Insulation: controlling your house temperature and your money

Insulation is anything that blocks the movement of heat. Heat flows when molecules with more energy (more heat) bump into molecules with less energy (a colder place has a low movement of the molecules). We have a lot of ways to control this movement, and insulation is the building process that can do that. The simplest way to block heat conduction is the creation of an empty zone that has no matter. Unfortunately it is not possible to create vacuum in your walls. Because of that we have to install some material that will help our goals to block the heat exchange.

SprayFoam photo Wise Home Building
Spray foam application (Photo credit – http://www.techomebuilder.com)

The following are the most common types of materials used for insulation

  1. Batt insulation
    • Fiberglass batts and blankets
    • Rockwool Batts and Blankets
  2. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs)
    • Polystyrene SIPs
    • Polyisocyanurate SIPs
  3. Loose-Fill Insulation
    • Loose-Fill Fiberglass
    • Loose-Fill Cellulose
  4. Spray foam
    1. Open-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam
    2. Closed-Cell Polyurethane Spray Foam

Take a look at your electric, gas, or oil bills from past years. Thousands of dollars are wasted every single year because homes are not weatherized to today’s building standards.

Properly air sealing and insulating is the most cost-effective home improvement you can make today. Our state has has the Mass Save program, and you and your home energy specialist can determine the most economic solutions. If your house is an old one consider changing the HVAC system if you are planing a renovation. Heat Pumps are among the best in class to help you if your goal is to decrease your bills.

As you can see here, a good advice is the start. Then consider looking at the internet the educational materials available. If you have some doubts, contact us for more specific details. Have a nice weekend

 

 

Options for a house siding

If you are working on your new house the siding material is a very important decision. Also remember to check your new home location – if you have a HOA (home owner association) you can have some limitations of the siding materials to put in your home.

Siding Fiber Cement Wise Home Building
Fiber cement siding

These are the most frequent types of siding used for home building:

  1. Wood: is a pretty good option, but remember that the maintenance is high for some products. Prepare yourself to repair it in 5 – 10 years, or even before this period.People love it because of its beautiful and natural look. Commonly options are: pine, cedar, spruce, and redwood. You can either leave the wood in its natural state or paint it. You can also chose the profile for them (we will discuss it in other posts)
  2. Vinyl:  is a synthetic material that has low maintenance, is durable and has a low cost for material and also labor. Extreme weather condition sometimes can damage the material – you will find some videos and pictures in the internet about the damage of vinyl siding with heavy sun exposure.
  3. Fiber cement: usually created to mimic good quality wood sidings. It is a very reliable and durable solution. The labor cost for installation is higher, as the price of the siding itself. But you will save money for the long term because you will not have a high cost of maintenance.
  4. Engineered Wood: Unlike vinyl or fiber cement, engineered wood actual contains real wood. They also offer a great warranty time (sometimes 20 to 30 years). It requires little maintenance, and can be a good choice for your project (more expensive than vinyl though).
  5. Stucco: is a mixture of cement, lime or sand although it can be made using different recipes. The exterior is created by layering the mixture all over the house. It is not a good option for regions that have a high humidity environment. It is also very expensive to install.
  6. Brick: one of the materials that have almost no maintenance. The problem is that the labor costs for installation are extremely high.
  7. Metal: long lasting and durable, it does not rot or mold due to water damage. Some types of metal may rust if not well finished and maintained. Some people don’t like the aesthetic of metal siding, and also you can have limitations to use it because of the local HOA (if you have it already established).