Posts Tagged ‘cellulose’

“The Second Affair” A trashy love story (sort of)

September 24, 2012

Lic. creative commons. photo by Mario A. Leitón

At GHA, we use the best material to get the job done right.  While there are many types of insulation out there, one that many locations use quite frequently is cellulose.  One of the great things about this stuff is that it is a recycled product.  Ever wonder what happens to all those newspapers that are carted off in a recycling bin instead of heading to the trash?   Cardboard is one product, but insulation is the one near to our heart. 

Fortunately cellulose manufacturers have not been greatly affected by the recent decline in newspaper circulation as there are plenty of other materials available.  According to the American Forest and Paper Association, there’s over 1 million pounds of paper waste generated every ten minutes in the U.S. That means there’s lots of material to use in making cellulose.  In fact, one manufacturer was using romance novels for a while!  Sounds like a good way to insulate and it really gives a new meaning to the term “trashy novels”.  

Cellulose is just one of many options for insulating your home.  This is why it’s important to have an expert assess your home and decide what is best not only in action, but also for materials.  When cellulose insulation is a good match, we pick the cleanest and safest available to install.  Now that’s a love story with a happy ending!

Thanks,

Jason

Attic-before and after

November 16, 2010

Here’s are two illustrative shots of the benefits of insulating and air-sealing an attic–even in the case where there is already insulation there!

Infrared shot of an attic before air-sealing and reinsulating

Infrared shot of an attic before air-sealing and reinsulating. The yellow on the bottom half of the picture indicates warm air and heat escaping through leaks into the attic.

In the first picture, with R-30 fiberglass batts in place, we can see through the courtesy of an infrared camera that much heat is escaping–and the batts appear a bright yellow-orange.  This is because warm air is escaping through leaks into the attic, and passing right through the batts, just like when the wind blows the heat from around you body through a loose sweater on a windy winter day.  This effectively defeats much of the R-valuse of the batts, in this case robbing about 50% of their effectiveness.

Infrared shot of an attic before air-sealing and reinsulating. The yellow on the bottom half of the picture indicates warm air and heat escaping through leaks into the attic.

In this shot of the same attic the follow day, the blue color on the attic floor shows that air-sealing and adding additional cellulose insulation has greatly reduced the heat loss.

In the picture to the right, of the same attic the following day, we can see from the cool blue color on the attic “floor”, that the newly blown in cellulose–blown in after extensive airsealing, is doing a much better job keeping the heat in the house.

So don’t be fooled by existing insulation.  Poorly installed insulation doesn’t work well.  If you’re experiencing drafts, cold rooms, hot rooms, or wasting much on your energy bills (in either the summer or the winter), a good home energy assessment can help you pinpoint the fix.

Thanks,
Mike

Dense Packed Cellulose Insulation

August 17, 2009

In existing homes, where wall cavities are closed up with siding on the outside, and drywall, plaster, or some other finish on the inside, good insulation becomes problematic.  How do you fill the whole cavity when the cavitiy is already closed?

A great way is with “dense packed” cellulose insulation.  Cellulose insulation is essentially ground up paper (e.g., newspaper) with fire retardants added.  We like 100% borate retardant–low toxicity and critters don’t like it.  

Dense packed cellulose stays in place even if drywall is later pulled down (we don't recommend pulling the drywall down to check, though!)

Dense packed cellulose stays in place even if drywall is later pulled down (we don't recommend pulling the drywall down to check, though!)

In yesteryear, cellulose was essentially poured (loosely blow) into wall cavities.  The challange with this was that the cellulose settled over time, leaving a gap with no insulation at the top.  Dense packing overcomes this and is a great way to insulate walls in existing homes.  First, the loose fill insulation fill nooks and crannies and does a great job filling cavities, providing the type of coverage you need for insulation to be effective.  Second, dense packing actually pumps insulation into a cavity a higher density than it would settle to.  Thus, over time we don’t see additional settling.  In fact, the insulation is in there so tight, it generally doesn’t fall out even when you take the wall covering down.  In the picture, you see the wall I just removed this weekend as part of a major bathroom remodel.   And you see how the cellulose completely filled the wall cavity (less a few holes from my hammer as a pulled the plasterboard down).  And the insulation is packed so well, that is stays in place even without the plasterboard covering it.  [Good job, Tom, Joe, and Jason.]

Good stuff.  Works great!  A practical solution for those wanting to make their homes more efficient.  (I’m still amazed how many homes have little or no insulation in their walls.)  And this insulation qualifies for the $1,500 tax credit currently avaiable for energy-efficiency retrofits.

Thanks,
Mike

Video: Wall insulation retrofits

February 25, 2009

Yesterday on the Bridge Street TV show on ABC in Syracuse Frank LaSala talked about wall insulation and air-sealing in existing homes.  Check it out!


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