Home Energy Efficiency
Not sure how to get started or even what to ask? Don’t worry! Give us a call and explain your concerns. We offer a full range of consulting services that will assist you in deciding the best course of action for your home.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY EDUCATION
We can provide you with all the information you may want or need regarding energy efficiency: its benefits, common issues in homes, what can be done to correct those issues, and energy-efficient actions that can be taken on a daily basis to improve your home’s energy use.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY EVALUATION AND PLANS
We can also provide an evaluation of your home utilizing the most suitable methods - from blower door testing to thermal imaging - in order to find any air loss or gain. Common problem areas are often HVAC systems, air ducts, returns, windows, doors, insulation and attic exhaust fans.
Do you have any idea what type of insulation is in your home? Do you know when it was installed? Has it settled, been damaged or are any unwelcome critters making a home in it? Very rarely do we even think about the insulation in our homes unless something is noticeably wrong. With this in mind, here are a few basic facts about insulation that might let you know if you need to consider having your insulation evaluated.
There are as many different types of insulation - such as fiberglass, cellulose and rockwool – as there are forms of it, like batts, blown and spray. While cellulose is still a popular type of insulation used, it is known to attract contaminants, contains VOCs and creates huge dust problems in homes. It also has a very poor settle rate, meaning that if 18” of cellulose has been sprayed into an average house, it can drop to 10” or lower within a couple months of application. Additionally, older types of insulation are known to contain asbestos, formaldehyde and other VOCs.
Insulation should always be evenly distributed with no gaps, voids, compression or low spots. Batts, a form of insulation typically made of cotton or fiberglass, are often a poor choice for energy efficiency. Batts are large pieces of insulation held together by long, interweaving fibers with adhesive binders. The problem with this is that they do not fill your attic very well. Whether it has been installed poorly due to being improperly cut to fill the cavities around the joists completely or that it simply does not compete well with all the other things we often put in attics – wires, junction boxes, bathroom fans – it often does not fill the space evenly or hold up well over time.
Insulation levels are determined by an R-value, which 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. Recommended levels will vary depending on where you live, but generally R-38 is the standard for most attics.
ATTIC INSULATION REPLACEMENT
We use only non-corrosive, non-combustible, formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation made by companies with the Greenguard gold and LEED certification, such as Owens Corning and CertainTeed, with an R-value of 38 or better.
ATTIC INSULATION REMOVAL/REPLACEMENT
Some people may tell you that it is easier to simply add insulation instead of having the existing insulation removed and replaced. This may not always be the best advice for everyone. Old insulation can harbor or conceal issues that you are not aware of. The most important step to adding or replacing insulation is to ensure that your attic is completely air sealed. If insulation is added on top of any holes or other leakage sites, you may still wind up with comfort, durability, air quality and efficiency problems.
It may also be more beneficial to replace your insulation rather than mix two different types or forms of insulation. This can cause compression, uneven spots and major dust issues, along with the possibility of trapping any contaminants that may have gotten into the old insulation. It is also known to lower the efficiency of your insulation.
Additionally, if there is any water, fire or smoke damage to your insulation, it needs to be replaced. Insulation cannot be dried out, so if it is not replaced, your insulation will become a breeding ground for mold, odors that can attract wildlife, and other contaminants that can be dangerous to the health of your household.
Some other issues that may let you know it is time to get your insulation replaced are:
Contaminants like spores or rodents – insulation cannot be decontaminated due to its composition. Any contaminated insulation has to be replaced
Age of your home – if you’ve lived in your home for more than 10 years and never had your insulation changed out, it may be time to get your insulation evaluated
Poor energy efficiency of your home – do the temperatures in your home never seem stable even though your HVAC units are working hard all year long? This could mean you have air leaks, your insulation is poor, or both.