Choose the Right Contractor to Install Your Insulation

One of the more disturbing trends in home insulation is the rise of different contractors expanding into the field with no additional training or specialization. Examples include roofing and HVAC contractors, among others, who want to increase their profit margins by incorporating other services into their own repertoire. Consumers need to beware that these contractors are often more concerned with money than they are with the sanctity of your home. Their lack of experience and training mean that they are less familiar with current standards of installation, current best practices and may not have access to the best products and equipment.

Contractors who don’t keep up with trends and standards are more likely to make mistakes that could become very costly problems for you down the line. You want the latest equipment and the best materials for your home insulation. During your search for the right professionals, please make sure that you get a quote directly from someone who specializes in home insulations. One good practice is to look for someone who is BPI Certified. BPI (Building Performance Institute, Inc.)is the organization that sets the standards for all insulation installation, based on previous performance, new information and statistical data. They offer support for customers who use their certified analysts and technicians, so you can rest assured that your repairs will be handled skillfully with professionalism.

Don’t fall victim to a company that has spread themselves and their skills too thin. Choose the pros at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. to protect your home today!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

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!

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!

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.

Attic Encapsulation Improves Energy Efficiency and Saves Money

Unseasonably warm weather has many home owners turning off their heaters and activating their air conditioning units much earlier in the year than expected. Many will experience sluggish performance which can lead to concern that their air handler is inadequate or needs repair.

What many of these home owners don’t realize is that their air conditioning unit is not the problem – the conditions under which it is operating are to blame. Most are located in attics at temperatures of up to 140°F! Can you imagine cooling a house effectively while drawing the source air from a virtual oven?

The solution is “Attic Encapsulation”, insulating the roof with spray foam and creating a cap that stops air leakage. Typically, attics draw air up through the house trapping heat where the air conditioning unit operates. Peak efficiency is achieved only when the air handler is positioned in a conditioned space void of warm, moist air. By encapsulating your attic with a layer of insulation, your cooling system becomes more efficient, saving you money and extending the life of your A/C equipment.

Replacing your air handler can be incredibly costly, as can months of paying for inefficient cooling during a long, hot summer. Instead of subjecting your family to the expense of maintaining poorly operating equipment in a less than ideal environment, consider Attic Encapsulation. Our team at Atlantic Spray can help address your questions and concerns and set you on a path to an energy efficient home. Contact us today!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

Weatherizing Older, Low-Income Homes | Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

Weatherization of older, low-income homes is a critical improvement that not only prolongs the life of the structure but helps the homeowner reduce energy costs. These residents often have fewer resources to make regular repairs and perform major maintenance on their properties and the homes deteriorate with age. When your priority is basic survival, it is easy to sacrifice the costs required to keep a home optimally energy efficient and safe.

Moisture issues, in particular, plague low-income housing. Weaknesses in the air seal allow condensation to creep in and promote the growth of mold which can be highly hazardous to residents’ health. This is particularly devastating in a population with limited access to health care. In response, many communities and organizations have set aside funds to improve the energy efficiency of low-income housing, and Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. is often called upon to assist.

If your older home’s energy demands are draining your resources, or if you simply want to do your part to save fossil fuels by increasing efficiency, contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. and ask about your weatherization options today.

Image: © Pixel & Création – Fotolia.com

Update: James City County Building Inspector’s Project

We are excited to share that we have been selected to insulate the new Building Inspector’s building in James City County. We are honored to once again work with David Nice Builders on an important local project.

Update: Buckingham Elementary Nearly Complete

In 2011 we announced that we were selected to retrofit Buckingham Elementary School by installing a closed cell foam air barrier on the exterior walls. We are delighted to share that Buckingham is almost complete. The improvement provides the older school with a huge energy upgrade and will make the building much more efficient.

7 Questions to Help You Choose Your Crawl Space Expert

When searching for someone to insulate your crawl space, it’s not uncommon to encounter quite a few “crawl space specialists”. They claim to be the most knowledgeable resource for the task, and coincidentally boast the highest prices.

Scratch the surface of many of these “specialists” however, and you’ll find that some take unacceptable shortcuts and use substandard materials. Do your research. If you know the right questions to ask and the right qualifications to seek, you can actually end up with a better product at a better price.

Here are some basic questions that can help you determine if you are selecting the best provider for your crawl space treatment:

1. Will you remove all of the existing insulation and trash? The correct answer is yes, all of the trash and existing insulation must be removed. If any is left behind, it could promote mold growth or puncture the vapor barrier.

2. What thickness of vapor barrier will you install? The answer should be a minimum of 12 ML and it should be reinforced.

3. How do you handle seams in the crawl space? The provider should explain to you that they will properly tape the seams to ensure that the space is 100% sealed. Air infiltration can cause moisture and mold growth and taping the seams helps prevent this. This process is time consuming, and is a potential short cut that should concern you.

4. How will you prepare the foundation wall? A combination of closed cell spray foam needs to be applied to the exterior foundation wall.

5. How will you address the access to my crawl space? The door to your crawl space needs to be insulated and weather-stripped for an airtight seal.

6. What will happen to my existing foundation vents? The existing foundation vents should be sealed from the inside.

7. How do you condition the crawl space? If there is existing duct work, the crawl space will be pressurized from the inside with a small register to dump air.

Invest your time in some basic research into the process of insulating your crawl space and be familiar with the procedures as well as the questions that distinguish a professional from someone with fewer qualifications. Your study time will be rewarded with better choices, better services and a better finished product.

Of course, you can always start by calling Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. Our friendly experts will guide you through everything you need to know! Start your project by calling us at 757-566-4892 or 804-551-0196.