Protecting our indoor living spaces from all four seasons of the New England climate is a full time job for the many different systems that make up your interconnected home comfort. It is easy to be lulled into the belief that if your home is cold in the winter, it is your furnace's fault, or if it is too hot in the summer, your air conditioner is to blame.
However, updating the insulation and air sealing in an existing home can go a long way toward making the job of your heating and cooling system easier. By combining insulation and air sealing upgrades from a Vermont spray foam contractor like EnergySmart of Vermont, you can experience benefits like:
Stabilized indoor temperatures all year
Fewer indoor drafts
Increased indoor air quality
Reduced heating and cooling costs
However, these two home improvements are much more effective when they are completed together by a trusted insulation contractor. Here is what you need to know about the best insulation and air sealing practices, and how our team of building science professionals can help improve your Barre or Washington County home.
Many older Vermont homes lack sufficient insulation in the walls and attic. Not only does this allow heat from the living areas to escape, but it causes ice dams and pest problems. Poorly installed insulation has warm pockets which are ideal places for pests like small rodents and cluster flies to live during the winter. EnergySmart of Vermont can help rid your home of cluster flies by improving your home’s insulation.
Cellulose insulation, made from ground up newspapers, can be blown into walls to fill voids. It can also be blown into attics to add another layer to the existing insulation. Another type of insulation that we can install is rigid foam insulation. This material has twice the density of cellulose and is almost airtight. It is relatively inexpensive but requires more labor to install than other types of insulation. Rigid insulation works great to insulate basement doors and attic hatchways, as it is easy to cut and fit.
Controlling air leakage in your home is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce your energy bills. Stopping cold air from seeping into the basement and the first floor will make you and your family much more comfortable in the winter. Keeping warm air from escaping out the top of your house will significantly reduce your fuel bills. Air sealing will also greatly increase the effectiveness of your existing insulation.
There are several ways to air seal a home. The starting point is applying caulk to fill small gaps where cold air can penetrate. We use the best quality products, as caulk not only needs to adhere to surfaces, it must remain pliable as the building continues to move slightly. Avoid cheaper materials if you’re looking for the best caulk for air sealing, because they can dry out and separate from surfaces, opening up the cracks again.
Insulation & Air Sealing Are Better Together
These two home improvements have their own standalone advantages, but when you combine the two they are much more effective. Insulating your home may help reduce some heat loss in the winter, but that heat will still attempt to find any way out of your living space that it can. This means a home that is insulated but not air sealed will eventually lose more heat through the small holes and cracks, and the same is true for an air sealed home that is not properly insulated!
EnergySmart is not just an insulation company, or an air sealing company. We are both! And when you schedule an energy audit with our insulation experts, we can tell you exactly where your home is in need of these two important upgrades.
Weatherstripping & Foam Air Sealing
Weatherstripping is a very important method to seal up leaks. Doors and windows need to open and close easily, so weatherstripping must not affect their operation. When they are shut, the weatherstripping needs to block cold air from being able to enter the house. EnergySmart uses professional-grade weatherstripping and our employees are experts at cutting and installing it so that your windows and doors will be draft free, while remaining easy to open and close. For sealing bigger cracks, we look more to foam insulation products. These are used in areas that are out of sight, such as between windows and studs. Foam is often used to seal penetrations where holes were drilled for wires, because it easily wraps around materials. Spray foam insulation is used to cover large surfaces that have lots of cracks, as it can be applied quickly, which reduces labor costs.
Take Control of Air Leaks in Your Home