materials is perfect for unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings. Batted fiberglass insulation has a broad range of R-values and has excellent acoustical performance.

Sprayed Foam Insulation

Ideal for unfinished attic floors or as an addition to existing finished or irregularly-shaped areas, closed cell spray foam insulation answers your extreme insulation requirements. Spray foam tightly seals all nooks and crannies that would otherwise cause heat loss.

Wet Spray Insulation

A popular and cost-effective alternative to spray foam, wet spray fiber insulation resists mold and has great air-sealing benefits, making it a great insulator for your walls and ceiling.

Blown-in Blanket Insulation

Like spray foam, this type of insulation can fill small, hard-to-reach areas, so it’s perfect for unfinished attic floors.

Insulate Your New Home Properly

Before finishing the construction of your Kansas City home, contact a reputable insulation company. Our team here at A+ Insulation uses the best and latest insulation techniques to give you a power-saving, energy-efficient home.

Contact us today for your insulation needs.

Should You Insulate Your Interior Walls?

Kansas City regularly updates building codes to protect the safety, health, and welfare of local residents. Updates to the code minimize safety hazards at home, especially electricity-related ones. These updates almost always include insulation industry codes. Code updates push homeowners to address insulation issues and replace them when necessary.

Household Possibilities: Is It Time to Insulate Your Interior Walls?

wall-insulation

Admittedly, insulation code updates are not enough to help homeowners decide whether to insulate their interior walls. While this is not exactly common practice, you may have heard of its energy-saving and sound-dampening benefits. So, if you are wondering if insulating your interior walls is a good idea, there are valid reasons for you to consider:

Insulation Makes Your Home More Energy Efficient

Warm during winter, cool during summer — home insulation contributes to your household’s comfort because it helps regulate both hot and cold airflow. Your living space should remain comfortable despite extreme weather and temperature fluctuations. When you opt for interior wall insulation, you use less electricity to regulate room temperatures and might notice lower energy bills in the long run.

nterior wall insulation reduces heat transfer for your storage rooms and unoccupied guest rooms. As a result, the temperature control prevents the framing from expanding and the drywall from cracking. You can save yourself the cost and hassle of fixing this issue, too.

Insulation Reduces Room-to-Room Sound Transfer

Imagine this: you come home after a long day at work and just want to relax in bed — but, you can’t because the rest of the family is watching an extremely loud action film in the movie room next to your bedroom.
Interior wall insulation reduces room-to-room sound transfer, creating a sound barrier that contains inside sounds and mutes unwanted outside noise. Keep in mind, however that sound travels through your interior wall’s wood framing, which means the insulation does not make the place entirely soundproof. But it remains an ideal choice for better sound control.

Insulation Prevents Fire from Spreading Quickly

When you live in a duplex or a townhouse, interior walls called party walls separate your living space from the people next door. In addition to reducing the sound infiltrating into your home, interior wall insulation prevents fire from spreading from the other side of the party wall to yours. Of course, there are fire codes in place that, when observed, help to safeguard your property, but extra measures also matter.  

Maybe it’s Time for Interior Wall Insulation

The best time to add interior wall insulation is during new construction. But who says you cannot add insulation to existing walls even after you’ve been living in your current home for some time? It is better to be safe than sorry and late than never, as they say. Besides, insulation codes are updated regularly.

At A+ Insulation, our certified insulation technicians meet local building mandates and abide by the EPA standards for your safety and peace of mind. We minimize your energy bills, dampen heavy sounds from different rooms, and help protect your family from fire through quality interior wall insulation solutions.

Get in touch with us today for more information. You can also schedule a free, no-obligation home inspection so that we can determine the best type of insulation for your home.

How Does Insulation Affect Your Home’s Comfort and Safety?

Heat can escape from your home through the attic, especially if it doesn’t have enough insulation. Excessive heat loss can result in higher energy bills because your heating system has to work harder to provide enough warmth in your home. Insufficient insulation can also compromise the comfort of your home, during winter or summer.

Does Your Attic Have Enough Insulation and is it Safe?

How to Get Efficient Insulation?

Installing adequate attic insulation can help you enhance the comfort of your home, ensuring you don’t pay too much on your energy bills. Where do you start? With an audit.

Getting an energy audit in your home can determine how much energy you consume. Auditors can also identify the areas of your home where you lose energy the most. 

Why is R-Value Crucial?

R-value is a vital factor that contributes to the effectiveness of your attic insulation. This refers to the resistant ability of an insulation material against heat flow. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) explains insulation with a higher R-value provides better insulation.

Return Value

Each home may have a different required amount of R-value, depending on the climate in your region, your heating and cooling system, and where you will install the insulation. The age of your home is also a key consideration. 

The DOE categorizes all American regions into different zones to identify how much R-value will suit their climate. Based on its graph, R-values of R38 to R60 can be ideal for attic insulation in Kansas City homes. Knowing the right R-value for your home can guide you in choosing the type of insulation for your attic. 

What is the Risk for Asbestos Exposure?

Asbestos was once an insulation material due to its ability to resist heat and corrosion. Breathing asbestos fibers, however, can lead to the development of asbestos, a chronic lung disease that causes shortness of breath. Other symptoms include:

  • A persistent dry cough
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Loss of appetite with weight loss

If your home has loose-fill attic insulation, you’re likely to be at risk for asbestos exposure. This type of insulation is loosely poured into joist or wall stud cavities, resulting in a great number of loose particles in your home. 

Some vermiculite attic insulation can be a major source of asbestos danger. Vermiculite contaminated with tremolite, an asbestos-like mineral, can pose a danger to health. Houses built before 1990 are more likely to have asbestos-containing attic insulation. It’s because the company that provides the majority of this type of insulation closed in that year. 

Choosing the Right Attic Insulation

Not all loose-fill insulation contains asbestos and can cause health problems. Materials, such as fiberglass, cellulose, and rock wool are safe for insulation with proper application. You may also choose from other types of insulation that fit your attic.

Although there are materials ideal for do-it-yourself projects, working with professionals minimizes the risk of costly mistakes.

Our team at A+ Insulation can provide safe solutions for your insulation needs to enhance the comfort of your home. We can inspect your attic to identify certain issues that need professional help, such as a leaky roof, insufficient attic ventilation, and old wiring that create a fire hazard. Our team knows how to handle insulation problems well to finish the work on time and on budget. 

Contact us today to learn more about our services.