Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The following are some of the frequent questions that our customers may have related to the insulation products and home energy solutions that we offer.
- Question: What are some of the signs that my home has uncontrolled air leakage or needs more insulation?
- Answer: Look for the following indications:
- Heating & cooling bills are high
- Rooms in the home feel drafty
- Room temperatures are uneven
- Windows with condensation
- Icicles and ice damming from eaves
- Snow melts off roof quickly
- Humidity in home too humid or too dry
- Musty odors or other signs of mold
- Dark stains on edges of carpet
- Ghosting lines on ceilings and walls
- Question: What are R-Values?
- Answer: Insulation levels are specified by R-Value. R-Value is a measure of an insulation’s ability to resist heat and cold traveling through it. The higher the R-Value, the better the thermal performance of the insulation.
Follow this link to see what levels of insulation are cost-effective for the different counties in our service area. (Source: www.energystar.gov)
- Question: What is cellulose?
- Answer: Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper products, primarily newsprint, and has a very high recycled material content, generally 82% to 85%. The paper is first reduced to small pieces and then fiberized, creating a product that packs tightly into building cavities, inhibits airflow, and provides an R-value of 3.6 to 3.8 per inch. (Source: www.energy.gov)
Our cellulose insulation is made from recycled newspaper and is all borate treated, which makes our insulation repel insects, resist mold and have a high fire resistance. When properly installed, our cellulose will not settle or deteriorate over time.
Borate, also known as “borox”, is a naturally-occurring mineral used in products such as “20 Mule Team” laundry detergent.
- Question: How is blown cellulose insulation installed?
- Answer: In both new and existing homes, cellulose can be blown into open attic areas or packed into wall cavities.
For attic installations, loose fill cellulose is blown into attics to stop heat transfer.
For wall installations, holes are drilled after removing sections of siding. The cellulose is then densely packed into walls using various methods of applications. The siding is then replaced concealing the holes. Properly installed using modern, powerful equipment to achieve proper wall densities, it will not settle over time.
- Question: How is spray cellulose applied?
- Answer: Spray cellulose is applied in the open studded walls of new or remodeled construction, achieving a continuous air seal and a high R-value that will not settle or deteriorate over time. The cellulose is applied with high air pressure and a mist of water.
The sprayer starts at the bottom of the open wall cavity, spraying with a back and forth motion and stacking it up to the top of the wall. The mist of water activates the natural starch in wood fiber creating a papermache filled wall cavity. Any material that falls to the floor gets vacuumed up and reused so there is no waste.
- Question: What is expandable spray foam and what are it’s typical uses?
- Answer: Expandable polyurethane spray foam expands between 30 and 120 times in volume as it is sprayed, filling even the tiniest cracks while fully adhering and providing a continuous, solid and airtight seal. It also provides sound control and superior mold resistance.
Spray foam comes in multiple densities. Open and closed cell densities are created by using specialized equipment using different gun tips, temperature settings and application techniques.
Open cell foam, under close inspection, looks like a web whose tiny pathways form as a result of the high expansion rate and there are numerous benefits associated with this technology. While the pathways are small enough so the foam presents an effective air barrier, these lanes still allow the structure to breathe. Technically, the foam is a thermo-set rigid plastic: however, the very low density makes the foam semi-flexible, which is an advantage in regions vulnerable to earthquakes. The insulation will not crack if the building is shaken.
Closed cell foam does not have interconnected pores. As the foam rises, these pores are filled with a gas that makes the foam a great insulator. The benefits are strength, higher R-value and its greater resistance to the leakage of air and water vapor. The disadvantage of closed cell foam is that it is denser, requires more material and is ,therefore, more expensive.
Spray foam can be applied to sloped ceilings, walls, crawl spaces, underground water lines, and diesel fuel tanks.
- Question: What is injected foam and what are it’s typical uses?
- Injected and core foam systems combine a unique polymeric resin with a catalyst to produce “dry” foam with the consistency of shaving crème. It expands fully before entering the wall or block, flowing through the cavity and hardening in place as it dries. Injected foam has a high R-value, a Class A (Class 1) fire rating, and costs less to install than rigid foam board.
We offer two types of injected foam: (1) interior wall foam and (2) core foam.
Interior wall foam can be installed from the inside or outside of exterior walls and behind existing brick. It can be used to insulate walls that contain little or no insulation, even if the wall cavity is partially filled. It is also great for new residential or commercial construction.
Core foam can be injected in the cores of concrete block from drilled holes or the open cores of new foundations. Combined with compressed air, the foam insulation flows throughout the wall, filling irregular voids and resulting in a building that is well-insulated, quiet, and energy efficient.
- Question: What is an energy audit?
- Answer: An energy audit will determine where and how much air is leaking out of or into your home, and find areas that are either missing insulation or are poorly insulated. It is possible that the air in your house is leaking through ceilings, walls, attics, basements and crawl spaces. If there is air leakage, it will continue to cost more every year as the price tag of energy increases, causing you to have a high energy bill and an uncomfortable home.
The energy audit will include:
- The results of the “blower door” test;
- Images from the infrared camera scan; and
- A written report listing areas for possible improvement and energy savings.
- Question: What is “blower door” testing?
- Answer: To perform a thorough energy efficiency analysis of your home, energy auditors use specially-designed “blower door” test equipment to measure your home’s rate of air leakage. The blower door is a variable-speed fan mounted on an adjustable panel that can fit into any exterior door opening of your home.
The fan pulls air out of the house, lowering the air pressure inside. The higher outside air pressure then flows in through all unsealed cracks and openings. The tests determine the infiltration rate of the building. (source: www.energy.gov)