Year: 2016

Why Upgrading Your Attic Insulation is More Cost Effective than Replacing Windows

White Piggy BankWhen considering home energy upgrades, many homeowners look at two projects: insulation or windows. There are many conflicting messages about which is the best investment for your energy dollar. The more visible upgrade option, windows come to mind as a top energy upgrade priority.
Before you open your checkbook, we invite you to read below to learn more so you can make the best choice for your home.
Building shell
When considering the total square footage of your home’s shell (i.e. the walls, floor and roof), windows comprise a small portion of it. Your house will benefit from upgrading your home’s attic insulation (and even exterior wall insulation) rather than investing in windows.
Heat flow
Air inside a home naturally flows from ground to sky. A home loses 70% of energy through the attic and roof – far more than is lost through windows or doors. Upgrading attic insulation keeps the air you’ve paid to heat in your home. AND don’t forget about air sealing! Sealing air leaks in an attic further prevents conditioned air from seeping out around construction penetration points found around ducts, attics and more.
R-value
R-value is a measure of the amount of heat flow a certain product resists. The higher the r-value, the better it reduces heat flow (a key component of energy efficiency). The r-value of windows can vary based on the number of panes, air space between panes, etc. Double pane windows have an r-value of 1.5 to 2. Upgrading attic insulation to current code results in an R-38. Combine this with the natural heat flow of the home, and it’s easy to see how a fresh blanket of insulation is a great investment.
Cost
When looking at bottom line, the choice is clear. According to Home Advisor the average cost to upgrade windows in the Kansas City area is $3,537. The same report shows the average cost to upgrade insulation in the Kansas City area is $1,139.
Ready to add insulation to your attic? Contact us to schedule your free estimate.

The Hayes Company Partners With Habitat for Humanity

Throughout our history, The Hayes Company has supported a variety of community projects. We believe in partnering with organizations that share this philosophy.

In 2016, Kansas City NARI is once again sponsoring a house with Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City. The Hayes Company is proud to be a volunteer contractor on their current project.

Our goal is to make this one of the most energy-efficient homes in Kansas City. To accomplish this goal, we’ve put great attention to detail into both insulating and air sealing the home. This has included air sealing around all windows, doors and where all framing joints meet. Sound control insulation was has been installed in all the bathrooms, drain lines and in the floor of the home’s third floor. Foam insulation was installed on all exterior walls and rim joists, and cellulose insulation was installed in the attic. Work of this caliber would normally cost $15,000 or more – all of which is being donated.

The project is going great! The insulation and air sealing work has been very effective. As a result, the HVAC contractor has decreased the size of the unit being installed in the home.

Mike O’Connell has been the lead insulator on this project, working with volunteers provided by Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City.
Our work has been done in partnership with A+ Insulation and Henges Insulation.

For more about the project, visit our Facebook page or the Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City Facebook page.

Building Science Basics

Traditionally, insulation has been used to create a thermal barrier around a building. Very little was known about building science and the way a building consumed energy.

There is a lot to know about building science. There are key components that, when understood, make saving energy and increasing building comfort much easier.

Much of building science focuses on airflow. Improper airflow can affect on the health and safety of the building residents. It can also cause mold growth, spread pollutants and more. Controlling airflow increases the efficiency of a building, reduces stress on HVAC systems and controls indoor air quality.

There are a few key conditions that affect airflow (courtesy ENERGYSTAR.gov):

  • Controlled versus uncontrolled airflow
    • Controlled airflow is generated by mechanical devices. The purpose of controlled/mechanical airflow is to ventilate a building or distribute conditioned air evenly throughout a building. Sources of controlled airflow are ventilation systems, fans and HVAC systems.
    • Uncontrolled airflow is airflow is the result of unplanned gaps, an aging building and other structural issues. Uncontrolled airflow works against the “energy plan” of the building, and causes the HVAC system and other mechanicals to work harder to maintain the indoor environment.
  • Air pressure from wind, heat, fans and duct systems.
    • Pressure differences in a building are caused by one of three things:
      • Wind blowing against a building, causing pressure differences between one side of the building and the other.
      • Heat affects air pressure. Heat naturally rises in a building (called stack pressure or stack effect). The amount of pressure depends on the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the building, as well as the height of the building.
      • Fans (particularly exhaust fans and HVAC air handlers) can contribute to pressures changes. This could be through leakage in the building envelope or the ducting or an imbalance in the supply and return ducts.
      • Duct leaks. When ducts leak to the outside of a building, air infiltration rates can increase by as much as 300%.
  • Holes and pathways
    • Uncontrolled airflow into a building resulting from penetration points in the building envelope. Reducing the number of holes in the building reduces the amount of uncontrolled airflow.

These are all important things to consider when improving energy efficiency of an existing home or commercial space, or during the building process. We recommend speaking with a member of our team to discuss your project and how building science should be considered. Click here to contact our office to speak with one of our energy professionals.

Why Spray Foam?

If you’re not familiar with two-in-one benefits of spray foam insulation, we’re here to help! To understand the benefits of spray foam insulation, think of a foam coffee cup or a foam ice chest. Both products keep heat or cold in, while protecting the exterior from transferring temperature. Foam insulation does the exact same thing.

Foam insulation doesn’t only insulate your home like other insulation products like fiberglass and cellulose insulation – it also seals air leaks. Why does this matter? Air sealing prevents air from inside your home from escaping through the cracks and crevices in your home. Leaks are often found around recessed (can) lights, plumbing stacks, electrical wires, attic hatches or doors, around chimneys or flues, and duct chases. When these are sealed conditioned air you’ve already paid for stays in your home.

Why invest in spray foam insulation?

With so many ways homeowners can spend money on their home, why should you invest in spray foam insulation and its air sealing benefits? Here are just a few reasons:

  • Sealing air leaks and adding proper mechanical ventilation to a home can increase your indoor air quality. Air leakage (outside air that enters a house uncontrollably through cracks and openings) is not the same as ventilation. Sealing these leaks and properly ventilating creates healthier indoor air.
  • A home built on a crawl space filled with mold, dust and pests affects your health and the health of your family. Air from your crawl space moves up into your home, bringing those contaminants with it, into the air you breathe.
  • By properly insulating and air sealing, you are keeping energy you have already paid for in your home.
    • AND reducing your home’s heating and cooling needs reduces wear and tear on your HVAC system!

Have questions about spray foam and if it is right for your project? Contact us today!

Save Up To $500 By Adding Insulation!

Adequate insulation is one of the most cost-effective ways a homeowner can save money on their annual energy bills! No matter the season, insulation helps to keep your heating or cooling bills in line. Thanks to the renewed energy tax credit, you can save both on your utility bill and your insulation investment!

Here is what you need to know to take advantage of the offer:

  • Tax Credit Amount: 10% of the cost of the product, up to $500 (credit does not cover labor or installation costs)
  • Requirements: install fiberglass batt insulation, blown-in fiberglass insulation, or spray foam insulation.
  • How to Apply: File IRS Tax form 5625. You can download the form on the IRS site here (search “5625”).

Have questions? Contact our office.