Can I Insulate My Older Brick Home?

In the 1950’s, brick ranchers were all the rage, and many are still found today. Unfortunately, they weren’t built for maximum energy efficiency, and tend to be plagued with cold walls and other uncomfortable conditions. While some homeowners are willing to invest the time and money to completely upgrade their brick rancher’s insulation, we always consider a multi-step approach to solve the problems while sensitively addressing your overall investment.

One of the less invasive approaches is to seal the top plates in the attic. Cold air drops through here and many homeowners don’t realize that their cold walls aren’t necessarily because they need a higher “R-Value” in their walls, but actually due to the air infiltrating from the attic. The same can be true of the crawl space, so encapsulating that region can also create dramatic improvements and stop the house from drawing up the cold air.

In other cases, air leaks through the outlets and windows. We recommend homeowners attempt to seal up their windows with good silicone, and address other penetrations. Socket gaskets are inexpensive, easy to install and work well, and we often recommend them.

Of course, if necessary, we can drill into brick walls and install spray foam insulation in the space between the exterior and interior walls. This is the most invasive approach, however, and should be the last considered when attempting to improve the comfort and efficiency of an older brick home.

If you would like to know more, please contact us at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

The History of Building Codes

Just in time for President’s Day, we thought we’d share an interesting piece of historical trivia. While standards for new construction and remodeling, and especially energy efficiency requirements evolve constantly, there is nothing new about the concept of setting basic rules for builders. Did you know that both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson advocated for the establishment of building codes? Both were concerned with establishing basic regulations to ensure that public safety would never be compromised due to lack of established standards. Our founding fathers were as concerned as we are that homes and commercial buildings be secure places for our citizens.

Today, many standards are based on the findings and recommendations of the International Code Council, a US-based non-profit, non-governmental organization that is dedicated to building safety. The Council’s recommendations are disseminated in the form of “I-Codes” which are adopted by states and enforced by government agencies. They incorporate standards for building residential and commercial buildings, and address building safety, fire safety and energy efficiency. The codes are also used by agencies like the IRS to establish standards for tax credits, like the $2000 “25L” credit recently extended to include new homes built to certain energy standards in 2012.

The IECC or International Energy Conservation Code is established and revised by the Council and embodies many of the guidelines that we at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. follow to increase the efficiency of local homes and commercial properties. Standards are constantly evolving and we intentionally pursue new educational opportunities and maintain memberships in multiple organizations that help us keep informed about new technology and practices.

If you want to ensure that your home or commercial property is up to the most current standards of energy efficiency, contact us today and we’ll set up a consultation to help you determine your next steps. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Source:

Wikipedia: International Code Council

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. and Commercial Insulation Projects

Many times our articles are geared towards homeowners, but Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. also performs a considerable number of improvements on commercial buildings. These projects have special requirements, stringent standards, and most importantly impact the civil and commercial buildings that you patronize every day.

Most commercial projects share the residential goal of improving an air barrier. However, in commercial projects, we usually apply closed cell foam to the outside of buildings, which is then covered with an appropriate façade. These projects must meet high energy code standards and have special insulation needs.

It is an honor to be selected to service these properties, and our commercial work takes us to many interesting locations. We are often chosen to perform work for the military, local government, hospitals and schools. We recently completed a building for the Navy at Little Creek and Ft. Story, and also completed one for Camp Perry. We have featured photos from the air barrier improvement at the Colonial Heights Courthouse which was considered a LEED Silver Project. LEED is how commercial buildings are rated and regulated. Silver, Gold and Platinum LEED Certified buildings meet high standards and are very energy efficient.

Our mix of residential and commercial work helps all of our employees keep current on the latest energy standards and the available products and practices. We are able, as a result, to offer the very best services to our valued customers of all kinds. If you are considering  residential or commercial insulation upgrade, contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

Benefits of Upgrading Your Insulation During Roof Replacement

Are you planning to replace your roof or have you just had it replaced? Now is the best time to consult with a spray foam insulation expert and consider conditioning your attic for a more comfortable and more energy efficient home.

During the re-roofing process you will have contractors in the attic space. It is best to check for energy loss right after the roof is complete. An inspection of the space will reveal whether roofing contractors left messy asphalt that needs to be evacuated from the area. It is also the prime opportunity to do mechanical repairs and replacements, a first step in fixing potential leaks.

If you have fiberglass insulation in place, know that it has a shelf life of maybe 10 years, if installed properly. Have it checked once your new roof is complete and consider spray foam as a longer-lasting, more effective alternative.

Is your house 10 years or even 20 years old? So much has changed with the energy code that what was installed even 5 years ago isn’t up to current standards. If you are undertaking a major renovation like re-roofing, it will benefit you in terms of comfort, efficiency, and energy expenses to contact an insulation expert and make sure that you understand how a properly conditioned attic could improve your quality of life.

Contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. and we’ll schedule a consultation to review your options with you soon!

Pair New Technology with High Quality Insulation for Better Results

Today’s homeowners are so fortunate to live in an age of technological wonders. Tankless water heaters, geothermal heat, even basic digital thermostats that monitor and moderate the temperature inside our homes – the trend in home technology is increasing comfort and energy efficiency simultaneously for a better living experience.

Did you know that you can make even the most advanced new technology work even better by sealing the “envelope” of your home with expert application of closed-cell spray foam insulation?

If you think about it, it’s intuitive: your appliances are working harder to detect even minor changes in humidity and temperature, and responding by turning on and off so they run only when necessary. However, if you are still losing your conditioned air through leaky attics and crawlspaces, or event through the gaps behind your outlets and through heat transfer from your pipes, your brand new energy-efficient devices are still working harder than they have to, and that is costing you money!

Closed cell foam insulation can seal these leaks and minimize or stop the extra exchange of energy that may make your new appliances and systems work harder than necessary. The foam is environmentally conscious as well, made from renewable resources like soybeans, and unlike older forms of insulation which must be replaced (i.e. discarded) at least once every 10 years, it is applied for the life your home.

If you have recently installed, or are considering installing expensive HVAC systems or other helpful devices in your home, it’s clear that you care about your home’s efficiency and the rising cost of energy. Call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today and ask us how a consultation can help you further improve your results and enjoy the comfortable, efficient home of your dreams.

Is Your New Home Truly Energy Efficient?

Homeowners are increasingly aware of the latest terminology in home efficiency: energy audits, carbon footprints, air barriers, and more. If your home was built in the last decade, you might assume that the builders integrated the most current technology and met the latest standards.

However, unless you custom built your home with a highly responsible contractor and unless you purchased a premium insulation package, you may be wrong. Not only have standards and available solutions evolved enormously in the past few years, but there are, unfortunately, many builders who are more concerned with the bottom line than responsible practices. Your insulation, as well as your devices, may not be the highest grade. Your home may be less efficient and your energy bills higher than you suspect.

If you truly want to know how efficient your home is, and how much energy and money you might save in the future if you make modifications today, you need to schedule an energy audit now. Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. is certified to provide this critical service that reveals everything from minor modifications that you can make yourself to larger scale improvements that will not only improve your comfort and quality of life, but will also improve your home’s integrity.

Our technicians will begin with a consultation to determine your concerns. A blower door test and inspection will allow us to produce a report of areas that could be improved along with recommendations for how to proceed if you decide to pursue any changes. A test after you are done with all of the recommended tasks you choose to undertake reveals how much energy you will save due to your actions. In some cases, utility companies, local and federal government agencies may even offer you rebates or tax incentives for making such modifications.

Owners of newer homes understandably believe that their properties meet the highest possible standards. You’ve already made an investment in your future by purchasing new – protect your investment and give yourself peace of mind by taking simple steps to confirm that your home is truly the responsible, comfortable and cost-efficient space you expect it to be. Contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today!

The Barriers that Protect Your Home: Water, Vapor and Air

In home construction there are three barriers that can be critical to preserving the integrity of your property over its lifespan: water, vapor and air. Knowing the difference between the three will help you choose the best products and applications to ensure that your home is energy efficient, comfortable and structurally sound for years to come.

According to the Air Barrier Association of America, air barriers, vapor barriers and water barriers each have a different function to perform in a building assembly. Air Barriers “stop movement of air into or out of a conditioned space”. Materials that prevent such movement are measured in factors “air permeance”, with a lower number indicating that a material is a better barrier than a higher number.

Vapor Barriers “slow or reduce the movement of water vapor through a material.” Vapor barrier materials are installed on the warm side of a wall assembly, most often determined by your climate. In warm climates, for example, the barrier is installed on the outside of a building and in cold climates it is installed on the inside.

Water Resistive Barriers are installed on the outside of a building and are intended to prevent bulk water leakage through and into a building’s sheathing or concrete walls and into their wall assembly. The most effective water resistive barriers are usually installed in the form of a membrane or covering fastened to the outside of the home (before finishing siding or exterior covering is installed).

Spray Foam Insulation is recommended to prevent the leakage of both air and vapor into and out of your conditioned home. By stopping this exchange, you protect your property from the damaging effects of moisture that can seep into your building materials, and you can also increase the efficiency of your HVAC system creating a more comfortable, energy efficient environment and lower utility bills. Paired with a good water resistive barrier, air and vapor barriers can substantially extend the lifespan of your building materials and the overall quality and value of your home over time.

When planning your new build or remodel, don’t forget to address your particular air, vapor and water barrier needs. If you want to learn more about the types of barriers that can help keep your home safe and comfortable, contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today and we’ll be happy to review your options with you!

Air Barrier Association of America

In our recent Colonial Courthouse article we mentioned the Air Barrier Association of America and wanted to share a little more about this organization, its goals and benefits.

The mission of the Air Barrier Association of America is to be the recognized voice of the air barrier industry. The members consist of manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, architects, engineers, contractors, researchers, testing and audit agencies, consultants and building owners. The ABAA evaluates the latest research on energy efficiency and air barrier technologies and follows the creation and progression of energy and building legislation. The organization creates industry standards and provides education to ensure that customers are able to easily locate top quality providers of air barrier-related services.

We at Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. believe that following new research, keeping track of related legislation, and pursuing continuing education are all essential components of being the best local choice for your air barrier installation. Our membership in the Air Barrier Association of America is just one of the ways that we pursue excellence on behalf of the clients who trust us with their insulation needs.

If you have questions about your home or commercial property’s energy efficiency and possible improvements to your own air barrier, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc.

Spray Foam Insulation and Energy Rebates

The end of the year prompts most homeowners to prepare for the onset of the coldest weather, and the resulting increase in heating bills. Energy companies also anticipate this trend and begin offering incentives for their customers to have their home’s energy efficiency evaluated and to make energy-saving improvements as well.

Now is the time to check your power bill or call your energy representative and ask if rebates are available on home energy audits and the installation of weatherization products that can prevent air transfer, increasing the efficiency of your HVAC system. The home improvements themselves will reduce your monthly energy bills, but power companies often offer rebates to customers who can demonstrate that they have taken measure to reduce their energy consumption.

You might also check with your tax professional as the new tax season approaches to find out if there are any incentives you qualify for if you have improvements made to your insulation. Some years are more lucrative than others, but it is always worth looking into when you are considering contracting for weatherization and home improvement services.

Don’t wait and miss an opportunity to save! Call your power company today, then call Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. for a free quote and an evaluation of your weatherization and energy-saving options!

Stop! Don’t Replace Your Siding without Reading This First!

Siding is one of those products you know you will probably have to replace at some point during your home’s lifespan. If you are planning to commit to this kind of renovation right now, it is the perfect opportunity to consult with your insulation professional about improving the energy efficiency of your house.

Generally, in order to apply spray foam insulation, the gold-standard in home insulation products, we have to take sections of your siding off. This is labor intensive and increases the cost of your services. By coordinating the timing of your siding replacement with the installation of new insulation, you can save yourself real dollars as well as potentially expand the options you have to use different kinds of foam products, or even accomplish practical tasks like running helpful wires exactly where you want them.

Invest a little bit of time and logistical coordination when planning to replace your siding and your project will yield even better results than you hoped! Simply call us before your siding company starts installation and we will help you determine your options and make a great plan. Contact Atlantic Spray Systems, Inc. today.