When you and your family are freezing, you call your Heating and Cooling Contractor right?
Wrong, you should first think about Energy Efficiency.
I know this sounds like the wrong call, but the construction industry has changed dramatically over the past 12 years, and here’s why. California has passed some of the strictest laws for Energy Efficiency, which is a very good thing for homeowner’s. Contractors of all different trades are now expected to voluntarily be re-trained in the latest technology to save our depleting energy resources. With more and more residential units being built every day, we must conserve and this is not just for the good of all concerned, but saves you in more ways than one. When you call your Energy Efficient General Contractor (714-330-4500), he/she is more than just a remodeler, they specialize in saving you money on utilities and delivering you the home of your dreams.
To determine whether you should add insulation, you first need to find out how much insulation you already have in your home and where it is. A certified home energy auditor will include an insulation check as a routine part of a whole-house energy assessment. An energy assessment, also known as a home energy audit, will also help identify areas of your home that are in need of air sealing. Before you insulate, you should make sure that your home is properly air sealed.
You may be freezing in your home because in most cases there is not enough insulation in your attic. Not to mention that old HVAC (heating unit) is not performing to its max capacity. A well-trained professional will be able to measure your insulation, HVAC unit and look at your Ducts in your attic to determine the efficiency of deliverance. In most cases, adding the proper insulation levels can make a world of difference and save you money! Now let’s take a closer look at the differences in insulation.
BLOWN IN CELLULOSE: Made from recycled material, primarily used newspapers. It provides and R-Value of 3.6 to 3.8 per inch. Manufacturers add the mineral borate, sometimes blended with the less costly ammonium sulfate, to ensure fire and insect resistance. Cellulose insulation typically requires no moisture barrier and, when installed at proper densities, cannot settle in a building cavity. Cellulose can be blown in attics and used for dense packing into wall cavities.
FIBERGLASS (BATTS): Made from extremely fine glass fibers. It’s commonly used in two different types of insulation: blanket (batts and rolls) and loose-fill and is also available as rigid boards and duct insulation. Manufacturers now produce medium- and high-density fiberglass batt insulation products that have slightly higher R-values than the standard batts. The denser products are intended for insulating areas with limited cavity space, such as cathedral ceilings. High-density batts for an 8.5-inch spaces yield about an R-30 value. R-38 batts for 12-inch spaces are also available.
COTTON: Cotton insulation consists of 85% recycled cotton and 15% plastic fibers that have been treated with borate — the same flame retardant and insect/rodent repellent used in cellulose insulation. One product uses recycled blue jean manufacturing trim waste. Because of its recycled content, this product uses minimal energy to manufacture. Cotton insulation is available in batts with an R-value of R-3.4 per inch. Cotton insulation is also nontoxic, and you can install it without using respiratory or skin exposure protection. However, cotton insulation costs about 15% to 20% more than fiberglass batt insulation.
POLYISOCYANURATE INSULATION MATERIALS (SPRAY FOAM): Polyisocyanurate insulation is available as a liquid, sprayed foam, and rigid foam board. It can also be made into laminated insulation panels with a variety of facings. Foamed-in-place applications of polyisocyanurate insulation are usually cheaper than installing foam boards, and perform better because the liquid foam molds itself to all the surfaces. Polyisocyanurate or polyiso is a thermosetting type of plastic, closed-cell foam that contains a low-conductivity, hydrochlorofluorocarbon-free gas in its cells. The high thermal resistance of the gas gives polyisocyanurate insulation materials an R-value ranging from R-5.6 to R-8 per inch.
For optimal energy efficiency, your home should be properly air sealed and insulated from the roof down to its foundation. In addition to insulation, consider moisture and air leakage control in each area of your house. If radon is an issue where you live, you’ll also need to consider radon and radon-resistant construction techniques as you research foundation insulation options. In addition, if you live in an area with termites, you’ll have to consider how termite protection will affect the choice and placement of insulation in your home.
In closing, the message is clear, call your local General Contractor specializing in Energy Efficiency to help you determine the proper work needed in your home. You may find that they save you money while making you more comfortable over the longevity of your homes life.
BEST Techs Contracting can help you with all your energy efficiency needs, Room Additions and Remodels.
Call 714-330-4500 or visit www.BEST-Techs.org today!
Footnotes for Picture: U.S. Department of Energy