Something we see a lot of in this area is insulation done poorly, or not to the full extent that it should be done. This is generally blowing new insulation over old insulation, which does make sense – to insulate your home better you can add more. This method only works to a certain point and is not going to protect your investment in the long run.
Benefits of Air Sealing
The most beneficial thing you can do for insulating your home is keeping the air from transferring, which is called air sealing. When we insulate your home we are either moving or removing whatever insulation you have in there already, then we air seal and add insulation.
Air sealing is important because it keeps heat and moisture from escaping. To visualize what we mean by air sealing, it has to do with holes drilled by electricians that guide wiring down to all your home’s outlets. So if you were to take off the faceplate of your outlet or light switch you would see the opening in the wall, where all the wiring is located. If you were to follow that wiring up to the roof or attic you would see it goes through a hole about 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide in the attic, covered by some type of board or plate. If these holes are not sealed, that warm or cool air you are regulating your home’s temperature with, can escape right through your outlets and out the top of your home.
As you can see, we use foam to air seal ANY spots that could have air leaks. This is actually more important and beneficial to have in your attic than just insulation. We have used foam to seal areas where ceiling lights are located, as well as interior walls. Small spaces between the drywall and the ceiling can still release heat, making your home less efficient.
Air Sealing in Action
We recently air sealed a relatively new home, just two years old, and the customers were complaining that an upstairs room was way too cold. When we took a look, the home had not been air sealed, and only had about six inches of cellulose insulation in the attic. That insulation is porous and without air sealing a lot of air can leak in or out. So what we did was air seal around any spots we deemed necessary and came back the next day. The customers raved about how much warmer their daughter’s bedroom is – we hadn’t even insulated yet! Adding insulation solidified the secure seals we put in place.
Types of Insulation
Types of insulation typically used are fiberglass and cellulose. Fiberglass insulation is made up of extremely fine glass fibers. It can come as rolls or loose filling. It works to trap pockets of air and keep in warmth or cold. It is very commonly used, as it’s inexpensive and very easy to install. It is very important to wear safety gloves and glasses when handling fiberglass insulation. The tiny glass fibers can get into pores in the skin or eyes and cause itching and rashes.
Cellulose insulation comes in a few different forms but generally in loose-fill or dry-wet spray fill. It’s a great, green alternative to fiberglass insulation. It contains recycled paper material, or sometimes other plant material. Its flexibility makes it easy to fill any shape or size area, including going around pipes or wires.
We love to not only help educate our customers, but educate everyone else. You could be running a poorly efficient home, and spending more on heat by cranking it up to make up for lost air that you didn’t know about. Keep in mind, if you are in a position of installing new insulation, remember to air seal first! Laying more insulation on top of existing is going to do nothing for you if you don’t air seal those gaps and potential leaks. Give First American Roofing a call and we can look over your insulation, and check for leaks that need to be sealed.