Most of the energy costs spent to keep a Chinatown home warm in the winter and cool in the summer end up leaving through the attic. In the summer, the sun’s heat pours in through the attic and in the winter, warm air rises past the ceiling and out of the home. Saving on energy costs starts in the attic, but how much insulation is enough?
Are You Trying To Find Loft Insulation Companies For Your Chinatown House?
Although spray foam insulation as we know it today truly emerged in the 1980s around the Chinatown area, spray foam actually has its roots several decades further in the past, beginning with the development of polyurethane foam in the 1940s by Otto Bayer. Otto Bayer, an industrial chemist, actually began working with polyurethane in Germany during the late 1930s. This technology was brought to the United States in the early 1940s by David Eynon, the president of Mobay, a war effort conglomerate created from the partnering of two chemical industry giants, Monsanto and the Bayer Corporation.
Your Home's Insulation
Spray Foam Insulation is a two-component system typically consisting of petroleum oils, plastics, and resins. The polyurethane foam comes in two different forms, open cell and closed cell foam. The polyurethane spray foam is an extremely versatile material that is available in a variety of final physical properties and densities. Although the two types of foam are very similar in their chemical structures their characteristics and capabilities differ in many ways, which makes it necessary for the user to understand the differences of the two materials so he or she can determine which is the right foam for their particular application.
The open cell spray foam insulation contains a density of 0.5lb. per cubic foot. The greater the density of the foam the heavier, or stronger it will become. This particular type of polyurethane foam is referred to as "Open Cell" because of the nature of the chemical reaction during the installation process. When the polyurethane foam is being applied the tiny cells of the foam are broken causing air to fill the "open" space inside the material, resulting in a soft or spongy material. The open cell foam carries an R-Value of 5 to 5.5 per inch (R-Value is the measure of thermal resistance, which can be found by identifying the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux). 0.5lb. foam products use significantly less material than 2lb. foam products do when completing the same sized job, making them attractive to an individual concerned with conserving the foam material. Due to the fact that open cell foam requires less material, the cost of the project is much cheaper than it would be if you were to apply closed cell foam. Although, Open cell foam is an efficient and economical product it contains some disadvantages in regards to closed cell foam. One of the open cells disadvantages is it has a lower R-Valuer per square inch than closed cell foam does and open cell foam is vapor permeable requiring it to be covered with a vapor retardant material. Although, open cell foam has some advantages and disadvantages it has been recognized as an excellent insulator, air sealant and sound barrier.
There are many things a home or building owner should take into consideration when considering the type of foam that should be used for their particular application. Although both types of foam are by far the best insulators on the market, each type of polyurethane foam possess its own characteristics and capabilities. It is imperative for the user to identify which foam is right for them before applying the product.
Movement of air in and out of a home can be a leading cause of escalated energy bills. Air can enter your house through holes, cracks and crevices. You can stop unconditioned air from entering your home and indoor conditioned air from escaping outside by adding an advanced insulation system to achieve optimal building performance.
I have just completed an addition to my house. I've heard that blown in insulation is better than batts since covers the joists completely and leaves no open areas. Do you have any do it yourself suggestions?
Yes you are correct. Blown in insulation is better that batts when installed properly as it does seal the attic better.
First you need to measure your attic area that you plan on insulating. Most attics require a value of R-30, R-38 or R-49, depending on your climate and location. Once you know the square footage of your attic you can determine how much insulation you'll need by simple looking on the chart located on the bag of insulation.
Before you get started you will need to determine what materials you will need. Assuming your home has recessed lights, ceiling and bathroom fans and eave vents you will need the following tools and materials:
Loose Fill Insulation
Staple Hammer and Staples
Insulation Blowing Machine (Available at your local rental store)
I've found blowing insulation into the attic is a simple process. Start and the far ends of the attic. Going back and forth make sure its level and smooth. Make sure to get all areas of the attic and don't fill any vents or recessed light areas. Take a tape measure with you and check the levels once in a while. As an example, if your installing an R-38 of fiberglass insulation you would want it to measure 16 inches deep. As you work your way back near the attic access make sure your helper is getting that excess hose out of the way. When you get to about 6 feet from the access hole stop the machine so you can get on the ladder. Once on the ladder finish installing, making sure to bring the level evenly against the dam you previously built.
The final step is to place a piece of batt insulation in the access hole and carefully put the attic hole lid back into place. Now your done! Stay out of that attic as much as possible from this point as loose fill insulation that has been stepped on or crushed looses it's R value.