Category Archives: Residential

Five Things You Should Check Before Converting Your Attic into a Bedroom

attic bedroomIt’s one thing to dream up a cozy new attic nook for the kids or your guests; it’s another to plan it out and execute the conversion. Though attic conversions are a common home improvement project in Kansas, it’s not as simple as putting up new walls and laying down new floors. It takes thorough planning and trusted professional help to get it done.

Don’t worry, though. If you partner with the right people, an attic conversion can be a piece of cake. A well-thought-of attic bedroom — plus the fun that your family would have — would be worth the effort.

Our insulation installers in Kansas City have put together a list of things to consider when planning your attic conversion.

1. BUILDING CODES

Regulations vary from county to county, but most attic conversion building codes require:

  1. A minimum of 70 sq. ft. of floor space. You don’t want a room designated for rest and leisure to feel cramped.
  2. At least 7 ft. in each direction. This means the dimensions of your new bedroom must be at least 7’x10’. An oddly-shaped attic (say, a 3.5’ x 20’ rectangular space) isn’t a livable quarter. The requirement for a clear floor space is also so people can access the exit in case of emergencies quickly.
  3. At least 50% of the ceiling should be a minimum of 7.5 ft high. This ensures people have ample space to stand upright without hitting their heads on the roof.
  4. A sturdy, full-size staircase. This prevents accidents and enables a speedy exit in case of emergencies. Some codes require the stairs to have a minimum of 6’8’’ headroom; 10’’ deep threads, and 7.25’’ high risers.
  5. Windows. Some codes require another exit, like a window, to make the space more secure.

Your local contractor will walk you through the regulations in your area and explain the necessary renovations to make your future bedroom compliant and safe. Moreover, they’ll help process and obtain any necessary building permits.

2. INSULATION

contractor installing insulation in the atticIf you haven’t paid much attention to your attic’s insulation, then now’s the time to do so. Proper insulation keeps energy bills to a minimum because it prevents the outdoor conditions from affecting indoor temperatures.

More importantly, insulation is crucial to the comfort of the occupants. Since you’re building a new bedroom, insulation must be tight and adequate. Otherwise, no one would get a good night’s sleep there.

Signs of Inadequate Insulation

Here are some signs that your attic’s insulation needs an upgrade:

  • Ice Dams – If you notice sharp icicles lining your roof during the winter, your attic insulation might not be doing its job. Ice dams form when the snow that covers your roof melts, flows, and drips. The water, however, refreezes as it reaches the colder portion of the roof along the eaves. The result is a heavy build-up of ice on the ridges.

A common culprit of the melting-and-refreezing cycle that leads to the formation of ice dams is poor attic insulation. When poorly insulated, the warm air from your living area escapes to the attic and seeps outwards to the roof. The rise in roof temperature melts the ice and starts the process of creating an ice dam.

  • Spike in Energy Bills – Noticed a spike in your energy bills, but haven’t added any new electrical appliance at home? Chances are your attic insulation is at fault. It might have leaks that allow warm air to escape or enter your home. In fact, about 25% of a home’s heat escapes through the attic and roof. As a result, your HVAC system needs to work harder to compensate for the loss.
  • Water Leaks – Just as heat easily enters and exits a poorly insulated home, so does water. The issue with water leaks is that it’s a problem that steadily worsens over time. Moisture seeps in through the insulation, causing water damage and creating a viable environment for mold and mildew. Nobody wants that in a bedroom!

Our insulation contractors can check for other tell-tale signs of under-insulation.

Your Insulation Options

If you think that your attic needs more robust insulating solutions, A+ Insulation offers several kinds of insulation:

  • Insulsafe SP Insulation – Apart from thermal efficiency, this insulation boasts sound absorption and minimal settling. Moreover, it’s non-combustible.
  • Cellulose Insulation – This type of insulation acts like a liquid, covering obstructions and filling up every nook and cranny.
  • Spray Foam Insulation – We do CertaSpray Closed Cell Foam Insulation, which fills up every little space in the area, effectively sealing off heat and air.
  • Batt Insulation – Also known as blanket insulation, this fiberglass insulation is attached to a facing usually made of kraft paper, white vinyl, or aluminum foil. This is ideal for attics with few pipes or wires.

Our contractors inspect your attic and determine the right type of insulation for your new bedroom.

3. VENTILATION

Proper ventilation keeps air flowing in and out of the attic, so it isn’t stuffy or have dank odors. It also releases excess heat or moisture from the attic.

Here’s a 6-point checklist to determine if your attic ventilation is adequate for a new bedroom:

  1. Does ventilation follow building codes? The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends a ratio of 1:150 ventilation space for the attic.
  2. Are there obstructions in the vents? Debris, like leaves, twigs, and dirt, clogs the vents, which makes ventilation inefficient.
  3. Is there moisture build-up? Proper ventilation keeps air flowing in the ceiling and provides an exit for moisture. If moisture is left to accumulate, it could be a sign that ventilation is obstructed.
  4. Is the attic uncommonly hot? Hot ceilings mean hot air is trapped inside, causing your energy bill to spike and creating discomfort for your family.
  5. Are the wood framings and walls warped? A hot ceiling can warp the wood framing and walls in the attic. It can also blister paint and wallpaper.
  6. Do all vents fall under the same system? It’s advisable to stick to the same type of ventilation for the home, whether that’s ridge vents, gable vents, or others. This ensures maximum efficiency.

Your contractor can determine if your attic has adequate ventilation or provide recommendations otherwise.

4. WIRING, HEATING, AND COOLING

There are many DIY videos online, but don’t get swept up in promises that it’s easy to do. Let your contractor handle the electrical wirings, so you’re sure that it meets code requirements. You also have the peace of mind that installation is safe and won’t delay the project.

Electrical Wiring

Where electrical wiring is concerned, you have to go over these two things with your contractor:

  • Outlets – Many bedroom attics have at least one outlet on each wall, and at least one outlet every 12 feet. This deters anyone of the household from stretching cords too far and creating hazards.
  • Light Fixtures – It’s a tight squeeze in the attic, so save the chandeliers for the receiving area. Ask the contractor to install electrical wirings for recessed lights, which are tucked into the ceiling, saving headroom.

HVAC Systems

Have an HVAC expert inspect if your current heating and cooling system can carry the load of another room. They can recommend if your attic needs additional ductwork installed.

If that option exceeds your budget, ask your contractor for other heating and cooling solutions, like mini-split systems.

5. LAYOUT

Pay special attention to these two architectural elements, which are unique to attics.

Angled Ceilings

Attics have angled ceilings, which make for a unique bedroom. You can either change the slope of the roof or make the most of the angled feature.

  • Change the Slope – If you want to change the slope of the ceiling, consider a mansard or dormer conversion (which are popular loft remodeling projects in the UK). A mansard conversion extends the slop of the roof to up to 72 degrees, which dramatically increases headroom. Meanwhile, a dormer conversion creates a vertical wall and horizontal ceiling protruding from the roof.
  • Highlight the Slope – If you think the angled ceiling adds to the charm of the bedroom, then highlight this architectural design. Experiment with paneling with different types of molding. Or install skylights, which flood the room with a healthy dose of sunlight and makes the space more breathable.

Flooring

Attic floors were built for storage, which means they can withstand static weight. It’s possible, however, that the original builders didn’t build the floor to carry the load of a bedroom.

In this case, the attic (if you have a nice space, guests and playmates would want to see them) will experience a lot of movement. Plus, you need to take into account the beds, drawers, lampposts, toy boxes, bookshelves, and other bulky items you’re adding to the room’s decor. Have your contractor check that the floor is structurally sound.

Then, decide on your flooring. Many homeowners choose carpeted floors for their attics because of their sound-proofing capabilities. Since the attic floor is your living quarters’ ceiling, it’s best to cut down the noise of treading feet.

Once you’ve gone over these essentials, you have free rein over the final design of the new bedroom. Build a castle-themed room for your little princesses, create a winning nook for your future sports star, or keep it fresh and minimalist for your guests. You’re the boss.

An attic deserves to have a touch of your personality and taste — even if you have to comply with several structural and safety measures before you get that creative freedom.

Let’s build a comfortable new bedroom in your attic. Contact A+ Insulation for efficient attic insulation in Kansas City.

Attic and Foundation Insulation: Protect Your Home from Humidity and Moisture

Insulation Contractor replacing insulationsMoisture is the common enemy of homeowners. It has wide-ranging implications, from structural home damage to health consequences.

High moisture levels damage the foundations of your home. It accumulates on various surfaces and cause paint to peel, wood structures to rot, and electrical wirings to short circuit. Pests like cockroaches, termites, and other bugs are also known to thrive in damp areas of the house. Dry, wet spots also encourage mold growth and cause health problems, such as throat irritation, nasal stuffiness, coughing, and even skin irritation.

Apart from compromising your health and your home’s structural integrity, high levels of indoor moisture may also cause your energy bills to soar. Too much humidity, which is the moisture content in the air, feels heavy and uncomfortable on the skin. This forces you to up your cooling system usage, potentially increasing your utility bills.

Your number one defense against high humidity is insulation. But first, you have to know how moisture enters or builds inside your home, so you know how and where to reinforce your insulation.

How Does Moisture Enter Your Home?

Moisture isn’t always as obvious as water droplets forming on surfaces. It moves through, in, and out of your house in three ways: air movement, heat transfer, or diffusion through materials. Out of these three methods, air movement is mostly responsible for carrying moisture.

Air currents carry 98 percent of the water content throughout your house, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE). Air easily moves through the cracks or gaps in the walls, floors, or ceilings. Aside from carrying moisture, the drafts that pass through your house also let out warm or cool air, decreasing the efficiency of your HVAC system.

The most effective moisture control strategy for this situation is by sealing all the unintended paths of air movement in your house.

But even if you block all the unwanted air current routes, moisture naturally builds in your home. Various activities, such as dish washing, clothes washing and drying, cooking, and bathing, increase the water content in the air. Some heating equipment like kerosene burners and vent-free natural gas heaters also increase humidity.

This is where insulation comes in. A well-insulated home regulates the level of humidity inside and prevents moisture from seeping into different surfaces.

Plenty of homeowners know the value of wall insulation, mostly for energy efficiency purposes. But many are still unaware of the significance of attic insulation.

Attic Insulation: Blanket, Loose-Fill, or Spray Foam

attic insulationGenerally, humid air is less dense than dry air because the water molecules make it lighter. This makes humid air naturally rise. An uninsulated attic may allow moisture to pass, through cracks on the surface or via diffusion. When moisture seeps into the attic, it may damage ceiling joists and other vital wooden structures.

Warm air can also escape the house through the attic, since it rises naturally. When this happens, cold air will refill the space, forcing your heater to work twice as hard to warm the room again.

Also, moisture condenses into water droplets when the humid air contacts cool surfaces. This is a huge problem for uninsulated attics, especially during winter. As snow falls on the roof, it also cools the ceiling. And as the humid air rises from the lower rooms to the attic, it may form condensation when it hits the ceiling.

Choose from blanket insulation, loose-fill insulation, or spray foam insulation for your attic. Blanket insulation comes in batts or rolls, so it lends itself well to DIY solutions. This type is ideal for attics with uniformly spaced joists and beams and very little obstructions. Make sure the batts of the insulation material fit the vents snugly for maximum efficiency.

Loose-fill insulation, on the other hand, is more ideal for attics with limited space. The loose insulation material easily fills small areas with multiple obstructions. The material should be fluffy, but over time, it loses its volume and effectiveness. You may need to add more if your insulation looks flat or doesn’t rise over the floor joists

Spray foam insulation offer the highest R-value, which refers to the material’s resistance to heat transfer. The closed-foam cells contain gas that allows them to expand and fill even the tiniest spaces. This insulation gives you a solid, protective barrier against humidity and air flow. Unlike blanket insulation, spray foam isn’t a DIY project because it requires special tools and safety gear. An experienced spray foam contractor will ensure that the foam is applied and cured properly to prevent it from cracking or breaking and emitting foul odor.

Apart from the attic, the foundation of your home is also prone to moisture damage, mostly because of capillary action.

Foundation Insulation

Capillary action or wicking action refers to the ability of water to travel through a porous material, even without the help of gravity. The most probable source of moisture problems in the foundation is water leakage. This holds true whether you have a crawlspace, slab-on-grade, or a basement.

The water from the leakage flows through porous material, such as wood, concrete, and other masonry materials. It can also result from water entering from the foundation through cracks or holes on the basement. In this instance, the first step would be to check for any damage that may allow water to pass through so that you can address them. Otherwise, insulating cracked floors and walls will only give you wet and ineffective insulation.

An uninsulated or poorly insulated foundation poses grave structural issues to your entire home. Since most foundations are built from concrete, heat loss is also very likely because the warmth can escape through the concrete’s pores. This energy loss can rack up your utility bills, especially in winter.

Insulation for the foundation is more complicated than the attic’s because it’s heavily in contact with the ground, groundwater, and other factors that increase its risk for moisture problems. Insulation solutions will depend on the type of foundation, depth of the footing, style of construction, and the local climate. An insulation contractor will help you determine the specifics necessary to identify which moisture control solution is best for your home.

A+ Service from A+ Insulation

A+ Insulation is your trusted insulating company in Kansas City. We provide quality installations as well as excellent customer service. Our team of experts will inspect your house to determine the root of the moisture problem in your home, so we can arrive at the optimal solution.

We pick only the best materials to ensure the longevity of your insulation. A+ Insulation strives to make sure that your house is well-insulated and compliant with state and local building policies.

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

Never Too Early: Preparing For Winter During The Summer

Winter is fast-approaching, and while it can be one of the most beautiful seasons of the year, it can also be the most challenging. Despite all the festivities and the captivating view that snow fall makes. According to a survey from YouGov, when asked about their favorite season, only 13% of respondents prefer the winter season, making it the least favorite season of Americans. Our point it that it is probably time to start preparing for winter.

Why it is Important to Start Preparing for Winter Now

From making driving extra dangerous to constant frost bite, Americans seem to have different reasons why they aren’t big winter fans. Often because people dread the coming of winter they end up putting to the back of their minds and end up unprepared for the season. Moreover, when it comes to winter preparation, most of us are distracted with all the festivities and the prospect of a vacation making us forget that our homes need to undergo changes in order to be fully equipped for this tough season.House covered with snow

Preparing for the winter season is just as important as preparing for storms, and welcoming this season unprepared will have repercussions on you, your home, and your family. With winter storms and cold temperatures, staying safe and healthy during the winter can be hard if you fail to plan ahead. Keeping our health in check and making sure we’re comfortable during the coming winter means making changes to your home.

Don’t Wait for Freezing Temperatures

Instead of waiting for the freezing temperature and cold winds to blow in, summer can be the best time to start winterizing your home. Of course, calendars this summer season are already filled with road trips and family vacations. Since children get long vacations and thanks to the wonderful summer weather, it’s understandable that your summer days are already booked with fun activities such as hiking, fishing, or even going out of the country. Summer days are usually busy for everyone and with so much going on, time can really fly by.

However, summer is the perfect time to prepare your home for the coming cold winds of winter. You might be thinking that it’s too early to be thinking about the winter season when we still have months of fall before winter finally kicks in. But while preparing ourselves for the winter can be as easy as getting our long-sleeved and turtleneck clothes from the back of our closets, preparing our homes is a lot more complicated.

Just like during stormy seasons, some of us often wait for severe weather conditions to hit before we actually start preparing and grab some necessities. While this may work sometimes, it is still better to prepare in advance. Preparation is easier while the weather is still sunny and pleasant. If we wait until it’s already cold and snowy, some parts of your preparation may be a lot harder to accomplish.

Winter can be brutal, and it can start earlier than expected.  In 2018, Kansas City experienced their first snow fall on October 15, breaking a 120-year-old record on the earliest measurable snowfall in the city. Aside from the fact that snowfall can start earlier than expected, the snow in Kansas averages 15 inches of snow per year, making it snowier than most cities in Missouri.

The first snowfall can be unpredictable and the cold winds and freezing temperature might start earlier than we expected, which is why we should take advantage of the pleasant weather of summer season to get ready for the tough and harsh winter.

Winterizing your home

From building emergency kits to getting your snow shovels to deal with the large volume of snow, there are many ways to prepare for winter. But if there’s one preparation you should do as early as now, it’s winterizing your home through proper insulation.

If you’re reluctant to contact insulation contractors to invest in home insulation because of its cost, it’s important to remember that insulation at your home will not only keep you warm during the winter but will also be beneficial for you and your family all year round, making it a worthy home investment.

With extremely cold temperature comes the loss of comfort in your own home and sickness among your family. In order to eliminate these possibilities, homeowners should invest in proper insulation for the coming winter. Home insulation should be one of the top priorities in your preparation for this very challenging season.

Here’s why home insulation is a great investment.

Comfort

Even though you’re inside the four walls of your home, keeping comfortable in the winter can be a challenge. It can take numerous blankets, extra layers of clothing, and extra usage of your home’s heater in order to stay warm during the lowest temperatures of the season. Insulation works by stopping the transfer of heat, helping to keep the temperature inside your home as warm.

Health

Constant exposure to low temperature and can impact the body’s immune system, as cold winds can affect our first line of defense. While the cold weather is not responsible for making more people sick during the winter, the viruses that cause colds can spread more easily in lower temperatures. Insulating your home can keep the temperature of your home under control, making you and your family less prone to catching colds during the winter season.

Energy saving

Air leaks can be present around your home, without your knowledge. From windows, doors, basement, and attic, air leaks can be wasting energy at your home, making your heater work harder to keep your home warm. Proper insulation at home helps prevent heat loss and can increase the efficiency of your HVAC systems, significantly helping you lower your energy bills.

Resale value

An added bonus of having a proper insulation system at home is the increase of its resale value. If the idea of selling your home is in the next five years is on your mind, installing or updating an insulation system can make your home more attractive to potential buyers.

How and where to start?

Contractor installing the proper insulationAccording to the US Department of Energy, having a proper insulation system at home can save you up to 20 percent of your home’s heating costs. Now that you have decided to invest in proper insulation in your home in order to prepare for the coming winter, you might be a little lost on which parts of your home needs insulation and what type of insulation is best for it.

If you are committed to insulating your home but not sure where to start, here are the specific areas in your home that you should insulate:

Attic

This area of your home is arguably the most important of your home that needs proper insulation. Your home’s attic holds a lot of generated heat as heat naturally rises. In order to keep that warmth inside your home, this area of your home should be properly insulated. Blown in and spray foam insulation in your attic for the winter will prevent heat from escaping your home.

Walls

The walls of your home also need proper insulation in order to reduce the needed energy to warm your home during the cold days of winter. Aside from making your home a more comfortable environment, insulated walls also reduce noise by blocking sounds which gives your home and family more privacy.

Floors

Just because heat naturally rises doesn’t mean that heat can’t be lost through flooring. Heat inside your home can also escape through uninsulated flooring, especially in areas such as the garage and basement. In preparation for the winter, adding spray or blown-in insulation in your home’s flooring will protect the heated air produced by your home’s heating systems.

Cozy up this winter with A+ Insulation

A home that is not properly insulated doesn’t only make your home uncomfortable, it can also put you and your family’s health at risk.

If you’re determined to have a cozy and comfortable winter this year, you can trust A+ Insulation to provide your home superior comfort. Our teams of insulation technicians have been insulating homes in Kansas City since 2004, so we know how to get the job done right. We will add the right amount and right type of insulation in the areas of your home that need it most in order to provide you and your family a consistent level of comfort, whether it’s winter, summer or any season of the year.

When it comes to home insulation, you can trust our team of highly trained and experienced technicians to deliver A+ job every time. Contact us today and let’s make this year’s winter your best, warmest, and most comfortable one yet.

Inherited an Old House? Here’s How to Check If It’s Under-insulated

A+-insulation-kansas-city-attic

From the intricate plaster moldings on the ceiling to the grandiose decorations on the fireplace, there’s no doubt that old homes in Kansas City have a unique charm to them. They’re also built with better craftsmanship and materials compared to the newer, mass-produced houses in the suburbs. Depending on the location, people could get these aging houses for cheap, too. It’s no wonder why people still cling onto them.

Growing Pains

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ 2015 Eye On Housing study, 38% of houses in the United States were built in 1969 or earlier. The report stated that the median age of a home in the country is 37 years old. If you inherited a home that’s as old, or older than that, you’re lucky to own a piece of architectural history.

However, even houses aren’t immune to the pains of aging, so your inheritance may manifest such symptoms. Old homes run into a number of problems as materials degrade and building codes change. Some homes may have water problems because they use outdated or inadequately spaced pipes. Others may still have structural components that are now deemed unsafe. These problems vary from house to house, but a common issue in some aging houses is poor insulation – or the lack of it. So, despite the benefits you may gain from your old-house inheritance, insulation may be something you need to check and fix.

Importance of Insulation

According to experts from Realtor.com, old homes, especially ones built on or before the 1960s, weren’t built with insulation in mind. This is because energy prices were so low back then that people just cranked up their heaters or ACs with no fear of raising the bills. Now that we’re constantly facing higher electricity costs, and trying to reduce our carbon footprint as well, we need insulation to keep our homes energy efficient.

How exactly does insulation lower your bills?

The United States Department of Energy (DOE) says that the heat of your home fluctuates from warm to cool until there are no differences in temperature between all your rooms. It means that your heating and cooling appliances need to use more power to keep you comfortable. During winter, heat can slowly escape from your living room to your basement or garage, leaving you with no choice but to turn up your heater. During summer, the heat from outside enters your home, and you need to disperse that heat by cranking up your air conditioner.

The agency says that insulation is a great way to counteract the effects of these extreme weather conditions on your house by resisting heat flow. It prevents heat from escaping through the walls, floor, and ceiling during cold days. It also blocks outdoor heat from entering your abode during warm days. With insulation in your home, you consume less electricity because you don’t have to use your heater and AC to their maximum level to feel comfortable.

Insulation Inspection

Knowing all these, it’s time to inspect your old home before you move in or sell your property. Here’s what you need before you start the job.

  • Safety glasses
  • Protective mask
  • Gloves
  • Flashlight
  • Philips screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Your phone or a camera, to take pictures of problem areas

Uneven Temperature

Before you open any floorboards or poke holes in your wall, try to see if the temperatures in the rooms are different. Turn down your heating or cooling equipment, close the windows, and try to gauge the temperature in every room. If you feel extra chilly in the living room, but not the kitchen, your walls may be poorly insulated. You can also use a smart temperature sensor to get more accurate readings. Take note of these areas.

Sudden Drafts

Insulation materials don’t only block heat; they also seal your home to make sure that the cold, outside air doesn’t leak into your rooms. The DOE recommends checking walls, floors, and corners of your home for any cracks or gaps that need to be sealed. If you don’t see any cracks or gaps or are unsure about the gaps you saw, shine a light on them and ask another person to watch the other side of the wall or floor. If they see the light shining through, then it means the walls and flooring lack insulation.

Pest Problems

Poorly sealed and insulated ceilings, floors, and walls not only act as a portal for cold drafts to enter, but they’re also a gateway for all sorts of pests to enter your home. A small rodent can easily make its way into a gap where insulation should be and create all sorts of problems. Apart from strange scratching and bumping noises at night, these pests may bring potentially life-threatening diseases with them.

Dust contaminated with mouse droppings and urine can lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) when inhaled. This disease can cause your lungs to fill with fluid and your stomach to always ache. Wear a mask and gloves and inspect every corner of your house for droppings or rodent nests. If you see any signs of pests, you may want to call in a pest control specialist before you get any work done on your insulation.

Hot and Cold Surfaces

Apart from the temperature of the air inside each room, you should also check the walls and floors for any anomalies. If you find that one wall is damp or cold, it probably isn’t padded with enough insulation to resist the cold air coming from outside. Mark or take a picture of this wall or floor to point it out to your insulation service provider.

See for Yourself

The methods we’ve discussed so far are non-intrusive ways to look for poorly-insulated areas. While these methods are often effective for sniffing out places with heating and cooling issues, you won’t know for sure until you see the insulation material itself — if there are any.

Here’s how you can check your walls, ceilings, and floors.

Start from the Top

A house being insulatedThe easiest way to check on your home’s insulation material is by going up your attic. Put some old clothes on, together with all the safety equipment mentioned earlier, and head up. With your flashlight, check if the attic floor is filled to the joists with insulation material. Its appearance can vary according to the material used.

  • Loose fibers or batts often indicate that it’s made of either fiberglass, rock wool, or cellulose.
  • Puffs of foam mean that your home uses spray foam (SPF) insulation.
  • Uniform, rectangular stacks suggest that the attic is lined with panel insulation.

If the material doesn’t cover the joists, it may not be doing enough to insulate your home. You need to add more or replace the existing foam, fibers, or panels.

A Word of Caution: Dealing With Asbestos

If your home was built before the ’80s, there’s a possibility that it may have asbestos insulation. This toxic substance was regarded as a superior insulation material because of its ability to resist extreme heat and fire. It’s also durable and long-lasting. However, asbestos was found to cause several diseases like mesothelioma and respiratory cancers when people inhaled toxic amounts of dust that come from it.

If your material has a granular shape and texture and gray in color, don’t panic – especially if you have a mask. It won’t do you any harm, but it’s best to call an asbestos removal contractor immediately to take care of it.

Go Beyond the Wall

Now that you’ve assessed your attic’s insulation, it’s time to check your walls. The DOE’s recommended way of doing this is easy and doesn’t involve any power tools. First, choose a wall with a power outlet and turn off the electricity in that area. Then, unscrew and take off the outlet cover to see inside the wall. Use your flashlight to look around the hole for insulation material.

If possible, pinch off a small amount of the material and see if it’s the same one used for the attic, or another material entirely. Do this for all the outlets in your home to see if there are any walls with no insulation.

Open up the Boards

If your old home has a wood or composite floor, heat may escape through the cracks if it doesn’t have any insulation. Plus, no one wants to walk on a cold floor. Try to lift one of your boards by prying a chisel in one of the gaps. Use your hammer’s claw to raise the board slowly until it pops out. You’ll easily see the insulation material once you take off the panel.

Now that you’ve inspected and documented the amount of insulation in your aging house, it’s time to assess your findings. If you find that your attic joists, walls, and floorboards are filled with material, you can always check for gaps and fill them in with a can of spray foam. If the areas you’ve checked have little to no material, your home is severely under-insulated.

Call an insulation contractor immediately to get the existing material replaced or have the empty areas filled in. The comfort and savings you get from proper insulation will make your old home worth keeping for another lifetime. And if you’re planning to sell your home, your buyer will likely be willing to pay a better price for an architectural wonder that’s comfortable by modern standards.

Spray Foam Insulation Services You Can Rely On

Up to 30% of your home’s heat leaks through your walls, floors, and roof when you have inadequate insulation. Here at A+ Insulation, we provide professional spray foam insulation services that can reduce your cooling and heating bills by up to 50%. It’s also an effective sealant that keeps drafts and pests at bay. We’re licensed, bonded, and insured; you can trust us for all your home insulation needs.

Contact us today for a free, no-obligation inspection of your home’s insulation.

Turn Your Attic Into A Playroom

Man renovating attic

Instead of using your attic as a stockroom where you dump old and unusable things, why not transform it to become your children’s next playroom?

Most of the time, it’s annoying to clean bedrooms littered with toys, and having your children play in the living room or in the kitchen can be harmful to them. You wouldn’t want your children to hit you with a plastic sword while cooking, would you?

Attics can be transformed into one of the best playrooms in the house. They are spacious so your children can do a lot of fun activities in them. Changing your attic into a playroom gives a set place where the children will be. You won’t have to worry about children playing in unsafe areas or just wondering where they are. A bonus is that toys will not litter around the house and will be kept away from sight whenever there are guests present.

In order for your children to have that best attic-turned-playroom experience, follow these steps.

Ensure your children’s safety

The first thing to consider when transforming your attic to a playroom is how the children will access it safely. Most attics use ladders for access, which is very risky for young children. You may choose to replace the ladder with a staircase if you have enough space or you can construct a staircase from inside a bedroom.

Maximise your attic’s space

Utilize all that empty space by creating different play zones. Put a table, a chair and a chalkboard in one area, and a body pillow and a makeshift tent in another.

Install a bookshelf against the wall, or a closet where your children can put their toys after playing.

Make the design fun and exciting

Paint the walls with fun and bright colors. Paint the ceiling with lighter shades that create the illusion of more space. If you choose to install wallpaper, choose those with bold prints.

Do not over-decorate though. Remember that this is a playroom and children can play wildly. Keep the area as open as possible to have room for playing.

For functionality, choose a thick carpet to minimize the noise level that will be transmitted to the lower levels of the house.

Make sure the attic is properly insulated

Attics can become very hot in summers and very cold in winters. Make sure the attic is properly insulated during these times so that your children will remain comfortable while playing. Consult a professional if you feel that the attic is too cold or warm for it to turned into a playroom.

Insulate your home with us

A+ Insulation aspires to become the leading insulation contractor in Kansas City. Our team of experts are attentive to detail and will always strive to provide complete satisfaction. Indeed, we’d like to leave you delighted. At A+ Insulation, we look to be the difference between a good insulation experience and a great one.

Let us help you insulate your attic for a playroom that your kids will love. Contact us today.

Will Insulating Your Attic Make Your Home Cooler This Summer?

contractor installing insulation in atticElectricity bills tend to increase in summer. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) explains the higher demand for electricity during the hot season inflates electricity rates. More generation sources have to be added to meet the demand.

It’s crucial to keep your home cool as much as possible during summer. Otherwise, you’re likely to use your cooling system more than usual. In winter, proper insulation helps your home to stay warm. But would it also contribute to keeping your home cool this summer?

A Good Investment

Insulating the attic of your home in Kansas City can help you save money on energy bills. It prevents heat from coming in through your attic during summer. It will also won’t force your air conditioning unit to work harder, reducing your energy consumption.

But why focus on your attic? For starters, it’s the easiest place to install insulation.

Attic insulation also provides a barrier that decreases the amount of air that enters and escapes your property. Although the cost may seem a bit steep at first, what you get in return will be well worth what you spend. You may save between 10 and 50 percent on heating and cooling bills. And the estimated return on investment (ROI) of an insulated attic is 107.7 percent if you decide to resell your home.

Choosing the Right Insulation

The benefits of attic insulation vary, depending on the material used. It’s crucial to identify first the recommended R-values (the capability of the insulating material to resist conductive heat flow) in your area before choosing the insulating material.

Different insulating materials are available in the market. Each of them provides different levels of insulation, depending on where you install them. You should also consider the indoor air quality impact of the material.

Here the two common materials ideal for attic insulation:

  • Spray foam – this is all-in-one insulation and air sealing system, which doesn’t settle or sag when applied.
  • Batted insulation – this is an effective and affordable insulation alternative for attics. This material, however, is ideal for areas without too many wires, pipes, or obstruction to eliminate the need for cutting the material.

Some insulation materials are easy to apply. But it doesn’t mean you have to install the insulation on your own. Although it’s acceptable, you might compromise the performance and efficiency of the material, especially if not properly installed.

Install Your Insulation Professionally

Hiring a professional is an ideal way to insulate your attic, especially if the space has tricky access, signs of moisture problems, and leaks. Professionals have the correct equipment and skills to install an insulation material without compromising its performance and your health. Some materials contain chemicals that can affect your health when not handled properly.

A+ Insulation can help you insulate your attic to keep your home cool throughout the summer. We offer a variety of insulation materials, including loose-fill and batt insulations. Our previous customers have lowered their energy bill by 30 percent after updating their attic insulation.

Contact us today to get a quote.

Mindful Flipping: Things to Look Out for When Buying a Fixer-Upper

home buildingIf you were a fan of Joanna Gaines and her husband Chip from the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” you’ve probably had the urge to find an old, busted home and give it a makeover. It is inspiring how they’re partly responsible for the bustling real estate market Waco has now.

If you paid attention to every episode, however, you’ll know that the process isn’t as simple as attaching a coffered ceiling and farmhouse sink and calling it a day. There are negotiations, lengthy contracts, and meticulous inspections behind the scenes. If you’re set on working on your own fixer-upper, here’s what you need to look out for before striking a deal and starting the work.

The Location

While you may want to put the house’s looks first, you should consider its location as the top priority. As the opening spiel in the show goes, they pick the worst house in the best neighborhood to turn into their clients’ dream home.

Ask yourself, is the home near your job? If not, is it close to any bus stop? Is it in a safe neighborhood in Kansas City? What about the pests? If the home is in an area that you’re not happy about, it’s best just to find another place. You don’t want to start work and then realize that the area has rodent problems or that it’s next to a railroad that wakes you up with sirens and loud train whistles in the middle of the night.

Costly Repairs

Like anything you plan on buying, you need to do extensive research to ensure that you’re getting your money’s worth. It’s more apparent in fixer-uppers, where significant savings is part of the appeal. As such, you should hire an inspector to look around the home and estimate costs for repairs. While you shouldn’t be surprised that there’s something major that needs fixing (i.e., plumbing and paint), you should look for possible renovations that will haunt your bank account after striking a seemingly good deal. Don’t worry about the money you spend hiring an inspector for a home your interested in. It’s nothing compared to a costly fixer-upper project.

Improvements You Can DIY

Another appealing factor that taking on a fixer-upper has is the DIY work. You often see Joanna planning the job and Chip executing it with precision. The latter has been flipping houses for a profit since college, and they both have all the experience they need to do professional renovations. Since you’re still not as experienced, it’s best to hire a contractor for work like spraying foam insulation on your attic or replacing broken windows.

Relegate yourself to painting cabinets or minor demolition. If you’re looking to do major work, ask your contractor if you can shadow them while they do their job. This way, you get to learn the ins and outs of a project without getting in way over your head.

Flipping a home isn’t as easy as TV shows it to be. You have to find one in a good neighborhood, and you have to consider the renovation costs apart from the house’s actual price. Before you make your decision, these tips will give you an easier time finding the fixer-upper of your dreams.

Flip Your Energy Bills, Too

Your fixer upper won’t be complete without proper insulation. Here at A+ Insulation, we offer spray foam insulation that can reduce heat loss throughout winter and keep it out during summer. This cuts your cooling and heating costs by about 50%. Our project managers are trained to give you a complete overview of the process, from planning to installation, for your peace of mind. We have over 10,000 satisfied customers in Kansas City and we’re always looking to grow.

Contact us today to keep your property toasty.

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

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

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

Paint Your Roof White

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

Install a Programmable Thermostat

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

Practice Smart Landscaping

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

Upgrade Your Windows

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

Clean the Coils of Your Refrigerator

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

Install Ceiling Fans

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

Update the Insulation of Your Home

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

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

Get in touch with us today to schedule an appointment.

Insulate Your Basement and Decrease Your Energy Bill

Effective insulation can significantly drive down your energy bills. This is especially true during the winter when heating systems have to work overtime to warm up a room. If you insulate your basement you can start enjoying the benefits of a warm home and lower energy bills.

Basement Insulation: How It Drives Down Your Energy Expenditures

basement-insulation-remodel

You may overlook your basement as a place to add insulation. This is normally not an area you’ll focus on when investing in home improvement projects. But the basement shouldn’t just be an afterthought. It can help you achieve large amounts of energy savings, perhaps even more than other spaces in your home can.

What are the Benefits of Insulation?

Ideally, an insulation system provides both immediate and long-term benefits. General benefits include reducing energy costs, preventing moisture condensation, and providing fire protection.

A house without proper insulation is prone to the leakage of air. Gaps surrounding windows and doors result in high amounts of energy expenditure as air leaks out of a room or a house. Heating systems end up working much harder to maintain a consistent level of temperature. More energy is used the more these systems have to run.

What Part Should You Insulate?

Before you decide on the area of your basement you want to insulate, consider your intentions for the space. If you’re using it as a living space, it may be best to insulate the walls. On the other hand, if insulation is only meant is to reduce heat loss and energy costs, insulate the basement ceilings instead.

Also, keep in mind that insulation reduces the amount of usable interior space. Depending on the type of insulation you choose, insulation placement can take up a few inches of space.

Basement Walls

Providing insulation to the walls of your basement is often more effective at keeping warmth in. You can save hundreds of dollars in energy use this way. In addition, you can turn the space into a more comfortable and habitable living area you can use on a daily basis.

Basement Ceilings

Is it a good idea to insulate your basement ceiling? There are some concerns about insulating this area because it opens the possibility of lowering temperature even more and causing problems like frozen pipes. However, they are cheaper than wall insulation and can eliminate air leak issues.

What are Some Types of Insulation?

  • Blanket (Batt and Roll) – Blanket insulation is an inexpensive method of insulation. It involves inserting materials like fiberglass, mineral, and fibers into studs and beams in walls and ceilings.
  • Sprayed Foam Insulation – This type of insulation carries a high R-value. This refers to the ability of the material to resist the flow of heat. Sprayed foam insulation has a liquid application. It eventually expands and fills empty gaps throughout the walls or ceilings.

Don’t leave insulation to the last minute. Temperatures will drop as winter approaches, and your energy expenditure may skyrocket as a result. The earlier you insulate your basement or other rooms in your house, the fewer problems you will have later on.

A+ Insulation Kansas City provides solutions if you decide to insulate your basement for the winter. Insulation services can go a long way in reducing your energy expenditures and ensuring you stay warm and comfortable in your home no matter the time of year.

Contact us at 913-281-2250 or 816-265-1947 for a free inspection and estimate.

Why Blow-in-Blanket is an Efficient Insulation Alternative?

Batts and blankets are the most popular types of insulation. They are ideal for do-it-yourself projects because they are easy to transport and carry. But this insulation has limitations, like losing effectiveness as it compresses easily. That’s why using blow-in-blanket system (BIBS) for your Kansas City home can be an ideal option.

Blow-in-Blanket Insulation: An Efficient Alternative for Your Home

Switching to BIBS can boost your home’s R-value. R-value refers to how well the material resists the flow of heat, measuring thermal resistance by unit; the higher the R-value, the more effective the insulating material.

Outstanding Thermal Performanceblow-in-blanket-insulation

When it comes to insulating your home, BIBS provides several benefits. You can use this type of insulation to different parts of your home, including walls and attic. This system is also easy to apply and fills the spaces completely to give your home superior thermal performance. You don’t need to worry about the heat escaping your home because blow-in insulation can fit in small gaps, too.

Unlike foam spray, installing BIBS is less messy. The installation can take up an hour or two. It’s also fire resistant to keep your home safe. Additionally, this system won’t encourage mold and mildew buildup. It also doesn’t attract insects and rodents.

Using blow-in insulation in your home is a rewarding investment because it can last throughout the lifespan of your home. You don’t need to spend more cash on repairs and higher energy bill caused by the heat that escapes your home.

How Much Does an Average Blow-in-Blanket Insulation Cost?

The insulation cost varies depending on the size of the area you’re insulating and the material you’re using. If you’re insulating the attic of a 1,200 square foot home, the average price for a blow-in insulation job is $1,850, excluding the cost of removing any old insulation.

Adequate insulation can help you save money. You can save an average of 10 to 50 percent on utility bills based on the efficiency of your insulation and the R-value of your insulation.
You should determine the right R-value for your home to help you find the right insulation. The recommended R-value rating can differ based on your climate, the part of the house you’re planning to insulate, and the type of heating system you use.

Determining if It Fits Your Home

Knowing the recommended R-value rating for your home can help you determine if BIBS the right choice. Blow-in insulation usually has R-values of R-2.2 to R-3.8, depending on the type loose fit insulation you’re planning to use.

You may also do an energy audit to identify the areas you need to prioritize in improving efficiency. Hire a professional for an accurate assessment and installation of blow-in insulation.

At A+ insulation, we can help insulate your home using BIBS. Our team of Blow-In-Blanket Contractors Association (BIBCA) certified professionals can install environmentally friendly, custom fit blow-in-blanket insulation to your home using specially manufactured fiberglass. This material has no chemical smell and never corrodes pipes and never settles.
Insulation is effective only when installed properly. At A+ Insulation, we have the training and experience to install any type of insulation correctly.

Contact us today for a free no-obligation energy inspection.