It’s easy to overlook preparing your home for winter – but it can cost you in high energy bills, equipment malfunctions, home pest issues and more.
If you are looking for a reprieve in your energy bills, don’t expect one this year. In mid October, the Energy Information Administration predicted natural gas users will see a 22% climb in their heating bills this year over the 2015-2016 heating season. If you’ve been thinking of improving your home’s energy efficiency, now is the time. Here are steps to take today to get your home ready for winter.
- Seal Air Leaks
Air sealing is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to reduce energy loss and keep energy bills lower during winter. A leaky home can waste approximately 10 to 15 percent of a home’s heating dollars. Air leaks are found around doors and windows, penetration points in the attics (can lights, chimney chases, etc.).
- Check and Upgrade Your Attic Insulation
Many of today’s homes are under insulated when compared to today’s building codes. After sealing air leaks, adding a layer of blown-in fiberglass insulation to your attic space can further reduce your energy bills and help keep your home comfortable.
- Seal and Insulate your Crawl Space
Crawl spaces can cause a variety of headaches for homeowners. Because they crawl spaces have direct contact with the earth, they become damp. This is a great breeding ground for mold and mildew, and provides an ideal living space for pests.
- Check Your Heating System
Now is the time to schedule your routine inspection of your home’s heating system. By confirming it’s in good working order, you’ll know it’s working as efficiently as possible – and you’ll help avoid a mid-winter break down.
And don’t forget to change your air filter! Changing it often throughout the year can help your system run more efficiently – and help reduce dust in your home.
- Change your Light Bulbs
Take a quick inventory of the bulbs throughout your home. Upgrading to LED bulbs can reduce your energy bills, especially during winter’s shorter days and lights are on more than any other time of year. The investment in LED bulbs will pay off quickly!
Interested in air sealing, upgrading your insulation or sealing your crawl space? Contact us to schedule your free estimate!
Although energy efficiency is important all year, colder temps and the prospect of an uncomfortable home makes energy efficiency a priority for many homeowners. As fall temps move in and you are thinking about the energy efficiency of your home, check out these five areas of your home for any necessary upgrades.
Proper insulation levels can keep you warm and reduce your energy bills. Attics are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to winter energy loss, so prep yours for winter by upgrading your insulation now. And don’t forget about air sealing your attic! Air sealing your attic is an important energy upgrade.
- WINDOWS AND DOORS
Sealing around windows and door frames can help prevent heat from escaping. Sealing around windows and doors is a very inexpensive project and easy to do!
- HVAC SYSTEM
Your HVAC system works all winter. When your heating system is properly maintained, it will run more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems. Servicing your system now will help make it through any unexpected cold snap.
- THE ROOF
Make sure your roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and/or loose shingles. Addressing this spots now will help keep winter weather out of your home.
- CEILING FANS
This is so easy – and so many homeowners forget to do this! Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft. This redistributes warm air from the ceiling back down into your living area (tip: before you do this, dust the blades).
Just these few areas of your home can increase your home’s comfort and decrease your energy bills. Ready to get started at the top of the list by upgrading your insulation? Contact us today for a free insulation estimate.
With any project, time is money. This statement is even truer when it comes to a commercial construction project. With the scale of a commercial project, each decision becomes even more important – including choosing the right insulation contractor.
Looking to hire a commercial insulator for your next project? Here are a few things to help ensure you’re making the right choice:
- Check their experience. Commercial insulation is a specialty. It’s important to know the contractor has experience in commercial insulation. They should confidently answer questions about fire ratings, codes, etc.
- Up to date on new technology. A savvy commercial insulation contractor will recommend new technologies for your project that can help improve performance, aesthetics and more. A professional commercial insulation contractor will be up to date on developments in their industry, and be able to recommend new products and install methods to make your project even better.
- Insured and licensed. It goes without saying that an insulation contractor should hold the proper insurance and licensing to do commercial work. If you have any doubt, ask.
- Large installer base. Don’t wait until scheduling day to find out if your commercial insulation contractor has the bandwidth to complete your install in a timely fashion. Confirm your contractor and adequate number of installers available to handle your project when install day comes.
Delmarva Insulation has vast commercial insulation experience, is up to date on new commercial insulation technologies, is properly licensed and insured, and has the bandwidth to complete your project in a timely fashion. To get an insulation estimate on your commercial project, contact our office.
When it comes to insulating walls, most people think of fiberglass batt insulation. For years, fiberglass batt insulation was the only way to insulate walls. Today’s construction technology has many other options! One cost-effective and energy-efficient option is the blown in wall system.
The blown-in wall system provides a high-efficiency energy blanket of insulation at a fraction of the cost of spray foam insulation. This system is installed in open cavities during the construction or remodeling process, and can be used in residential or commercial buildings. The blown-in wall system gives homes a seamless, thermally efficient blanket of insulation that completely fills any void in the wall cavity.
Here’s how it works:
- Fabric mesh is installed across the open wall cavity. It is tacked to each stud in the wall assembly.
- Loose-fill fiberglass insulation is blown behind the fabric mesh. It is installed at a density that fills all voids in the wall cavity.
- The penetrations in the mesh are sealed to hold the product in place.
There are many benefits to installing the blown-in wall system in your next project. The blown in wall system offers:
- Higher R-values than traditional fiberglass batt insulation, saving on heating and cooling expenses.
- Reduced air infiltration. National laboratory tests have shown a 68% reduction in air infiltration when installing a blown-in wall system over fiberglass batt insulation.
- TAKE ENERGY EFFICIENCY ONE STEP FURTHER! Air seal each wall cavity prior to installing a blown-in wall system to further increase efficiency!
- Excellent sound control. Because loose fill fiberglass insulation completely fills the wall cavity, noise transfer is reduced.
- Does not settle. Because the insulation is dense packed, there’s no chance of it setting and affecting r-value.
Interested in learning more about the blown-in wall system? Call us with questions or to schedule a free estimate.
We are proud to salute our partner company, Southland Insulators, and their celebration of 30 years in business.
In celebration of this milestone, founder Gerald R. Palmer and his team chose to make a special donation to benefit the life of a wounded warrior.
To read more about Southland Insulators and this donation, click here.
Since insulation’s beginning, it was installed with the purpose of creating a thermal barrier around a building — and keeping those inside safe, comfortable, and protected from the elements. Little did we know building science would come on the scene and change our industry in a big way. And it’s here to stay.
There is a lot to know about building science — we’ve taken the time to break it down for you.
Much of building science focuses on air flow. Improper air flow can have severe effects on the health and safety of the people in the building. It can also cause mold growth, spread pollutants and more. Controlling air flow increases the efficiency of a building, reduces stress on mechanicals and controls indoor air quality.
There are a few key conditions that affect air flow (courtesy ENERGYSTAR.gov):
- Controlled versus uncontrolled airflow
- Controlled air flow is generated by a mechanical device and is designed to help ventilate a building and/or distribute conditioned air throughout a building. Ventilation systems, fans and heating and cooling systems are typical sources of controlled air flow.
- Uncontrolled air flow is unintended air flow into, out of, or within a building. This can be caused either by wind, warm air rising in the building, uncontrolled fans and leaks in an air handling system.
- Air pressure from wind, heat, fans and duct systems
- Pressure differences across holes, boundaries, and barriers within a building are caused by one of four forces:
- Wind blowing against a building can cause large pressure differences between one side of the building and the other.
- Heat and the buoyancy of hot air affects air pressure. Heat naturally attempts to rise to the top of a building (called stack pressure or stack effect. The amount of pressure depends on the temperature difference between the inside and outside of the building, as well as the height of the building.
- Fans (particularly exhaust fans and HVAC air handlers) can contribute to pressures changes in several different ways. Leakage in the building envelope or the ducting, or an imbalance in the supply and return ducts can cause these fans to have a drastic effect.
- Duct systems that leak to the outside of the building on both the supply and return sides of the system can cause infiltration rates to increase by as much as 300%.
- Holes and pathways
- Uncontrolled air flow (infiltration) into a building is a result of holes in the building’s shell. By reducing the number of holes in the building, and you reduce the amount of uncontrolled air flow. Buildings have two kinds of holes: designed holes and undesigned holes.
- Undesigned holes in the home are found in the attic, walls, and floors. Any of these holes that connect to the outdoors should be adequately blocked, caulked, gasketed, or otherwise adequately sealed
- Designed holes include any hole or system that is designed to have air passing through it in a specific direction. Examples of such holes include flues and combustion vents, chimneys, make-up fans, exhaust fans, dryer vents, cooktop fans, ventilation systems, central vacuums, windows and doors, and fresh air inlets/outlets.
All of these things are incredibly important conditions to consider when improving the energy efficiency of a home or business. The way air moves through a building matters — and it ultimately determines how comfortable (and healthy) you are where you live as well as how much it will cost you for that comfort over the lifetime of your home.
Have questions on the air flow in your home or building? Give us a call today!
We recently completed a project for the Indian River School District for their expansion to the Georgetown Elementary School/Georgetown Middle school complex. They are in the process of completing an eight classroom expansion. We applied over 6,000 square feet of Agribalance Open Cell spray foam from Demilec which also included a thermal barrier.
Applying spray foam insulation reduces air leakage which will improve energy efficiency, and reduce moisture intrusion, and reduce outside contaminants such as dust, dirt, and allergens.
The entire addition is scheduled to be completed in July of this year.
Conditioned crawl spaces are designed to increase the building envelope, which essentially makes the crawl space part of the house. For this recent Camden, DE project (and most crawl space conditioning projects we do), foam board was installed around the walls of the crawl space and then covered with poly liners. After that was complete we air sealed between the floor of the house and the top of the crawl space.
And by running a duct from the house into the crawl space to heat or cool it, the temperature of the floor on the main level of the home is regulated from below, making the home more comfortable.
Let’s not forget one more benefit – the additional storage space in a conditioned crawl space! Want to see the valuable real estate could be hiding under your home? Give us a call!
Spring rain and thaw can reveal problems in your crawl space that may have gone unnoticed over the winter. Here are some common problems found in crawl spaces this time of year, and how insulation can help!
Drainage problems can wreak havoc in your crawl space. This contributes to a host of other problems and can lead to more significant problems including structural damage. Your home may need exterior grading to divert water away from the foundation, and sealing with spray foam can help as well.
Critters & Bugs
You might unknowingly be providing free room and board to some pesky tenants and not even know it! Crawl spaces are ideal for pests for a variety of reasons, including:
- Damp environments are the perfect habitat for insects to flourish
- Leaky heating ducts provide warmth to critters in the winter
- Wet/damp wood framing provides an excellent food source for termites, and other destructive insects.
Air sealing and insulating your crawl space will prevent access points to your crawl space, as well as eliminate moisture and warmth factors that attracted the pests in the first place.
Mold allergens in the crawlspace can move into the living spaces of the home and cause respiratory difficulties in individuals with allergies and asthma. If mold is found in your crawl space it must be removed by a properly certified company. You can help by having your crawl space sealed before this problem starts.
Poor Air Quality
Although not included in your home’s square footage, the crawl space is still part of the building envelope. It has a direct impact on the air quality in the living area of your home. The natural airflow of a home is from bottom to top (ground to sky). As your home naturally breathes, the moist air (and everything in it) flows up and into the living areas of the home through your home’s floor and unsealed air penetrations (like ducts and flooring gaps from wiring, conduit, and plumbing). If there are indoor air quality issues in the crawl space, they are guaranteed to impact the living areas in the floor above.
Air sealing and insulating your crawl space will improve the air quality in your home by eliminating the causes of the problems as well as sealing your home preventing air infiltration.
Contact or call us today for a free estimate to air seal and insulate your crawl space. Or call us with questions about your crawl space issues.
Our team believes in working hard, and enjoying some fun times together, too! Our sales team recently spent a fun evening at Escape Rehoboth in Rehoboth Beach DE. The event is set up like a live version of the board game Clue. Guests are in a room that is theme-decorated and they search the room for clues.
Each team has up to 60 minutes to find all the clues. Our team found all the clues in 43 minutes – the fastest time out of our room was 41 minutes!
After this fun event, the team headed to Big Fish Grill for dinner. A big thank you to our team members who made this a great event!