Archives for April 2012

Guest Post: Controlling Air Infiltration

Today, we are pleased to feature a guest post by Jeff Fisher of JH Fisher Construction, Inc. Thank you Jeff for your insight!

Have you ever been in a home and noticed air blowing through the power receptacles on the walls? What you experienced is a symptom of the failure to control air infiltration during construction or repair.

While basic insulation of walls tremendously slows the rate of temperature transfer, there are many specific points that need to be inspected and covered that frequently are not. Some contractors will leave holes in your plywood sheathing assuming that the gaps will be covered by Tyvek house wrap and siding – these penetrations create weak points, however, and must be repaired. The plywood exterior should be complete with no voids into the frame.

There are other measures you can take to ensure that you are ideally controlling air infiltration. When house wrap is installed, make sure it is done per recommendations. There needs to be sufficient overlap and it must be taped properly with house wrap tape. Not taping may not create leaks, but it will allow for air infiltration.

You also need to choose the right insulation contractor. Select the one who will inspect to ensure that your home was properly sealed originally and who pays close attention to any window and door openings, utility pipes, and receptacles, holes through the top and bottom plates of the wall framing and penetrations through walls. Choose the contractor who will manually inspect to confirm that all possible weaknesses are addressed, ensuring that your home will not suffer the damaging and uncomfortable effects of air infiltration.

Jeff Fisher is a third-generation woodworker and owner of JH Fisher Construction, Inc.

Energy Audits

Every home owner needs a basic understanding of the energy efficiency of his or her property.  Whether you are concerned with your environmental impact and carbon footprint, or your monthly utility bill bottom line, you need to establish what your base use is today in order to make the improvements that will optimize the operation of your home in the future.

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. has the certified staff necessary to perform a high-tech evaluation, or Energy Audit, of your house. Our Certified Building Analyst will use the latest technology and techniques to identify multiple points of weakness or system loss, and present to you a whole-house perspective on the modifications that can be made to increase your home’s energy efficiency.

When you are preparing for your Energy Audit, your analyst will provide you with a list of things that you need to do in order to maintain the integrity of your belongings and cleanliness of your home during the Blower Door Test. Your house will be depressurized and a checklist will be followed to detect places where air is leaking, or your home’s air seal is compromised. When the test is done, you will be given a list of modifications and recommendations for which ones you can address on your own and which may need to be performed by a professional.

Once repairs are complete, your analyst will perform a second test to make sure the modifications are working. A record is kept of the results, recommendations and improvements so you can track performance over time.

Audits generally cost $200 – $300 and can easily pay for themselves in reduced energy consumption and lower energy bills. In some cases, you may qualify for an offset of these fees from local agencies or your own utility providers, so check for programs that offer energy evaluation and performance incentives.

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. is proud to have a Certified Building Analyst who can perform Energy Audits on staff to offer this integral service. If you feel like your home could be more energy efficient and want to find out how specific improvements can save you money and wear on your property, contact us today and schedule and Energy Audit of one of your most valuable possessions: your home.

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

The International Energy Conservation Code

The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) was created by the International Code Council in 2000. The Council establishes parameters that are often adopted by local and municipal building authorities to ensure that buildings are safe, fire resistant and energy efficient. The IECC is reviewed and revised periodically, then adopted by the building community over the ensuing few years.

The two editions of the IECC that are currently setting the standards for energy efficient building standards are IECC 2009 and the new IECC 2012. Changes in the codes reflect the latest understanding of home safety and efficiency, and are interesting in contrast with traditionally accepted tenets of building. For example, one long-standing belief that has been completely re-evaluated is that homes should be built to “breathe” allowing a passive exchange of air through the structure. The new IECC standard is that homes should be built “tight” with proper mechanical systems to allow for an appropriate exchange of air. The unit of measurement that addresses this “tightness” is the ACH (Air Changes per Hour). The new standards in building have improved energy efficiency so dramatically over the past that it is almost impossible to retrofit an older home to meet the new ACH standards without spray foam insulation.

Another change that is introduced in the IECC 2012 is that the only acceptable method of evaluating a home’s efficiency via an Energy Audit is with a Blower Door. In the past, contractors could choose to follow a checklist to evaluate a home, but the technologically superior Blower Door audit has become the industry standard. Atlantic Spray’s recent certification to conduct Blower Door testing not only puts us in compliance with IECC 2012, but keeps our company at the leading edge of energy efficiency technology

Spray foam insulation is rapidly becoming the standard in both new home construction and older home renovation. If you are interested in its application at your home, contact our Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. experts and ask for your free estimate today!

FEMA and Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation Applications

You are familiar now with the use of Closed Cell Spray Foam Insulation to reduce energy consumption, save money on utilities and improve the comfort of your home. Did you know, though, that FEMA condones the use of Sprayed Closed-Cell Foam Insulation to help resist the damaging effects of flooding?

According to FEMA, the foam which is used in wall cavities where it expands and hardens creating an air barrier, “offers acceptable flood resistance” to homes in flood-prone areas. The organization further sites that “Tests have shown that sprayed foam insulation can improve the strength of structural framing systems and connections.” The foam is not only highly water-resistant and effective, but it is quicker to apply than traditional “batting-style” insulation, which is critical in areas where large recovery or prevention efforts are ongoing.

FEMA does point out that to create a flood-resistant structure, there are other construction considerations that must be taken into account, including the use of approved materials and framing patterns.

Additional testing has also concluded that closed-cell foam is not only an effective product for damage mitigation during floods, but also helps homes withstand high wind, useful in regions prone to hurricanes. It has even been shown to prevent the uplift effect that results in massive roof damage and separation.

Closed Cell Spray Foam has many different applications that improve your quality of living and the safety and stability of your home. If you are interested in learning about attic encapsulation, basement barriers or any of the other available uses for closed cell spray foam insulation, contact our team of experts at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today.

Resource: FEMA Technical Fact Sheet No. 1.8 (accessible at www.fema.gov)

Benefits of Open-Cell Spray Foam Insulation

Homeowners concerned with energy efficiency have several options when choosing insulation products. Fiberglass insulation is common, but requires replacement as often as every 5 years. Closed Cell Foam is a premium product that costs more, but returns its value in the form of monthly utility savings and the fact that it does not need to be replaced under normal conditions – it carries a lifetime warranty.

Open Cell Foam is a good compromise for those homeowners who want the benefits of spray insulation without the initial investment for Closed Cell Foam.

Many clients choose Open Cell Foam for the cost savings. However, others select it because it allows vapor diffusion; moisture can escape the house through the foam, however it still makes the home airtight.

These photos from a White Plains retrofit of an 1840’s farmhouse demonstrate how one can encapsulate an attic with Open-Cell Foam. We can create access to even the most difficult areas, and the holes that are made in the wall are easily patched with drywall mud.

Do you have a home that you would like to operate more efficiently, lowering your bills, protecting your investment and creating an overall safe and more comfortable atmosphere? Call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today and schedule an initial estimate with one of our insulation experts!