Category: insulation

Tips to Prevent Freezing Pipes

It’s no secret our area of the country has been faced with cold temps! We’ve been receiving an influx of calls from homeowners and builders dealing with frozen pipes. Frozen pipes are inconvenient and can cause significant damage. When the temperature of a water pipe drops below freezing, water in the pipe can expand up to 10% in volume. This creates additional pressure on water pipes and valves, causing pipes to burst.

It’s important to keep pipes from being exposed to cold temperatures. Here are some ways to protect pipes during extreme cold:

  • Add insulation to walls that affect water pipes. This can include adding dense packed fiberglass, injection foam or spray foam insulation to exterior walls.
  • Cover exposed pipes in crawl spaces or attics. Applying foam insulation can protect water pipes from cold temperatures, and its water resistant properties make it ideal for use on water pipes.
  • Seal gaps around basement rim joists or seal your crawl space. This will help keep cold air away from pipes. This also will help the main floor of your home feel more comfortable.

If your home has frozen water pipes or you want to prevent future damage, contact our office to schedule your free estimate. Our team will review your home and make recommendations for ways you can help reduce the risk of your pipes freezing.

Five Energy-Saving Projects for Fall

When temperatures begin to drop, it’s time to get your home ready for winter. Here’s a quick checklist to keep your house—and property—in peak condition this winter.

  1. Improve Your Windows
    Old and inefficient windows leak conditioned air. Switch out your window screens for storm windows—if you have them—before the frigid temps kick in. This swap will save you money on energy costs, protect your window from the elements, and eliminate drafts throughout fall and winter.
  2. Service Your Heating System
    Check the pilot light, vacuum excess dust, and change the filter. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. While you’re at it, get your wood stove and fireplace in working order. Pay special attention to your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket to ensure a tight seal. Servicing your system now will help make it through any unexpected cold snap.
  3. Caulk Windows and Air Seal
    Air sealing around windows and door frames helps prevent heat from escaping. Caulking and sealing these openings is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs you can do. If left undone, openings in the structure can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold buildup. Need more help than a tube of caulk? We can help!
  4. Inspect Your Roof
    Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. Look for trouble spots now instead of in a few months when ice, rain, snow, and wind wreak havoc on existing problem areas.
  5. Check Your Insulation
    While temperatures drop outside, you can still stay warm and keep your energy bills low with proper insulation. Attics are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to winter energy loss, so prep yours for winter by upgrading your insulation now.

BONUS TIP: Reverse Your Ceiling Fan
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. Fall is also a good time to prep your humidifiers. Be sure to clean them regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.

Perform these upgrades and see your energy bills decrease! Ready go get started? We can help. Call today for a free insulation estimate.

How to Know if Your Attic Needs More Insulation

Even if your home is newer, your attic may be under insulated. Today’s building codes may be different than codes when your home was built. Your insulation may have settled. A hard wind entering your attic through your soffits may have compromised your insulation. These factors – and many others – can result in you spending more money on energy bills than is necessary.

If your attic has less than 12” of insulation, you may be wasting money on your energy bills. Today’s building codes require 12” of insulation (equivalent to R-38) to ensure your home is properly insulated.

Want to check your attic? Here’s how:

  • Open the access point to your attic. This may be found in the ceiling of a closet, a bedroom, or the garage.
  • If your home has two different rooflines (one section of the roof pitching one direction, one pitching another) be sure find the access point for each.
  • Place a ruler into the attic insulation with the one-inch mark at the bottom and make a note of insulation depth. With the required 12” of attic insulation, proper attic insulation depth should reach the top of a standard ruler.
  • Call us and tell us the results. We are happy to schedule a time to double check the depth and provide an estimate to upgrade your insulation. 
  • Don’t forget – 12” is the minimum level! Building codes in our area say attic levels could be up to R-60, which is approximately 17” of insulation!

Adding insulation to your attic will increase comfort and reduce your energy bills. Have other questions about energy efficiency? Call us – we’re happy to help!

Is Your Upstairs Warm During Summer? Here’s Why.

Most people understand a basic principle about air – warm air rises, cool air sinks. If you aren’t familiar, this principle is demonstrated by watching a hot air balloon in action. When it’s filled with heated (light) air, the balloon rises. When the air inside the balloon cools down, it becomes dense (heavy) and the balloon lowers to the ground.

This principle applies to all air, including the air inside your home. Warm air rises to the upper levels of a house, cool air drops to the lower level of a house. In building science language, this is called stack effect.

During summer months, warm air enters your home through penetration points around the home (e.g. doors, windows, small air leaks around the building envelope) and rises to the upper level of the home. When the HVAC runs, that cooled air drops to the main level of the home. How does this play out? Your upper levels are hot and the main level is cool. Running the HVAC system more won’t cool the upper level, since the cool air will continue to drop to the main level.

Let’s take this one step further and think about winter. In the winter, warm air inside the home is desired. What do homeowners do? They turn up the HVAC system. The HVAC system warms the main level, and that warm air naturally rises to the upper level of the home. Since warm air is light, that conditioned air escapes through air leaks in the roof. The HVAC system continues to run and heated air continually escapes through the roof. It’s a vicious cycle that can send energy bills through the roof.

If you dread the upper floors of your home during summer months because of hot and uncomfortable air, your home needs air sealing and insulating. Contact us to discuss your home’s summer comfort issues and schedule a free estimate.

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.