Don't just get an opinion...get the picture

Home Insulation

Todayís building codes call for a good density level of insulation in newly constructed home. People want their homes to be well sealed, properly ventilated, and well insulated. A well insulated home has plenty of insulation that is installed properly. There are many choices on the market for your walls and attic, and donít forget your windows and doors. Know what your choices are (check in your yellow pages and talk to the professionals) and know your local building codes for new construction and renovations. Effective insulation will slow the movement of heat from your home, and cold air and moisture from getting into your home.

A wall of a newly constructed home should offers good air and moisture barrier from the exterior environment, and good heat control for the interior environment. Walls are a notoriously hard area to detect insulation deficiencies especially after the drywall is up. There are many situations where installers did not put insulation in parts of the cavity, and even whole sections, of walls. When looking at a home, how would you know that these deficiencies exist?
The most cost efficient place to add insulation is in your attic. Heat rises towards your ceiling and will flow out through insulation gaps, substandard or missing insulation and, under the right conditions, will result in moisture in those areas. Air leaks can occur around light fixtures, exhaust vents, plumbing stacks, attic perimeter, chimneys, duct works, and many other areas. Properly installed insulation provides a good air barrier between the heated space below the insulation and the cooler air above.

You attic should have a good density level of insulation (at least 10 inches). There is batt insulation and blown-in insulation choices to make. You can hire professionals to do the job or do it yourself. New insulation choices can be installed over existing insulation. Replace deteriorated, wet or previously wet insulation before installing new insulation. Batt insulation will naturally lose its density over time (15 or 20 years) and therefore lose its R-value. Insulation will also develop leaks (minor to major heat loss) over time as a result of natural, human and animal activity. But how can you effectively and efficiency determines where these air leaks are especially if they are not apparent from looking in the attic?
Your basement is another area where proper insulation is necessary. Concrete walls are permeable to moisture and moisture will flow from both inside and outside the house. If you are building a home you can start by keeping moisture from coming into your home in the first place. Make sure that your land slopes away from your home for good drainage. Install a good weeping tile system that will take water away from your home and not get plugged. Insulate the exterior walls with a rigid insulation suitable for below grade installation. For interior basement walls you can use batt insulation between stud cavities or have a foam insulation sprayed on the wall. Once again talk to the professional for the best choice that fits your needs and budget. But if you havenít taken these precautions, and sometimes even if you have, moisture can still find its way into your basement and can go unnoticed behind walls and under floors. How can you spot the problems before they literally become major headaches?
What are some of the signs that you may have insulation problems?
In the summer:
  • Uncomfortable hot interior air
  • Air conditioning system not operating effectively and costly
  • Mold growth and musty smell in basement.
In the winter:
  • Walls are cold to the touch
  • Heating costs are high
  • Cold floors
  • Not able to sustain a good comfortable interior environment
  • Uneven heating in different parts of the building
  • Areas of your home are drafty or have cold zones
  • Mold growth
Anywhere insulation deficiencies exist it is always a good idea to insulate or re-insulate. Insulating or adding insulation to your home will help save you money in the long run. It will also help reduce energy usage, help keep or increase the value of your property, and make your home more comfortable. So how will you know if you have insulation deficiencies in your walls and attic? The most cost effective and efficient way to determine where there is substandard insulation, missing insulation, and air leaks is through an infrared thermal diagnostic survey. A thermal scan (performed by a certified thermographer) will highlight those areas that need attention, and provide you with a detailed visual report so you will know the extent of the problems and where they are at. Donít just get an opinion; get the picture of the condition of your home.
Are you planning on building or buying a new house? Ask the seller for a detailed diagnostic report on the property and know if the home is of quality construction before you buy the dwelling.

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