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How much insulation do I need?

There is no “one” answer to the question of how much insulation your home needs. The short answer is that your home needs enough insulation to properly protect it. There is a lot more involved in determining how much insulation your home needs. Your climate is the biggest factor that determines how much insulation your home needs, followed by local building codes, air leakage, your home’s construction and so on.

In a cold climate like Michigan, a higher R-value is required than would be necessary in warmer climates. Attic insulation in Grand Rapids, Michigan should be an R-value of R-48 to R-60. How thick this should be depends upon the type of insulation that is installed (e.g., fiberglass versus spray foam).

When adding insulation consider sealing air leaks in addition to insulating. Insulation creates a thermal blanket that helps reduce heat transfer. This thermal blanket helps keep conditioned inside air from escaping the home. This thermal blanket may not prevent all conditioned air from escaping. Traditional insulation materials such as fiberglass insulation and cellulose insulation are porous materials that allow some air flow, not to mention the air gaps around the insulating material. Sealing air leaks around wiring, duct work, etc. is an important step to help keep even more conditioned air in your home. Spray foam insulation is a unique product that insulates and seals air leaks in one step.

If you have questions about adding insulation to your home, call us at Whitson Insulation and we can help.



What is cellulose insulation?

Cellulose insulation one of the oldest types of home insulation. Cellulose insulation is plant fiber that is manufactured mostly from recycled newsprint.

Cellulose insulation is manufactured as a loose-fill product and is installed with a machine to either blow in or dense pack. Cellulose insulation can be blown into attics to add R-value to this open space. Densely packed cellulose is typically used for retrofitting a home or office. By dense packing the cellulose into wall cavities it provides thermal resistance and reduces sound transfer.

Stabilized cellulose has water added to it and is typically installed in new construction before drywall is added. It provides the same thermal insulation and soundproofing as dense packed cellulose insulation but is used in open walls before the cavity is closed.

If you have questions about cellulose insulation for your home or office, call Whitson Insulation and our experienced professionals can help you.



What is Insulation?

Insulation is any material that is used to fill spaces in your home including gaps and crevices. The purpose of insulation is to reduce heat flow by stopping heat transfer or reflecting heat. Insulation is also used as a sound barrier. Different types of insulation are best used for different purposes for electrical, thermal and soundproofing.

Insulation comes in many different types:

  • Fiberglass insulation is manufactured from recycled glass and is widely used. It is installed as a batt (also known as a blanket) or as loose fill (also known as blown-in).
  • Cellulose insulation is made primarily of recycled paper. It is often used to dense pack into closed spaces and is commonly used for soundproofing.
  • Spray foam insulation is applied as a liquid and expands to fill a space. As spray foam insulation expands it fills leaks. Spray foam insulation insulates and seals air leaks in one step.
  • Radiant barrier insulation is often used in warm climates and helps reflect heat away from a building.
  • Rigid foam insulation is manufactured in sheets. It can be cut to fit any space and is often used in new construction.
  • Mineral wool insulation is also called rock wool insulation. It is manufactured from rock that has been spun into fibers.

We offer a variety of insulation products for residential and commercial applications. If you have questions about insulating your home contact Whitson Insulation today.



Basement Insulation: Why It Matters and Installation Methods

When thinking about insulation, the attic is the first area of a home that comes to mind. Many homeowners never think of the energy lost through an uninsulated or under-insulated basement.

Basements are a major source of energy loss. Basement box sills, located around the perimeter of the basement ceiling where the walls of the home meet the foundation, are the thinnest points in a home’s exterior, allowing outside air to leak into the basement.

Basements are constructed from concrete which easily transfers cold, damp air from the surrounding earth into your basement. This creates a cold basement and the cold air can also affect the temperature of your home’s first floor.

Basements can be successfully insulated with rolled fiberglass insulation with an attached vapor barrier. This product is often (and appropriately) called basement roll. Basement roll is taped to the top of the concrete walls near the box sills and covers the entire concrete wall. If a basement is partially above grade, areas surrounding the windows are insulated with fiberglass batt insulation and covered with drywall. As a final step, box sills are insulated with fiberglass batts or spray foam.

Increase the comfort of your home’s living space with basement insulation.

Contact our office to learn more and schedule your free estimate.


Why Insulate Your Crawl Space?

Controlling the moisture in your crawl space is a priority for keeping it dry. Improper drainage can lead to more significant problems including structural damage, infiltration of pests and mold.

Moisture control begins around the exterior of your home and many problems can be avoided here early on. Installing gutters is fairly inexpensive compared to the benefits. Gutters direct the rain water away from your foundation and your crawl space. If you are unable to install gutters, hire a professional to grade the ground around your home so water flows away from the structure.

After external issues have been handled, closely inspect the inside of your crawl space. Dirt floor crawl spaces are a great place for pests to live. This direct exposure to the earth creates moisture that can lead to mold and affect the structure of your home’s foundation.

Insulating and sealing your crawl space can protect your home’s structure and make your interior more comfortable. Our team will insulate the walls of your crawl space with 2-1/2 inch Thermax board or line the floor and walls with basement roll (fiberglass insulation with FSK backing). Following this step, box sills are insulated and with spray foam.

Take care of your crawl space issues now before they create a larger problem with your foundation or your health.

Contact us if you have crawl space issues or questions.




Spring Cleaning? Check Your Attic Insulation!

If you are eager for spring and already in the middle of house projects, there is one task to add to your list: checking your attic. Most attics get little attention. It is important to inspect your attic regularly, especially after a hard winter. Spring is the best time for this activity because any winter weather damage will be easy to spot.

Checking and updating your attic insulation now will ensure your home is protected from summer heat and ready for next winter’s cold temps. Although it’s important for all areas of your home to be insulated, your attic is particularly important; and it’s also an easy place to check. The majority of energy waste occurs through your home’s attic if it’s not properly insulated.

Correctly insulating your attic space will help keep heat where it belongs – in your living space. If your attic has inadequate insulation, blown-in fiberglass can be added on top of existing insulation to create a complete thermal blanket.

Proper ventilation is also an important part of attic insulation and an effective fiberglass insulation attic system. Attic ventilation helps facilitate proper airflow through the attic space. This allows the entire attic system to work effectively, prevents moisture build-up and lets the insulation to do its job.

When inspecting your attic, be sure to check the roof deck for any water damage. This could appear as wet areas on the roof deck or dark areas that have been stained by water.

Now is the time to check and upgrade your attic! Contact our office to schedule your insulation consultation today!


The Benefits of Basement Box Sill Insulation

Basement box sills and rim joists are a major source of energy loss. They are located around the perimeter of the basement ceiling where the walls of the home meet the foundation. These areas are some of the thinnest points in a home’s exterior and allow outside air to easily leak into the basement.

Unconditioned outside air enters the home through these areas. They are also convenient entrance points for pests. Spiders, bugs and other creatures can find their way into your home through penetration points left behind around HVAC, electrical and plumbing access points next to the basement ceiling.

Insulating basement box sills and rim joists with spray foam adds R-value and seals air leaks in one step. Hiring a qualified, insured and experienced spray foam contractor will ensure your basement box sills and rim joists are properly insulated and air sealed.

Insulating and air sealing your rim joists and box sills will make your basement (and entire home) more comfortable, reduce pest infestation and help lower your energy bills. Contact us to schedule your free estimate!


Two Home Improvements to Increase Energy Efficiency

Because your home is one contained unit, each system directly impacts another system. Your home can be more efficient and more comfortable by taking a whole-house approach to energy efficiency than by looking at systems individually. If you are interested in increasing your home’s energy efficiency, invest in these two home improvement projects – your home’s insulation and your HVAC system.


If your heating and cooling system is more than 10 years old, consider replacing it with a new, more efficient model. According to ENERGY STAR, when installed correctly, high efficiency heating and cooling units can save you up to 10% on your annual utility bills. Take this upgrade one step further by installing a programmable thermostat. A programmable thermostat can save you up to $180 per year on heating and cooling costs when managed properly.


Upgrading your home’s insulation will further reduce your energy bills by keeping conditioned air inside your home. Adding attic insulation creates a thermal barrier to help prevent warm air from escaping during the winter and hot outside air from entering during the summer.

Take your home’s insulation one step further by sealing air leaks. This further prevents conditioned air from escaping around penetration points in your home’s perimeter. If you’re building a new home, consider sealing air leaks before installing insulation.

Controlling the air that enters and exits your home and conditioning it with efficient equipment are two key steps to increase your home’s efficiency. By addressing both improvements you’ll see greater energy savings and enjoy a more comfortable home. Contact us today to schedule an insulation estimate.



Five Fall Steps to Kick the Winter Chill

Winter temperatures are not far ahead of us! Even though it may be hard to think about winter weather, now is the time to prepare. Getting your home ready for winter weather now will ease the pain of high energy bills and eliminate the headaches that can arise when trying to tackle home projects once the temperature changes. Here are five things you can do now to get ready for cold temps:

Replace Your Thermostat
The popularity of smart thermostats is growing. These thermostats adjust your home’s temperature based on when you are in your home and your overall home use. These automatic adjustments can decrease heating costs. One estimate from smart thermostat developer Nest states the investment in a smart thermostat can pay for itself over time based on an average 30% reduction in energy bills.

Air Seal Your Attic
Your home has a natural updraft that draws inside air up and out through the attic. Penetration points in your attic floor allow conditioned air to easily escape. Sealing attic penetration points such as light fixtures and chimneys keeps conditioned air inside your home, maintains your home’s comfort and reduces wear and tear on your HVAC system. Take air sealing one step further by sealing leaks around electrical outlets, windows, plumbing penetrations and other areas around your home’s envelope.

Add Insulation
Add insulation after sealing attic air leaks. Increasing the insulation level in your attic is a cost effective way to save money on energy bills. Insulation provides a thermal layer that helps keep energy inside your home.

Reverse Ceiling Fans
Changing the direction of your ceiling fans creates an upward draft and redistributes warm air. This is one of the easiest ways to make your home more comfortable during winter and can often be overlooked.

Check Your Heating System
Your home’s heating system will work more efficiently and have a longer life if it’s regularly serviced. Having your furnace serviced now can reduce the risk of a system breakdown during the peak heating season.

Our team can help get your home prepared for winter! Ready to upgrade your insulation and seal air leaks? Contact our office to schedule a free estimate!

Three Reasons to Insulate Your Attic

When you think of upgrading your home’s insulation, your attic may be the first space that comes to mind. Do you really know why it matters? Here are three reasons to upgrade your attic insulation:

  1. Heating and cooling costs can account for 50-70 percent of the energy used in an average home. Taking steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency keeps your energy bills low and reduces wear and tear on your HVAC system.
  2. Air naturally moves upward through your house. Adding insulation helps prevent costly warm or cool air from leaving your home.
  3. Insulation creates a thermal blanket that helps maintain your home’s internal temperature. This means your HVAC system will work less to maintain your home’s interior temperature.

Adding insulation to your attic is one of the most cost effective ways to save money on your energy bills each month. Wondering if your home could benefit from additional attic insulation? Contact us for a free estimate.