Thursday, October 25, 2018

Attics and Basements – Where to Insulate and Why

Most homeowners think of upgrading their home’s insulation during fall and winter. This is when homeowners hear their furnaces run, begin to feel the pinch of high energy bills and notice cold areas around their homes. If you’re ready to upgrade your home’s insulation, here are two areas to address:


When air escapes a home it goes up, not out. This makes your home’s attic the first place to start when making home energy upgrades. Upgrading your attic insulation adds a thermal layer that will help maintain your home’s inside temperature. You can go one step further by sealing air leaks in your attic. According to ENERGY STAR, 60% of a home’s air leaks exist in the attic. Insulating and air sealing your attic will help make your home more comfortable and save money on energy bills year after year.

Basement Box Sills

Box sills are the area of the basement where the outside wall of the home meets the joist of the first floor. Box sills are constructed with a thin layer of siding, plywood and foam board. These materials are not enough to prevent energy loss, cold basements and high energy bills. In fact, some estimates indicate that 25% of a home’s heat loss is a result of uninsulated box sills. We recommend adding spray foam insulation to box sills to both insulate and air seal this critical area.

A friendly reminder: Schedules fill up quickly during fall and winter. Be patient when scheduling with a qualified insulation contractor. It’s worth waiting for an insulation expert to review your home and recommend proper energy upgrades.

Have questions about adding insulation to your home? Contact our office. Our team is happy to help!

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Why to Hire a Professional Insulation Contractor

It’s common for homeowners to tackle home upgrades and DIY projects. If you’re thinking of installing your own insulation, think again! Properly insulating a structure is more than throwing insulation into a wall. Our estimators regularly receive calls asking us to fix improperly installed insulation.

Quality insulation involves sealing air leaks and properly installing fiberglass insulation. Air sealing is as important in wall cavities as it is in attics and throughout a home. Improper or incomplete air sealing (behind electrical boxes, sealing wire penetrations, etc.) leads to drafty walls and comfort issues.

After air sealing, it’s important to install fiberglass insulation. Fiberglass insulation must be properly installed to achieve maximum R-value. This includes installing fiberglass batt insulation to completely fill a cavity – from top to bottom, and from side to side. Well trained installers know the best methods for installing fiberglass batt insulation to achieve maximum R-value.

As easy as it may sound, attempting to tackle your home’s insulation on your own can create a list of headaches. Once a wall or other cavity is closed with drywall, outside air can infiltrate the cavity and become trapped inside. This can result in discoloration, frost on your wall, mildew and possibly even mold. Proper installation and air sealing help maintain the integrity of your entire home.

Don’t let the perceived cost savings of DIY insulation end up costing you more in the long run. Hire a professional insulation contractor and have the job done right the first time! Call our office to schedule your free estimate.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Avoid Home Repair Scams – Tips from NARI

Has your home been damaged by summer storms? This time of year, many homeowners become victims of home repair scams. Con artists often show up at a homeowner's door after a disaster, offering an array of services and demanding a hefty down payment up front. They might offer a "great deal," based on using materials left over from a neighbor’s job – but a "great deal" isn't always what it seems. Frequently these fly-by-night operators drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates or set up temporary offices from which they can move quickly once authorities start looking for them.

Here are some tips from NARI Madison to avoid home repair scams:
  • Get the name and address of the company that the person allegedly represents.
  • Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Be sure you understand everything in the contract. Any verbal promises made are included in the contract.
  • Determine how long the company has been in business and call organizations with which the contractor is affiliated, such as NARI of Madison or other trade associations, to determine the firm's legitimacy.
  • Ask for references and contact each one.
  • Remember that any legitimate company that wants your business will be more than willing to allow you the time to do your homework. Don't fall prey to high pressure tactics such as "this is the only chance you have" or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone."

Homeowners should be especially skeptical if the company:
  • Comes to your door unsolicited.
  • Uses high pressure sales tactics.
  • Requests full payment before completing the work.
  • Gives a post office box without a street address or phone number.
  • Promises to begin and complete the work more quickly and cheaply than any other company.
  • Says they just finished work on your neighbor's house and have just enough materials to do repair work on yours. They might say they can give you a better bargain if you let them do the work today since they have the supplies now.
NARI is a great source for homeowners seeking to hire a professional remodeling contractor. NARI members are full-time, dedicated remodelers who follow a strict code of ethics, observing high standards of honesty, integrity and responsibility. For more information, visit the NARI Madison website to find a qualified professional who is a member of NARI or to learn more about the remodeling process.

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Monday, July 30, 2018

Three Insulation Tips for Your Multi-Season Room

Wisconsin residents know summer is a precious time of year! Seasons can swing from cold and rainy to humid and muggy, then back to cold and rainy again in the blink of an eye. If you’re lucky enough to have a screened porch, summer is when you make the most of it! If you’re considering converting your porch into a multi-season room, there are a few key areas that need attention. 

Insulation is one of the most important factors when building or converting a multi-season room. It’s important to pay close attention to ceiling and floor insulation. Ceiling insulation in a multi-season room is just as important as attic insulation in a home. Ceiling insulation creates a thermal barrier to help keep comfortable air inside the room. Does the ceiling currently have access so insulation can be added? If the ceiling is not currently insulated and there is no access, the ceiling may need to come down for insulation to be installed.

When insulating the floor of a multi-season room, air sealing is particularly important. Since multi-season rooms are not typically in contact with the ground, outside air can become trapped below the room and seep in through penetration points. If there is access from below it’s ideal to apply up to two inches of spray foam to seal air leaks. After spray foam is applied, the cavity can be filled with a blown-in insulation system or fiberglass batts can be installed. The final step is to enclose the area by installing a solid surface such as rigid foam or plywood.

If you plan to tear up the floor, consider installing spray foam to seal air leaks followed by filling the remainder of the cavity with a blown-in insulation system or fiberglass batts. The final step is to install the new floor system.

When planning your multi-season room, be sure to talk with your contractor about windows and a heat source. Installing high quality windows and sealing air leaks around the windows will help maintain a comfortable inside temperature. Since Wisconsin winters can be very cold, consider adding a heat source so you can enjoy the space all year long.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Insulation in Summer – Why it Matters

If you see sky-high summer energy costs, we have a lesson for you about home insulation. Insulation isn’t something to think about only during the winter. Your home uses energy year round, whether you’re heating or cooling.  Energy loss can occur just as easily during the summer when you’re running your air conditioning system as in winter when you’re heating your home.

To keep energy inside your home, your home’s thermal envelope needs to be conditioned. This is done by ensuring your home’s wall and attic insulation is at the proper R-value, and by sealing air leaks. Air leaks carry heated or cooled air away from your targeted area. An air leak as small as your thumb can allow an enormous amount of conditioned air to escape. Sealing air leaks prevents conditioned inside air from escaping and hot, humid outside air from entering.

How do you know if your home needs an energy upgrade?
  • The age of your home can be a factor. Homes built before the mid-1950s had little or no insulation.
  • Pay attention to how often your air conditioning system runs. If the system has been checked and is working properly, your home can benefit from air sealing and upgraded insulation.
  • If your home has hot or cold spots, air may be leaking in from the outside. Air sealing can help.

For a more comprehensive analysis, consider a home energy audit. A home energy audit is like getting a physical for your home. An auditor checks your entire home for energy loss - everything from insulation to duct work and your HVAC system, water heater and more.

Schedule a free estimate with our experienced insulation team to review your home for energy improvements. Contact our office today with questions or to schedule an estimate.

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