Did you know that heating and cooling account for over half of your home's energy use? Proper insulation levels and air-sealing in your home will dramatically reduce those costs. At Home Pro America, we are the Home performance experts, and we can help you assess whether you are simply in need of some additional attic insulation, or do you need to close the open window in your attic first. Learn How you may be spending hundreds, even thousands in additional heating and cooling costs.
Before you throw money away simply adding more insulation, you should know, there are three necessary components to maximize proper home heating and cooling energy. Insulation, ventilation and air sealing. One of the most important and most over looked is air sealing. You must seal off the openings from your ceiling into your attic.
Seal the gaps around wiring, lights, vents, plumbing, the tops of interior walls and attic access panels. These over-head openings (heat rises) can quickly add up to more than a large window being wide open in the winter.
Attic air sealing has one of the fastest pay backs of any home improvement.
Paying your roofing contractor to simply blow-in another foot of attic insulation is a waste of money and will not meet your expectations. Air-sealing the attic is one of the most important things that you can do, and is overlooked by most "blow-and-go" contractors. Using an Infrared thermal camera and other specialized tools, we can determine your home's problem areas.
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Proper ventilation will allow the hot moist air that would otherwise be trapped in the attic, to be vented out. If not properly vented, it can cause ice dams, mold and other adverse conditions. Every roofing warranty requires proper ventilation to be covered by the manufacturer's warranty.
If your roofer is a BPI or RBB-WHALCI certified home performance specialist, possibly. Did he/she recommend air sealing? Most roofing companies will simply blow over your existing insulation. The problem is, neither cellulose or fiberglass insulation stop airflow (leakage) through your attic. Understand, warm air does not just “rise” into your attic, it is literally SUCKED out of your home through a phenomenon called Stack Effect. This works against your energy efficiency efforts just like having a window wide open while you pay to heat or cool the area. Air sealing leakage points in your attic, is absolutely critical in addressing this issue, and simply blowing in more insulation without air sealing your attic will not deliver the results that you desire.
Generally speaking we prefer cellulose, as does the majority of the home performance community. It delivers a slightly better R value per inch, it is slightly more resistant to airflow, cheaper, and actually less hazardous than fiberglass. That said, fiberglass is fine and makes sense when blowing over existing fiberglass insulation. Just don't fall victim to those that claim fiberglass is a superior choice with all things being equal.
Most homes that are in need of wall cavity insulation are good candidates for dense packed cellulose insulation. The process consists of drilling small holes (one or two per cavity), and blowing cellulose in at a high rate of pressure to insure proper packing and full coverage.
There is an abundant amount of information available including how-to videos, etc. regarding insulation and air sealing. Treating your attic, while dirty and unpleasant, can be done if you are feeling ambitious. Dense packed exterior walls, spray foam and some other insulation applications on the other hand, require a higher grade of equipment and experience, so it is best left to an insulation contractor in the Twin Cities.
Spray foam is an excellent option when used under the correct circumstances. There are a few things to be aware of:
A home energy audit is the most comprehensive method of assessing your home's performance and safety, and is the best recommendation. A thermal imaging analysis is a less invasive way to explore specific areas regarding energy loss, with a visual inspection rounding out the options. That said, a visual inspection by an experienced and certified insulation contractor can generally diagnose and treat the vast majority of energy loss in your home. All three options will point to the attic insulation and specifically air sealing, as the number one source of energy loss in your home. Treating the attic properly will actually lessen the strain on your windows, doors, and other areas of your home where air leakage occurs, and should always be your first area of concern when addressing your home insulation in the Twin Cities area.