Category Archives: General News

Allergens Begone: How Insulation Addresses Air Quality

More than 50 million Americans experience different kinds of allergies each year, from pollen, mold, dust, insects, and other allergens. Allergic reactions can range from relatively harmless to life-threatening, and they are considered the sixth leading cause of chronic illness. It’s possible for what seems like a simple reaction to escalate to something severe. Furthermore, it’s not unheard of to suddenly develop an allergy to something you had no trouble coming into contact with before.

This is why many people make great efforts to ensure that their homes and daily surroundings are allergen-free, protecting themselves and others—especially those likely to have severe allergic reactions.

It may surprise many to know that A+ Insulation plays a role in helping people defend their homes against allergens as well: by providing assistance with DIY spray foam insulation.

Allergens and Air Quality

Most people don’t realize that there is a connection between allergens and your insulation. It has to do with the indoor air quality of your home. Indoor air quality refers to the cleanliness of the air found inside the rooms of your residence. And just like the air outdoors, it can become polluted, dusty, and filled with potential allergens.

Many homes have HVAC systems that filter out dust and other allergens, improving air quality. However, indoor air pollution can still accumulate. When there are too many pollutants, you’ll notice that the air in your home starts to feel hotter and even smell different..

The most telling symptom of poor air quality is worsening respiratory health. For example, residents of a home with poor indoor air quality may develop coughs and colds more often. Individuals with asthma may start getting attacks more often, and those with allergic rhinitis may start to sneeze more, for seemingly no reason, especially in the mornings.

All this could lead to exacerbated symptoms of typical allergies and worsening lung conditions. In the most severe cases, poor air quality can go as far as causing lung cancer or death.

The Role of Insulation

Where does insulation come into play? Insulation is an excellent way to reduce the risk of developing poor air quality indoors. Installing appropriate insulation regulates indoor temperature and improves the overall air quality of a home.

This is because the airflow of a home is taken into account when designing a house. Particular focus is placed on natural light, heat, and the flow of fresh air.

If you live in a place with a climate that requires fireplaces, some homes close off specific rooms so heat can stay in living areas. At the same time, there is very little to no carbon monoxide risk. Warmer climates do the opposite, ensuring that the home has plenty of fresh air flowing indoors, naturally cooling the house.

And these temperatures get preserved through the use of insulation. With the correct form of insulation in your home, you can prevent outside air from seeping into your home and compromising the air quality as well as altering the temperature. Any air that flows through the house and HVAC system can be controlled, and insulation acts as a filter, preventing contaminants from entering your living space.

Even dust, dander, and other airborne particles are stopped by insulation at the surface level, especially if they come in from the outside. It defends your home’s air quality, acting as both filter and regulator.

How Poor Insulation Affects Air Quality

These benefits can only be achieved if the insulation is properly installed and safety standards are adhered to. On the other hand, poor insulation can affect the air quality of your home just as adversely as a pollutant. This is why it’s important not to cut corners when installing insulation.

Poor temperature control

Because insulation is supposed to regulate temperature, poorly installed or low-quality installation can make homes too stuffy or too cold. It can no longer assist the HVAC in maintaining temperature control.

Excess moisture increases

The performance of insulation decreases with time. But one of the worst things about old insulation is that it cannot withstand moisture. During hurricanes and storms, it will start absorbing moisture and essentially become useless. The water depletes heat-resisting qualities in most types of insulation.

Furthermore, this causes the insulation’s resistance against mold growth to rapidly deteriorate. Mold can spread throughout the insulation and release airborne spores. Mold allergies are one of the most common in the US, and they could cause people inside the house to experience a range of symptoms.

These include sneezing, postnasal drip, coughing and wheezing, and watery eyes. For people with asthma and allergic rhinitis, sneezing could become unbearable.

Increase in pests

Birds, rodents, and, most importantly, insects will become more drawn to insulation that isn’t properly sealed or installed, making their homes there. These pests can introduce dangerous particles, bacteria, and viruses into your home. And because they live in the insulation, it will be very easy for these particles to get into the HVAC system and start circulating throughout your home.

Also, many people are allergic to specific insects and rodents. They are at risk of an allergy attack if these pests start living inside their homes.

It’s crucial to keep replacing outdated insulation and to have new insulation installed correctly. Doing so ensures pests do not have the opportunity to start nesting in it.

Increase in VOCs 

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are introduced into the air when poor insulation degrades. This concept is familiar to homeowners who have heard of or experienced problems arising from vermiculite insulation that contains asbestos.

Though modern insulation has advanced to the point that it’s completely safe, its degradation through poor installation or quality can result in poor indoor air quality. It starts to fall apart and release dust particles and organic particulates into your home’s airflow.

These particles result in highly exacerbated asthma and allergy symptoms. If you have an old home, you should replace and reinstall the insulation.

dust in the air

Bacteria, Dust, and Odors

Because of the presence of mold, there will also be more bacteria found on surfaces around the house. These bacteria can cause several health risks. These include but are not limited to respiratory distress, skin irritation, and even disorientation.

The HVAC system also starts being unable to filter the particles. The released dust and odors around the house will continue to circulate for a lot longer, and you and your family will be breathing it in more often. Even if you clean frequently, if these particles and bacteria continue to circulate, you’ll likely continue to experience symptoms.

Other Common Sources of Pollutants Around the House

Carbon monoxide 

This is an odorless and colorless gas. Appliances and equipment inside your house that burn fossil fuels (fireplaces and car exhausts are the most significant sources) produce carbon monoxide.

In high concentrations, carbon monoxide is incredibly toxic to the human body. It depletes the body’s oxygen. People exposed to carbon monoxide feel dizzy and nauseated, often finding it difficult to breathe. If they’re exposed for too long, they might experience vomiting, pain, disorientation, and even death.


This is a significant concern for homeowners who live in houses that are at least 30 years old. Radon derives from the trace amounts of uranium occurring naturally on earth. While many local and federal building codes typically enforce restrictions to protect homeowners from radon in their homes, older properties were likely built before these regulations were put into place.

Cigarette Smoke

If you or your family members smoke, there’s little to no chance that traces of cigarette smoke will ever leave the home. Smoking also introduces tar and nicotine into the air. The result is the familiar yellowing seen in smokers’ homes. It occurs when smoke seeps into the walls and insulation. Stains resulting from cigarette smoke are very difficult to clean.

More worryingly, cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, many of them harmful. You don’t have to be allergic specifically to cigarette smoke to have your health negatively impacted by exposure to it. Prolonged exposure to cigarette smoke, even secondhand, can result in minor symptoms, such as irritation to the eyes and through, as well as severe effects, such as cancer and heart disease.

Particles in cigarette smoke also accumulate and clog the HVAC filter, resulting in inferior indoor air quality.

Protect Your Home and Family from Allergens

Correctly installed insulation, especially when made of quality, professional-grade materials, is a significant benefit to your home’s air quality. It acts as a defense against so many types of common allergens and even helps your HVAC system keep your home’s air quality clean.

However, the biggest risk comes from poorly installed, low-quality insulation. This doesn’t just fail at maintaining your home’s temperature—it may also endanger your and your family’s health. This is why it’s of the utmost importance to carefully check the licenses and expertise of the professional that you’ll hire to install your insulation. Quality performance yields quality work.

A+ Insulation has been helping improve the indoor air quality of homes across Kansas City for years through top-notch insulation solutions. Our team of experts can answer any of your questions about the type of insulation you need, how we’ll install it, and where your home needs it most. Get in touch with us today for a free, no-obligation inspection of your home. You may also read about our services here.

What You Need to Know About Stack Effect


Winter’s extreme cold spells make it difficult for homes to maintain pleasant temperatures. Despite having thermostats set to maintain reasonable temperatures, many homeowners find it challenging to keep their interiors warm.

One common problem is the stack effect, the passage of air from the bottom of your home to the top and vice versa. Warm air rises to the top of your house, causing outside air to enter the lower level of your home. It results in excessive energy bills because you can’t control your home’s temperature, and it brings in allergens and outside contaminants.

What Is the Stack Effect?

The stack effect is air movement that negatively impacts your monthly energy expenditures and your home’s comfort level. Air enters your home through crawl spaces or basements, travels up through your floors and walls, and exits through your attic. This is the cold air in the winter and the hot air in the summer that puts a strain on your air conditioner and furnace.

Most homes experience the stack effect as a result of faults and pressure differences in the structural envelope. It can severely affect your comfort if you aren’t cautious.

How Does the Stack Effect Work?

Warm air rises in a house during the winter. This pressurizes the house’s top, forcing hot air out while sucking cold air in at the bottom.

In an air-conditioned house in the summer, the stack effect is reversed because the warmer air is outside. Cool inside air tends to fall and get forced out at the home’s bottom, allowing hot air to enter at the top.

The stack effect is determined by two factors: the residential property’s height and the temperature difference inside and outside of the house. The pressures created are greater when the temperature difference is higher and the property is taller.

Positive and negative pressures are greatest at the bottom and top, and neutral pressures are located somewhere in the middle. The bottom has high negative pressure, the top has high positive pressure, and the middle, or “neutral pressure plane,” is just in the sweet spot in the winter model.

The positive and negative pressure peaks are reversed in the summer.

Different Stack Effect Problems

The main issue with the stack effect is that the taller your home is, the more problems you’ll have. To be more aware of the problems, here are the most common issues that may occur with the stack effect.

It Makes Your Home Uncomfortable

Home dwellers on the upper floors get overheated in the winter, so they open windows. As a result of the relief in pressure at the top, cold air is coming in at the bottom, resulting in individuals on the lower floors raising the thermostat.

The problem can escalate quickly in some residential properties with poor insulation and air sealing between levels. The overheated penthouse residents open their windows, causing those on the ground floor to freeze.

It Can Cause Moisture Damage

Moisture follows air currents; therefore, moisture will condense on cold surfaces in any part of a house where there is a considerable movement of air between the interior and the exterior.

The effects of freeze-thaw cycles can sometimes be seen on brick buildings, when damp air builds in the brick, causing efflorescence, discoloration, and spalling.

Moisture penetration ruins structures and poses health risks to residents. However, the issues aren’t limited to brick. Condensation can occur anywhere there is a pulling of moist outside air pressure—or pushing moist inside air —into the wall cavity, resulting in decay and mold.

It Causes Energy Loss

Your heating system will have to work longer and harder to maintain appropriate inside temperatures as hot air leaves the house and cold air enters.

For example, during the winter when the stack effect is strongest, hot air is constantly exiting and being replaced by an equivalent volume of the cold air outside. You’ll be spending a lot of money to stay warm because the cycle runs continuously.

There are also major problems if the stack effect is not planned properly, especially in tall structures. Here are several examples.

  • Stress on HVAC equipment as it tries to cope with air losses or increased demand. Inefficient HVAC systems cost more in terms of energy and maintenance, and poor temperature control reduces comfort.
  • Diffusion of odors from the outdoors or between residential units.
  • Depending on the situation, doors and elevators may require more force to open or close, or they may slam quickly.
  • Noise is produced by air moving through cracks.
  • Air movement has the potential to contribute to the spread of flames and smoke during a fire. Sprinkler system piping may freeze in some building sections exposed to the coldest airflow.

You have a lot of air movement just in the attic, which will aggravate moisture issues and lead to mold and mildew growth, as well as cause damage to any insulation you have up there.

The only insulation that will not be destroyed in this situation is spray foam, which is installed in place and also forms an air seal.

How to Prevent the Stack Effect in Your Home

Air Sealing

Sealing up those air gaps makes it difficult for indoor air to exit and outdoor air to enter, lessening the stack effect in your home, boosting energy efficiency, and minimizing energy waste.

Creating an air seal is the simplest way to eliminate the stack effect. An experienced home performance contractor uses professional air sealing and spray foam insulation to do this. You want an air seal around your entire living space, starting at the foundation where the air enters and ending at the top where it exits.

Keep in mind that air-sealing your walls and nothing else will actually increase the stack effect. The best solution for constructing an air seal is to air seal the entire house.

For example, if you have an air-sealed basement area, you don’t get that air coming in from the bottom which is the greatest cause of the stack effect. When you air-seal your outside walls, you also seal gaps around the windows and outlets to prevent air from entering.

Finally, by preventing air from entering and leaking from your attic, you are effectively sealing your home’s environment. This type of air seal will make your home more pleasant and energy-efficient, resulting in lower monthly electricity bills.


The stack effect causes moisture to enter your home, where it can freeze in the attic and roof during the winter. Here is where attic insulation enters the picture.

The stack effect occurs because your attic has a space where warm air may escape at its greatest point. Attic insulation is one of the best ways to prevent this from happening. The space between your top floor and your attic is the most vital to insulate.

Warm air will escape through the slightest openings or air ducts as it reaches your attic. Remember that, while it’s critical to have adequate insulation throughout your home, it’s the attic that requires the most attention.


Natural ventilation can save homeowners up to 30% on their utility bills. Home design features should focus on mixing fresh air with existing air and regulating the stack effect within the property.

Interior walls and transom windows divert flow through occupied areas. An indirect path allows for the mixing of fresher air with stale air as well as the removal of the latter.

Interior exhaust openings should be higher than supply openings so that stale air is swept up and out by the stack effect. New structures with natural ventilation should be placed to catch the wind in the summer and block the cold temperature exposure in the winter.

Humidity control is not included in natural ventilation. The height and width of a structure are important considerations.

Natural ventilation efforts alone will not assist central portions of very large houses. Furthermore, the stack effect will not result in significant airflow in buildings with low ceilings. It’s possible that you’ll need fan-assisted ventilation.

Upgrade Your Home Insulation

The stack effect impacts all buildings in some way. The effect may hardly be noticeable in single-story, single-family homes. However, as we’ve seen, the stack effect should be taken into account while designing such a structure.

You now understand the stack effect and how it affects your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Allowing the stack effect to produce drafts and discomfort is not a good idea. Start today to make your home more comfortable!

If you need professional attic insulation installation, give our A+ Insulation team of friendly experts a call. We’ll be able to offer you the insulation guidance you need. Request a quote or schedule an appointment today at 913-281-2250 or 816-265-1947.

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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


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

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


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.