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Home Energy Audit Insulation

Lead & Indoor Air Quality
Home Energy Audit Insulation
Energy Star

RESIDENTIAL ENERGY AUDITS

Are your energy bills too high? Is your furnace or air conditioning running overtime? Cold when it should be hot, hot when it should be cold? Do you feel drafts in your home? Most homeowners are not aware of how and why a home leaks air. Some air leaks are necessary to allow for gasses to escape, gasses which may be by-products of heating air and water. Other gasses result from the materials and chemicals in the home, and the soil surrounding the home.

An energy audit is the best way to determine what problems you may currently have and how to correct them properly. Let one of our experienced Building Performance Institute www.BPI.org – BPI Certified Energy Auditors come out and inspect your home. We have the latest diagnostic tools and certified weatherization training necessary to turn your home into a 21st Century energy efficient structure.

Blower door tests, smoke pencils, infrared thermography imaging, duct blaster tests are some of the key components of an energy audit. Sealing leaks around doors, windows, skylights, sills and baseboards, appliance outlets/inlets, drop ceilings, chases, behind tubs and showers, attics, where utility cables enter the home, where the garage is connected to the home are common areas which allow leakage.

Did you know that 70% of existing homes were built before energy codes were enacted, before we even knew how to adequately air seal and insulate? And codes being what they are – the bare minimum – even newer homes have significant energy savings opportunities. Give us a call. Allow one of our licensed, certified pros to come out and analyze your situation. (877) 344-1155 Call the Foundation Expert today.

QUALIFICATIONS & CERTIFICATIONS
Our Contractors that enter your home and work on your Green Energy project hold one or more of the following certifications:

  • NAHB Certified Contractor
  • BPI Certified Building Analyst
  • BPI Certified Building Envelope Specialist

INSULATION
Looking for insulation? Aren’t sure which product or type of insulation is the correct choice? We have the answers. Cellulose; Fiberglass(in both batt and blown forms), Foam Rigid foam board, Spray foam – Icyene®; Air Sealing – If you want to improve the indoor quality of your home, allow one of our experienced, certified indoor specialists to proper analyze your specific project, make recommendations that will improve your energy costs.

By properly insulating your home you keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer and you realize the added benefits such as:

  • A safer, healthier indoor air quality
  • Moisture control
  • Superior sound suppression
  • Saving up to 30% or more on your energy bills

R-Value
Insulation performance is measured by R-Value — or an insulation’s ability to resist heat flow. The Higher the R-Values, the great the insulating power. We are experts at determining exactly what type of insulation is best suited for your home. We can install it for you in a quick, non-obtrusive manner.

Cellulose
Cellulose is made from recycled paper and newsprint and gives you a durable, safe, cost-effective solution to your insulation needs. It is available in two primary forms: 1) Loose-fill cellulose (often used for insulating attics). 2) Stabilized cellulose insulation

Fiberglass
Fiberglass is the most commonly used residential insulation and is also used to reduce noise transfer. It is composed primarily of natural ingredients such as sand and recycled glass products. Fiberglass is made in batts and blown forms.

Foam Insulation
Foam insulation is becoming the popular choice in insulation. Foam insulation acts as a complete insulation and air barrier to minimize air leakage and seals the building envelope for optimal airtightness. Foam is first applied as a liquid which quickly expands up to 100 times its volume filling every crevice, crack, space and void. Foam is also an excellent air sealer.

The Icynene Insulation System®
Icynene® is the industry standard, the leading soft foam insulation and air barrier system. Icynene’s spray formulation represents a breakthrough in the science of moisture and thermal management.

According to Southland, “Icynene® is the leading 100% water-blown foam insulation that minimizes air leakage for increased energy efficiency, creates a healthier indoor environment, reduces airborne sounds and offers greater design freedom. Icynene® maintains its performance with no loss of R-value over time. It does not shrink, sag or settle. Icynene® adheres to most construction materials and is the perfect insulation for walls, attics, ceilings and floors.” What more could you want?

Call us now – (877) 344-1155 and let The Foundation Expert help you find the solution to your home energy needs.

Blow-In-Blanket-System (“BIBS”)
The BIB System is a patented process used in new construction that creates a higher R-value than batt insulation, and reduces the infiltration of air and noise into the wall space. In this process, insulation is blown into exterior (sidewalls) walls and/or interior walls (for sound-proofing). This method creates a more thermally efficient barrier than with standard batt insulation. Blow-In-Blanket HP is a hybrid insulation system that brings together the benefits of blow-in-blanket and spray foam insulation in one product.

Air Sealing
In addition to insulating your home, air sealing the shell of your home (including its outer walls, ceiling, windows, doors, and floors) is often the most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency and comfort. ENERGY STAR® estimates that a homeowner can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs (or up to 10% on their total annual energy bill) by sealing and insulating.

Although air sealing is important, air sealing alone does not replace the need for proper insulation throughout your home, which reduces the flow of heat from a warm space to a cool space. Our company employs trained HERS raters to determine the air sealing and other upgrades needed to ensure a home is not wasting energy, and saving you money.

Crawl Space Insulation
The natural airflow of a home is from bottom to top (ground to sky). As your home naturally breathes, the moist air (and everything in it) flows up and into the living areas of the home. If you have a crawlspace, you are breathing that air. By properly air sealing and insulating your home’s crawl space, you win in many ways:

  1. You increase the Indoor Air Quality of your home and the indoor health of your crawl space
  2. You save on energy costs by not having to heat or cool the air from the crawlspace.
  3. You create additional storage space for your family
  4. You increase the value and the long term integrity of your home.

ENERGY STAR
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. Americans, with the help of ENERGY STAR, saved enough energy in 2010 alone to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from 33 million cars — all while saving nearly $18 billion on their utility bills.

Energy efficient choices can save you and your family about a third on your energy bill with similar savings of greenhouse gas emissions, without sacrificing features, style or comfort. ENERGY STAR helps you make the energy efficient choice. When looking, look for new homes and new household products that have earned the ENERGY STAR. They meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the EPA and US Department of Energy.

The Foundation Expert is a participating member in the Home Performance with Energy Star Program – we deliver whole-house energy savings to improve and protect the environment and improve your health and comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I add new insulation on top of old insulation?
How much insulation should I add to my attic?
What is R-value?
Why do I need to seal my attic if I’m adding insulation?
Where are the big leaks in my attic?
Can I over seal my home or make it too tight?
Do you warranty your work?
How much is attic insulation per square foot?
Is insulation flammable?
What is the difference between cellulose and fiberglass?
What R-values do I need to meet county requirements?
How much of my cost will qualify for energy tax credits, and how do I apply?
What is the R-value of Icynene?
Why is Icynene more expensive than fiberglass?
Can Icynene be sprayed in an existing home?
What is the difference between open cell and closed cell foam?
How is spray foam better than traditional fiberglass?Does spray foam support bacteria or fungal growth?
At what point during a construction project is spray foam applied?
Can anyone install spray foam? 

Can I add new insulation on top of old insulation?
Yes, you can add new insulation on top of old insulation, unless it is wet. Wet insulation can lead to mold, mildew or even rotting of your ceiling roof rafters. If it is wet or appears it has previously been wet, you should look for the cause and repair it to prevent a reoccurrence. If the insulation needs to be removed, we can do this for you.

How much insulation should I add to my attic?
The recommended level (by the U.S. Department of Energy) for Zone 4 (the Mid-Atlantic) is to insulate to R-38, or about 12 to 15 inches, depending on the insulation type. Please note that the E.P.A. is recommending R-49.

What is R-Value?
R-Value is a measure of the insulation’s ability to resist heat flow; the higher the R-Value the better the thermal performance of the insulation.

Why do I need to seal my attic if I’m adding insulation?
Fibrous insulations (fiberglass and cellulose) are not air barriers, and as such, they allow air to move through them. This results in increased energy use. Air sealing stops the escape of air from the home.

Where are the big leaks in my attic?
Typically, the biggest attic leaks are found where the walls meet the attic floor, above drop ceilings and overhangs, and behind attic walls. Look for dirty or discolored insulation to find the leaks. This indicates that air is moving through the insulation materials. There are many other “holes” in the attic ceiling that should also be sealed, such as recessed “can” lights, plumbing stacks, electrical wires, attic hatches or doors, around chimneys or flues, and duct chases. We have certified solutions for all of these areas.

Can I over seal my home or make it too tight?
While it is possible to seal a house too tightly, it is very unlikely in older homes. In new homes where we install spray foam insulation, we often recommend an energy recovery ventilation system be added. While this is an added cost, the reduction in tonnage needed to heat and cool the home can offset most or all of the cost.  A certain amount of fresh air is needed for good indoor air quality and there are specifications that set the minimum amount of fresh air needed for a house. Our BPI Certified building analyst using diagnostic tools can make sure your combustion appliances are operating properly (see www.bpi.org).

Do you warranty your work?
Yes, for 12 months from completion of the job.

How much is attic insulation per square foot?
Because every job and condition is different, it is impossible to give square foot prices over the phone. We focus on energy efficiency and simply adding inches of insulation to your attic may not be the solutions to your issues of high energy bills and comfort. We would be happy to provide a free estimate and energy analysis of your particular situation.

Is insulation flammable?
Unfaced and loose-fill insulations are a Class-A non-combustible building product. Kraft facings on some insulation will burn and need to be covered with a flame spread barrier. We have certain insulation with a flame spread covering which can be left exposed should our job require such a product.

What is the difference between cellulose and fiberglass?
Cellulose is made by grinding up old newspaper and treated to be fire retardant. Fiberglass is made from melted sand, which is spun much like cotton candy and cut into sizes to fit in framing, or made as loose fill to be blown into attics.

What R-values do I need to meet county requirements?
R-value requirements vary from county to county, and it depends upon which year code your house was permitted under. The county requirements are the legal minimum, and we stress with higher energy cost, one should insulate above the legal minimum. Our staff of trained building analysts can give you both the minimum and options to save you money forever on your energy bills.

How much of my cost will qualify for energy tax credits, and how do I apply?
More information on tax credits can be found at www.energystar.gov/taxcredits

What is the R-value of Icynene?
Icynene has an R-value of 3.7 per inch, which is comparable to fiberglass. The difference with Icynene is that it is an air barrier which stops the movement of cool air into warm areas, thereby preventing moisture problems. As an air barrier, Icynene prevents the leakage of air that fibrous materials allow. This saves energy, up to 25% in a typical home.

Why is Icynene more expensive than fiberglass?
While both are insulations, their physical characteristics are entirely different. Fiberglass is not an air barrier and lets energy escape. Icynene fills every space in the framing, and seals the house while insulating it. The fact that Icynene is worth it resonates in our testimonial letters.

Can Icynene be sprayed in an existing home?
Yes, with certain conditions. Every home is different. We are happy to provide you with detailed options as to where and how Icynene can be used to improve your thermal performance and comfort level.

What is the difference between open cell and closed cell foam?
Open Cell foam is made up of tiny cells of foam that are not completely closed and is identified as 0.5 pounds per cubic foot. The cells are broken and air fills all of the “open” space inside of the material. This makes the foam have a soft feeling. Open Cell foam has an R-Value of 3.4 to 4.5 per inch.

Closed Cell are closed and packed tight together. They are filled with gas that helps the foam rise and expand and the foam is 2.0 pounds per cubic foot. Closed Cell foam is a greater insulator due to its denser properties. Closed Cell foam has an R-Value of 5.4 to 7.2 per inch.

How is spray foam better than traditional fiberglass?
Spray foam is applied in a liquid form, and then expands. As the foam is expanding it conforms to and fills every single nook, cranny, crevice, hole, crack and gap to create a continued thermal envelope. Spray foam insulation adheres to any clean, dry surface and will not shrink, settle or disintegrate over time.

Does spray foam support bacteria or fungal growth?
Open cell and closed cell offer no food value, and is an inert substance; therefore if does not support bacteria or fungal growth.

At what point during a construction project is spray foam applied?
Spray foam is applied after the windows, doors and roof, after the framing, plumbing, and electrical inspections are complete, and after any other systems located behind drywall is installed. Foam is the last installation to take place before drywall.

Can anyone install spray foam?
Only trained, certified and licensed applicators can apply Icynene or insulation products. Call (877) 344-1155 and let The Foundation Expert perform an Energy Audit of your home.