Posts Tagged With: attic insulation

8 Essential Best Practices for Efficient Heating This Winter

Attic Insulation InstallationHow many times have you looked at the heating bill and almost fell out of your chair from shock? Energy prices are nothing to sneeze at, which is why improving your home’s insulation will go a long way in keeping your family and your wallet comfortable this winter.

  1. Do an Energy Audit

The power company will conduct an energy audit on your home to detect the areas with the most heat loss. Generally, a home loses half of its heating and cooling through the walls, windows, floors and roof. Determining where to insulate is the first step. You’ll likely find that insulating the attic is one of the simplest and smartest ways to lower your heating bill.

  1. Determine Best R-Value for Your Home

Each area of your home requires a different R-value of insulation. The R-Value determines a material’s resistance to heat flow. The higher the number, the better it is at stopping loss. A typical Indiana attic needs insulation with an R-value of R49. Exterior walls require R13-21 and floors between R25-30.

  1. Blanket or Blown Insulation?

Two popular types of insulation are the rolled blanket insulation and the loose cellulose variety that is blown into place. Insulation comes in a variety of materials like fiberglass, cellulose and mineral wool. Fiberglass tends to settle so thicker layers have to be put down. Insect and fire resistant cellulose is the most common. Mineral wool is made from molten slag, which is spun into fiber. It is more expensive but totally fire resistant. Whichever you choose, remove old insulation and make sure to seal any possible air leaks before installing the new material. Apply a thick enough layer that covers floor joists. For blown insulation, a sprayer makes easy work of distributing cellulose around beams and other obstructions.

  1. Eliminate Drafts with Window Insulation

If you live in an older home and don’t have double pane windows, you may want to look into installing storm windows. These can be added externally or internally and will help keep cold at bay. Window insulation kits are another option. They contain large sheets of plastic that is taped around windows to eliminate drafts.

  1. Keep Heat in with Weather Seal

Foam weather-stripping can help seal around windows and doors, keeping weather out and heat in. Even if you have double pane windows, check the trim around them to make sure it’s sealed tight. Blinds, shades and window treatments such as insulated curtains can also provide an additional buffer against the cold.

  1. Check for Air Leaks and Seal Them

Check for air leaks around pipes, exhaust fans, ducts and chimneys. You’d be surprised how much heat is lost around the dryer vent. Seal them tight with spray foam. Purchase insulating foam plates for electrical outlets on exterior walls. They install behind the plastic outlet cover and block air flow.

  1. Blanket Hot Water Heater

Another source of heat loss occurs around the hot water heater, which accounts for 19% of your total home energy bill. Today’s models are well-insulated; however, if you place your hand on the side and it feels warm, then there’s heat loss. For $30, wrap the hot water heater with a blanket and save 10% on your yearly power usage.

  1. Wrap Hot Water Pipes for Additional Savings

Wrap all hot water pipes within three feet of the water heater. Polyethylene and neoprene wraps help keep the water hot longer and you can turn down the temperature setting. Be sure to keep the insulation at least six inches away from a gas hot water heater’s flue.

You Can Never Have Enough Insulation

This winter, don’t let your home’s warmth go out the window. Whether you roll it out or blow it in, you can never have enough insulation! Wrap your humble abode in a nice thick layer of warmth and you’ll never have to fear those energy bills again.

Expert Advice

From insulation vacuums and blowers to caulk cutting saws and electric heaters, our expert staff is always on hand to help you find the right equipment for your DIY home improvement projects. To learn how to install attic insulation, read How to Efficiently and Easily Insulate Your Attic. Another post, 4 Cold Weather Basics – Insulating Your Home, offers additional info on improving your home’s energy efficiency. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

4 Cold Weather Basics: Insulating Your Home (Part 2)

Cold Weather Basics Part 2 - Home InsulationProtect your home from winter’s wrath! We’re here to help you navigate all the challenges of the season with the second of a four-part special edition on our blog, outlining the basics of cold weather preparedness. Today, we’re talking insulation.

Winterizing your home with insulation is one of the most economical – and efficient – ways to save energy, keeping you and your family warm and toasty. In addition to caulking, weather-stripping and installing storm windows and doors (or covering them with plastic), adding insulation to walls and attics (even floors, basements, garages, barns, sheds or any place that provides shelter for your family and pets, livestock and equipment) can make a difference keeping warm air in and cold air out.

1. Twelve to 15 inches of roll insulation in your attic is one of the easiest ways to achieve insulation protection. Do-it-yourself insulating is simplified when you use an insulation vacuum and blower, which blow insulating foam into the area.

For more information on how to insulate your attic, read this blog post.

2. Consider closing off the attic using a sheet of plywood to cover the opening. To cut down on cold air leaking into the living space, create an airtight seal by attaching foam insulation pads to the back of the attic door and applying foam weather stripping tape around it, just as you would any other door. You can also install an insulated attic tent that fits over the pull-down stairs (if applicable).

3. Insulate pipes to keep them from freezing. Insulating hot water pipes will help decrease the cost of hot water, too. Cut pre-slit high R-value pipe foam to size and fasten it in pace with duct tape. Take it up a notch by wrapping (or re-wrapping) your hot water tank, using an insulation blanket and securing it tightly around the tank (tankless water heaters do not need this precaution). Seal air ducts in your attic and basement using a roll of HVAC foil tape, available at home centers. Simply wrap the tape around joints and secure.

4. One place you may not think about is your light switches and outlets. These holes in the wall are usually covered with thin plastic covers that probably provide little protection against cold air leaking into the living space. Install pre-cut foam gaskets underneath your light switch and outlet covers, which will act like weather stripping in the smallest places. Hey, every little bit counts!

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with the cold weather basics of insulating your home. For the first installment in this series, check out the first post about snow removal. From insulation equipment, accessories and everything in-between, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: Featured Products, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Increase the Energy Efficiency of Your Home by Insulating the Garage

How-To Insulate Your GarageA garage that’s attached to your home not only protects your cars, it serves as a multi-functional storage space and creative place, otherwise known as the Man Cave! It goes without saying that today’s American family needs to treat their garage just like any other important room in the house, insulating for energy efficiency, and more…

  • To keep it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer
  • To help control the temperature in rooms above the garage
  • To tinker or work on man cave projects in a comfortable environment
  • To cut down on noise pollution associated with power tools
  • To prevent potentially harmful gases or chemicals from entering living spaces
  • To create a safer living environment for your family

Types of Insulation for Your Garage

For garages where the walls have studs and no drywall, 15″ wide R13 fiberglass blanket insulation is the most common and cost efficient. However, blanket insulation comes in different widths to accommodate various studding and depth. Rock wool insulation is made from volcanic rock and used for fire prevention, which is good for the garage wall that’s attached to your home. Loose-fill and sprayed foam insulation are easier to install in walls that already have drywall installed.

Based on your local climate, the effectiveness of insulation is determined by an R-value, which measures the resistance of the insulation to heat flow. A higher R-value or number means a greater ability to insulate. Consult a hardware center specialist for the best garage R-value in your area.

Like most rooms in the house, it’s a good idea to insulate garage walls and the attic, if your garage has one, as well as air sealing the wall cavities between the garage and walls directly connected to the living spaces, caulking windows and running weather stripping along the garage door. Here’s a checklist:

  • Look for any obvious holes, gaps and cracks in garage walls and seal them with spray foam. Remember to check around electrical wires and plumbing fixtures and plug with spray foam or silicone caulk.
  • To avoid any fumes from seeping underneath the walls into the house, run a bead of silicone caulk along the bottom of the wall that’s attached to your home.
  • When insulating the garage wall that’s attached to your home, place fiberglass blanket insulation so the kraft facing, or vapor retarder, is facing inward toward the living spaces, with the fuzzy stuff exposed to the garage space.
  • For all other garage walls, install the fiberglass blanket with vapor retarder facing out, into the room.
  • If the walls in your garage already have drywall installed, blow in loose-fill fiberglass or cellulose insulation by hose through a hole you cut into the drywall.
  • Insulate a garage attic like you would any other attic in your home. For more on this, read our blog post, How to Effectively and Easily Insulate Your Attic
  • Cover and protect blanket insulation with 2×4’s, plywood or drywall
    • Nail 2×4’s over the top of blanket insulation between the studs in a secure pattern,
    • Or, secure plywood to the walls using screws with the A-grade side facing out,
    • Or drywall can be used in place of plywood; tape and mud as necessary.
    • For loose-fill and spray foam insulation, repair the access hole in the drywall.
  • Measure the space between the garage door and concrete floor, then cut a piece of weather stripping to fill the gap, securing the weather stripping to the door with glue and screws.
  • Caulk around the outside of the garage door, using silicone bead.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you plan your next winterizing project. From safety glasses and gloves to insulation vacuums and blowers, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

Categories: DIY Projects, How-To's, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How to Efficiently and Easily Insulate Your Attic

A somewhat overlooked energy and heat cost-cutter is “adding insulation to your attic.” Central Indiana is known for harsh winters, and this year is no exception. By spending a little time and money re-insulating your attic this fall you will not only save on heating costs, but you’ll ensure a comfortable and happy home for the rest of the year.

Attic Insulation Installation

A few things to consider…

First and foremost, determine if you even need to re-insulate your attic. There are several key indicators:

  • Heating bills are significantly higher in the winter months than normal
  • Snow melts on-contact with your roof
  • Your A/C ran more than normal this past summer
  • Your rooms are drafty and uncomfortable
  • There are noticeable temperature changes in different parts of your house

You may also be able to tell by actually going up into the attic and inspecting the current insulation, doing a DIY attic audit if you will. An obvious tell-tale is how much insulation is in place, the condition (wet, soggy, molded), etc. Once you know for a fact that installing new insulation is a must, then you can move to the next step.

One of the first things you need to know prior to doing any insulating is what R-value your batts should have. For a colder, temperate climate like Indiana, R-49 is an accurate estimate. Make sure you ask your local hardware store or insulation supplier which value is best suited though, because a higher insulation level will prevent hot air from escaping via the attic during the next few winter months. And if you’re feeling ambitious, for more information on how to calculate your own insulation needs, visit this blog post.

After determining your R-value, you’ll need to gather equipment – the fun part! We recommend using both an insulation vacuum and an insulation blower. You can use both of these in lieu of simply laying down rolls of insulation, or you can use them all in conjunction. It really depends on your preference. Keep in mind however, that using an insulation vacuum and blower will cut your time in half, as opposed to putting it all in by hand. Other tools necessary:

Bundle up and get to work

Once you have all the insulation you need – per your supplier’s instructions or DIY determination, and the insulation vacuum and blower, you can begin insulating. First things first, remove your old insulation with an insulation vacuum. This machine makes quick work of wet or dry insulation and drywall chip removal. All you do is plug it in and start sucking up everything. Some of the bigger pieces of insulation you can grab and throw out by hand, or you can use the vac for everything, especially for smaller pieces in nooks and crannies.

A word of advice though, use bags to tarp off the vacuum port. Otherwise, it could catch fire from all the debris churned up at such a high volume. A little maintenance goes a long way!

After getting out all the old insulation, it’s time to install the new insulation. You can either lay down rolls between the ceiling joists and blow insulation over the top, or you can use an insulation blower to install it all. The beauty of using a blower is that it is durable and powerful enough to insulate the main sections of your attic, in addition to the smaller, hard-to-reach spots. It can also blow both types of insulation – cellulose or fiberglass. Strive for uniform, complete coverage. The better you insulation the entirety of the attic, the warmer and more efficiently your household will modulate temperature. After you finish installing the insulation, you may also want to go back over loose bits with the vacuum, so keep it handy.

And voila, another item you can mark off your checklist! If you would like more information on how to add insulation to your attic in a safe and energy-efficient way, refer to this Energy Star guide.  And as always, we are here to help! So please contact us with questions or use the comment section below.

About the Author

Jack Runyon is the president of Runyon Equipment Rental. He has 21 years of rental experience, as the 3rd generation son to carry on the family tradition and his grandfather’s vision. He prides the company for its devotion to ethics, quality products and customer service. Jack is known for his passion and vast expertise.

Categories: Fall Checklist, Restore and Renovate | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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