Category Archives: spray foam insulation

6 Energy Efficient Ways to Beat the Heat this Summer

beat the heat

Air conditioning may ensure your comfort during the summer but running it non-stop during a heat wave will have you cringing when your utility bill arrives in the mail. The good news is that there are several ways you can beat the heat this summer without increasing your energy bills.

Here are some energy efficient ways to beat the heat that’ll pay off immediately.

Use your ceiling fans wisely. During the summer, ceiling fans should rotate counterclockwise to push cool air down, creating a wind chill effect. This allows you to set the thermostat at a higher temperature without sacrificing comfort. Portable fans produce the same effect. Turn them off when you leave the room.

Draw the curtains. During the day, room temperatures can rise by as much as 20 degrees, especially in areas with windows that get direct sunlight. Keep your curtains closed during the summer. Blackout curtains are often the most effective at reducing heat gain.

Switch out your light bulbs. Incandescent light bulbs produce a lot more heat than you might think. They are also considered the least energy efficient. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use only 20-25% of the energy and last up to 25 times longer than the traditional light bulbs they replace. Choose bulbs that are ENERGY STAR certified.

Clean or change you’re A/C filters once a month. Your air conditioner consumes 5-10% more energy if the filter is clogged or dirty. You should change or clean the filter out on your A/C unit once a month.

Avoid using your stove or oven during the day. One of the last things you want to do on a hot day is generate more heat. Wait until sundown to use your stove or oven. Use smaller appliances, such as hot plates, crockpots, pressure cookers, and microwaves during the day. Small appliances have the added benefit of being energy efficient.

Install new insulation. Properly installed, insulation can help keep your home an average of 20 degrees cooler or warmer year-round. It will also reduce your energy bills. Look for insulation with a high R-value (the insulation’s ability to reduce heat transfer). You can choose between fiberglass, cellulose, and spray foam insulation for this project.

The Skinny on Spray Foam

spray foam

What is spray foam? Spray foam, is commonly composed of either isocyanurate (open-cell) or polyurethane (closed-cell), and is made by combining two ingredients onsite using specialized equipment. Both open-cell and closed-cell foam are applied as a liquid that contains a polymer and a foaming agent. Once the liquids and foaming agent are combined, the mixture is then sprayed through a heated hose into the areas in need of insulation. One of the nice features about this product is the fact that it expands to fill hard to reach areas, and then rapidly hardens.

Why choose spray foam? It has the potential to stop air leakages better than many of the other insulation products currently available. Because it is sprayed into place, where it then expands, it can fill up cavities and block any small holes that may otherwise compromise your building’s envelope. It is available as open-cell and closed-cell foam (discussed below). When professionally installed, vertically or horizontally, spray foam can contribute to energy-efficiency, noise reduction, moisture intrusion reduction, and more!

  • Open-cell foam has a density of about 0.5 lb. per cubic foot, and an R-value of 3.5 to 4.0 per inch. Open-cell provides an effective air seal which reduces energy loss and improves indoor air quality when used correctly. Most homes require double the amount of open-cell spray foam.
  • Closed-cell foam has a density of about 20 lb. per cubic foot, and an R-value of 6.0 to 6.5 per inch. Closed-cell is typically more expensive than open-cell do to its ability to add structural strength to a wall, ceiling, or roof assembly. It also reduces energy loss and improves indoor air quality.

Are there any green alternatives to traditional spray foam insulation? Yes! Soybean-based spray foam, is made without any added chemicals, yet has the same insulation properties as traditional spray foam insulation. A portion of the petroleum base that makes up the product is replaced by soy. Soybean spray foam uses water as its main blowing agent. Soybean does not emit greenhouse gasses; long or short term. While more expensive than traditional spray foam, soybean is the appropriate choice for those wanting an environmentally-friendly option. Other benefits of soybean foam include:

  • Blocks drafts.
  • Stays firmly in place.
  • Excellent thermal properties.
  • Effectively reduces outside noise.
  • Does not attract insects or rodents.
  • Does not emit greenhouse gasses.
  • Meets government requirements for renewable resources.
  • Lowers the costs associated with heating and cooling your home.

Choose The Correct Insulation

Homeowners: Learn How to Choose the Correct Insulation

Choose the Correct InsulationHomeowners, the time has come to choose the correct insulation materials for your attic or basement walls to ensure your everlasting comfort. Like many choices in life, you may feel overwhelmed by the wide variety of insulation materials on the market today. If that’s the case, I’d like to suggest that you read this informative blog post, which contains expert tips.

Tip #1 – Pay Attention to R-Values

An R-value, or thermal efficiency, measures how well you home resists your states temperature fluctuations. In the winter insulation will keep you toasty warm, whereas in the summer it will keep you comfortable as it resists heat. In Washington, you should look for insulation with an R-value of R30 to R60 for uninsulated attics, and R25 to R38 when adding to your existing insulation.

Tip #2 – Determining Insulation Type

Loose Fill Insulation – Loose cellulose or fiberglass insulation that is blown into a wall cavity or attic by state-of-the-art equipment. This type of insulation is typically not well suited to concrete or stone walls, because of moisture. You can find loose fill insulation with R-values ranging between 20 and 40. This is one of the least inexpensive insulation options.

Batt Insulation – Composed of mineral materials or fiberglass, this type of insulation material is best for homeowners seeking affordability. R-values typically range from 14 to 22. Not the easiest material to work with and install. If not installed correctly, you will lose energy efficiency.

Spray Foam Insulation – Expandable spray foam that is applied directly to surfaces such as ceilings and roof-decks in order to efficiently resist heat and cold. You can find R-values ranging anywhere from 20 to 40. This type of material is one of the priciest options available today.

Rigid/Board-Stock Insulation – Foam, mineral, or fiberglass boards that was designed for exterior use only – best for roofing, siding, foundation and decking projects. You can choose between R20 to R28 when selecting R-values. This insulation works well in wet conditions.

Spray Foam Insulation Has Many Benefits

Insulating with spray foam offers many valuable benefits!  Some of them are:Image-Residential-wall

  • health benefits
  • structural benefits
  • financial benefits

Spray foam insulation cuts down on air leaks, which can account for 30% of a home’s annual heating and cooling expenses. Insulating with spray foam also aids in controling the growth of mildew and mold which can cause so many very serious health issues!  One way it does this is by greatly reducing the amount of water vapor that gets in through the leakage of air.  It creates better indoor air quality in much the same way.  Less air leakage means less dust, pollen and other particulates can get in, which is a big benefit to people with allergies and asthma.

Commercial Spray FoamSpray foam also adds a lot of internal strength to walls in the event of strong winds.  It adds resistance to high wind uplift and blow-off for roofing through spray foam’s lack of fasteners that cause holes like nails and screws, and the lack of joints or edges.

Another terrific benefit of spray foam insulation is the reduction of noise!  It can help soften the volume airborne noise, which is caused by stereos, talking, video games and tvs.  This is accomplished by sealing every crack and crevice that would allow these noises to travel to your ears.  It also reduces something called flanking noise, which happens when sound travels through spaces along plumbing pipes, electrical outlets, recessed lighting fixtures and framing connections.

Of course spray foam will also save you money!  Spray foam insulation allows heating and cooling systems tooperate at much more energy efficient levels by sealing all of the spaces where air can get into or out of buildings.  Spray foam insulation can help homeowners qualify for grants and tax credits too!

Watch this video that talks about the benefits of spray foam insulation:

If you have any questions please contact Carrig and Dancer at (253) 584-7704 or click here to visit our website for more information.