Category Archives: Residential

Common Attic Insulation Problems and How to Solve Them

Attic-insulation

Hot air rises, and so will your energy bill if you have a poorly insulated attic. During fall and winter, 25% of heat escapes through the attic. That’s 25% of your heating costs wasted on heat energy that doesn’t do its job.

This is why proper attic insulation is crucial to achieving an energy-efficient home. The insulation forms a barrier between your attic and the outside temperature, keeping the inside of your home warm in the winter months and cool in the summer.

But the attic also tends to be the least visited space in most houses, so many homeowners don’t realize when their attic insulation has issues or isn’t working at all. This results in your home’s temperature being poorly regulated and your energy bills skyrocketing.

As such, it’s important to check your attic insulation and identify any problems so you can solve them right away. We listed some of the most common attic insulation problems below.

  1. Uneven insulation material

Some homeowners choose to DIY their attic insulation. And while this can be done, not only can it be potentially disastrous, it can also lead to uneven insulation application.

When the insulation material is unevenly distributed, it results in different R-values or thermal resistance in the attic. That means one part of your attic may have higher thermal resistance while the others may let in more heat flow.

Solution:

Instead of suffering the consequences, such as higher energy bills and poor temperature regulation, it’s best to leave the attic insulation job to professionals.

  1. Collapsed or compacted insulation

The attic acts mainly as a storage space for boxes and bulky items that are not in use. But when your attic is too crowded and the boxes press against the insulation, the latter becomes compressed and loses its ability to insulate.

When attic insulation gets compressed or completely deteriorates, its R-value decreases. And when your attic insulation’s R-value decreases, so does your attic’s thermal resistance, making your house less energy efficient.

Solution:

Avoid collapsed or compacted insulation by keeping heavy boxes and other bulky items off the insulation material. Instead of placing all the items on the floor, install shelves and other storage solutions that will relieve the weight from your attic insulation.

You can also install solid flooring on top of your attic insulation so you can place items on the floor without directly putting weight on and possibly damaging the insulation material below.

  1. Nonexistent skylight shaft insulation

If you have a skylight, there must be a shaft in the attic that runs from your roof, passes through the attic, and ends at your ceiling. The part exposed in your attic needs to be insulated, too, but many don’t bother with this step.

With sunlight passing through the skylight, heat goes through the shaft. Similarly, cold temperature creeps in during winter. If left uninsulated, the shaft will be a point of low thermal resistance in your attic, leading to ineffective attic insulation.

Solution:

Make sure to insulate around the shaft and seal it properly. Insulation installed onto skylight shafts is prone to becoming loose and falling to the floor, so it’s best if it gets sealed.

Man-repairing-the-attic

  1. Missing insulation from repaired spaces

If you have proper attic insulation but have since made repairs to your attic, you might have missed fixing the insulation as well.

Attic repairs may move around or completely remove the insulation material. Once the project is done, you or your contractor may forget to replace it. As mentioned before, if your attic insulation has bald spots, those parts have less thermal resistance and will let out heating or cooling energy.

Solution:

If you’re doing repairs, put insulation on your checklist of things to accomplish. And if you’ve done repairs in the past and know that you didn’t replace the insulation, check it now and insulate as soon as possible.

  1. Uninsulated access to the attic

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s guide of where to insulate in a home, attic doors must be insulated. Otherwise, they’re like holes in the layer of insulation covering your attic floor that facilitate heat transfer.

Solution:

Prevent energy loss in your home by insulating access to your attic.

If you have an attic hatch or a scuttle hole, which is a removable panel in your ceiling leading to the attic, you need to weatherstrip the trim of the hatch, attach layers of foam board to the panel, and install your choice of insulation on top.

Keep the R-value of the insulation of the hatch’s removable panel the same as that of the insulation in the rest of your attic.

If your attic access is through a set of pull-down stairs, you can insulate it by weather stripping the perimeter of the frame and building an insulation foam box topped with batt insulation in the attic to enclose the stairs.

If your attic is accessed through knee wall doors, make sure to buy knee wall doors with built-in insulation.

If this is not an option, you can seal it the same way you seal an attic hatch: by weather stripping the frame and attaching foam insulation to the attic side of the door.

  1. Blocked attic ventilation

Lack of ventilation in the attic results in either a hot attic in the summer or a wet attic in winter. Sometimes, insulation blocks the soffit vents in your attic—this is a vent that allows air to flow into the attic, keeping it cool in the summer and allowing moisture to evaporate.

If your insulation blocks these vents, it contributes to attic condensation and moisture. This can result in the growth of mold and mildew, which can put your health at risk.

Solution:

Avoid the hazards of inhaling or ingesting mold and mildew by making sure the vents in your attic are clear of any insulation materials and other blockages.

Since your insulation materials can move or fall, especially if they’ve been installed for more than a decade, it’s best to check your attic regularly and make sure they are not blocking the soffit vents.

Termite infestation

  1. Pest infestation

The attic is often dark and undisturbed, making it a perfect hideaway for pests, insects, and small animals. Attics with inadequate insulation are especially attractive to these pests, which thrive in places with excessive moisture. They also use exposed insulation materials to build their nests.

Some of the pests you’ll likely find in your attic are:

  • Birds
  • Bats
  • Mice
  • Raccoons
  • Cluster flies
  • Squirrels

Solution:

Keep your attic free of pests by finding and sealing all cracks, gaps, and holes. Make sure also to replace the insulation material in these spots to restore thermal resistance in your attic.

If there’s already an infestation, call your local extermination company to get rid of the pests. Then, fix all the holes they might have made through the attic insulation.

  1. Inadequate R-Value

As mentioned earlier, the R-value of your insulation indicates your attic’s thermal resistance or ability to regulate the temperature in your home. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulation.

But each insulation material has a different R-value, determined by its density and thickness. The R-value also depends on the number of layers for multilayered attic insulation.

Additionally, the recommended R-value depends on the climate in your area, your HVAC system, and which part of the house you want to insulate.

If you install insulation with an inadequate R-value, the temperature in your home will not be properly regulated, and you will not be able to maximize the energy efficiency that attic insulation brings.

Solution:

According to the Department of Energy, attic insulation should at least be R-30. However, this is the minimum and depends on which climate zone you belong to.

Those in Zones 1 to 5, for example, require attic insulation of at least R-38, while those in Zones 6 to 8 would need at least R-49 attic insulation.

Types of Attic Insulation

The two common types of attic insulation are blown-in insulation and batt insulation.

  • Blown-in Insulation

Also known as loose-fill insulation, this type comes in tiny chunks of insulation material, such as fiberglass, blown in using a machine. It has an R-value of approximately 2.5 per inch, so you need a thick layer to achieve adequate attic insulation.

  • Batt Insulation

On the other hand, batt insulation comes in rolled-up sheets with the insulation material held in place by adhesive binders like reflective foil. It is easy to install and has an R-value of about 4.3 per inch.

Get Adequate Attic Insulation from Experts

A+ Insulation is a Kansas City-based insulation company that professionally installs insulation in different parts of the home, including the attic.

Our expert attic insulation contractors even install cathedral ceiling insulation and other forms of insulation for tight spaces between your roof and your ceiling.

Let our licensed, knowledgeable team of attic insulation professionals evaluate your Kansas City home’s insulation needs. Call us at (913) 674-9913 to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and estimate.

Ice Dam Formation and How Insulation Prevents It

While picturesque, ice dams are not welcome sights. They can cause water damage to your roof and attic. Worse, the sharp icicles hanging off an ice dam are safety hazards. If any of them fall or if the ice dam itself falls, they may cause serious injury and even death.

Read on to learn about how ice dams form, what you can do about them, and how you can prevent them with proper insulation.

Ice Dam Formation Process

Snow on the roof melts, refreezes at the eaves or gutter, and forms ice dams due to temperature differences across the roof. This means that warm air is coming from within the house and up into the attic, heating the underside of the roof.

However, the heat doesn’t reach the eaves or gutter, so the water freezes there. The ice accumulates, forming a dam that causes melt water from the warm roof to back up. The melt water then starts flowing under the shingles and into the house.

Damage to Your Home

If ice dams form on your roof, it can tear gutters off and loosen shingles. The backed up water can seep into your house, causing water and moisture damage.

It can lead to stained and sagging ceilings, peeling paint, a warped floor, and soggy attic insulation. This also provides habitats for mold and mildew growth. Additionally, your home will lose its resale value.

The ice dam may melt and come loose when the weather warms. It can fall, possibly taking shingles and the gutter with it, and injuring anyone below.

Signs of Ice Dam Formation

There are numerous warning signs of ice dam formation:

  • Presence of ice on the gutters or on the lower edge of the roof
  • Ice around the soffit vents or coming through the vents themselves
  • Icicles along the roof’s edge
  • Ice or melt water on the siding

As soon as you see any of these signs, take measures to prevent ice dams. You may try using heat cables. These are placed along the edges of the roof and will heat it so that melt water doesn’t refreeze and form a dam.

Some may find the heat cables unattractive. Also, they can only be used to prevent ice dams, not remove existing ones. If you choose to use this method, install them early.

Dealing with Existing Ice Dams

Once ice dams have formed, don’t try to remove them yourself. You will be putting yourself at risk of injury. Instead hire a professional to ensure ice dams are removed safely.

If the ice dams are already causing damage to your home, there are a few things you can do to mitigate it. Keep in mind that these are only temporary solutions.

What not to do

Let’s start off by talking about what not to do when you have an ice dam.

You might be tempted to get a hammer, chisel, or some other tool to hack at the ice and break it off. However, this can break your roofing. Don’t use salt either. It’s highly corrosive and may damage your roofing, siding, gutters, and downspouts.

Freeze leaks with cold air

If the ice dam causes a leak in your attic, you can stop it by blowing cold air onto it. Bring a fan into the attic and aim it at where the leak is from beneath the roof to freeze it. This will help prevent further damage to your home.

Rake the snow

You should always remove excess snow from your roof after a heavy snowfall, but it becomes even more important to do so when you have an ice dam. Use a long-handled roof rake to safely scrape snow off your roof from the ground. This will help decrease the amount of melt water buildup.

Never try to remove snow by climbing up as you’ll be in danger of slipping and falling. You don’t need to reach your whole roof either, just whatever part of it you can with the rake.

De-icing methods

You can try using de-icing methods to melt the ice dam or create a gap in it. Check your local hardware stores for de-icing products such as calcium magnesium acetate. They’re sold as tablets or crystals that can be spread over affected areas to safely melt the dam.

Another method is to fill a discarded pantyhose or something similar with calcium chloride ice melter. You then lay this across the ice dam, hanging over the edge. This creates a gap in the ice dam through which the water can drain.

Attic insulation as a permanent solution

Attic insulation

The best way to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place is to keep the entire roof at the same temperature. You do this by insulating your attic. Proper insulation will keep heat within your home from escaping and warming your roof.

It’s possible to insulate your attic yourself, but only if you’re highly experienced. Installing insulation is a job for professionals. Unless you have several years of DIY experience, it is highly advisable you hire one.

That’s why you need A+ Insulation’s attic insulation installation service. We’ll keep your home safe from ice dams and other damage caused by poor insulation.

Other solutions to consider

In addition to attic insulation, there are several other ways you can prevent heat from reaching your roof to minimize the risk of ice damming.

Attic ventilation

Along with poor attic insulation, poor ventilation is one of the two main causes of uneven roof temperatures.

By allowing the cold winter air to flow through your attic, it keeps your roof cold and prevents ice from forming a dam. Proper ventilation also reduces moisture in the attic, preventing mold, mildew, and rot.

Vapor barrier

Your attic’s insulation should have a vapor barrier that keeps warm, moist air from entering the attic. There should be only one, between the ceiling and the insulation.

If the vapor barrier is above the insulation or if there is more than one, moisture can get trapped, causing the insulation to get wet. This can lead to mold growth. If there’s no vapor barrier, heat and moisture will enter the attic.

A+ Insulation will correct this problem for you should we find it.

Seal the attic hatch

Your attic hatch is a huge opening through which heat can enter your attic. Air seal the trim with caulk and foam sealant depending on the size of the gap. Air seal the hatch perimeter with compression bulb weatherstrip. Finally, insulate the hatch itself with foam.

Ensure all exhausts lead outside

If your exhausts are improperly installed, they can bring heat to your attic. All ducts should lead hot air outside, either through the roof or the walls. They should never go through the soffit as they will heat the roof.

Use sealed can lights

As recessed lights are installed directly into the ceiling, they can create pathways for heat to travel into the attic. Unfortunately, they can’t be insulated. Use sealed IC-rated lighting fixtures instead and cover them with insulation.

Insulate ducts

By installing thermal insulation on your ducts, you minimize energy loss. Less heat will escape from the ducts and into your attic. Use fiber-reinforced mastic for the joints and cover everything with R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass insulation.

Caulk penetrations

You can further insulate your attic by sealing electrical penetrations and vent pipes with a fire-stop sealant. This blocks off small passages through which heat can travel.

Clean your gutters

During the fall, gutters are often clogged by fallen leaves and branches. Make sure to clean them before winter comes around. Otherwise, water will flow through them more slowly, giving them more time to freeze.

Additional benefits

Investing in attic insulation and ventilation might seem like too much just to deal with ice dams. However, they also come with various long-term benefits, and you’ll be glad to have them the whole year, not just during winter.

Utility bill savings

With better insulation, you won’t need to spend as much on heating and cooling to maintain comfortable temperatures. Insulating your attic can save you up to 30% on energy bills. This also saves you on HVAC system maintenance costs since there’s less wear and tear on them.

Safer home structure

Insulating your attic protects your home from heat and moisture damage. It will protect walls from erosion, shingles from swelling and cracking, and plywood from softening and rotting. It also eliminates cool, moist areas where mold and mildew can grow.

Better indoor comfort and health

Homes are susceptible to sudden temperature fluctuations if they’re not properly insulated, even if they have the best heating and cooling systems. With proper insulation, you’ll ensure comfort throughout the whole day, even as temperatures lower during the night and early morning.

Insulation also prevents pollutants from entering through air leaks. This improves air quality within your home, helping you stay healthy and avoid diseases.

Let us insulate your attic

A+ Insulation provides high-quality insulation installations. We provide upfront, on-the-spot quotes and are as minimally invasive as possible during installations so you experience few disruptions.

If you want the added benefit of soundproofing your home, check out A+ Insulation’s best soundproofing insulation.

Contact us to talk to one of our insulation experts. Call us at (913) 281-2250 if you live in Kansas or (816) 265-1947 if you live in Missouri. You can also fill out our contact form.

How to Insulate a Crawl Space: A Complete Guide

Insulation

Crawl space damage costs homeowners an average of $5,500 nationwide. Typical crawl space damage repair costs $1,500-$15,000 in repairs. The average cost doesn’t include repairs for the effects of poor crawl space insulation to the rest of the property. Insulating your crawl space correctly can save you a lot of costly repairs in the coming years.

Insulation’s Home Defense Role

Many of A+ Insulation’s clients request crawl space insulation work during the months with extreme weather—the hottest and the coldest months. Insulation defends your home and foundations against the elements. During seasons with extreme weather, homes without proper insulation risk costlier damage to repair, making crawl space insulation worth the cost.

Hot Weather Risks

In scorching weather, the wood components of your home will dry out. The sediment around the foundations of your home depletes in moisture, shrinking, causing the support to weaken and shift.

The opposite is also possible. If there’s a lot of humidity in your area during the hot seasons, the wood in your home and foundations could get moisture damage from being exposed in the crawl space. Mold and mildew thrive in this damp environment, and both of these things can compromise the strength and structural integrity of your wood foundations.

Cold Weather Risks

The moisture damage becomes the most significant risk to homes in colder months. Rain or snow can put a lot of moisture damage onto the wood in your crawlspace and the rest of the home’s foundations.

Another significant issue revolves around plumbing and pipes, which are often built to run through the crawl space. Without the insulation, your pipes are likely to freeze and burst in extreme cold. This problem will cost even more money from you, approximately $5,000-$70,000 depending on the damage.

The Basics of Crawl Space Insulation

The way to approach crawl space insulation is to consider it part of your home’s general conditioning. Don’t look at it as an area you want to isolate or cut off from the rest of the home. Consider the temperature in it the way you would consider the temperature within the living spaces of your house.

The goal of insulation for your crawl space is to control the temperature and moisture in it. It’s a two-pronged approach. You need to make this low area more balanced in temperature and hold it in that condition, keeping the upper floors warm. And in the same procedure, you’re protecting the foundations of your home from the elements that could make it brittle or susceptible to wear.

Preparing to Insulate Your Crawl Space

Prepare the tools, materials, and necessary equipment before you begin any work to improve the efficiency of the process. It also helps ensure that you have everything you need and won’t be looking for missing tools or materials so that all work can proceed unimpeded by issues.

Materials (Insulation)

There’s more than one option available for crawl space insulation. What’s best for your home depends on the type of crawl space you have and what it needs to maintain the temperature in the area.

  • Fiberglass

During the past decades, this has been the most popular choice for insulation. This may be the type of insulation you currently have in your home as it remains a popular option among builders. Fiberglass is a material made of a plastic matrix strengthened by glass fibers, which gives the material its name.

Fiberglass insulation can stop heat transfer through solid objects. It keeps heat from moving towards a colder area, making it ideal during the winter months. It comes in loose-fill or bats. However, it’s worth knowing that fiberglass could be unsuitable for some crawl spaces as it can cause damage to the wooden floor structure above it. Furthermore, if the fiberglass starts absorbing water, it gets too heavy and falls.

  • Spray Foam

Spray foam insulation comes in two varieties: closed-cell and open-cell.

Closed-cell foam insulation is more expensive, but it’s a quick and effective installation option. It helps fill gaps and can be used even around uneven areas and obstacles. It works by creating a vapor barrier on surfaces that prevent them from being damaged by water and moisture.

However, it’s a permanent solution and won’t get easily removed if something goes wrong. Keeping the layer consistent is also challenging, as there’s plenty of potential to go overboard and spray too much on.

Open-Cell foam insulation is also expensive, but not as much as the closed-cell variety. Like the closed-cell variant, it’s quick and efficient to install, but it’s also a permanent option. Unlike closed-cell, it doesn’t create a vapor barrier.

So when it comes to insulating your crawl space, closed-cell spray foam is better, as it is better suited for your needs.

  • Foam Board or Rigid Foam

Rigid board or foam-board is a cost-effective insulation solution. It’s a better option than fiberglass for this reason. It’s waterproof and stable and won’t compress or fall apart like fiberglass batts. It’s ideal for walls and crawl spaces because it prevents needing fiberglass insulation in the first place. The foam board is placed securely against the crawl space to insulate against damage.

The downside to foam board is that it’s a lot more complicated to install than spray foam and more time-consuming. The board must be cut and fitted to the spaces that need insulation and requires accurate measurements to ensure a perfect fit. It also can’t be installed over obstacles and will need to be cut in such a way to avoid them.

Equipment and Tools

While some of the equipment may depend on the type of insulation that you’ll be putting onto your crawl space, most of them are necessary for both.

  • Caulking gun
  • Utility knife
  • Flashlight
  • Saw (fine-toothed is more ideal)
  • Shovel and rake for the soil
  • Tape measure
  • Straight edge
  • The insulation material needed

Safety Equipment and Reminders

The materials used for insulation can be hazardous to your health. The materials that make up insulation can enter your lungs, make it difficult to breathe, and irritate the skin. Ensure that you use gloves, safety goggles, and a protective mask, especially when handling the insulation materials.

The crawl space will also be enclosed and difficult to move around in. Make sure you have bright lights that keep the area brightly illuminated so you can see what you’re working on. You’ll also want to wear knee pads to not hurt or scuff your knees as you move around the area.

The Insulation Process

First, you’ll need to clear your work area of debris. Make sure there aren’t any nails jutting out of the walls or over your head. Sweep away rocks or stones around the ground’s surface. And most of all, you need to eliminate any moisture sources.

This means you need to move downspouts away from your crawl space. It’s best to check the gutters of your home to see if any of them might be sending rainwater runoff down to the crawl space area.

If you have a garden, check your irrigation system. If the irrigation is causing the soil in the crawlspace to become damp or leaks water into the walls, you need to block out the water’s path and redirect it elsewhere.

Warm Climate Installation

  • Make sure that your insulation is placed securely against the surface.

The insulation must be in direct contact with the underside of your floor or the ceiling of your crawl space.

If you’re using fiberglass batts, use a crisscrossing wire to hold the material in place.

If you’re using spray foam, you can spray directly against the surface. However, you must maintain a steady hand and make sure that the insulation stays as even as possible. Maintaining even layers will keep the insulation more consistent in its performance.

If you’re using rigid board insulation, you’ll need to use mechanical fasteners. While you can use industrial adhesives to hold it in place, the mechanical fasteners will make doubly sure that the boards don’t fall.

  • Seal the space.

After adding the insulation, you need to seal up vents, doors, and any gaps that open up into this area. Use the caulking gun to seal the crawlspace’s openings. Exterior-grade caulk is the most ideal, especially for sealing vent covers, rim joists, and sills.

Look for areas with electrical wiring and plumbing. Often, these go through your crawl space, and they’ll have small gaps or openings to let these wires and pipes pass through. You’ll need to fill these areas in as well.

If you’re using spray foam installation, this is a lot easier to do as they can go over these spaces and act as the seal. But if you’re using the rigid boards, you’ll need the caulking gun to do the sealing.

  • Insulate the pipes and ducts

The pipes and ducts themselves need to be insulated as well. They have to get covered up with the insulation material and as closely as possible.

It’ll be more difficult to do this on such an uneven surface if you’re using foam boards, so try to use the fiberglass batting instead. You can also use spray foam.

Cold Climate Installation

Colder locations require adding more insulation than in hot climate areas. And it’s most effective when applied to the crawl space walls rather than the ceiling because the ground around the crawl space will be the source of the low temperature.

Rigid boards are considered the best insulation for these cases, because they control moisture better than the other types while sealing in air.

  • Cover the vents.

If your crawl space is already unventilated, you can skip this step. However, if you have a ventilated crawl space, you’ll need to remove any vents entirely and seal the area with the caulking gun.

Look for holes in the foundation as well and seal them up. You need to create as tight an airlock as possible in your crawl space.

  • Insulate the foundation.

The foundation of your home itself needs insulation along with the walls. This is another reason that foam boards work so well—it can be applied on brick, stone, and any other type of masonry.

Glue the boards to the inside of the foundation walls, or, use mechanical fasteners for even more security. After that, seal everything again with waterproof tape to create airtight and watertight insulation.

  • Look for any sources of moisture remaining inside the space.

Do a double-check of your work area to see if there are still any sources of dampness or moisture. Then you have to get rid of all of them as much as possible. The goal is to prevent condensation and dampness. This prevents mold and mildew from growing.

A good tip is to look over your plumbing pipes and check for leaks. Cover them up or seal them while you’re there in the crawl space and head off any potential problems during the cold weather.

Get Professional Inspection and Appraisal for Your Insulation

Some communities require professional inspections from a government authority to ensure that any insulation work is done according to regulation. This process not only ensures that the job has been done right, but that it’s also safe for the occupants of the house.

Insulating a crawl space can be difficult since it requires so much checking to ensure that all regulations are followed and that all areas are sealed correctly. Because of this, it’s worth hiring a professional to do it instead.

Professional contractors are well-versed in the regulatory requirements. They can also correctly calculate the amount of insulation needed and whether a space needs some or no ventilation at all. Finally, they have the equipment necessary to ensure the space is fully sealed.

Put your home’s safety and protection in the hands of professionals with long years of experience in insulating homes. Contact A+ Insulation today to request a quick quote, or browse our services to see other areas where we can do the insulation for you.

The Health Benefits of Having a Quiet Home

Living in a crowded, noisy part of town can make even staying at home tiring. There can be car horns from out in the street or noisy neighbors blasting their stereo. If this happens on a regular basis, it can have a serious negative impact on your health.

A quiet home is important to your well-being. If the noise gets to you and interferes with your relaxation and sleep, then maybe it’s time to consider getting insulation to soundproof your home.

More Rest and Less Stress

Quiet homeThe most obvious and most important benefit to having soundproofing insulation is that less noise results in better relaxation by reducing disturbance to sleep and other activities.

You might be tempted just to ignore the noise. After all, whatever noise you experience in your home is likely intermittent; it goes away after a while and might not be worth investing in a permanent solution for. This might work at first.

However, a lack of quality rest time takes its toll on you. You might be able to ignore noise for a time, but you can’t ignore the physical and psychological effects it has on you. Quality rest is needed for your body and mind to heal and wind down.

The Negative Effects of Noise

Noise pollution has several negative effects on your well-being. It’s been linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, depression, increased anxiety, and tinnitus.

Regardless of whether the noise is the engines of a plane flying overhead or the hum of the TV, it can activate your brain’s fight or flight response. And it aggravates existing health conditions by increasing stress levels.

Stress itself causes a variety of symptoms, including physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral symptoms. You become more prone to negative emotions, have less energy, possibly get tense muscles, are less able to focus, have less of an appetite, and more.

If it comes to the point that the noise affects your sleep, its negative effects on your well-being are unsurprisingly magnified.

The Positive Effects of Silence

By installing soundproofing insulation, you avoid the negative effects of noise and benefit from the healthy effects of silence.

Silence has been found to stimulate brain growth. It enhances sleep and lessens insomnia. And it restores your mental strength, allowing you to better use your creativity and do some self-reflection. Even just 10 minutes in total silence does wonders for your concentration.

You’re probably bombarded with various stressors throughout the day. There’s work, unpleasant relations to deal with, bad news about the pandemic, and many other possible stressors winding you up. Home should be a refuge where you can block all of this out. You don’t need your neighbor’s music adding to your irritation.

Eliminate the noise, and your home becomes a much healthier place to live in.

A Better Home Environment

A quiet home with each room undisturbed by noise is a peaceful home. Soundproofing insulation makes your home much more comfortable. In addition to preventing noise from the outside coming in, it prevents noise from going from room to room.

To add to your comfort, soundproofing insulation doesn’t just insulate your home from sound, it also prevents heat from coming in or escaping. This makes it easier to keep your home at your preferred temperature, meaning your home is cooler during summer and warmer during winter. It also saves you money on your energy bills as you spend less electricity on appliances to cool or heat your home.

Privacy and Peace of Mind

As discussed earlier, quality rest and lack of noise are incredibly important to maintaining your health. But what if, for example, the people you live with want to watch a movie late at night? Perhaps you have a child practicing an instrument?

Maybe you’re the one who wants to relax with an activity that’s relatively noisy but don’t want to inconvenience the rest of the people in the house. Perhaps you’re singing in your room and don’t want anyone to hear you. Or you’re chatting with some friends over the phone, or online on your PC, and want your conversations to be private.

Regardless of what it is, soundproofing insulation will keep any sound from escaping the room or at least muffle it to the point that it can’t be understood. It helps the whole household avoid disturbance from individual members.

A Better Learning Environment

Noise is bad for children’s development.

Children that live in noisy environments have a harder time reading. Noise distracts them from important stimuli like their parents talking to them. It makes it harder for them to distinguish similar sound words. “Hit” and “bit,” for example, can sound very similar when there’s background noise messing with a child’s hearing.

Noise doesn’t just affect children’s language either. It can disrupt non-auditory tasks as well, so it could potentially disrupt the development of their other sensory skills.

By installing soundproofing insulation in your home, you’re also protecting your children. It keeps their young minds from being overwhelmed by too many stimuli, be it from loud construction outside or any noise made by family members within the house.

Of course, it’s not just children. While an adult’s learning and development wouldn’t be affected as much by noise, distractions would still hinder your reading or slow your learning of new skills. Learning is much easier when there aren’t any external sources of stress like noise.

More Effective Communication

Soundproofing your home allows for better communication between everyone living in it.

Noise can make it hard to have good conversations at home. This is partly because noise makes it harder to understand the other person, but it is also largely due to the aforementioned negative effects of noise on your health.

Sometimes, communication between household members is strained enough due to the family going through a rough patch. A noisy environment aggravates this and worsens your mental state, making it harder to resolve issues and misunderstandings.

Healthy communication is necessary for a happy household. And soundproofing insulation helps keep everyone calmer and thinking clearer by blocking out the noise.

Soundproofing Your Home

Soundproofing insulation materials are installed into your walls and ceiling. As sound comes into contact with the materials, the insulation reflects or absorbs noise and converts it into heat before it goes past your walls.

Homeowners are advised to insulate their homes from top to bottom. However, different insulation materials are suited for each part of a room. For most of your walls and entryways, blown-in and spray foam insulation are your best choices. For floors and ceilings, foam boards, rigid foam panels, and blanket batts are more suitable.

Some materials are harder to install than others, depending on whether your wall or ceiling is already in place. Blanket batts are better installed while a wall or ceiling is being built. But blown-in and spray foam insulation can be installed in finished walls or ceilings and hard-to-reach places.

It’s possible to install soundproofing insulation yourself if you have the tools and expertise. However, it is much more advisable to hire professionals to do the job for you. Improper handling of soundproofing insulation materials can irritate your skin and cause you to inhale small fibers and particles, possibly triggering respiratory issues.

Additional Ways to Soundproof Your Home

In addition to installing soundproofing insulation into your walls and ceilings, there are a few other ways you can soundproof your home.

The simplest way is to use rugs or carpets and stuffed and cushioned furniture. Rugs or carpets are effective for dampening the sound of footsteps on flooring like hardwood and tiles, which make a lot of noise. They also absorb sound, preventing it from bouncing from the floor. Similarly, stuffed furniture and cushions absorb sounds and help reduce echo.

While not ideal for your whole home, you can use acoustic tiles in select rooms for extra soundproofing. They absorb sound and limit reverberation. If you have a music room, this is perfect for improving the sound quality there as it will reduce noise from outside as well echo from the instruments.

Solid doors have a thicker density and are good for blocking out noise. For windows, you can use double-pane windows, which have air between the two glass panes and sound-absorbing curtains.

Take note that while these are effective means of soundproofing your home, they are best used in combination with soundproofing insulation. This is because your walls and ceilings are the parts of your home that come into contact with sound the most.

Get Soundproof Insulation for Your Home with A+ Insulation

Finding a solution to a quieter home is of utmost importance. And the cost of soundproofing your home is small in comparison to the costs associated with the health problems caused by noise exposure.

A+ Insulation will install soundproofing insulation for your home. We have a dedicated installation team with decades of experience, ready to make your home a quieter, more relaxing place.

Call us at (913) 281-2250 or send us a message and ask for a quote or schedule an appointment.

Room Above Your Garage Too Hot or Cold? Follow These Insulation Tips

Garage-insulation

Many homes feature a room above the garage. These bonus rooms create extra functional space on your property without you having to expand into your yard. They’re great additions for homes with smaller lots and can be used for various purposes, such as an office, guest room, entertainment and hobby area, or a play space for kids.

Despite the number of possible uses for the space, it isn’t without some drawbacks. Rooms over a garage can be challenging to heat and cool because of where they are situated. So, many homeowners complain about their bonus rooms being too hot or too cold, discouraging them from using their bonus room and rendering that additional space useless.

These overly hot or cold bonus rooms are often a result of improper insulation. The warm or cold air from the garage and the adjoining rooms seep into the bonus room, making it difficult to maintain a specific temperature in that space. If you want consistently comfortable indoor temperatures in your bonus room,  you need to properly insulate that room, the adjoining rooms, and the garage.

Garage Insulation

Most homeowners leave their unheated garages uninsulated, which is fine since they don’t need to maintain the temperature in that space anyway. If you have a bonus room, however, insulation becomes necessary even if you’re not heating your garage. The unconditioned air from your garage rises to the space above it, forcing your HVAC to work twice as hard to cool or heat the bonus room.

The first step to making your bonus room more comfortable, therefore, is to insulate your garage. Garages typically use any of the following types of insulation: fiberglass, rigid foam, cellulose, or spray foam.

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass is the most popular insulation type for garages because of its affordability. It comes in pre-cut rolls, batts, and blankets that are easy to install, so you can save costs on installation by making a DIY project out of it.

Fiberglass batt insulation is an excellent option if you’re not heating your garage. It gives your bonus room enough thermal resistance without you having to spend thousands on insulation.

Rigid Foam Insulation

Opt for rigid foam insulation if you’re planning to convert your garage into a living space. Rigid foam is the only type of insulation that blocks heat transfer through structural elements like wood and steel studs, which is why it’s perfect for converted garages.

Rigid foam insulation comes in stiff panels typically made from polyurethane. The foam boards can be cut into any size and installed under another material, so you can use them to insulate the walls and floor of your garage.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper treated with a fire retardant and comes in loose-fill form, making it a popular choice among eco-friendly homeowners.

If you have an unfinished garage, cellulose is your best insulation option. The loose-fill material conforms to any shape, so it easily insulates the spaces between the garage ceiling’s joists and beams.

Cellulose insulation requires the use of a special blowing machine for installation, which you can rent at your local hardware store. If a rental isn’t available, you’ll have to have an insulation contractor install it for you.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam is the best type of insulation material. Apart from offering the highest thermal resistance values, the insulating material also creates a solid barrier that blocks air and moisture gaps.

The downside to spray foam insulation is its cost. At $1.50 to $4.90 per square foot, it’s an expensive way to insulate an unheated garage. However, it can be an effective choice if you’re planning to convert your garage into a full-time living space, such as a home office or guest room.

Garage Ceiling Insulation

If your bonus room still gets overly hot or cold even with an insulated garage, your garage ceiling insulation might need to be updated.

Many building companies insulate garage ceilings using fiberglass batts, which leave gaps in between where air can pass through. If your garage uses fiberglass batt insulation, we recommend replacing it with spray foam instead. Spray foam fills the entire ceiling gravity and closes off any gaps that allow airflow.

To save costs on spray foam insulation, you can have it installed in the gaps between the existing fiberglass batts instead of taking them all out and replacing them.

Make sure to hire a professional contractor to update your garage ceiling insulation because you’ll need to remove the ceiling drywall and redo it after installing the spray foam.

Bonus Room Insulation

The room above your garage needs proper insulation, too. When insulating bonus rooms, you want to focus on three areas: the floor, the exterior walls, and the knee wall.

Floor Insulation

Pay extra attention to your bonus room’s floor insulation, especially if it’s not possible for you to insulate your garage ceiling with spray foam. Floor insulation is generally thinner than ceiling insulation, but it costs less to install and provides almost the same thermal resistance.

Your bonus room floor has three layers: the finished top layer, the structural bottom layer, and the middle underlayment that serves as insulation. An insulating underlayment is different from floor insulation. The former is an additional layer of material installed beneath your flooring, whereas the latter is packed between the joists under the subfloor.

Because the insulating underlayment is layered directly beneath the finished floor, it helps soundproof the bonus room and create a smoother flooring surface, which fixes the subfloor’s unevenness. The underlayment can also add protection from moisture, depending on the material used.

You can find various underlayment products made from materials with excellent insulating properties, including polyurethane foam, silicone, and fiberglass. These underlayment materials offer different insulation values, underfoot feeling, and soundproofing properties.

Although underlayment isn’t difficult to install, you do need to remove and reinstall your finished floor, so it’s better to hire a professional to do the job for you.

Exterior Wall Insulation

You can insulate the exterior wall of your bonus room as you would with any other room in your home since your goal here is just to reduce the amount of heat lost and gained by the said wall.

InsulationThe easiest way to insulate an exterior wall is to install the material on the inside of the wall. Traditional fiberglass batts should suffice, but you should consider investing in spray foam insulation, especially if you live in an area that experiences sweltering summers or freezing winters.

Make sure to overlap the batts when possible. The insulation should fit snugly from the top to the bottom of the exterior wall to block all the potential paths of heat transfer. You can cut small sections from the batts and stuff them in the nooks and crannies of the wall, such as around the windows, doors, and vents to be thorough.

Once you’re done installing the fiberglass batts, layer a continuous sheet of vapor barrier across the wall to protect it from moisture problems. You can begin installing drywall afterward.

Knee Wall Insulation

Many homeowners forget to insulate their attic knee walls, which still leads to an uncomfortably hot or cold bonus room. Knee walls are the short walls underneath sloped ceilings that separate the bonus room from the attic space above the garage.

When left uninsulated, knee walls end up absorbing warmth from or releasing conditioned air to the outside through the attic. Not only does this make your bonus room uncomfortable, but it also increases your energy consumption and spending.

The common way of insulating a knee wall is by installing rigid foam insulation on the wall itself and the attic floor behind it. If you’re going with this method, you need to protect the insulation with an air barrier, which means air-sealing the knee wall as if it was an exterior wall.

Seal all the potential air gaps on the knee wall and the attic space behind it, including duct penetrations and electrical boxes.

An easier method of knee wall insulation is by insulating the sloped ceiling. This way, you won’t have to insulate the knee wall itself. The insulation should extend from the birdsmouth joint, or the triangular joint at the base of the roofing joist, to the flat ceiling above the second floor.

You can use either fiberglass batts, loose-fill cellulose, or spray foam for this insulation method.

Insulating the Room Over the Garage

Insulating the room above your garage can be a hassle since you likely need to remove the drywall and flooring. Doing so, however, can save you money in the long run.

An uninsulated bonus room is a huge waste of money. It’s uncomfortable to use, so you won’t be maximizing your investment in its construction. Additionally, it guzzles energy by absorbing warm or cold air from the outside, forcing your HVAC system to work twice as hard to maintain the temperature you want.

To keep the room over the garage from overheating, hire a contractor with ample experience in insulating bonus rooms. A+ Insulation is an insulation expert based in Kansas City. We offer a wide range of insulation solutions for the different parts of your home, including your garage, attic, and bonus room.

Fill out our online form to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection and insulation cost estimate for your bonus room.

Beyond Energy-Efficiency: The Additional Benefits of Proper Home Insulation

InsulationHomeowners who want to cut down on cooling and heating expenses need to improve their home’s insulation. A properly insulated home has an easier time keeping indoor temperatures consistently comfortable all year round. The home’s dependency on cooling and heating devices goes down, as well as its energy costs.

Today, insulation is part of the building process. Homeowners who are having their houses built should make it a point to have them air-sealed and properly insulated. However, many owners of older homes have found that their homes have minimal or ineffective insulation or have insulation with traces of asbestos. These homeowners will need to tackle the insulation problem in a remodel or a home renovation.

Before work can begin, your home will need to be inspected by a qualified home energy auditor, and you will also need to have an energy assessment performed.

The auditor will identify areas in the house that need air sealing before proceeding with any insulation work. Once the audit is complete, the next step is to find the right indoor insulation for the different areas of your home.

We always advise our customers to insulate their home from roof to ground for optimum energy efficiency and to take advantage of its other benefits, which we will discuss in detail later. First, we’ll take a look at the typical rooms in a home and find the best insulation material to use for those spaces.

Indoor Area: Attic

Insulation type: Blanket Batt or Rolls

Also good for: unfinished walls, floors, and ceilings

Loose-fill insulation provides great coverage, especially when installed correctly. It is relatively inexpensive too and good for those who would like to do the installation themselves, as this material is easy to work with.

If you are going to install insulation yourself, make sure to wear the appropriate protective wear. This is to prevent coming into contact with and inhaling fiber and small particles from the material. It may cause skin irritations and trigger respiratory issues.

Indoor Area: Living Room, Entryways

Insulation type: Spray foam insulation

Also good for: rooms with finished walls and rooms with irregular/hard-to-reach spaces

Spray foam insulation normally comes in cans with a nozzle attachment. The nozzle is small enough to reach into the nooks and crannies that would otherwise be difficult to fill with other insulation material types. It seals the gaps where air can pass through, preventing cold air or warm air from escaping the room, so it doesn’t leave your cooling and heating devices working overtime.

The spray foam is perfect for sealing gaps between the wall and window frames, including door frames. It’s also good for use behind an electrical outlet in the stud wall, before installing full wall insulation.

A word of caution: applying too much can cause the doors or windows to jam, as the applied foam expands after a few seconds of being exposed to air.

Indoor area: Newly Constructed Rooms, Under-Renovation Rooms

Type of insulation: Blown-in

Also good for: rooms with finished walls, hard-to-reach spaces, obstructed walls

Blown-in insulation is ideal for hard-to-reach spaces and finished areas. The blown-in technology provides better and faster coverage, especially in areas that cannot be covered by insulation sprays.

The blown-in foam absorbs sound and acts as a thermal barrier that helps rooms stay cool or warm for a longer period of time, as well as keeping the desired temperature with very minimal use of cooling or heating devices.

Ideal for renovation projects and DIY, the application is simple and straightforward. However, be careful not to spray too much material, as it will foam out as it dries and cover the stud wall surface. To achieve a thorough and more even coating, contact a professional to do it.

Indoor Area: Basements

Type of insulation: Foam Board and Rigid Foam Panels

Also good for: foundation walls, basement walls, floors, and ceilings

Foam boards or rigid foam panels are an all-around insulation material. It’s conveniently cut into widths that fit between standard stud gaps. The foam is a closed-cell material that offers a higher advantage in thermal conductivity compared to other insulation materials.

One drawback of using this material is that it leaves a bigger carbon footprint because it is made with poly materials. However, its insulation capacity makes it a good choice for sound-proofing and reducing sound absorption when you really need it.

For homes that are being renovated, it’s much easier to determine the type of insulation for each part of the home. If you want optimum results, it’s best to cover all your bases while the house is still being built and install the proper insulation from the outset.

Doing so also gives you the opportunity to assess if there is a need to add external insulation within a year, as you can test the internal insulation through the changing seasons.

Other Insulation Factors to Consider 

Now that we’ve covered the ideal insulation material for each room type in your home, we’ll take a look at the important factors to consider when planning to insulate your home.

  • Budget. Insulation is an important aspect of building, renovating, and preserving the overall structural integrity of your home. Additionally, keep in mind that the most expensive type isn’t always the best option for your space or your budget. Getting the right amount of insulation and having it installed properly are the keys to successfully insulating and protecting your home.
  • Climate. Not all insulation materials serve the same purpose, which is why it’s important to consider the climate in your area. Different temperatures and moisture levels must be carefully considered when selecting the type of insulation and the space inside the house where it will be installed
  • Design. The height of walls, the distance of the ceiling to the roof, and the construction of the roof must all be considered when fitting these areas with insulation. These factors also affect the effectiveness of the insulation, especially for sound absorption and noise reduction purposes.
  • IC rating of recessed light fixtures. Unless the fixture is insulation contact (IC) rated, the insulation material shouldn’t be in direct contact with the fixture to prevent a fire hazard.

Alternatively, if your home still feels too warm or too cold during peak season, exterior insulation can help improve the indoor temperature in your home.

Other Benefits of a Proper Insulation

We mentioned soundproofing as one of the benefits of insulating your home. Soundproofing is a way to prevent noise from sneaking into a room and prevent it from escaping the room as well.

Construction-worker-installing-fiberglass-insulationThere are two types of noise: airborne and structural noise. Airborne noise includes structural sounds that travel through the air or can be picked up in the environment, like footsteps on the floor or a knock on the wall.

These noises can easily travel through thin walls and unsealed gaps between joists and wall joints. These unwanted sounds make their way in and out of a room the same way air does. This is why insulation and sound-proofing go hand-in-hand.

A room with reduced or very low environmental noise helps create a restful home environment, as it reduces stress and noise pollution within shared spaces. Insulation materials can help muffle or deaden environmental noise too, which is essential in the homes of those who work, play musical instruments, have small children, and are unable to fall asleep and stay asleep.

While insulation materials cannot completely cancel or absorb noise, they have the capacity to do a bit of both. For complete noise prevention and noise absorption, there are special materials that are suitable for either of these functions. However, these are usually installed post-construction and outside the walls, rather than inside the walls, during the construction phase.

Aside from noise reduction, insulation gives you the following benefits.

Fire protection

Insulation can contribute to a structure’s fire safety because it prevents small fires from spreading quickly. The most common type of insulation used in homes and buildings is fine glass fiber, which is a non-combustible material. Insulation materials are also installed with code-approved barrier materials, which increase their level of fire safety.

Smaller carbon footprint

A properly insulated home uses less energy for cooling and heating. Mineral wool insulation, for example, is an impressive insulation material that is an eco-friendly product. The fibers of the material are non-combustible, removing the need for additional fire-retardant chemicals. This material also lasts long and can withstand high temperatures; it won’t melt due to heat.

Increase in property value

Insulation translates to protection and energy efficiency. Moreover, soundproofing translates to privacy. These intangible benefits increase the market value of your home.

It’s Never too Late to Insulate

For older properties, installing insulation is the first step toward making your home more energy-efficient. Older homes need insulation as much as newer homes, after all. In the case of older homes that are heavily built with wood and other highly combustible materials, however, insulation plays a crucial role in contributing to the fire safety of the structure.

Some older houses with old or worn-down insulation also need to be reassessed, as it is possible that some joints and cracks need resealing. This will boost the reflectivity of the new insulation and help improve the energy efficiency level of the structure.

Insulation is undoubtedly beneficial for your home and when done correctly, you can enjoy its benefits to the fullest.

Insulation is the primary solution to high energy consumption and provides other comforts like noise reduction and noise absorption. It also contributes to the structural health of your home, as it can also deter moisture that can cause water damage and mold problems in the long run. Insulate your home today to create a better and healthier indoor environment.

Our insulation materials are guaranteed to give your home the protection it needs from excessive heat and cold temperatures, as well as mold and moisture problems. Call us at (913) 956-0449 or (816) 265-1947 today or request a quote here and schedule a completely FREE inspection!

Does Your Home Have Traces of Asbestos? Here’s What You Should Do

AsbestosThe use of asbestos as insulation remains legal in the United States, albeit highly regulated, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Despite its proven link that being exposed to asbestos can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma, there have been several failed attempts to implement laws against it.

If you have asbestos fibers in your home, you could be exposing your family to health risks. The asbestos in your home must be dealt with immediately by licensed asbestos contractors and replaced with safer, cost-efficient attic insulation. Identifying asbestos insulation should be left to professionals to reduce potential health risks.

Asbestos and Its Health Hazards

Asbestos is a group of natural minerals which are fire-, electricity-, and soundproof. Because of its low cost and useful properties, it has been used by industries for centuries. However, once it became linked to illnesses such as lung disease and cancer or mesothelioma, organizations began calling for laws to ban its use. These demands, however, have not been successful. There is no asbestos in fiberglass insulation, so it became one of the popular replacements for asbestos.

If your home is old and used to have an asbestos insulator that was removed, you and your family may still be at risk. Asbestos remnants can linger long if not removed by professional or licensed contractors or asbestos removal companies. It is best to have your home checked and your insulation replaced immediately with a safer, cost-efficient material.

What Kind of Insulation Should I Use?

You might be wondering if there is asbestos in blown-in insulation. The fear of bringing asbestos into your home is nothing to laugh about. The experts at A+ Insulation will make sure you get the right insulation that is right for you and your safety.

Many types of insulation are available for asbestos replacement. Consulting an experienced insulation professional such as A+ Insulation will help you determine the alternative to asbestos that would best suit your home. Loose-fill insulation uses a blowing machine to apply the insulation material to the walls or attic. The batt or roll insulation, on the other hand, is attached to a facing which serves as a vapor barrier for heat.

These insulation categories include the following:

  • Insulsafe SP Insulation A fiberglass blown-in insulation used for attic and wall insulation. It’s soundproof and fireproof and can be used in new construction and existing structures.
  • Cellulose Insulation A blown-in insulation that wraps itself around obstructions, making it a good type for attics with many corners and spaces regular insulation cannot fill.
  • Spray Foam Insulation CertaSpray expands to fill in the little spaces.
  • Batted Insulation An affordable type of insulation which is fitted and cut to suit the area it insulates. It is recommended for attics without much obstruction because it needs to be cut to fit around the place, which may cause gaps that allow heat to escape.

Forgoing insulation covers may result in higher energy costs just to warm your home. Insulation keeps the heat inside, keeping the temperature warm on cold days without the constant need for heaters, and cool on warm days.

A+ Insulation offers all these types of insulation, and our customers have found that the right kind of insulation that has allowed them to save at least 30% of their energy bills. Let us give you cost-efficient and effective insulators to warm your home.

Schedule a FREE, no-obligation consultation with A+ Insulation!

Fiberglass Insulation: A High Return Home Renovation

Construction-worker-installing-fiberglass-insulationInsulation is an important and necessary addition to any home. An insulation upgrade proves itself to be one of the best improvements homeowners can make because of the return on investment it provides. Fiberglass insulation prices are low compared to other insulation types. For homeowners looking for a relatively inexpensive home renovation project that will increase their comfort and reduce energy costs, installing fiberglass insulation offers quite a compelling argument.

Fiberglass Insulation’s Return on Investment

For two years in a row, Remodeling Magazine and their Cost vs. Value Report has said that fiberglass attic insulation cost is the home remodeling upgrade project that provides the most substantial return on investment for homeowners looking to make some changes. Of all the types of insulation, the average cost of fiberglass insulation is one of the lowest. This trend is becoming well known among homeowners looking for new ways to make small, incremental improvements to their homes while also adding value.

Cost vs. Value Report

In an annual survey sent to real estate professionals across the U.S., realtors estimated that one year after a fiberglass insulation upgrade, homeowners would potentially increase the return on investment of the value of their home by $1,446 at resale. The ‘Cost vs. Value Report’ estimated the average nationwide upgrade cost for adding blown-in loose-fill fiberglass insulation into an attic (35×30) to reach an R-30 insulation value is $1,343. Fiberglass insulation energy cost savings are a hidden gem in home renovation.

Fiberglass Insulation has an  Average National Return of Over 100 Percent

Remodeling Magazine compared the average cost for 29 of the most popular home renovation projects in 99 U.S. markets on both a national and regional outlook. The report states that fiberglass insulation upgrades add the most value to a home, coming in at 108 percent of the cost of the project. 

The average cost and return at resale for the other 29 projects that were included in this year’s report amounted to a 64.3 percent return. Those numbers were counted as long as the home was sold within one year of completing the renovation. Fiberglass insulation was the only project that had an average national return of more than 100 percent.

When to install new insulation

If you can already tell that your insulation is not keeping up with the changes in temperature outside, you probably need to replace your insulation. If you know what kind of insulation you have, you can use the average lifespan to figure out if it’s time to switch. Each type of insulation lasts for different amounts of time, and they can all be damaged by leaky roofs or animals and critters.

If you do not know what kind of insulation you have or when it was replaced, it is in your best interest to get a professional to check your insulation and see if it is still capable of doing its job. The labor costs you can expect to pay will be a lot less than having to get a mold specialist if you leave old insulation for too long.

Professional Installation vs. DIY Costs

Is fiberglass insulation safe to install on your own? A lot of people believe that they can save even more money by installing their insulation themselves. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. 

DIY insulation installers will need the ability to make extremely accurate notes on where heat is lost and purchase the exact amount of insulation you need. You may end up spending more than the entire cost of having a professional contractor install the insulation for you. 

A few other issues DIYers could run into are the need to make changes to their HVAC while putting in their insulation, not having the correct permits, and risky health hazards if they do not have the right equipment to remove their existing insulation.

If you want to reap the rewards and see a return on your investment, have your insulation installed by a professional. It will be much more cost-effective to have it done correctly, and you will avoid potentially expensive mistakes.

Insulation replacement is great for any homeowner looking for an end-of-summer home improvement project that they can have completed. It can be done relatively quickly and not go over their home renovation budget. Installing fiberglass insulation material has proven itself to be one of the best choices you can make.

With our experience in the insulation industry, we can help you save energy and get you the most for your money.

Schedule a FREE consultation with A+ Insulation!

How Quality Insulation Can Keep Pests Out of Your Home

Insulation

Insulation helps provide year-round comfort to your household by keeping the indoor air separate from the outdoor air. However, insulation offers several other benefits to homeowners, such as keeping out unwanted pests.

How it Works

Many types of insulation are pre-treated with boric acid or other pest-blocking chemicals that harm the rodent or insect if it digests it. Most insulation materials that are treated for pest control purposes help get rid of common home invaders such as cockroaches and ants. Cockroaches in particular eat almost anything in their sight, so you can easily get rid of them when they eat the treated insulation. Other roaches that come into contact with the affected roach will die as well.

Other Benefits of Insulation

Aside from getting rid of pests, you can reap other benefits when you insulate your home, including the following.

  • Cost-Efficiency. We all know that heat is not cheap. With a better-quality attic barrier, you’ll be able to keep more heat inside of your home during the winter months. Investing in insulation will help you save on energy costs in the long run. It will also keep heat out during the scorching summer days.
  • Increased Comfort. Your home will be more comfortable if you can control and maintain the temperature. Because it affects the entire house, insulation will also ensure that there won’t be any pockets of cold in your residence.
  • Flame Retardant. If a fire gets into your attic, it will have a difficult time spreading to other parts of the house because of insulation’s fire-retardant properties. This could give the fire department enough time to respond to a distress call.
  • Fungi and Mold Resistance. By resisting fungi and mold, insulation can boost the quality of air in your residence. It can also protect the people living in your residence from illnesses caused or aggravated by molds and fungi.

Insulation Types

The following are different kinds of insulation.

  • Spray-foam insulation
  • Cellulose insulation
  • Denim insulation
  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Mineral wool insulation
  • Crawlspace insulation

Spray Foam Insulation

Done with spray holders, spray foam insulation involves the spraying of foam from containers to specific areas of a house. It is best to install spray foam insulation in existing walls, new spaces in walls, or unfinished attics.

Spray foam insulation can keep out mice and other pests that come in through the places where you get the most air leaks, such as crawl spaces, rim joists, or openings in the attic. It helps seal up the crevices and cracks where it is sprayed. This makes it harder for pests to get in.

Another advantage of this type of insulation is that it’s well-suited for both oddly-shaped and finished areas. It also works well when used around obstructions.

Cellulose Insulation

Cellulose insulation is made of tiny pieces of paper broken into fibers. These fibers are treated with a mineral that resists pests. They are also treated with chemicals to make them better at protecting the home from heat and moisture.

Another advantage of opting for cellulose insulation is that it is made up of 85% recycled materials. These are mainly newspapers, although it isn’t unusual to use cardboard or other kinds of paper.

Although made out of paper, this insulation type can also help control the spread of flames. The chemicals it is treated with, along with its ability to fit around obstructions and fill irregularly shaped spaces, make it a great flame retardant. It also works well for attics.

One con of using cellulose insulation is that it is not waterproof. It is prone to accumulating moisture, becoming more vulnerable to rot over time. However, if you are looking for an organic and less-expensive way to insulate your home, cellulose insulation will work well for you.

Denim Insulation

A form of cellulose fiber (cotton), denim insulation is an eco-friendly insulation material that is often treated with borate to provide Class-A fire resistance. It is also usually treated with EPA-registered fungal inhibitors to protect against pests, mold, and mildew.

Fiberglass Insulation

Popular in the building industry because of its light-weight properties and durability, insulation with fiberglass is, as its name implies, made up of thin fibers of glass. By trapping pockets of air, it keeps spaces thermally regulated and insulated against sound transmission between walls or floors.

The material in fiberglass insulation is relatively inexpensive when compared with alternative materials. This insulation type is also easier to install. Even better, it is not flammable and is highly resistant to moisture damage, which makes it more appealing to homeowners.

With the proper equipment, fiberglass can be an easy and cost-effective solution to insulation issues. In recent years, technology advancements have allowed fiberglass insulation to be made in more environmentally friendly ways.

While it has many perks, the fibers that make up fiberglass insulation can irritate the skin and lungs. Homeowners must not be present in their homes during the installation process.

Mineral Wool Insulation

While it has similarities to fiberglass, mineral wool often costs more. It can also be harder to find than fiberglass. Mineral wool comes in loose-fill, meaning it is poured out of bags or blown into the desired area. One of the best advantages of mineral wool insulation is that it can withstand higher temperatures.

Crawlspace Insulation

A crawlspace is an area between the first floor and the ground. Crawlspaces are usually not the first place that people think about when planning to upgrade their insulation.

However, uninsulated crawlspaces can still be a point of origin for problems like musty smells or mold. Mold in particular can be a problem to the health of people with allergies or asthma. Crawlspace insulation can also reduce the presence of critters and bugs.

Understanding R-Values

The resistance of an insulating material to conductive heat flow is measured through its R-value or thermal resistance. A greater R-value means more insulating effectiveness. Factors like the insulation type, its density, and its thickness affect the R-value.

Insulation

The R-values of some insulation material also depend on aging, temperature, and moisture accumulation. To calculate the R-value of multilayered installations, simply add the R-values of the individual layers.

When you install more insulation in your home, you increase its R-value and resistance to heat flow. The amount of R-value or insulation you’ll need depends on your cooling and heating system, your climate, and the area of your house you want to insulate.

Insulation Tips

Ready to get your home insulated? Here are some other things to consider.

  • Think about factors like your budget, climate, and home design when selecting the type of insulation for any area of your home.
  • Use higher R-value insulation, like spray foam insulation, on exterior walls so the material takes up less space without compromising its protective properties.
  • To avoid a fire hazard, be careful with how you will place insulation near a recessed light fixture unless the fixture is insulation contact (IC) rated.
  • Follow the installation instructions of the manufacturer.
  • Wear suitable protective gear upon installation.
  • A good and cost-effective way to invest in the comfort of your home is to install insulation in your attic.
  • If your residence still feels too cold during winters or too warm during summers, you might need to put insulation on your exterior walls. While this is usually more expensive, it is a good investment, especially for cold climate areas.

Some Challenges

Insulation provides many benefits for your home, but it isn’t without its challenges. Old insulation can be a hotbed for insects like cockroaches. If your insulation is not properly treated or is outdated, pests can live happily in it for years without you knowing.

A pest infestation doesn’t necessarily mean you have an insulation issue. However, you might still have to add to your insulation or replace it. If you feel uncomfortably hot during the summer or cold in the winter, you might benefit from adding insulation to your attic, walls, or crawlspace. Insulation can also help if you’re tired of paying a lot for your cooling and heating bills.

We recommend calling upon an insulation expert and having them come to your home to perform a full inspection. If your insulation has signs of pests or is simply old, the experts can replace it with new insulation that will keep your home free of pests.

Quality Insulation Services from A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation is a Kansas-based company that offers several insulation-related services. We pride ourselves not only on quality installations but also on quality people and service. Our A+ team is made up of trained and certified installers to ensure that we provide the highest standards in the industry.

Insulation is what we know and do best, but customer service is what we focus on. This is how we’ve gained many loyal customers over the years. Our goal is to make your experience as happy as possible with every step of the insulation process–from evaluation to installation to price.

Take a look at our A+ insulation services!

Purchasing a Home With a Crawl Space? Here’s What You Need to Do

Home with crawl space

 

Crawl spaces are the hollow areas set between the ground and the first floor of your house. They are commonly found in homes without basements, with their main purposes being the following.

  • Cost-effectiveness. Leveling the ground before construction can be expensive, but elevating the house and creating a crawl space eliminate this cost.
  • Convenience. Plumbing and electrical systems can be run through the crawl space, making it easier for homeowners to inspect and maintain these systems, as well as more convenient for plumbers and technicians to repair if needed.

Despite these benefits, the crawl space under your house can also be the cause of major complications, including the following.

  • Moisture. Moisture from the ground can seep into the floors, despite the elevation, and rot your home’s wooden support structure or cause mold growth.
  • Heat loss The bare earth in crawl spaces can rob the heat from the warm floor above if not insulated properly.
  • Pests Like most dark and moist areas, crawl spaces attract pests like termites, rats, and raccoons.

The crawl space is often neglected and left to the elements, resulting in the problems stated above. As such, the crawl space must be periodically inspected to avoid the headache of fixing costly problems.

If you’re buying or have recently bought a house with a crawl space, the aforementioned complications are things you must look out for. Luckily, with the right maintenance, such as adding insulation to your crawl space, you can prevent or remedy these problems.

Ventilation

Since moisture is one of the biggest causes of problems within a crawl space, it’s crucial to improve ventilation in the area. With vents, air from the outside can enter the crawl space and prevent moisture buildup.

Crawl space ventilation is actually a part of building codes. According to the International Residential Code (IRC) Section 408

“The under-floor space between the bottom of the floor joists and the earth under any building (except space occupied by a basement) shall have ventilation openings through foundation walls or exterior walls.

The minimum net area of ventilation openings shall be not less than 1 square foot for every 150 square feet of under-floor space area unless the ground surface is covered by Class 1 vapor retarder material.

Where a Class 1 vapor retarder material is used, the minimum net area of ventilation openings shall be not less than 1 square foot for every 1,500 square feet of under-floor space area. One such ventilating opening shall be within 3 feet of each corner of the building.”

This means that for every 150 square feet of space in the crawl space, you must have a square foot vent. For example, if your crawl space measures 30 feet by 30 feet, you need a combined 6 sq. ft. of vent space. You can install either six vents that measure 1 ft x 1 ft or three 1 ft x 2 ft vents.

The following are benefits of ventilating your crawl space.

  • Prevents moisture buildup and wood rot
  • Prevents mold and mildew growth
  • Prevents pipes from freezing in the winter by closing the vents

Encapsulation

A modern alternative to ventilation, crawl space encapsulation uses a heavy-duty moisture barrier to cover every surface of a crawl space, including the entire soil floor, walls, and even the ceiling. The moisture barrier is made from polyethylene material and is waterproof.

Once your crawl space has been completely sealed using moisture barrier sheets, the next step of encapsulation is to control the humidity. Placing a dehumidifier inside the crawl space helps further minimize the moisture that forms in the area.

With the dehumidifier and moisture barrier working together to keep the moisture level in your crawl space low, you can prevent common moisture-related problems from affecting your home.

The following are benefits of encapsulating your crawl space.

  • Prevents mold and mildew buildup
  • Prevents structural damage and wood rot
  • Creates an inhospitable area for pests
  • Improves air quality within the crawl space

Insulation

If ventilation and encapsulation solve one of the biggest problems with crawl spaces, being moisture build-up, insulation is the answer to another issue: heat loss.

Heat loss can occur if your crawl space is made of cold masonry foundation walls and the floor is bare earth. When exposed to outside temperatures, the concrete walls in the crawl space can rob heat from your home, especially if there are hot water pipes and HVAC plumbing routed through it.

Insulation concept

Insulation keeps the temperature outside your house from seeping into your indoor spaces. Since the temperature in uninsulated crawl spaces isn’t regulated, the heat of summer and cold of winter can seep up into your home.

As the temperature from the crawl space rises to your first floor, it will take more energy to sufficiently heat or cool your home. Crawl space insulation is the solution to this problem.

There are two types of insulation that are ideal for crawl spaces.

  1. Spray Foam Foundation Insulation
  2. Draped Foundation Insulation

1. Spray Foam Foundation Insulation

This type of insulation uses either water-resistant closed-cell foam or water-absorbent open-cell foam to insulate your floor space. The closed-cell foam is more advisable, especially since moisture is another problem in crawl spaces. With spray foam insulating your floor from your crawl space, the temperature below will not be able to leak or seep through your floors.

2. Draped Foundation Insulation

This form of insulation is best for crawl spaces with limited cavity depth. Fiberglass batts are tacked to the sill plate of your crawl space’s ceiling or the underside of your floor then draped down to the crawl space floor.

The following are benefits of insulating your crawl space.

  • Reduces energy bills
  • Improves HVAC efficiency
  • Improves indoor air quality
  • Creates a more comfortable home

Crawl Space Inspection Checklist

While you have different crawl space maintenance options, as illustrated above, it’s still important to inspect the crawl space before buying a new home. Whether you’re buying a newly constructed house or a previously owned property, make the crawl space an important part of your home inspection.

Wiring issues

Running wires through the crawl space is a technique that makes it easier for homeowners to perform repairs on their electrical systems. However, because the crawl space is rarely checked or maintained, there might be exposed wires or loose connections. Check the condition of the wiring in the crawl space while inspecting the property you’re interested in.

Plumbing issues

Plenty of homeowners choose to make use of their crawl space by running pipes and other parts of the plumbing system through it. However, it can be difficult to detect complications like damaged or leaking pipes. Check for leakage stains or discoloration when inspecting the property.

Drainage issues

If the plumbing issue is that of leaking pipes and the crawl space also has drainage issues, the structural integrity of the property might become compromised. There should be a proper drainage system in the crawl space to prevent flooding and moisture buildup.

Moisture issues

Speaking of moisture buildup, several issues crop up when this happens. Mold can grow along the damp surfaces, the wooden support structures of the house can rot, and pests may be attracted to the space. Look for signs of these when inspecting the crawl space of the property you want to purchase.

Cracks in the foundation

Generally, tiny cracks—those that are less than ¼ of an inch—are not a cause for concern. However, significant separation of the material, usually concrete, on opposite sides of the crack, as well as sagging and sinking foundation, are signs of possible structural problems. It’s important to raise this issue if it comes up during crawl space inspection.

Keep Your Crawl Space Protected

With plenty of complications that can happen within your crawl space, knowing what problems to look out for and how to prevent or fix them is valuable.

Luckily, you don’t have to look far and wide for an insulation services provider. A+ Insulation is Kansas City homeowners’ go-to crawl space insulation expert. With almost two decades of experience, our team has seen all kinds of crawl spaces and the problems that crop up in uninsulated ones.

This is why we are committed to installing quality and long-lasting crawl space insulation for your home. Every one of our insulation projects is tailored to each individual client’s needs. So, whether you want to insulate your crawl space floors or walls, our technicians can get the job done.

Among the crawl space insulation options we offer are…

  1. Spray Foam Foundation Insulation
  2. Draped Foundation Insulation

Our team can inspect your crawl space and advice you on which option is best for your property.

With A+ Insulation as your crawl space insulation partner, you can expect…

  • A free on-site estimate
  • Meticulous insulation installation
  • Professional service

If you have other inquiries or want to schedule a crawl space insulation installation, call us at (913) 281-2250 today.

Take a look at our crawl space insulation services!