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Friday, June 30, 2017
Ventilation: Why it Matters and What You Need to Know

Ventilation: Why it Matters and What You Need to Know

As homes become more efficient, proper ventilation is increasingly important. Green building techniques and tighter building envelopes require proper air exchange to manage indoor air quality.

Why the increase in air quality problems? Older homes were “naturally” ventilated through uncontrolled air leaks, and building products were manufactured without flame retardants and other additives. Today’s building products have more additives and homes are built tighter compared to older homes. Tight building envelopes combined with the additives in construction materials require a controlled ventilation system to maintain optimal air quality and maintain a home’s energy efficiency.

There are many of factors that influence the type of ventilation system that is appropriate for a home. These can include local code requirements, building size, types of appliances, etc.

The four most common ventilation systems are:
  • Exhaust Only – This type of system uses a small exhaust fan that is commonly placed in a kitchen or bathroom. This is programmed to run either continuously or intermittently to pull out stale air and moisture. These systems are low cost and quite easy to install.
  • Supply Only – A supply only system includes a fan that brings fresh air into the home. The air escape happens through the natural air leaks in the home. A filter can be added to trap pollen and other outdoor air pollutants before they enter the home. A dehumidifier can be added inside the home to control indoor humidity levels.
  • Balanced – A balanced system includes both exhaust and supply, controlling ventilation at both ends. This system includes separate fans to manage air supply and air exhaust. Overall, this is a better ventilation system than exhaust only or supply only system.
  • Balanced with Heat Recovery – Like the balanced system, a balanced system with heat recovery will condition the incoming air prior to entering the home. This is a great system for cold climates, preventing cold air from being drawn into the home during winter.
Does your home have a ventilation system? Do you have questions about your home’s air sealing and ventilation? Contact us with any questions.

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Friday, June 23, 2017
Three Ways to Make Your Home More Efficient

Three Ways to Make Your Home More Efficient

Are you looking to make your home more comfortable and efficient? The combination of today’s building science and home technology makes it easier than ever to increase the efficiency of your home.

Having an energy audit performed on your home will uncover specific upgrades that your home may need. Here are a few upgrades that could benefit most homes in our area:

Air Sealing
Air leaks in a home’s envelope can affect heating and cooling systems, your energy bills, and comfort.  Sealing air leaks is a first step to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Air sealing involves sealing any penetration points where air can leave a home. These can exist around recessed lights, chimneys, ductwork, windows and more. Sealing these air leaks helps keep conditioned air inside a home, reducing wear and tear on your HVAC system, and maintaining your home’s internal temperature.

Many homes – even newer homes – aren’t adequately insulated. Older homes may have no insulation at all. Properly installed insulation in attics, walls, and floors creates a thermal blanket that prevents heat transfer. This helps maintain even temperatures throughout the house. The result is a quieter, more comfortable living environment that is less costly to heat and cool.

Home Technology Upgrades
Many homeowners aren’t aware of how home technology can help maintain comfort and manage energy bills. From controlling lights at home through a mobile app, to investing in smart appliances that cut down on energy use and costs, there are many options for decreasing energy use.

Upgrading your home’s efficiency will pay off in lower energy bills and make your home more comfortable all year. Have questions? Contact our office.

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Monday, May 29, 2017
Tips to Bring Down Summer Energy Bills

Tips to Bring Down Summer Energy Bills

Summer fun is around the corner! Don’t let last year’s high summer energy bills affect this summer. There are many ways to help manage your summer energy bills that aren’t difficult! Here are a few simple things you can do today to improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home.

  1. TURN ON CEILING FANS. Running your ceiling fans help circulate the cooled air that’s in your home – and creates a slight breeze to make your home comfortable. Have a bath fan? Consider running this or adding a timer. Bath fans help pull humid air out of your home, helping to keep it even more comfortable.
  2. TUNE UP YOUR HVAC SYSTEM. Your HVAC system may not be running efficiently. Schedule a service appointment with a qualified contractor. Don’t forget to replace your furnace filter! Does your home have a programmable thermostat? Setting a programmable thermostat to a higher setting during the day can save roughly ten percent on annual energy bills.
  3. SEAL AIR LEAKS. Sealing air leaks helps keep cool air in and warm air out. Once air leaks are sealed this pays off year round by keeping cold winter air out and warm air in. Contact our office to schedule an estimate for air sealing.
  4. GRILL OUT. You can help keep your home cool by cooking on an outdoor grill rather than in the kitchen. This is an easy way to reduce stress on your HVAC system and have some summer fun!
  5. SEAL AIR DUCTS. If the ducts in your home are leaking, conditioned air has a hard time getting to the rooms in your house. This can result in uneven temps in your home and adjusting the thermostat, which can affect energy bills.

Don’t let another summer go by with high energy bills. Try some of these tips. Contact our office with questions on these tips or to schedule a free air sealing estimate.

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Monday, May 22, 2017
Honoring Veterans – Memorial Day and Year ‘Round

Honoring Veterans – Memorial Day and Year ‘Round

At Southland Insulators, it has always been our goal to give back to our military community. With Memorial Day upon us, we humbly thank the brave souls and their families who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Over the years we have been provided several opportunities to give back to current and former military members. These contributions have ranged from labor and material donations to building projects, to providing an Action Track Chair to a wounded veteran.  We would like to thank the following organizations for the opportunity to donate to their causes over the years.

We would also like to thank our vendor partners for their additional support, including Icynene, Johns Manville, and CertainTeed Saint-Gobain.

The story of American sacrifice continues each day, allowing each of us to live free in this country. This Memorial Day we wish you an enjoyable time with family and friends. We also hope you take time to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday.

From everyone at Southland Insulators, Happy Memorial Day!
God Bless the United States of America!

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Monday, May 15, 2017
Asthma Sufferers: Air Sealing Can Help

Asthma Sufferers: Air Sealing Can Help

Do you or a family member suffer from asthma or asthma-related attacks? It’s estimated that 26 million Americans are affected by asthma or asthma-related conditions.

Research shows asthma attacks are directly linked to air quality. The lungs of asthma sufferers are extra sensitive to triggers like pollen, dust, mold, chemicals in the air, and more. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that the average person receives 72 percent of their exposure to poor air quality in their own home. When considering the significant amount of time we spend indoors, indoor air quality becomes even more important for those with breathing issues (and for everyone).

Air sealing your home can help improve indoor air quality. Air sealing keeps outside pollutants out of the home. This allows indoor air to be controlled and properly ventilated to help reduce asthma triggers inside your home.

Spray foam insulation is a great option to both insulate and seal air leaks. Spray foam provides an exceptional air seal, works as a thermal barrier (insulator) and helps control moisture issues. This improved air-tightness provides better control of indoor humidity, which reduces mold inside the home.

Have questions about your home’s indoor air quality? Contact our office to learn more.

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Monday, May 8, 2017
Why Spray Foam?

Why Spray Foam?

If you’re not familiar with the benefits of spray foam insulation, we’re here to help! Like other insulation products such as fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation, spray foam insulation reduces heat transfer between spaces in a home. Spray foam insulation goes one step further, sealing air leaks to prevent conditioned air from escaping.

Why does this matter?

Air leaks exist around the building envelope - the outer most layer of the home (exterior walls, rooflines, etc.). Air leaks through penetration points that that are found around recessed lights, plumbing stacks, electrical wires, attic hatches/doors, around chimneys and more. Sealing air leaks keeps conditioned air inside your home. When these are sealed conditioned air you’ve already paid for stays in your home. This results in your HVAC system working less, which keeps money in your pocket.

When installing spray foam insulation, the building cavity is insulated and air sealed in one pass. This means one installation provides thermal barrier and seals penetration points. Air sealing can be performed in combination with other types of insulation, requiring additional labor on the project. If not applied precisely, this air sealing won’t have the desired effect. With one spray foam application, you are assured air leaks are completely sealed.

Have other questions about spray foam? Contact our office today!

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Monday, May 1, 2017
Windows or Insulation? Read This First!

Windows or Insulation? Read This First!

When considering home upgrades, many homeowners consider two projects: insulation or windows. There are many conflicting messages about which is the best investment. Before you get out your wallet, read below so you can make the best choice for your home.

One factor in saving energy is sealing the building shell – the outer most part of your home including walls, roofline and attic, etc. Sealing the building shell will keep conditioned air inside the home will keep energy costs in line and make your home more comfortable. Windows comprise a small portion of the shell of your home and won’t provide the same energy benefits as air sealing and insulating.

Another factor in saving energy and considering insulation versus window is your home’s natural airflow. Air inside a home naturally flows from ground to sky. A home loses 70% of energy through the attic and roof – far more than is lost through windows or doors.

A final factor in saving energy is r-value. R-value is a measure of the amount of heat flow a product resists. The higher the r-value, the better it reduces heat transfer. The r-value of windows can vary based on the number of panes, air space between panes, etc. and can be around 1.5 to 2. Upgrading attic insulation to current code results in an R-38. Add this r-value with the prior data about heat flow in a home and it’s easy to see how a fresh blanket of insulation is a great investment.

When looking at bottom line, the choice is clear. According to Home Advisor the average cost to upgrade windows in our area is $5,372. The same report shows the average cost to upgrade fiberglass insulation in our area (before air sealing) is $1,511.

Ready to add insulation to your attic? Contact us to schedule your free estimate.

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