Categories
Attic Insulation

What is Batt Insulation? The Benefits

Properly insulating your house is the first and foremost way to reduce energy costs. Good insulation means that your home stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter (without needing to crank the thermostat). If you’ve been wondering what batt insulation is, read on! 

At SoDak Insulation, we specialize in attic and insulation restoration and are South Dakota’s leaders in assessing damages caused by rodent or bat infestation. Contact us today for an inspection and estimate on your home. We can help you choose the best type of insulation for your space.

The Benefits of Choosing Batt Insulation

Compared to other insulation types, batt or blanket insulation is the most common and widely available insulation method today. Also called batt and roll, this type of home insulation can come on a continuous roll or in pre-cut strips. Batt sits between studs, rafters, or joists in a fluffy layer. It is made commonly of fiberglass insulation, plastic, or natural fibers such as cotton, wool, or mineral wool. 

Batt and roll insulation is a versatile form of insulation as it comes in varying sizes and thickness or density levels. It is also one of the longest-lasting forms of insulation and, in ideal conditions, can maintain effectiveness for decades. 

r-value home attic what is batt insulation

How does batt insulation help in energy efficiency? 

When installed correctly, batt insulation is an ideal form of insulation that protects against air leaks and heat transference. Batt insulation can be layered to increase its R-value. A higher R-value indicates that the insulation has a more effective rate of thermal resistance. How well they prevent heat transference determines the insulation’s R-value. 

To have an energy-efficient home, you want to make sure there are close to no air leaks. Batt insulation is available with both faced and unfaced styles. An optional paper or foil backing on the batt helps create an air or vapor barrier. 

However, not all houses need this, which is why it is very important to have a professional inspect and assess your insulation needs. 

Reasons to Consider an Insulation Inspection

There are many reasons why you might want to replace insulation in your home. It is a good idea to know how old your insulation is as it does degrade or compress over time. 

  • Your energy bills are going up.

If your heating or cooling bills seem higher than last year, it is time to schedule an inspection. Insulation can degrade over time if it begins to flatten or condense. A higher energy bill means that the R-value is decreasing, and your insulation’s effectiveness is reducing. 

person who's cold because of poor home insulation

  • You notice temperature fluctuations.

If you notice that you are always adjusting the thermostat and struggle to keep your home at a consistent temperature, your insulation is not doing its job. It is a good time to have it assessed. 

  • You see evidence of bat or rodent damages.

If you have had any bat or rodent infestation in your attic, there is a high chance that your insulation is in trouble. Removing and restoring the area is one best left to professionals. Luckily for our customers, we are fully licensed to safely remove bat guano, renovate the site, and reinstall insulation.

  • You’ve had roof-related water damage in the home.

Water damages most home insulation styles, reducing its R-value (or rated level of effectiveness in preventing heat transference). If you have had any water damage, especially in your attic, you will want your insulation assessed. 

  • Drafty house or different temperatures throughout the house.

If you notice your home does not have a consistent temperature throughout the space, it is a good idea to have your insulation assessed. 

  • You’re considering selling your home.

When selling your home, many buyers will want to know the age of the insulation and the kinds of insulation products installed in the house. Refreshing and restoring your roof insulation will go a long way in impressing potential buyers (and will also lower the energy bill, another detail they’ll be interested to know).

How does insulation work?

To understand why insulation functions as it does, it’s important to understand how heat moves. Generally speaking, heat flows from warmer to cooler spaces until there is no temperature differentiation. 

That means that the heat will gravitate to any areas in your home that are cooler or uninsulated (garages, attics, basements). Heat can also pass through walls, ceilings, and floors in your home or even through exterior walls to the outside. 

Insulation is the key to trapping or slowing the movement of heat in your home. By insulating your home, you are effectively stopping the heat from moving freely. That means your home stays at the right temperature in winter and summer. 

what is batt insulation the benefits

Choosing the Right Insulation Professionals

Batt insulation is a terrific option for keeping your home well insulated. But it can be difficult to choose the best option for your home or business. And it’s even harder to install, add, or replace the insulation yourself!

Don’t wait another minute — reach out to your local insulation experts today. SoDak Insulation will answer all your questions and help you figure out the best energy-saving solutions for your home. We have many years experience installing insulation.

Call SoDak Insulation today to schedule a home insulation inspection, and we will make sure the heat in your home stays where it belongs. 

Categories
Attic Insulation

Blown Insulation vs. Rolled: Choosing the Right Insulation

If you’re thinking about adding insulation to your home, you’ll need to decide what type will work best with your building. Today, we’ll get into the details of blown vs. rolled insulation.

If you’re looking for a home improvement project that will pay for itself, you can’t beat adding attic insulation. Insulation works like a cozy blanket that keeps your home feeling warmer while lowering your heating bills. 

If you’re a South Dakota native, you know that our winters can be brutal. When it’s frigid outside, stay cozy in your home with a blanket of ultra-efficient insulation. Reach out to SoDak Insulation today for a free inspection and recommendations to improve your comfort at home.

SoDak Insulation is the best local insulation company for improving your home’s feel and energy efficiency. We are experts at finding the best fit for your older home. Contact us today for a custom solution.

blown insulation vs rolled insulation choices

What Is Rolled Insulation? 

Rolled insulation comes in what looks like a long, narrow blanket. The continuous piece of insulation is packed tightly like a cinnamon roll, which is the source of its name. 

Blanket insulation is also available in batts. Batt insulation is similar to the rolled variety, but comes in pieces instead of rolls. The smaller pieces make for easy do-it-yourself installation, but it has more potential for gaps because there will be more seams.

Rolled insulation usually comes in 16 or 24-inch widths to fit perfectly between building joists. The blanket sits between the wooden joists and is easily trimmed to the right length. 

If your attic floor has no insulation, lay in batts or rolls to fit between the floor joists. Trim the roll with a utility knife to easily fit it in place.

Insulation needs to be fluffy to work, so don’t squish or compress the material to fit in the space. 

Rolled insulation can be layered to increase the total insulating value. When placing a second layer, position the rolls at a ninety-degree angle over the first in order to cover the joists. 

Rolled insulation comes with R-values ranging from 2.9 to 4.3 per inch of thickness. The R-value for the total thickness of the roll is listed on the package. Add layers in order to reach your desired total R-value.

Rolled insulation can be made from a variety of materials, including:

  • Fiberglass
  • Mineral wool
  • Cellulose

What Is Blown Insulation?

Blown insulation, or loose-fill insulation, is a type of insulation that is sprayed or blown into the spaces to be insulated. 

Rolled insulation has a texture similar to cotton candy. Blown insulation is more like a bag of cotton balls. It doesn’t hold together in a single piece. 

Like snowflakes accumulating on your driveway, this type of insulation coats the attic floor in a thick blanket. The more you apply, the thicker your blanket will be.

You will need a pneumatic blowing machine to blow in the insulation. You may be able to rent this from your local home improvement store. Make sure you have a power source and adequate access to get the machine into your attic space. 

Blown insulation is often made from recycled materials, such as paper or denim. These materials are broken down into cellulose. A fire retardant is added in the process to keep your home safe. 

Blown insulation is available in a variety of materials:

  • Cellulose, which is often made from recycled materials
  • Mineral wool
  • Fiberglass insulation

Blown insulation has an R-value ranging from 2.2 to 3.8. The loose-fill application means you can get the exact depth you need to achieve your desired total R-value.

Loose-fill insulation can also be spread by hand, but it won’t be as fluffy and the distribution won’t be as even.

hands holding a house keeping it warm

Blown Insulation vs. Rolled: Which Is Better?

Both forms of insulation can improve your home’s energy efficiency. Which choice is better for your home?

It depends. 

How Accessible Is Your Attic?

An open attic with high rafters will make rolled insulation easier to install. 

Also consider the angle where your roofline meets the attic floor. Can you reach the edge, or does it get too narrow?

If you have a low-pitched roof, it might be easier to blow insulation into that space than to reach it by hand.

If your attic access doesn’t allow you to bring a blower in, rolled insulation is your winner. 

Blown insulation vs. rolled insulation? The winner is usually going to be the blown insulation in this category. But if your architecture has barriers to blown in application, rolled insulation will do the job nicely.

Do You Have Recessed Lighting?

If you have recessed lights in your ceiling, you may have light fixtures projecting through your attic floor. 

If you have fixtures to go around, it’s best not to bury them in insulation. The solution: place a wooden or metal box over the light to create space between the fixture and your insulation. 

Insulation should be kept at least three inches from all fixtures and wiring compartments. 

Blown insulation vs. rolled? If you are going around multiple light fixtures, blown insulation is a clear winner. Rolled insulation would require more time to cut and fit around fixture boxes, and would have greater potential for energy-sucking gaps. 

homeowner who's cold due to poor insulation and adjusting his thermostat

Is It Time to Call the Insulation Pros?

If you are inclined to add or replace insulation in your home or business, ask yourself a couple of question:

  • Are you comfortable spending lots of time in your attic? Depending on the size of the space and your fitness level, this could quickly become uncomfortable.
  • Do you have any respiratory or other conditions that would make installing insulation hazardous to your health? No matter how you do it, insulation installation is hot, dusty work. If you also have health concerns, it’s probably not worth the risk of DIY-ing it.
  • Are you comfortable running a blower? For some people, the weight, noise, and hassle of renting a machine are deal-breakers. If you’ve never used one before, they can be intimidating, too.

Blown insulation vs. rolled? If you want a second opinion about the best option for you, call insulation experts. At SoDak Insulation, we’re happy to help you choose the best insulation for your space. Contact us today with all your questions.

Consider All Of Your Options

Before charging into a DIY project, you’ll want to know what the cost and potential savings will be. An insulation contractor may cost less than you think. It’s definitely the quickest and easiest way to get your home insulated efficiently!

Reach out to SoDak Insulation today for a free inspection and quote. We’re here to keep you warm and happy!

Categories
Attic Insulation

Signs of a Rodent Infestation in Your Attic

Have you seen signs of rodent infestation around your home or business? If you’re concerned about sharing your home with an unwanted guest, keep an eye out for common signs of an infestation.

Rodents can damage your home’s insulation. The team at SoDak Insulation is here to help. If rodents have done a number on your attic insulation, give us a call today.

What Are The Signs Of Rodent Infestation?

Rodents leave a variety of clues when they invade your home. An active infestation can be spotted with your eyes, ears, and even your nose.

If you have rodents in your attic, they are likely in other parts of your home as well. Keep an eye out for these telltale signs as you inspect your attic and the rest of your home.

rodent looking through hole in the attic wall

Rodent Droppings

One of the most definitive signs of rodent infestation is the discovery of rodent droppings around the home. 

If you have spotted small brown or black pellets around food packages or near baseboards, you have a rodent infestation.

Mice and rats have similar droppings. Mouse droppings have pointed ends, are smooth, and are between an eighth and a fourth of an inch long. Rat droppings are a bit larger and often have more squared-off ends. 

Always wear gloves and a dust mask when cleaning to avoid getting sick.

Gnaw Marks

Rodents have strong teeth that keep growing throughout their lives. Gnawing helps them keep their teeth in check.

Mice and rats use their teeth to gain access to your home. Once inside, they happily chew their way through walls, electrical wires, and food containers.

Rodent gnaw marks look like very small nibbles with evenly spaced, tiny parallel lines. A house mouse may leave telltale gnaw marks on your walls, furniture, or the bottom of doors. 

sign of rodent infestation is a rodent on your kitchen counter

The Smell Of Urine

Mice have a peculiar smell that resembles stale urine or ammonia. The odor helps them to mark their territory.

If you discover an animal smell when you open a cabinet or closet, you most likely have a rodent.

Rub Marks and Tracks

When rats move around your home, they often leave dark smudges on the baseboards. Rats have oily fur that leaves a residue on surfaces. They like to stick with familiar paths and keep near walls, and their tracks can be seen with a close look.

In the attic, your insulation leaves a clear trail where mice have been. Mouse pathways in your insulation look like small, 1- to 2-inch deep hallways.

A Dead Body

You found a body in your pantry. Did you think, “Oh good, it’s dead”? 

Sadly, if there was one mouse in your house, there is very likely more than one mouse in your house.

Mice follow the scent of other mice. That one critter you found very likely has brothers and sisters living in your walls.

Don’t wait to meet the whole family. 

Scratching Noises

Rodents don’t trim their toenails. One of the signs of rodent infestation is scratching noise from inside your walls. 

Rodent sounds are most noticeable at night when they are most active and your home is the quietest. 

Nests

 

Rodents love to build nests from shredded paper, bedding, and insulation. Check the dark corners of your home, as well as behind furniture and in cabinets.

What To Do When You Have Rodents In Your Home

You noticed the signs of a rodent and confirmed you have a trespassing critter. Don’t delay: Take steps to remove those rodents right away.

Follow these steps to evict your unwelcome guest:

  1. Attempt to determine how it got into your home. Fix any holes or gaps that could provide access to additional rodents.
  2. Secure any potential sources of food. Food in plastic bags should be placed in containers with thicker walls. Don’t leave the pet food out, either.
  3. Place traps. If you know the animal’s trail, set traps along their path. Bait them with chocolate or peanut butter. 

But remember: Never place snap traps or poison where pets or small children can access them. 

Eliminating unwanted pests can be an unpleasant job. You always have the option to bring in professional help. 

how to keep rodents out of your attic

How To Keep Rodents Out Of Your Home

After you’ve gotten rid of your mice or rats, you’ll want to take action to make sure your home stays rodent-free. Incorporate these steps into your home maintenance to keep the critters out:

  • Walk around the outside of your home and check for any cracks, gaps, or other openings. Mice only need a quarter of an inch to push through. 
  • Fix water leaks. A dripping spigot provides a consistent water source for rodents and other animals. 
  • Place pantry staples in airtight containers. Flour, rice, and other foods are often packaged in plastic bags, an easy target for rodents. Put your pantry foods in stronger, airtight containers.
  • Don’t let garbage pile up. Rodents love human garbage and are drawn to it. Keep your garbage in tightly sealed containers, both inside and outside your home. Have your garbage hauled away at least weekly.
  • Only feed the animals you want to keep around. Pet and bird feeders are easy targets for rodents.
  • Watch for signs of rodent infestation as the weather outside gets colder. Rodent problems get worse in the fall and winter.

Keeping rodents out is much easier than removing them after they’ve moved in.

If Your Attic Has Been The Home Of Rodents, Consider Replacing Your Insulation

Rodents are dirty, stinky, and sometimes even dangerous. After you’ve evicted them, your home may need clean-up and repairs.

If you had bats, rats, or mice in your attic, your insulation has been their bathroom. This can make your whole home smell bad. 

If you think you might need to replace your attic insulation, contact SoDak Insulation today for a free quote. Our experts will inspect your attic and help you find the best solution for your home. Reach out today.

Categories
Attic Insulation

Choosing Eco-Friendly Insulation for Your Home or Business

Are you interested in eco-friendly insulation for your home? There are numerous products available that will keep your home warm without harming the environment. 

If you’re considering improving your home’s insulation, contact SoDak Insulation today. We would be happy to take a look at your property and give you a free quote. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.

danger asbestos removal in process sign

We Learned A Hard Lesson

Once upon a time, people used asbestos for insulation. It was inexpensive and effective at blocking heat transfer.

Unfortunately, it was also carcinogenic. A lot of people developed cancers and died after breathing asbestos fibers. 

So, we learned a hard lesson. We need to consider more factors than “cheap” and “effective” when choosing the products that make up our home environment. 

We spend a lot of time at home. Our homes should be cozy, but they must also be safe. Eco-friendly material is not only safe for our environment, it’s safe for your family.

How Does Insulation Work?

Like a blanket for your home, insulation works by blocking heat transfer. 

When the air gets warmer, it rises. Your ceiling and roof will block some of that air from floating right up to the sky. But without insulation, most of the heat from your home would float away.

Insulation works by creating a barrier to trap air. The air held in place within the insulation acts like a lid on the air in your home. 

Regardless of the type of insulation, insulating your home will make heating and cooling it more efficient. Eco-friendly insulation will accomplish this in a way that minimizes damage to your family and your environment.

What Is Eco-Friendly Insulation?

Eco-friendly insulation materials have requirements beyond their ability to block heat transfer. 

pet goat eating home insulation

Safe For People And Pets

They need to be safe for the people in your home. Traditional insulators may irritate the eyes, lungs, or skin. Eco-friendly insulation is human-friendly. 

Environmentally Friendly

Eco-friendly insulation has a smaller carbon footprint than its predecessors. This may be accomplished in a few ways:

  1. The product can be made from recycled products. Blue jeans that would otherwise wind up in the landfill can be shredded and made into insulation. 
  2. Using natural material can cut down on the need for nasty chemicals. Formaldehyde and fire retardant chemicals serve a purpose in insulation production. But the cost of that is adding one more poison to the world. That hurts our health and our planet. 

Boric acid is a naturally-occurring, fire-resistant insecticide used on natural materials.

  1. Eco-friendly insulation requires less energy to produce. Cellulose insulation has insulating values similar to fiberglass but needs about a tenth of the production energy to make.
  2. Many eco-friendly insulators can be recycled at the end of their usable life, reducing the space taken up in landfills.

All insulation is eco-friendly in that it improves energy efficiency by reducing heat loss and the energy needed to keep your home warm. But products that also address the side effects (before the install, people’s health, toxicity to the planet) qualify as eco-friendly.

What Are Some Types Of Eco-Friendly Insulation?

Sheep’s Wool

Sheep’s wool makes a wonderful blanket or pair of socks, so it isn’t surprising that it also works well to blanket your house. 

Wool insulation should be treated with a borate product to make it fire- and insect-resistant. Wool is available in batts that can be rolled into the spaces between ceiling joists.

Cotton

South Dakota is a land of farmers. Have you ever met a farmer who didn’t want to wring every bit of usefulness out of their things? 

That’s cotton insulation: old denim jeans are broken down and reworked to give them new life. The fiber is shredded — you won’t find Wrangler’s patches in your walls — and made into batts that are rolled into place.

The downside of cotton: it costs about twice as much as fiberglass.

pile of old blue jeans that will be recycled into eco-friendly insulation

Spray-Foam Insulation

It’s debatable whether this product can be called eco-friendly. Polystyrene is a type of plastic. It is made without any toxic chemicals and is entirely recyclable, so it gets a spot on our list. This excellent insulator is also available in foam insulation boards. 

What Is The Best Eco-Friendly Insulation?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we’ve researched the safest and most efficient types of insulation for our fierce South Dakota winters. 

Our recommendation for most homes: blown-in cellulose insulation. 

Cellulose insulation has several qualities that make it number one in our book:

It Does What Insulation Is Supposed To Do

Insulation, first and foremost, needs to work. Cellulose insulation does an excellent job of blocking heat transfer. This means your home will stay cozy in the winter, and you won’t break the bank cooling it in the summer.

Cellulose Is Safe

Cellulose insulation is made from shredded paper. It doesn’t contain the multitude of toxic chemicals found in some other options. A natural borate coating for fire resistance is all it needs.

It’s Good For The Planet

Cellulose is a great use for paper products that would otherwise take up space in the landfill. We use GreenFiber products at SoDak Insulation. This product is made up of 85% recycled materials. That’s good for the planet and everyone on it.

Greenfiber uses 13 times less energy to produce than fiberglass insulation. Less energy output on the front end translates to a better environment for us all.

Greenfiber is produced in the USA, with a manufacturing site right in our own neighborhood. With a plant in Norfolk, NE, we can receive this insulation in the Sioux Falls area without significant windshield time or CO2 emissions. 

We’re Here To Help Make Your Home — And Your Planet — A Healthier And More Comfortable Place

You have lots of choices when it comes to making your home comfortable for your family. In the past, people didn’t know the extent their decisions had on our environment. Today, we need to do more than keep our own small spaces comfortable. We need to consider how our actions affect the larger world. 

SoDak Insulation is here to help you meet your household’s needs while keeping an eye on environmental responsibility. Reach out to us today for a free inspection.

Categories
Attic Insulation

How to Fix Heat Loss in Homes

With the cooler months’ onset, mitigating heat loss in homes becomes important to keeping energy costs low. The connection between the right insulation and keeping the warm air in is a specialty of SoDak Insulation. Reach out to SoDak Insulation for an inspection or estimate today.

The source of heat loss in the home is typically not limited to one particular escape area. Throughout the house, several places may be problem areas in your home and there may be multiple reasons why the loss is occurring. Discovering the trouble spots and being proactive in treating the issues will raise your energy efficiency and save money.

Where is the Most Heat Loss in Homes?

If you think of your home as a structure similar to the human body, it may be easier to envision where heat loss occurs. We lose heat through areas of our bodies that are the ends of our bodies, such as fingers, toes, and the top of the head.

Keeping our core warm is integral to keeping the rest of the body working right. To accomplish this, we often have to help our own heating system work better by adding “insulation” like warm socks and shoes, gloves, and hats.

Your home functions in much the same way as the human body does in cold weather. Several areas of the home are more easily exposed to cold air and may need that extra padding to prevent heat from escaping. Identifying where heat loss is happening in the walls, windows, and doors will help take steps to reduce heat loss.

home with a scarf and hat to prevent heat loss in homes

Take It From The Top

Your attic should be the first place to build up that important thermal resistance in keeping cold air out and warm air inside the home. As heat rises, the attic and roof spaces are the number one source of heat loss — just like your head on your body.

Poor ventilation and insulation are the two main avenues to your attic and roof becoming a major source of heat loss in your home. Looking for things like ice dams in the eaves will help you determine how your ventilation is working. 

How much and the type of insulation installed in the attic plays a major role in energy efficiency and preventing heat loss in homes. Adding additional insulation may be the easiest fix for controlling heat loss. 

Being able to tell if you need to add insulation or replace it in your attic is pretty easy: here are some great tips on doing a couple of quick checks without fuss. 

cold man with warm clothing at the window of his home trying to prevent heat loss

The Eyes of the Home

Windows and doors often are the clear culprits in allowing heat to escape your home. As they can be opened and shut, doors and windows allow unwanted cold air to enter your home every time they are opened. This can suck the warm air right out of your home.

There is some great news regarding how to deal with these problem areas in your home. Most issues with doors and windows can be solved by reapplying updated caulking and weatherstripping, which can be done as DIY projects to help save on costs. 

Sometimes if these measures do not mitigate the heat loss, you may need to replace your windows with double or triple glazed windows. Doors also may need to be updated if there are cracks in them that allow heat loss. 

The Fingers and Skin

Walls, windows, and doors combined account for 60% of heat loss in homes. Walls act as the skin in your home. When you are outside on a brisk December day, bundled up in your warm jacket, hat, and mittens, your face will often be icy to the touch of your warm hands. The skin acts as a conductor for the heat inside trying to escape. 

Proper insulation for walls will help act as a covering like socks are for feet. While the exterior walls of your home are battered by frigid cold air, the insulation between these walls and your interior walls is what will prevent the cold from winning that battle. 

Start with making sure caulking and weatherstripping are up to date around the windows and doors. Also, check your electrical outlets to make sure there aren’t drafts coming through them. Make sure to check your heating system itself. It may need to be serviced, flushed, or updated.

In older homes, where insulation has had a chance to wear down or wasn’t installed well or with the right materials, to begin with, this can be a major problem. 

If the walls still appear to be allowing the cold air to pour in, it may be time to call a professional. While replacing wall insulation in your home may be a costly endeavor, having your home’s skin properly insulated will end up saving you loads of money in the long run. 

cold woman using a heater at home because poor insulation

The Toes and Feet

When your feet hit the floors on those freezing winter mornings, you may find yourself wondering if heat rises, why isn’t it hitting your floors from your basements. Most basements and floors lack the “socks and shoes” of insulation like the walls and attics have.

While it’s not common to install insulation in floors and basements, it’s not unheard of either and may end up saving you money in the long run. Increasing your energy efficiency, your heat keeping ability, and the warmth of your home by adding insulation in the floors can help bump up value and make your winter nights a bit warmer.

Ensure Your Thermal Resistance

Reducing heat loss in homes by evaluating how heat is escaping in trouble spots and implementing an action plan to deal with it will be a great cost saver for you in the long run. It also stands to reason that if your insulation is up to date and working great, your cooling costs in the warm summers will be kept down as well.

If you have identified any problem areas in your home, contact SoDak Insulation for a free professional inspection report and estimate today.

Categories
Attic Insulation

6 Signs It’s Time To Find Home Insulation Services Near You

Perhaps you’ve noticed a draft coming from various places throughout your home. Maybe your home heating bill has skyrocketed. If these or other red flags have alerted you to something not quite right, it may be time for you to search out home insulation services in your area. 

SoDak Insulation is ready to take your request for an inspection or estimate today. Call us and we’ll help you ensure your home is well insulated.

high energy bills indicate the need for home insulation services

1. Skyrocketing Energy Bills 

Most energy companies offer the ability for you to view this year’s energy bill compared side-by-side with the same time last year for your home. This comparison is always a great way to analyze a possible issue. If you notice month after month that your energy costs continue to climb, there is a definite cause for concern.

While insulation is not the only reason your energy bill could become unmanageable, it is one of the biggest telltale signs that insulation may be a culprit. Over time, insulation can settle or may not have been installed well when originally put in. 

Depending on your home’s age and the type of insulation used, poor insulation causes warm air to escape in winter and cool air to escape in the summer months. The escaping air causes your heating and cooling systems to work more often, which in turn uses more energy. 

Paying attention to a pattern related to your energy bills, including spikes at times of extreme temperature shifts like winter and summer, can tip you off that your insulation may need to be inspected.

2. Cold, Damp Walls in Winter

After you’ve received a much higher than normal bill and started questioning what it could mean, there is a simple test to try and determine further if insulation could be the culprit. Go to an interior wall of your home and put your hand to the wall. Is it warm and dry? 

If your walls inside feel damp and cold in a nice and cozy room, you’ve just detected another warning sign that you may need to find home insulation services. Your outside walls should feel the opposite — cool to the touch — as it shows that your insulation is doing its job.

3. Changing Temperatures From Room to Room

If you have to have different layers of clothes for other rooms in your home, you might have a problem with your home insulation. If you’re wearing a sweatshirt in your living room but shorts in your bedroom, further investigation may be needed in a temperature-controlled house.

The heating and cooling systems in today’s homes offer comfortable temperatures that should be even from room to room in the house, keeping your home running as energy-efficiently as possible. Poor insulation can make a room much colder in the winter compared to other rooms, as the heat has an outlet that it wouldn’t have with proper insulation, especially if fiberglass batts were used.

signs of squirrels in the attic insulation

4. Signs of Unwelcome Critters

Walking into a room and noticing mice dropping in the corner is one of the awful feelings a homeowner could have. Insects in the home where there were none before can induce the same sense of yuck. 

There is a good chance that the influx of signs of critters is an indication that there are openings in your home where there shouldn’t be. Small cracks and aberrations in the walls, foundation, and around doors or windows are letting these unwelcome guests in and letting your welcome warm air escape.

While this lack of air sealing may not be a cause for poor insulation throughout the home, it may be a sign that some additional spray foam insulation may be warranted. An inspection by a professional in insulation solutions company can help determine if this is the case. 

5. Icy Ice Dams

Pretty to look at, maybe, but icicles hanging from your eaves are an unhealthy sign of bad insulation in your home. 

Ice dams are created through a vicious cycle resulting from too much warmth being allowed to escape from the roof of your home that melts away layers of snow and ice on the roof. This melted water meets the cold air again and becomes ice when it hits your gutters, causing dangerous ice formations. 

Not only can these ice dams cause damage to your home on their own, but they also act as another warning that you may have to take a trip up to your attic to do a final evaluation. 

cold young woman in a home with poor insulation

6. Heads Up: Take It to the Attic

As you are journeying around your home, you realize that several of these warning signs are in full effect. Your final stop should be your attic. The top section of your home offers many different clues to the health of your insulation.

When you enter your attic space, you may have an immediate indicator that you need to reach out to home insulation services. As the attic space is not commonly occupied, it’s fairly common that you can see the insulation in the area when you arrive there. Sometimes just taking a look at the attic insulation can tell you all you know about its health. 

If water is present, you have trouble. Moisture and leaks may occur in your attic space because of a couple of different reasons. 

Condensation build-up occurs as the attic space is becoming too warm, and the heat isn’t being distributed properly throughout the home. If there are openings in the roof, and water is leaking in from outside, that also points to the need for insulation. 

Not only can uncontrolled moisture in your space get costly regarding things like insulation, but it also allows for the silent killer mold to grow freely. Paying close attention to any amount of moisture in your attic could help save you more costly repairs in the future — and help protect your health!

Contact Home Insulation Services Near You Today

Making your home more comfortable by addressing any issues and ensuring your current insulation is properly insulating is important to keeping your house a home. Utilizing professional insulation installers can be the best step you can take to make this happen. 

SoDak Insulation is happy to provide a free estimate and inspection report. Reach out today to find out how we can help keep your home warm!

Categories
Attic Insulation

Is Cheap Attic Insulation Worth It?

We all know that insulating your attic is a good thing, but how much do the details matter? Does the kind of insulation you choose make that much of a difference? And does this really count as a DIY project?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we have made insulating your attic our number one concern. Whether you are contemplating cheap attic insulation or wondering if it is even worth starting the project, we can help. Read on for our top tips and insider advice, and you will be an insulation expert in no time!

Why Insulate Your Attic?

Before we get into the pros and cons of cheap attic insulation, you may ask why you should bother in the first place? This issue is a particular concern in warm climates, where heating the home is less of an urgent priority.

The simplest answer can be found in physics: heat rises. When air is heated, it expands, causing it to become less dense than the surrounding particles. Because the hot air is now less dense than the cold air around it, it rises up and to the top of the house: the attic.

Of course, the hot air doesn’t automatically stop when it hits the attic. If your attic is inadequately insulated, it will simply keep going. As a result, you will have to spend more money heating your home. Without insulation, a huge amount of the heat generated will simply be lost forever.

old attic with poor cheap insulation and holes

What Are The Types of Insulation?

There are a range of options when it comes to choosing an insulation material. 

Batt or Blanket Insulation

Batt insulation, also known as blanket insulation, is one of the most common selections. It comes in several variations: foil-backed felt, rocks, glass or mineral fiber — and it is easy to install. 

This option is perfect for exposed wall cavities and easily accessible spaces, though it may be too bulky for smaller apertures. Any fiberglass insulation needs to be handled with care.

Loose-Fill Insulation

Another popular choice for cheap attic insulation is loose-fill. This option is constructed from granular or lightweight materials. Common choices include cellulose insulation, recycled newspaper, cork granules, or mineral wool. 

Loose-fill options are a great choice for obstacles or awkward shapes. They can, however, risk coming loose if the attic is particularly draughty.

Sheet Loft Insulation

Sheet loft insulation is designed for the sloping side of your roof and takes the form of solid boards. Depending on your selection, they can be made moisture-resistant and fire-proof, as well as offering insulation properties. 

Options include straw, cork, and wood. These can offer a perfect fit if you are investing in a complete loft conversion. Once complete, the boards can be covered in plasterboard for a neat finish.

Blown-in Insulation

As the name suggests, this option involves insulation being blown into gaps between joists. In most cases, the task needs to be carried out by an experienced professional. 

Recycled paper and wool can help boost eco-credentials, and this type of insulation is lightweight and easy to handle. On the downside, it is amongst the most expensive options.

cheap attic insulation in a house

How Does Attic Insulation Help?

Attic insulation may set you back the initial insulation cost, but you can soon recoup any losses. Making sure that your attic is securely insulated helps to improve the energy efficiency of your home. 

It also helps by reducing air leaks and helping to reduce the heating and cooling costs of your home. You will soon find yourself making serious savings, allowing even cheap attic insulation to pay for itself in a few years.

Additionally, attic insulation is a sure-fire way to boost the value of your home. This is also a great way of making it more appealing to buyers should you decide to sell in the future. A potential buyer will see the value in insulation. In time, this could help you secure your desired asking price with minimal fuss.

What Do I Need To Do Before Choosing Cheap Attic Insulation?

Before deciding on your preferred insulation, there are a few steps to get your attic ready for a transformation.

Consider the current condition.

Before you start, evaluate the existing condition of your attic. This will help you to determine the best insulation for your needs. If you find wet or damp patches or mold or rotten wood areas, you may have a leak. 

If this is the case, it will need to be fixed before you insulate. Take a structural engineer up with you to catch any problems and make sure the area is ready to go.

Seal the space.

Once you have evaluated and addressed any issues, you need to ensure that the attic is air sealed. This means sealing up and removing holes, cracks, or gaps — these allow air to transfer from inside to outside. If left untreated, you will be unable to maintain a consistent, desired temperature.

Common options for sealing include spray foam insulation, designed to expand, and caulk. You will still need to leave ventilation after sealing; this is best left to the experts for a smooth, professional finish.

a worker installing roofing insulation in a home

Remember existing insulation.

In some cases, you may be able to simply update or replace your existing insulation. This is an easy way to enjoy cheap attic insulation and can be a great way to save some serious cash if you are insulating on a budget.

Choose your insulation.

Before you decide, there are three considerations: the desired R-value, the available space, and the cost. 

The R-value relates to the rating for the thermal resistance per inch of material. The higher this number, the better the insulation. 

Different types of insulation will need different amounts of space to allow for effective insulation. As an example, fiberglass batts typically have an R-value of 2.9-3.8 per inch. Therefore, to achieve R 49, you will need 13 – 17 inches thick — this can be tricky in confined spaces.

Cost is another important factor, and this is where cheap attic insulation comes in useful. Fiberglass bats tend to be the most affordable option, but any tears or damage can reduce efficiency. 

Ultimately, you need to decide whether you would rather save money now and risk a bill later. Alternatively, you can choose to invest a little more to start with.

Still Undecided?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we have made it our mission to advise and assist on all insulation matters. Our experienced team has the skills and qualifications to carry out full attic insulations. We can also offer professional advice on the best options. 

Why not leave your job in the professionals’ hands, and let us take care of the hard work for you? Get in touch today, and enjoy an estimate or full inspection.

Categories
Attic Insulation

How to Tell the Difference between Cellulose and Asbestos Insulation

Are you buying or selling your home? Have you noticed higher heat bills than average? If so, it is time to get an insulation inspection from SoDaK Insulation and Restoration.

Do you know your insulation may contain asbestos, which needs special handling? Do you know how to tell the difference between cellulose and asbestos insulation by sight?

The difference between asbestos and cellulose is hard to tell, specifically by looking. The Asbestos Institute recommends a professional when there is an excess of ten square feet of asbestos. The risk of exposure and contamination is exceptionally high for you and those who come into contact with it.

sign warning of dangers of asbestos insulation

Asbestos: What is it?

Asbestos is a mineral found in nature. It is heat and corrosion-resistant. Builders commonly used asbestos as insulation in many homes and businesses, including in floor tiles and other building materials from 1950 to the 1980s.

In the 1980s, asbestos was discontinued as insulation because of cancer-causing dangers.

Vermiculite insulation, which may contain asbestos, is believed by environmental experts to be in millions of homes. A licensed abatement company is required to rid your place of vermiculite with asbestos.

Many dwellings have asbestos, but it only becomes a problem when there is damage of some kind, and the particles then become airborne. The United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA, lists medical conditions called asbestosis and mesothelioma resulting from breathing in asbestos fibers. These conditions affect the lungs and can reduce lung function that often advances to disability and death.

What is Cellulose Insulation?

Various materials, including cardboard, hemp, straw, newspaper, and many other materials, make up cellulose insulation. Contractors use the paper-based cellulose mix and treat it with boric acid to give it fire resistant properties.

There are two types of cellulose insulation: dry cellulose, also known as loose-fill insulation, and wet cellulose.

Dry cellulose is blown through wall holes and used to fill wall cavities around pipe and wiring. Wet spray cellulose differs as it generally is used as an application to newly built walls. Wet cellulose is derived by added water to the spray, which gives a better seal for preventing heat loss.

Cellulose insulation, made from recycled materials, is considered eco-friendly and a fire retardant. Perfect for going green and earning LEED!

worker showing the difference between cellulose and asbestos insulation

How to Tell the Difference between Cellulose and Asbestos Insulation

Telling the difference between asbestos and cellulose is best left to a professional. Experts in the field highly recommend homeowners do not handle asbestos themselves.

It is tough to determine if your insulation contains asbestos. It is something you do not want to be touching and contaminating around your house. SoDaK Insulation and Restoration will recommend the best removal of any damaged asbestos areas and a safe insulation program for your home or business.

Besides traditional insulation, asbestos could be in the following places: cement, plaster, specific brands of batt insulation, electrical panels, and wrap insulation, such as on pipes.

Again, undamaged asbestos is generally not a cause for concern. It is a problem when the asbestos fibers transport through the air. Breathing in these fibers is a significant health risk.

As part of an insulation inspection, you should also evaluate for mold and mildew. Both can affect the insulation and its effectiveness.

Wear and tear on your house and bats and vermin are the leading causes of damaged insulation. A professional assessment is needed to determine the scope of asbestos exposure.

worker installing new insulation on a roof

Asbestos Guidelines for the Homeowner

The EPA (the United States Environmental Protection Agency) has the following guidelines posted if you think you have asbestos in your house.

  • Leave undamaged asbestos-containing materials untouched.
  • Limit access, especially by children, to any areas with damaged material that may contain asbestos.
  • Take every safety measure to avoid harming places with asbestos-containing material.
  • Have the removal of asbestos and repairs done by people trained and qualified to do such work.
  • Do not sweep up or vacuum debris that may contain asbestos.
  • Do not sand, scrape, or drill holes in asbestos-containing materials.
  • Do not use sanding or scrub brushes on power strippers to remove wax from flooring that may contain asbestos. 
  • Never track asbestos material on your shoes or clothing through any building. If you must walk through the area, have it cleaned with a wet mop. If the material is from a damaged area or a large area, call an asbestos professional.

Insulation Basics

Why is insulation important? As it sounds, insulation is a barrier to trap heat—the same concept as putting on blankets or jackets to keep your body warmth from escaping. Adding more layers and repairing holes keeps you warmer, just as with your home’s insulation.

Heat naturally will go to colder spaces, and that process is called heat transfer. Insulation decreases the transfer.

The insulation holds air in place. The soft material secures little pockets of air. Heat is more stable in insulation as it is not mixing around looking for the colder air, thus keeping the heat in place.  

Before You Buy or Sell

A professional inspection of your insulation is a must before purchasing or selling a property. No one wants to be surprised with an issue, such as the presence of bat guano or asbestos. SoDaK Insulation and Restoration will apprise the situation and develop an action plan to suit all interested parties.

High Utility Bills

Does your air conditioner seem not to keep the house as cold as it used to or your heat bills off from the past? If so, time to check your insulation. 

SoDaK Insulation and Restoration will come to your home or business, inspect your insulation levels, and restore areas that need attention by removing old insulation and installing new. You don’t want to find yourself in a potentially dangerous asbestos situation.

Professionals for the Job

Telling the difference between asbestos-containing insulation and cellulose insulation is difficult. The safest and best option is to have a trained professional inspect and remedy the situation. Call SoDaK Insulation and Restoration today to get your house healthy!

Categories
Attic Insulation

What Type of Insulation is Best for My Attic?

Last year, your feet were always cold. You’ve decided to take action. Your attic is the place to start. But what type of insulation is best for your attic?

Winter is coming. It isn’t uncommon to see the first flakes of snow in October in the midwest. 

Be ready to bundle up this coming season. Get your layers: sweaters, jackets, vests, coats. 

But you shouldn’t need to bundle up indoors. Let your attic wear the layers, and you will stay comfy in your home without always reaching for a sweater. 

If you’re ready to invest in your comfort at home, reach out to SoDak Insulation for an inspection or estimate today. We’ll walk you through your options and offer solutions fine-tuned to your home.

How Does Insulation Work?

Regardless of the type you choose, insulation works by preventing the transfer of heat. 

insulation material like fiberglass or cellulose

Think of a thermos. It will keep the heat inside when you fill it with coffee. It keeps the heat out when you fill it with lemonade. 

The thermos is blocking the movement of heat in both cases. Likewise, the insulation in your attic keeps your home’s heat inside while keeping the exterior heat out.

Have you ever been disappointed in a thermos? You were planning on a nice, hot chili for lunch. But when you opened your container at noon, the contents were barely warm. You just experienced the effects of inadequate insulation. 

You don’t want your house to be like lukewarm chili.

The thickness of your insulation matters, but the kind of insulation you choose matters even more.

All types of attic insulation have an R-value. R-value is a measure of how well the insulation material prevents heat loss. 

As you consider what type of insulation is best for your attic, you’ll need to know the ideal r-value to add. In a cold climate like South Dakota, plan for a total R-value of 60. This will keep your home cozy all winter long.

What Type Of Insulation Is Best For My Attic? 

Proper insulation improves comfort levels and energy efficiency. Adding insulation is a relatively inexpensive improvement with a big payout in comfort as well as lower utility bills. 

Let’s take a look at some common types of insulation for your attic.

builder installing or removing old insulation

Fiberglass Insulation

Fiberglass insulation is the pink stuff most people think of when they hear the word insulation. Molten glass is spun into fibers, like a glass cotton candy.

This type of insulation is available in rolls or batts that are easy to lay between the floor joists. 

Fiberglass insulation has several advantages to consider:

  • It’s inexpensive. When estimating the cost of adding R-value, fiberglass can give the biggest bang for your buck.
  • Insects don’t eat it. Fiberglass has no nutritional value, so insects are not drawn to it. 
  • Blanket fiberglass insulation can be installed without any special tools. It just needs to be rolled out to cover your attic space.
  • It doesn’t burn. 
  • Faced insulation (the kind that comes with a vapor barrier on one side) is resistant to moisture and mold.

 

Fiberglass insulation has some disadvantages to consider, as well:

  • It’s itchy. If you’re planning on installing this yourself, make sure to cover all of your skin. Wear a dust mask to protect your lungs. The tiny shards of glass that make up fiberglass can leave you feeling itchy or scratched up if it touches your bare skin. If you inhale them, they can cause lung disease.
  • It doesn’t seal at the edges. Like a blanket that isn’t tucked around your feet, fiberglass batts can leave a gap where it meets the walls of your attic. You can try to squash it in those spaces, but fiberglass insulation only works well if it isn’t compressed. 

Blown-in fiberglass doesn’t have this problem.

  • It will eventually lose its fluff. Insulation works by trapping air. Fluffy insulation holds more air in place, so as fiberglass batts settle and sag over time, its efficiency decreases. 

Fiberglass is also available in loose-fill, which is blown in with a machine. This job is best left to professionals. 

loose fill fiberglass insulation for attic

Cellulose

Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper, making it an eco-friendly choice. This loose-fill insulation is blown in with a machine, making it easy to reach those edges where your attic is too short to stand. 

Here are a couple of pluses about cellulose:

  • It’s environmentally friendly. 
  • It fits in tight spaces. The blown-in cellulose works neatly around ducts and wiring.
  • Cellulose is fire-resistant. It’s coated with boric acid and is considered safe. 
  • Insects won’t eat it. 

Here are some of the downsides:

  • Settling. Like fiberglass, cellulose has a tendency to settle over time. As it ages, it becomes less efficient.
  • It has the potential to mold. Cellulose will soak in any moisture quickly. If there are any moisture issues in your attic, cellulose will quickly mold.

Cellulose may be the best type of insulation for your attic, but you definitely want to correct any moisture problems before installing it.

Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation comes in two forms.

Closed-cell foam has a higher density and a higher R-value. It also is more resistant to water penetration. 

Open-cell foam has a lower R-value. It expands as it’s applied, making it a good choice for hard to reach areas. 

Open-cell foam is permeable to water and air. It should only be used for small fill in spaces. 

Closed-cell spray foam has some excellent advantages:

  • It expands quickly to create an airtight barrier around gaps and crevices. 
  • Spray foam doesn’t soak in water, and it doesn’t let water pass by. If you do have water penetration in your attic, spray foam has the best chance of holding up to it.
  • It lasts. Unlike many other options, spray foam does not settle over time. 
  • It’s a great sound dampener. Spray foam helps absorb sound waves that might otherwise echo around your house. 

The downsides:

  • It costs more than other options. 
  • You’ll need a professional to install it.
  • It can’t be added to other types of existing insulation. If you’re just looking to beef up the R-value in your marginally insulated attic, this may not be the best type of insulation.

The Best Choice Will Keep You Happy For Years To Come

So, what type of insulation is best for your attic? It’s the kind that leaves you and your home the most comfortable. 

Contact SoDak Insulation today to get more information about the best attic insulation plan for you. We can give you options that won’t leave you out in the cold. 

 

Categories
Attic Insulation

Save Money This Winter with Home Insulation Services

In a world of current uncertainty, finding ways to cut back on costs is crucial for many of us. Making the most of home insulation services may not be the most obvious choice. It is, however, a great chance to save the pennies and stay cozy this winter.

Here at SoDak Insulation, we are dedicated to helping our customers secure their homes — even on a budget. Why not get in touch before the winter months hit, and see how our free estimate could help you stay snug and secure?

What Are Home Insulation Services?

As the name suggests, the term ‘home insulation services’ refers to available options to help you insulate your home. This concept helps keep the property warmer by reducing heat loss and helps make your home more energy-efficient.

For many of us, staying warm accounts for a large percentage of our energy bills. A surprising amount of heat is lost each year through inadequate insulation. Research from the US Department of Energy confirms that 49% of energy consumption is used to heat or cool homes. Over time, this can lead to some very high bills.

house in cold winter snow

Do I Need Home Insulation?

You should start by checking the current situation, by removing electrical outlets or unfinished surfaces to check for existing insulations. There are a few signs which may indicate that your home could benefit from additional insulation:

  • Very high power bills when heating or cooling
  • Icicles on the rooftop in the winter months
  • Drafts — usually around a window or dryer vent
  • Fluctuating temperatures between rooms — this could show an issue in a particular area of the home.

 

What Are My Options?

Home insulation services offer several different varieties of insulation and insulation materials. The type of insulation you choose will ultimately depend on your own setup and the areas in your home which most require attention.

Attic Insulation

Attic insulation is one of the most common ways to boost your overall home insulation. The roof comprises an enormous area of your home, and it is situated at the top of the house. As we know, heat rises, which means that most heat lost will be at the top of the house — from the attic. 

Most home insulation services will start with this part of the house, as it can have the most dramatic impact on reducing energy costs. There are two main options available, depending on your type of attic. The easiest is designed for an unfinished space and simply requires you to add layers to your flooring on top of the existing material.

insulation in a home

The second option is to finish the attic and place insulation against the roof. This is the more useful option in most cases as it provides complete insulation. Additionally, if the heating and cooling ducts pass through this space or are in a humid client, roof insulation is the way to go.

When it comes to getting the work done, there are two solutions. Those looking to cut costs can go the DIY route — in which case take care not to compress the material. Alternatively, it is possible to hire professional insulation contractors. 

The latter will often open you up to better materials, such as cellulose insulation or fiberglass, which can fit crevices more snugly. Most home insulation services and contractors will also spray foam polyethylene on the roof. This process helps block water and molds to the shape of the rafters.

Wall Insulation

Wall insulation is perhaps the most popular option once the attic has been taken care of and is one of the popular insulation solutions. As a bonus, it is usually fast and relatively painless, especially in stud bays. Once again, cellulose and fiberglass insulation are the most popular, while rock wool also works well.

It should be noted that if your walls are already insulated, you will need to remove drywall and plaster to add more. This can drive up costs and reduce any potential savings. If you are in this situation, there are other home insulation services you can take advantage of, such as attics and crawl spaces.

Crawl Spaces

Did you know you can make the most of your crawl space by using it to cut down on energy bills? Up to 30% of all energy loss can occur at the bottom of your house, making this a must for insulation. 

There are two main options here: walls or floors. In the former, the crawl space is treated as an outdoor area and insulated beneath the floor. In the former, the focus is on the walls.

Though the latter is less common, it is cheaper. The process involves closing all exterior vents — except any needed for any exhaust or combustion air — and insulating the walls. The space is then treated as though it is indoors, and less material is required. The walls can then be finished to neatly hide any insulation.

house wrapped in a scarf on a radiator to indicate home insulation services

What Will I Save?

Home insulation services put off some homeowners due to cost, and this is a valid concern. In particular, the attic can prove a costly project and may command a bill of $1000 – $2000 if done correctly and with the best material.

However, there are estimates that the average homeowner can make savings of 15% on heating and cooling costs. This translates as an impressive 11% of the total energy costs by merely adding adequate insulation. 

This can add up to savings of around $200 per year — and the figures increase in colder areas. Climate zones six and seven can see savings of up to 20%, making this a worthwhile investment.

The long-term future is also positive; houses with the correct insulation can often command a higher price on the market. This is good news if you decide to sell. Home insulation services are seen as an investment in the property and attractive to buyers.

In addition to the financial benefits, adding insulation to your home means that it is a more comfortable and pleasant place to be. You will be able to enjoy the space all year round, with no fluctuations in temperature or high energy bills. 

This is a chance to remain cozy in the winter and cool in the summer. As an added bonus, many homeowners report that insulation also offers noise protection, allowing you much needed peace and quiet.

How Can We Help?

Here at SoDak Insulation, we know a thing or two about home insulation! We are keen to help our customers enjoy their homes comfortably and in the most cost-effective manner. Better still, we have the secret weapon to help you achieve this. Reach out today for a free estimate, and prepare to start enjoying your home once more.

Categories
Attic Insulation

Why You Want to Insulate Your Attic Roof

If you head up into your attic, you’ll probably notice insulation on the attic floor. We’ve got a few sound reasons why it’s also a good idea to insulate your attic roof.

SoDak Insulation specializes in insulating attic roofs in existing homes. If you’re preparing to sell your home, have attic pests like bats, or want energy savings in the coming seasons, contact us for a free, no-obligation inspection report.

We’ll ensure your insulation is clean, effective, and safe for maximum home comfort and efficiency.

dark dreary attic that needs new insulation installed

First, clear the decks

In any insulation scenario, it’s essential to be able to see what’s going on. If you have boxes, bins, and “stuff” in general in your attic, do what you can to clear it away. 

Laying boards across the joists limits your ability to add insulation where necessary and also limits your attic versatility for the future. For example, if you ever want to finish your attic space to add to your functional living areas, the items stored in your attic must go.

What is conventional attic insulation?

Most homeowners employ attic floor insulation in their houses. There are different types of insulation available on the market, and it’s essential to check your insulation regularly. Especially if you notice your heating and cooling bills creeping up, a poorly insulated attic could be the culprit.

Further, if and when you decide to convert your attic floor insulation to insulate the attic roof, you must know the type, age, and condition of your existing material. Insulation removal can be tricky or present safety hazards.

What type of insulation do you have in your attic currently? It may fit into one of these categories:

  1. Loose-fill: This insulation was likely sprayed into your floorboards, and contains one or more of the following materials.
    • Cellulose (fire and insect resistant fibers generated from post-consumer paper)
    • Mineral wool (rock or recycled slag fibers)
  2. Batting: These are rolls of material that may or may not come backed with foil or paper to serve as a vapor barrier. They come in:
    • Fiberglass (made from sand or recycled glass and spun into fibers)
    • Cellulose (not quite as common in batts as in loose-fill)
    • Mineral wool (same ingredients as above, and naturally fire-resistant)
    • Cotton (old denim cloth recycles down into these insulating fibers)

It’s crucial to recognize the type of insulation you have now. If your home went up before the 1990s, you’ll need to check for asbestos-based insulation in your attic. 

When you view your insulation, look for loose fill material that appears light-weight and grainy, with small, shiny flecks. This type of insulation could be vermiculite, which could contain asbestos. 

Have a professional help you inspect and remove this type of loose-fill particles.

Why insulate attic roofs?

When you insulate your attic roof, you expand your home’s utility. With attic roof insulation, you can finish off the attic space for:

  • Conditioned, temp-controlled storage
  • Additional bedroom space
  • More living space
  • A dedicated home office
  • Children’s playspace

 

When you want your attic to function as a usable part of your home, you must elevate the insulation from the attic floor to the roof.

attic roof with mold in it

How do I insulate my attic roof?

The types and amount of insulation vary by material and region. Here’s a guide to getting started.

  1. Determine your recommended R-values: Each climate region has different insulation requirements. The weather extremes (long periods of freezing temps) mean higher R-values. In the colder northern climate of South Dakota and surrounding areas, R-49 is the minimum. 
  2. Remove over-the-joist boards and storage items. Even if you’ll use your attic space for storage again, getting everything out to access the existing insulation must occur.
  3. Remove existing insulation: Yes, you could DIY this chore, but it’s simple and cost-effective to outsource this task to a pro. If you have bat guano or other pest droppings, mold, moisture, or you suspect asbestos; an experienced insulation installer is the way to go. When you hire a professional, you offload the risk to your safety, the need to purchase special equipment, and the hassle of insulation disposal.
  4. Determine your attic insulation material.

house attic under construction with insulation

Options for attic roof insulation

It makes sense that loose-fill insulation is NOT a fit for attic roofs. So, where does that leave you? Here are the best choices for attic roof insulation.

Rigid foam panels: These panels provide a moisture and air barrier, and can install between attic rafters or just below them. They provide a light-weight, finished-looking option and versatile utility. Joints must be sealed with tape or joined with spray foam to ensure a proper tight vapor seal.

Foam panels come in several varieties, including EP (expanded polystyrene), EXP (Extruded Polystyrene), and ISO (Polyisocyanurate).  All have different applications and R-values, so check with a professional installer for the best option for your project.

Spray foam: Made of polyurethane, this flexible attic insulation choice goes into any tight space and expands to fit correctly. You’ll have an instant moisture and air barrier between the roof rafters. For extra attic living space, this is a great option. 

You must cover the foam with drywall to meet fire safety codes after spraying. Spray foam also provides a high R-value for maximum energy efficiency.

Trust the professional installers at SoDak Insulation

In the age of DIY, it’s certainly possible to install your attic insulation on your own. However, pest messes, mold, and suspect materials aren’t fun to address for any homeowner. 

When you consider finishing your attic for conditioned storage or extra living space, it’s wise to trust a team of experienced professionals to complete the project for you. 

SoDak Insulation’s team of seasoned insulation specialists can handle any attic insulation task with ease and precision. We’ll tackle the most massive attic messes as well as recommend the attic roof insulation products that best fit your goals for the attic space. Our installations are tidy, timely, and cost-saving season on season.

Visit our website today to schedule a free, no-obligation inspection. We’re excited to be your partner in insulation that keeps your home comfortable and versatile for years to come.

Categories
Attic Insulation

Heat Loss and Attic Insulation

Having enough insulation in your attic is a lot like wearing a hat in the winter. Your stocking cap doesn’t just warm your head; it makes your whole body toasty warm. A well-insulated attic prevents heat loss and helps keep your entire home cozy.

Warm air rises. If your attic isn’t adequately insulated, the heat meant for your home will float right out of your house.

Don’t suffer through another frigid winter in a drafty house. Contact SoDak Insulation for a free inspection today. 

How Does Insulation Work?

Have you ever wondered how that hat on your head made such a difference on cold days? 

The heat your body makes leaches out to the air around you. When you get cold, your blood vessels constrict to keep more heat in the center of your body. 

But the blood vessels in your head don’t constrict like the ones in your fingers and toes; they have to keep good blood flow to your brain. So, those blood vessels lose more heat — unless you wear a hat, of course. 

Okay, biology lesson over. What does this have to do with insulation? 

Think of the living space of your house as though it was your head. It needs to stay warm and to flow smoothly; there’s important stuff in there. 

house in winter with cozy scarf and hat to prevent heat loss

Your attic is like a hat for your house. If you don’t have one, or only have minimal insulation, you’ll experience a lot of heat loss. 

Just like a knit stocking cap, a thick, fluffy layer of insulation will slow heat loss by trapping air. The air trapped in the insulation gains heat but keeps it from rising further because it isn’t bouncing around with cooler air molecules. 

Heat travels from warmer spaces to colder spaces until the temperature is the same throughout. But when insulation blocks airflow in your attic and walls, the air temperature only normalizes within that space. 

The result: you aren’t heating the whole neighborhood. 

Heat loss increases your bills. 

Insulation is measured in R-value. The R-value of insulation measures how well a material blocks heat transfer. Insulation with higher R-value blocks heat better than the same amount of insulation with a lower R-value. 

The higher your R-value, the toastier your home will feel while using the least energy. The Department of Energy states homes in South Dakota should be insulated to R-60 for maximum energy efficiency.

If your home was built in the 1970s or earlier, it probably doesn’t have adequate insulation. Building standards in the 1970s and 1980s required insulating to R-12. 

The EPA estimates that a typical South Dakota home could lower heating and cooling bills by 18% by adding insulation. If your heating bill is typically about $100 per month, you could expect to save an average of about $18 a month after adding insulation. 

If you spent $500 on your insulation project, you could expect your lower monthly expenses to make up for that in about 28 months. 

insulation in an attic to prevent heat loss

How Do I Know If I Have Enough Insulation?

Your home should feel comfortable. If you set your thermostat lower to decrease bills, you may want to wear a sweater. That’s normal. 

But if you find yourself kicking the heat up another notch, and then another, your home may be suffering from heat loss. 

Grab your step stool and touch the ceiling. Does it feel cold to the touch? If your ceiling feels like an ice cube, you probably don’t have enough insulation. 

Take a look at your roof after a snowfall. Do you have an ice shelf covering your gutters? Attics that are poorly insulated will melt the snow on the roof. That melted snow runs down the roof until it gets near the edge. 

The roof over the eaves is colder because it doesn’t have attic heat warming it. So, the water refreezes there, creating a smooth, thick ice barrier. 

As more snow melts and drips down, it reaches the ice dam and refreezes. Because ice takes up more space than water, the newly refrozen ice pushes its way back up the roof. If you have shingles, the ice can push its way under them, causing damage. 

Ice dams are a sure sign that too much heat is escaping your home. 

ice on roof and gutters

Can You Ever Have Too Much Insulation?

You want your home to be snug against the winter winds. Your home is your safe, happy place. It should feel like sitting around a fireplace with a mug of cocoa in your hand. 

But can your home be too snug? Is there such a thing as too cozy? 

Insulation with high R-value acts to keep your home’s heat in place. If you already have enough insulation to accomplish that, adding more will not improve the feel of your home or the dollar amount on your heating bills. 

The goal of insulation is to seal the interior of your home, keeping your heat inside. However, installation errors combined with excess layers of insulation can trap moisture in between the layers. 

When moisture sits for an extended period of time, it can cause mold. Mold can be dispersed in the air, affecting air quality and causing allergic reactions in the people living in the home. 

If your insulation has mold, hire a professional to remove it safely. Moldy insulation cannot be cleaned. 

Your Home is Your Sanctuary. Keep It Comfortable and Efficient With the Right Insulation.

Minimize heat loss in your home by making sure you have enough attic insulation. Don’t want to crawl around in your attic? Contact SoDak Insulation today for a free inspection. We’ll check the quality of your current insulation and make recommendations to maximize your home’s efficiency. 

Categories
Attic Insulation

How Mold and Mildew are Related to Attic Insulation

As homeowners (or potential homeowners), we hear all the time about the dangers of mold in bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. Did you know that mold and mildew in the attic may also be a concern? 

Homeowners and home buyers should include the attic area in their mold inspections. If you find mold in your attic, the cause and cure may be simpler and less expensive than you think.

Contact SoDak Insulation for a free, comprehensive attic inspection when you’re ready to buy or sell your home. Our professional team is diligent, timely, and transparent with all our clients.

We’ll detail all your attic mold remediation options and find the plan best suited to your budget, closing deadlines, and health.

mold and mildew in attic

How mold grows in an attic

The whole point of insulation in the attic is to help heat stay in your house, so that it doesn’t reach the roof. If your attic insulation works properly, it prevents the radiant heat from your home from escaping through the roof. 

With a properly installed vapor barrier and thick, deep insulation, any moisture from the house stops in its tracks before it hits the attic. Moisture is the breeding ground for mold, so ensuring a dry attic space is paramount to mold prevention.

Mold in the attic typically forms on top of the insulation surface, not below it or embedded in mounds of sprayed fibers. Here’s how that happens. (Hint: it’s not what you may assume.)

When moist air from your attic meets cool or cold roof sheathing, condensation occurs. Mold grows in moist areas, but cannot gain a foothold without a food source. Since most attic insulation does not “feed” mold, any spores that grow likely come from the roof sheathing instead. 

If you see mold spores on the surface of your insulation, they probably dropped in from the roof sheathing. Of course, an inspection will tell you if your attic mold is more systemic than on the insulation surface.

Treating mold in your attic

Once you determine the source of the mold spores in your attic, remediation can be relatively simple. If you discover mold spores on the roof sheathing, that’s where you’ll focus your cleaning efforts.

Applying a mildewcide to any mold-covered areas on the roof kills the spores and can prevent new ones from forming. You can usually apply the same chemical to the insulation surface to kill any active spores.

Here’s some good news. Mold and mildew in the attic typically don’t pose a threat to your health. Why? Because the “stacking effect” of your attic insulation prevents surface mold from migrating into the rest of your home.

So, once you’ve treated the mold source, you may not need to replace any insulation. If you have extensive mold in your roof, and consequently, a thicker coating of mold on your insulation, you may decide to replace it.

A full insulation clean-out is certainly an option, but you could potentially choose to replace the top couple of inches of fibers only.

Remember, it’s crucial to keep the materials surrounding your insulation mold-free to ensure a pristine insulation surface. 

Reducing moisture in the attic

If you discover mold on your roof sheathing, you can take several measures to dry out your attic and reduce the potential for mold and mildew.

    1. Clear all attic vents. Improper installation and settling may cause attic insulation to block the vents in your attic. Proper air flow is paramount to maintaining a dry, mold-free environment. Ensuring your attic vents remain unblocked with regular checks can help you avoid the moisture that grows mildew.
    2. Ensure proper levels of insulation: Having a “just right” amount of attic insulation is an essential piece of your ambient attic humidity and temperature. Too much or too little can create conditions ripe for condensation to occur.
  • Seal all bathroom and kitchen vents into the attic. Since bathroom and kitchen air is notoriously moist, you must make sure to seal it off from attic air. In fact, new building standards recommend restricting the use of bathroom and kitchen vents through the attic. To ensure that warm moist “home” air does not mix with cooler attic air and condensate, fewer holes between the two environments make sense.
  • Inspect and maintain your roof. Since your roof is your first line of moisture defense, a leaky one isn’t doing its job. Visually inspect your roof each season for items like curling shingles, rotted fascia boards, large and small debris, and visible holes. Pay close attention to the seams around chimneys and skylights, as those are prime spots for leaks to develop. Of course, you’ll also want to check for water damage on the walls and ceilings of your home. It’s a good idea to have a professional help you inspect your roof completely and safely. You should check your roof each year, and after severe storms. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for ice dams during the winter months.
  1. Install a dehumidifier. Once you’ve addressed all of the structural prevention measures for mold and mildew in the attic, you can keep your space dry as the seasons dictate. During an especially wet spring or summer, a dehumidifier can help ensure that conditions don’t deteriorate in your attic.

mold and mildew in attic

Help! I have mold and mildew in my attic. What now?

Remember that most mold problems in the attic remain on the insulation surface and don’t pose a threat to your health. However, it IS essential to address the mold and mildew causes with the help of a professional.

If you’re concerned about mold and mildew in the attic, contact the professional team at SoDak insulation. We will perform a free attic inspection, and offer our best guidance for how to proceed. 

We’ll recommend only the remediation you need. (i.e., if you don’t need to replace all of your insulation, we’ll tell you as much.) Plus, we can help you pinpoint the root cause of moisture in the attic so you can address it quickly and safely.

Though mold on your insulation may not pose an immediate health threat, it’s crucial to address it swiftly. Not only can you preserve the quality of your insulation, but you may also save significant money on massive repairs in the future. 

Visit the SoDak website today to set up your free, no-obligation home visit. Our team embraces safer service delivery guidelines in our socially-distanced “new normal.” We’re excited to help you keep your home a sanctuary of lasting peace of mind and comfort.

Categories
Attic Insulation

Save Money with Attic Insulation

When it comes to protecting your home, ensuring that you have adequate attic insulation is vital. We all know how this can help keep your home safe and secure, as well as regulating temperature. Did you know, however, that you could also save money with attic insulation?

Taking time to ensure that your attic insulation is top quality can reap significant financial rewards down the line. Read on to see how you could save, and the benefits to your everyday life!

Reduce your utility bills.

Energy bills are a great way to save money with attic insulation, and play a crucial part in saving cash. The average home spends between 50% and 70% of its energy on heating and cooling – insulation can really help.

The main area to prioritize here is the attic space. If this area is under-insulated or lacks insulation, you will need to spend more regulating temperatures.

Research shows homeowners can enjoy a saving of 15% of heating and cooling costs. This can be achieved simply by ensuring that your attic is adequately insulated. Depending on your lifestyle, family size, home, and heating system, this could equate to savings of $780 per year.

save money with attic insulation

Maximize the efficiency of your systems.

You could also save money with attic insulation by improving the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. Even modern homes, with top-quality systems, can suffer from fluctuations in temperature if they are not adequately insulated. Temperatures may change drastically between floors, or suddenly become very hot or cold, at the slightest change in temperature outside.

If you notice a difference in temperature of between 10 and 15 degrees between floors, take this as a warning. Such a significant difference is a sign that your insulation is inadequate. Heat rises to the top of the house – usually to the bedrooms.

As a result, you are more likely to spend time and money trying to cool these rooms. Over the year, this can seriously increase your energy bills.

Older homes are also important here if you are looking to save money with attic insulation. By their very nature, these structures tend to be draughtier, with cracks and crevices for energy to escape.

As a result, your heating or cooling equipment will have to work twice as hard to keep the temperature consistent. If the ductwork in your home runs through the attic space, this can also have an impact.

Poor insulation here will also prevent the heat from being transported evenly through your home. This can then result in temperature disparities between levels. 

The less efficient your insulation, the harder your equipment will have to work. The increased wear and tear can cause your unit to wear out more quickly. Replacing the system time and again can prove expensive. Increased pressure can also result in breakdowns as the HVAC works harder; again, these costs can quickly add up.

Keep your home safe, reducing long-term costs.

Another way to save money with attic insulation is to reduce your outgoings. Insulating your attic helps reduce energy bills, but it can also improve general safety and security. 

Heat and moisture can damage your home when allowed to build up over time, as water vapor erodes the walls. Eventually, this can result in damp and mold issues, both of which thrive in moist, dark, cool spaces.

If your attic is allowed to get too hot, this can cause swelling and cracking to shingles on the surface. An attic that is at the wrong temperature also allows ice dams to build up and form.

These occur when snow melts and then refreezes on the edge of the roof. Over time, this leads to a build-up in pressure and can cause serious structural damage to the roof.

The cost of replacing the entire roof is not insignificant. Even smaller repairs such as tiles and shingles can add up over time. By keeping your roof at the optimum temperature, you reduce the risk of these issues. An investment now has the potential to save you money on expensive repairs.

Pests and animals may also enter your home through poor insulation, and can do a lot of damage. They may create nests, leave behind droppings (or guano) or cause structural problems. High-quality insulation helps remove their point of entry and can keep the attic space more secure.

Save Money with Attic Insulation

Improve air quality

Many of us spend a great deal of money on air purifiers, in an attempt to keep our air fresh. There is another solution. However, investing in good quality insulation can help achieve this goal for a lower overall price.

Poor insulation often contains cracks and gaps, and these can allow pollutants from outside to enter the home. Dust, mildew, dirt, and mold, can all make their way into your home, along with any number of airborne toxins. Over time, this can have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of your family.

While dedicated air purifiers can really help with this, they can be very expensive to run on a daily basis. If you require constant refreshing and purification, the costs can add up. Secure, durable insulation can, however, lock down any gaps and prevent leaks.

In turn, this will remove the space for pollutants to enter, allowing easier breathing and cleaner air for everyone. A great way to stay healthy while allowing you to save money with attic insulation.

What Can You Do?

Are you are looking to increase comfort, boost air quality, and save money? If so, your attic insulation could be a great place to start. By making a single, seemingly simple change, you could enjoy significant benefits for quality of life and your finances.

Here at SoDak Insulation, we make it our mission to ensure that your attic is safe, secure, and comfortable. These goals start by ensuring you are equipped with the best quality insulation.

Our team have worked in homes across South Dakota, and are keen to help you save money with attic insulation. Why not get in touch today, and see how we could help!