What is Mineral Wool?

Different types of insulation can be helpful depending on the project. Mineral wool is a great option to insulate commercial and industrial projects. What is mineral wool? Mineral wool insulation is also known as rock wool insulation or slag wool insulation. It is manufactured in batt and loose-fill forms, and can be used to insulate any area of a building. In addition to insulating commercial and industrial projects, mineral wool can be used to insulate residential homes.

Here’s a bit about what makes mineral wool insulation unique:

  • Mineral wool is manufactured from basalt, a volcanic rock, and is naturally fire retardant. This can be of particular interest in commercial and industrial construction projects.
  • Mineral wool has high thermal performance. It can withstand temperatures of over 700 degrees, making it ideal for commercial or industrial insulation applications that are exposed to extreme heat.
  • Mineral wool is naturally very moisture resistant. It retains its insulating qualities even when wet, making it a great option to insulate a space that faces moisture issues.

To learn more about mineral wool insulation, click here. If you think mineral wool insulation is right for your next project, contact our office for your free insulation estimate.

Summer Energy Efficiency Tips

Summer Energy Efficiency - Delmarva Insulation

Are you ready for summer and secretly worrying about your summer energy costs? Many homeowners experience higher than necessary energy bills during summer. Saving money on energy bills and keeping your home comfortable isn’t as hard as you think. There are a few simple things you can do today to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.

Try some of these:

  1. USE THE GRILL. On the warmest days of summer, keep your kitchen and home cool by using an outdoor grill for your meals instead of the stove or oven. Not only will you reduce strain on your indoor HVAC system, you can turn any day into a backyard party!
  2. SWITCH ON THE CEILING FANS. Ceiling fans better circulate the cool air already blowing inside and the slight breeze keeps you cool too. Plus, using fans actually allows you to raise the temperature setting on your thermostat four degrees. This can help lower your electricity bills without sacrificing overall comfort. Bonus tip! Switch on your bathroom fans — they pull heat and humidity from your home which also improves comfort.
  3. SEAL AIR LEAKS. Low-cost caulk can be used to seal cracks, openings and other heat penetration points in your home. Air sealing keeps warm air out and conditioned air (air you’ve already paid to cool) inside your home. Need help or have a bigger job than you can handle? Contact us for a free estimate.
  4. MAINTAIN YOUR HVAC SYSTEM. Having your air conditioner serviced annually can help keep it running efficiently (and help prevent those mid-summer break downs). Check and replace your furnace filter regularly (which also helps keep your home clean), and don’t forget about your programmable thermostat! Setting your programmable thermostat to a higher setting when you are not at home can save an estimated ten percent on your energy bills annually.
  5. SEAL DUCTS. Air loss through ducts can lead to high utility costs. Leaky ducts keep conditioned air from getting to desired rooms in your home, and they force your HVAC system to work harder. Leaky ducts account for nearly 30 percent of an HVAC system’s energy consumption! Sealing those ducts can go a long way toward lowering your electricity bills.

Questioning high utility bills this summer? Give us a call for a free in-home estimate.

Want the biggest bang for your remodeling dollar? Insulate!

A piggy bank with a house next to it

For the second year in a row, Remodeling Magazine ranked “adding attic insulation” as the top “bang for the buck” home improvement project. The report included the 29 top remodeling projects done in a home, ranking average cost against return on investment during resale.

The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report shows adding attic insulation delivers over a 100% return on investment – the only home project that returns more than the project cost. The second-place return on investment project, replacing a front entry door, came in at just over 90% return on investment.

Visit Remodeling Magazine’s report for more information and to see how other projects rank.

How to Choose a Commercial Insulation Contractor

insulating attic

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.

Building Science Basics

Building Science Basics - Delmarva Insulation

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!

Tax Credits for Going Green at Home

Tax Credits for Going Green at Home - Delmarva Insulation

In case you haven’t heard, the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit has been renewed! This is great news if you plan to make any energy efficiency updates to your home this year. It is also a great reminder to apply any updates you made last year to your taxes this year. You could be eligible for a tax credit up to $500!

Here is a list of product eligible for tax credits.
(To be eligible these projects must be complete by December 31, 2016.)

Building envelope improvements

  • Insulation materials and systems
  • Exterior doors and windows, including skylights
  • Roofs—pigmented roofs designed to reduce heat gain, and asphalt roofs with cooling granules

Heating, cooling, and water heating equipment

  • Advanced main air circulating fan
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil furnace or hot water boiler
  • Electric heat pump water heater
  • Electric heat pump
  • Central air conditioner
  • Natural gas, propane, or oil water heater
  • Biomass stoves

These products have specific requirements to qualify for the tax credit so make sure you review the Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit requirements before making a claim on your taxes or planning a project for 2016.

Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit
If you have set your sights on a larger renewable home energy project for this year like a solar energy system or even a geothermal heat pump, you’re in luck too! Those tax credits have been renewed as well. Be sure to read the details on the Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit requirements before planning your project.

Have questions on how upgrading your insulation would apply to these tax credits? Give us a call!

Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter

Prevent Frozen Pipes This Winter - Delmarva Insulation
It doesn’t take bitter cold to freeze a water pipe. Temperatures only have to dip to about 20°F for a few hours for an exposed water pipe to be at risk of freezing.
The solution is to keep these pipes from being exposed to cold temperatures. Here’s how:
  • Insulate the walls to protect pipes.
  • Cover exposed pipes in crawl spaces or attics with insulation sleeves.
  • Re-route pipes to an inside wall.
  • Seal any cracks in the foundation or walls that allow pipes to be exposed to cold air.
  • If pipes are in an outside wall to reach a bathroom or kitchen, keep cabinet doors open below the sink to allow warm air to reach pipes and keep them from freezing.
Call us! We can help make sure your home is properly air sealed and insulated.