Tag Archive for insulation

Is your home losing energy?

Is your home losing energy?

Five tips to check your home for energy saving opportunities

 

home-energy-audit2Do you feel a draft in a room or wonder why your energy bills are so high? Especially during the winter months, you may tend to wonder if you can do anything to make your home more energy efficient.

A home energy audit is the best way to determine where your home is losing energy and what you can do to make your home more efficient. A “do-it-yourself” home energy audit is not as thorough as a professional assessment, but it can help you find areas that need addressed.

  1. Check for Air Leaks – Make a list of areas that you have obvious drafts. Check for indoor air leaks like gaps along baseboards or junctures of walls and ceilings and flooring edges. There can also be leaks outside of your home, especially where two different building materials meet.
  2. Seal all air leaks – Any holes or penetrations for faucets, pipes, electric outlets and wiring should be plugged and caulked. Look for cracks and holes and your foundation and siding. You’ll also want to look for leaks around windows and doors. You can seal all of these areas with sealant and caulk or by applying weather stripping.
  3. Check for Insulation –If the insulation levels of your home are less than the recommended minimum, you will sustain heat loss through ceilings and walls. Insulation was likely installed when your home was built. But given today’s energy prices, the level of insulation may not be adequate, especially in older homes. Check your attic to see how much insulation may be there. Also check for weather stripping and ensure it closes tightly. Check any openings for items such as pipe, ductwork or chimneys and ensure they are sealed. You can seal any gaps with caulk or other permanent sealant. Be sure to use non-combustible sealant around chimneys or other heat producing devices.

    1. Make sure your attic vents are not blocked by insulation.
    2. You’ll also need to check your walls for insulation. You can check this by selecting an exterior wall and turn off the circuit breaker for any outlets on that wall. Ensure the outlet is off and remove the cover plate. Then, gently probe into the wall with a thin, long stick or screwdriver. A plastic crochet hook works great and will retrieve small bits of any insulation material for easy identification. If you encounter a slight resistance, you have insulation there. This method will not tell you if the entire wall is insulated or if the insulation has settled. This will only tell you if there is something there.
  4. Inspect any heating and cooling equipment in your home annually. For example, if you have a forced air furnace, check your filters and replace them as needed. Filters should be changed about every month or two, especially during periods of high usage. If your furnace is more than 15 years old, you may want to consider replacing it with a newer, energy efficient unit. Insulate any ducts or pipes that travel through unheated spaces.
  5. Are you using the most efficient lighting? – Energy for lighting accounts for about 10% of your electric bill. Check the light bulbs in your home and consider replacing inefficient bulbs with more efficient bulbs, like CFLs (compact fluorescent lamps) or LEDs (light-emitting diodes). Consider the brightness of the bulbs you want and check the labels for lumens. While LEDs may be more expensive at first, your savings will pay you back.

Your contractor can work with you on checking areas of your home for air leaks and recommend the best method to make your home as efficient as

 

Are you ready for summer heat?

indexIs your house prepared for a hot summer?  As cold as this past winter was, you can anticipate an equally as hot summer.  Will your house stay cool if the temperatures get hot?

Insulation plays a key role in keeping your home cool in the summer, just as it does to keep you warm in the winter.  With a properly insulated home, you are sure to stay comfortable the entire year, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Having adequate insulation in your home will ensure your house is energy efficient.  This means your attic and walls should be properly insulated.  Some things to consider when looking at insulation is:

  • R-Value – Depending on what part of the county you live in will determine what the recommended R-Value is needed for your home.  For example, if you live in a colder climate, like Pennsylvania, you would want a higher R-Value throughout your home.  R-Value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
  • Type of insulation – Depending on where you need insulation will determine what type you use.  Your attic, for example, will typically use Fiberglass.  Walls can be rolled or blown-in insulation, which can be fiberglass, foam board, etc.

Your contractor can provide you with recommendations and options for you based on the type of home and location where you live.  They can evaluate what you already have and where improvements can be made to keep you as comfortable as possible throughout the entire year.

Custom Home Construction (Insulation)

insulationWith the geothermal heat system being installed, it’s important to ensure it can run as efficiently as possible.  One of the best ways to do this is by installing good insulation throughout the house.

When working on a new home construction project, you need to be careful to follow federal, state and local energy codes.  This includes codes concerning insulation.  Codes for insulation usually include minimal requirements, but you should exceed those mandates to ensure your home is energy efficient.

To properly insulate this new home, the builder will determine where to insulate and the recommended R-values for each of those areas.   The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry.  Under uniform conditions, it is the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux, the rate of heat energy transfer through a given surface.

For this new home construction, the insulation was a blown in fiberglass product.  Air vents and blockers were installed where needed as well as R-30 band board.  This band joist is usually the same size as the floor joists and runs around the entire perimeter of the building.

We used R-23 BIBS blown fiberglass insulation in the side walls.  BIBS® is a proprietary insulation system that blows dry white fiberglass insulation into walls, floors, attics and cathedral ceilings.  The BIBS® system makes a custom filling around wiring and fixtures that eliminates costly voids and air gaps.  BIBS® is an industry leader in new construction as well as retro fit projects.

In the ceiling, we used R-49 ISSP blown fiberglass.  ISSP, or InsulSafe SP, is a fiberglass blowing insulation used in residential and commercial construction as a thermal and sound absorbing insulation.  It is designed for pneumatic installation in open (attic) and closed (sidewalls and floors) construction cavities.

This level of insulation along with the geothermal heat will ensure this home has one of the most efficient heating and cooling system possible.