Avoid Frozen Pipes – Weatherization Advice from Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

One of the most common concerns when winter arrives is freezing pipes – no one wants to experience the inconvenience and damage that can occur when the weather turns. There are measures you can take that will dramatically improve your chances of avoiding frozen pipes and give you peace of mind year-round.

If you experience freezing temperatures, even applying insulation to your pipes directly won’t help in the coldest weather. The only way to ensure that your pipes function regardless of temperature is to condition your crawl space. An application of spray foam on the walls paired with heavy plastic along the perimeter will encapsulate the space and prevent heat loss and the intrusion of cold air. Spray foam insulation is the most reliable solution in cold weather. And, as extra benefits, it can prevent cold floors and help maintain more reasonable temperatures in hard-to-heat rooms.

Spray foam comes at a higher initial cost than other methods of insulation, although it also acts to increase the energy efficiency of your home, reduce heating and cooling bills and comes with a lifetime warranty. Additionally, it allows more efficient and inexpensive heating of water throughout the colder months. When heat is dissipated in the crawl space from the pipes, it stays in the conditioned space without escaping the seal of the house.

Still, some homeowners may want or need to consider insulating their pipes with tube foam and duct tape as a more affordable alternative. Insulating with this method is definitely better than leaving your pipes exposed, and Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. can still help. We would be happy to help you evaluate your options and choose the one that is best for your home and budget. Contact us today – we look forward to speaking with you!

Cold Floors in the Morning? Weatherization Tips from Atlantic Spray

It’s “that” time of year again. Mornings are crisp and sweaters are emerging from the depths of every closet. A common morning complaint can be heard once again – “our floors are so cold!” Thankfully, there is a solution that can not only alleviate this uncomfortable situation, but also improve the overall energy efficiency of your home.

Cold floors in a home are the result of under-insulated crawl spaces. Where fiberglass insulation exists instead of spray foam, air infiltration occurs letting your valuable heat escape and frigid air to creep in. If your floors are uncomfortably cold throughout the winter you should seriously consider conditioning your crawl space with spray foam insulation.

Unlike fiberglass, spray foam conforms to the space in which it is applied, including the cracks and gaps that are common in crawl spaces. By eliminating these openings, you seal the envelope of the space. As a bonus, conditioned crawl spaces help keep pests out of your home too!

If cold floors and rooms that seem impossible to heat are your concern, call us today and schedule an assessment of your property. Let us help you find ways to make your home a true shelter from the coming cold weather and the perfect cozy spot to spend your winter mornings. Find us at www.atlanticspray.com.

James City County Attic Encapsulation Project

We recently completed a spray foam attic encapsulation project at James City County’s Development and Planning building.

A blower door test revealed that the envelope of the building was extremely leaky and the air conditioning systems could not keep up enough to keep the occupants of the building comfortable. A leaky envelope costs more than just comfort – it costs real dollars as users overtax their HVAC system in hopes of creating a suitable work or home environment.

We encapsulated the attic of the building with spray foam which will take the latent load off of the air conditioning resulting in a much cooler and more energy efficient building! Taxpayers and employees alike benefit from the encapsulation.

If your HVAC system “should” be sufficient to keep your home or business comfortable, but you find that it is underperforming, the first thing you should do is schedule an “Energy Audit” or blower-door test. We will evaluate the current envelope and give you lots of practical advice for improving the energy efficiency of your property. Just like James City County, you too could find yourself saving money and energy while enjoying maximum comfort in your space. Call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

Owner of Older Home Surprised by Utility Savings

Our BPI Certified Building Analyst and Production Manager, Bart Bonnano, recently audited an older home that was super leaky. The homeowner actually considered her utility bills reasonable, but we were able to make modifications that brought the home down from 17000 CFMs to around 4200. She will now recognize amazing savings on her monthly utilities and will also be contributing to a healthier environment.

While the blower door was running in the home, we sealed up several areas including the back sides of the kneewalls with rigid foam, which resulted in significant reductions in air leakage. There were cam lights and other penetrations through the attic that were foamed, and the HVAC system had several leakages in the distributor. The ductwork was sealed up with Mastic. After the repairs, the homeowner actually noticed more air coming out of the HVAC register creating a much more comfortable room (no more wasted air unnecessarily cooling the attic!).

Many people think that having a cool attic is the sign of a good home, when in truth, most are wasting energy cooling the space with their HVAC system when they could be more effectively cooling their homes. Energy Auditing with Blower Door Testing is an affordable and effective way to assess your home’s efficiency and potentially save you money and energy. Contact our BPI-Certified Analyst at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today to set up your Home Energy Audit!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

Recovery through Retrofit Loan Program – James City County

You may not realize it, but low-to-medium income home owners in James City County have access to funds that can enable them to increase their home’s energy efficiency and decrease their monthly utility bills. Qualifying borrowers can take advantage of maximum 5-year term, currently 0%, home improvement loans through the “Recovery Through Retrofit Loan Program”.

There is an application required of each interested home owner. Loan recipients must agree to have an “Energy Audit” performed by a BPSI-certified technician to evaluate possible energy improvements, as well as an exit audit to prove that modifications resulted in at least a 20% energy savings. The application is available online and must be accompanied by a $20 processing fee. The loans are made possible by a grant received by James City County in 2010 as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. $210,000 in funds have been earmarked to help home owners make these vital and community-enhancing improvements.

Loan recipients may include the costs of their pre- and post-renovation audits in their loans. Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. is a program-approved provider of Energy Audits and is certified by BPSI to perform the required Blower Door tests and additional evaluations. You can (and are encouraged to) seek pre-approval before ordering the initial test to ensure you qualify.

Loans amounts range from $500 to $10,000, and are currently offered at 0% interest (the agencies responsible for administering the funds may need to increase that at some point, so apply now). Once the loan is approved and closed the interest rate cannot change.

If you have additional questions about the loan process, we encourage you to seek out all of the applicable information on the James City County website dedicated to the loan program. When you are ready to request your energy audit and find out what kinds of repairs can turn your home into an efficient, comfortable and safer environment, contact us and our experts will explain the entire process and schedule an assessment at your convenience!

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!

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!

Current Projects: EVMS Wall Insulation

Insulating the outside surfaces of schools, hospitals and government buildings allows substantial energy improvements while sparing the community from the expense of tearing down and replacing aging structures. Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. was recently contracted to make energy upgrades at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS).

As demonstrated in these photos, joists were attached to the block walls, between which we sprayed a layer of foam insulation. Once we are finished, attractive aluminum panels will be installed to create a façade over the foam, improving the energy efficiency and upgrading the appearance of the building.

This application process is supported by the Air Barrier Association of America, and is such an effective solution for older buildings that we soon expect to see financial incentives for commercial building owners who make this kind of upgrade.

If you own a commercial building and are experiencing uncomfortably high energy bills, or are planning exterior appearance upgrades that could be enhanced with changes that will ultimately reduce your monthly energy expenses and perhaps even prolong the life of your building and HVAC systems, call our team of experts at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. and find out how we can help. Why wait? Call today.

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.