Top 5 Myths about Spray Foam Insulation: What You Need to Know

For many home and business owners, the choices for insulation can be very daunting. Which materials and what methods work best? At Superior Insulation Company, we’re trained, licensed Icynene® Spray Foam Insulation contractors. This means we can put our expertise to work for you.

Since spray foam is a relatively newer product compared to fiberglass and other more traditional materials, there are a number of myths about it. Here are the top five:

Myth #1:  Icynene Spray Foam Insulation costs too much. 

Look at it this way—there may be a higher upfront cost, but the money you’ll save on energy bills will be worth it in the long run. You could save up to 40% on your heating and cooling costs if you use spray foam insulation.

Myth #2: Because spray foam isn’t as thick as batts of fiberglass, it can’t insulate as well.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is, it takes less foam to achieve the same level of insulation as several batts of fiberglass. This is because foam expands to fill in more gaps than other types of insulation.  In fact, if you have an older building, you can even add spray foam to existing insulation.

Myth #3: Spray foam is used only for insulation.

Actually, spray foam also acts as a sealant which repels moisture as well. Moisture is a real nuisance that can cause mold and mildew, making areas like the basement smell bad and letting in drafts. That’s why spray foam is a superior choice for keeping out mold, which is caused by water infiltration.

Myth #4: Spray foam doesn’t seal as well as fiberglass insulation.  

Of course this is not true. Spray foam is able to reach into nooks and crannies that fiberglass simply can’t. That’s why contractors use spray foam to seal in crawlspaces, attics, basements, around electrical outlets, windows and more.

Myth #5: Spray foam contains chemicals that may not be safe.

Actually, spray foam is more environmentally-friendly than older types of insulation. It contains fewer VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and because it has no food value, it doesn’t allow for the growth of fungus and bacteria, keeping your home healthier and greener. It’s also not a food source for pests, so you won’t have to worry about attracting mice and having infestations in your house.

When you consider the benefits of spray foam versus other kinds of insulation, it’s clear that spray foam represents a new generation in efficient insulation with less mess and hassle.

That’s why it’s important to call on experienced contractors like the professionals at Superior Insulation Company for a consultation, whether your building is a new construction or a retrofit.

Superior Insulation Company works with all types of insulation materials, and we’ll work with you to identify the best products and methods for your insulation needs. Contact us today for more information.

Superior Insulation Company is an ABAA (Air Barrier Association of America) Certified Insulation Contractor.

Where is heat loss happening in your home?

Greatest Sources of Heat Loss in Winter

When the fall days and nights get chillier, and with winter right around the corner, now is the time when many homeowners check to make sure they’ve done everything to ensure their homes are safeguarded against heat loss and that they will keep everyone warm and cozy—as well as energy efficient.

The truth is, even if you have the best insulation already in place, there are several areas of the house that are notorious for heat loss or letting warm air escape.

Unfinished Basements

Some homeowners ignore their unfinished basement, writing it off as the coldest room in the house. But do you realize how much heat you’ll lose if there’s no insulation? If you have a concrete floor—concrete is known as a bad insulator—with cinder block walls, that’s the R-value equivalent of particle board! While it’s not energy efficient to insulate the ceiling of the basement, it is a good idea to insulate the walls. An important note: Just because you don’t feel the cold, doesn’t mean you’re not losing money by having your heat source running more often than it should.

Crawlspaces

There is the old saying that “heat rises.” However, this principle doesn’t work when it comes to crawlspaces. And here’s why: Heat always moves from warm to cold. The greater the difference in temperature, the faster the heat will move. So, for instance, if your crawlspace is thirty degrees colder than the main living areas of your house, the warm air will move faster out of your living areas. In homes without basements, if the floors are cold, that’s a sure sign that you need more—or better—insulation.

Windows

We’ve mentioned it before—there’s an approximate 10% loss of heat through windows. With doors, it can be as much as 11% heat loss. For those DIY-ers out there, gaps around windows can often be taken care of with a few good supplies at home improvement stores. Caulking and weather stripping products are quick fixes. Weather stripping materials come in rubber, vinyl, foam tape, and even metal. These products are sold by the foot or in kits.

Air-Conditioning Window Units and Other Areas

Fall is the time of year to remove air-conditioning units from windows. If you can’t remove them, it’s best to seal around them with caulk or get a window insulation blanket to be more effective.

Other culprits for heat loss include laundry ducts, vents and plumbing pipes—not always the first things homeowners think of when air is escaping from their home. Spray foam insulation, which we recommend, is excellent for getting around these tricky, hard to reach areas and expanding to close every gap.

This fall, be sure to prepare your home for the colder months ahead. If you have questions about how to insulate your home properly, keep checking our blog for more tips. When you’re ready to have insulation installed, contact the professionals at Superior Insulation Company for a consultation today.

Summer Solutions: Why Spray Foam Insulation is the Cooler Choice

The dog days of summer are certainly here, and your air-conditioning is probably running non-stop. Remember, proper insulation won’t just trap cool air inside, it will keep it inside.

Did you know that 90% of single-family homes are under insulated? If you want to keep temperatures comfortable while saving on energy bills, the professionals at Superior Insulation Company recommend you talk with us and let us replace or add a more cost-effective insulation option for you. We highly recommend Icynene® Spray Foam, and if you’ve been reading our blog, you already know many of the reasons why. This summer, as your fans or air-conditioning units are running, take a look at the difference spray foam can make for you.

What is Icynene Spray Foam?

Icynene is an air barrier, which means it prevents the flow of air in and out of your home, whether it’s hot air in the summer or cold air in the winter. It expands when it’s sprayed, so it doesn’t require as much to achieve the same dense level of effective insulation material necessary for most living areas.

Whether you have a new home or are renovating your existing home, Icynene Spray Foam adheres to most substances: wood, concrete, steel. Icynene seals walls, floors and ceiling cavities against air movement. This includes spaces around light fixtures and electrical outlets, as well as the places where walls meet windows and doors. Places where traditional insulation may be tricky are no match for spray foam.

Spray Foam is Water Resistant

Another advantage of spray foam insulation is that it repels moisture, which eliminates the growth of mold. Not all insulation products can claim that. For those who suffer from mold allergies, this is an especially nice benefit. Did you know that Icynene spray foam is even rated as being a flood resistant material by FEMA?

Spray Foam is a Greener Choice

If you’re concerned about environmentally friendly products, spray foam is a greener alternative to traditional insulation, such as fiberglass. Spray foam can improve the quality of air inside your home. Homeowners who have asthma, allergies or chemical sensitivities will find spray foam to be a better choice. Here’s how it works: Spray foam is able to form a barrier that cannot be penetrated by pollen, dust and other pollutants. Because of this barrier, spray foam is able to resist the infiltration of moisture, as mentioned above, which prevents mold growth.

While the cost of spray foam is a little higher than some of the less effective choices, it does help to protect your family in the long run, which is worth it. Remember, products such as fiberglass could contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde. If you go with fiberglass, please consult with professionals who can install it safely to reduce the risks of exposure.

It’s Not Always What, but WHERE You Apply Your Insulation

Effective insulation isn’t only about what materials you use, but where you install it. Some of the most important places to apply insulation are:

  • attic
  • exterior walls
  • basement
  • overhangs
  • floors above garages
  • crawl spaces

The professionals at Superior Insulation Company will work with you to ensure your home has the most effective, cost-efficient insulation for your needs. We do recommend Icynene Spray Foam because it has proven to be the best. We can also install a variety of other products based on your specific needs. Contact us today and let us go to work for you this summer!

Superior Insulation Company is an ABAA (Air Barrier Association of America) Certified Insulation Contractor.

7 Signs That Your Insulation Isn’t Working

Know the Warning Signs!

Do you need more insulation? Or better insulation? Odds are, if your home was built prior to 1970, it’s a good rule of thumb to re-insulate. However, there are other signs to check for that will let you know if new or more insulation is needed.

1. Trouble in the Attic

If you detect moisture in your attic, or there’s water coming through your ceiling, you’re likely to have insulation problems. Or when you feel colder inside your home during winter months, this also points to inadequate insulation in your attic. The recommended amount of insulation in your attic is usually about six inches. You should consider also adding insulation to the access door to your attic to keep out drafts. While attic issues are very common in older homes, they can be present in newer homes as well. So it’s always a good idea to check the attic!

2. Out of Control Energy Bills

You think you’ve done everything you can to keep your house running efficiently. But your bills continue to rise, which can signal that your insulation is failing you. This, combined with something else you may notice—your air-conditioner and furnace run more often. This summer, is your AC going constantly? If you turn it off, does it suddenly feel like the desert in your house? Cooling and heating systems are necessary to maintain a consistent level of comfort in your home, but they shouldn’t be working overtime. So, if these two indicators—high energy bills and nonstop AC and furnaces—are present, usually your insulation is to blame.

3. Not Such a Winter Wonderland

Remember last winter? Did you have giant icicles hanging from the roof of your house? Contrary to popular belief, these are not pretty. They are signals of something more sinister that can threaten to ruin your roof and gutters. Here’s what happens: Heat rises, so when your attic and roof aren’t insulated well, the attic gets very warm in the winter. If your attic is insulated sufficiently, the heat will escape out through vents, but if your insulation is inadequate, the heat will go to the top of the roof and melt the snow up there. Because the roof edges are cold, the melted snow (water) will drip down toward the edge of the roof and freeze. This is called an ice dam. If you have ice dams, you’ll want to contact insulation professionals to replace your insulation immediately.

4. Hot and Cold Rooms

If your living room is a sauna, and your bedroom feels like the Arctic, this is a major red flag. It happens because not all of your insulation will necessarily fail you at the same time. Some rooms may be perfectly comfortable, while others suddenly are not. Remember, it’s not okay to feel drafts in certain rooms, especially if you believe your house is well insulated. If you feel one drafty room, it’s a good idea to check and see if there are others. Check the walls of interior closets to see if they are cold. You may never have noticed it before. If you’re lucky, only certain rooms will need new or additional insulation, and the rest of your house may be fine. If any of the walls are cold, be sure to let your contractors know. Good contractors will know to use as much insulation as they can fit between outer walls and the drywall.

5. The Condition of Your Current Insulation

This one may be obvious, but if your insulation is crumbly, outdated and wouldn’t meet today’s building codes, you’ll need to replace it. If you know that the insulation is old, don’t take matters into your own hands. Consult with professionals. The reason is simple—sometimes it’s best not to disturb older insulation, as it may contain toxic chemicals like asbestos. In these cases, professionals will apply new insulation over the existing insulation. If it’s safe to remove, let the experts remove it properly to eliminate any danger.

6. Cracks in the Wrong Places

If you spot cracks around your doors and windows, this could be an easy, do-it-yourself fix. If they’re small cracks, apply some caulk to seal them. There’s no complex test for figuring out if you’ve solved the problem. Simply place your hand on the area to see if you feel any drafts. Whatever you do, don’t let these go unchecked. Sometimes a few cracks are all it takes to let enough cool air or heat escape that results in super high energy bills.

7. A Place for Pests and Moisture

Last but not least, if you spot any mice droppings or other indicators that pests have infiltrated your home, this could seriously compromise the integrity of your building structure. Insects and other pests can eat away at what is called “the building envelope.” Another danger is moisture, which can cause some kinds of insulation to collapse when they become damp. This will create gaps that invite air through the building as well.

Superior Insulation Company is an ABAA (Air Barrier Association of America) Certified Insulation Contractor. We’re available for consultation to discuss your insulation options. Talk with us today!