All About Insulation
Existing Home Energy Efficiency Tax Credit Available
Energy Policy Act Update 2009
With the recent signing of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements that were originally part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 have been reinstated, extended and increased.
Owners of existing homes can receive tax credits of up to 30% of the cost of components when upgrading the efficiency of their building”s envelope. Components eligible for the credit include insulation materials and systems (including vapor retarders) designed to reduce heat loss or gain in a home. The total amount of credits for building envelope measures and other qualified energy-efficiency improvements has now been increased to $1,500. To qualify, a component must meet or exceed the criteria established by the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (including supplements) and must be installed in the taxpayer’s primary residence in the United States between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010.
To help you determine how much insulation you will need or need to add, visit www.simplyinsulate.com for a map showing recommended thermal insulation levels based on both the U.S. Department of Energy’s recommendations and the most recent minimum International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) levels.
Note that the credit applies only to the cost of the product and does not apply to the labor/installation of materials or systems – be sure to keep all your receipts and/or ask your contractor to itemize the product costs for you.
CertainTeed is required to provide a certification that their products meet the requirements of this provision. Download the form here, complete and keep it with your tax records. When completing your taxes, use IRS Tax Form 5695 (version 2009). This form should be available in late 2009 or early 2010 at www.irs.gov.
There are many additional financial incentives for making your home more energy-efficient including rebates, grants and loans. Check out the DSIRE web site for more information on programs available in your state.
For more information, visit the CertainTeed Energy Tax Credit page.
Features & Benefits: Fiber Glass
CertainTeed fiber glass insulation offers the following benefits:
- Thermally efficient
- Excellent acoustics
- Low cost
- Does not absorb moisture
- Noncombustible (unfaced only)
- Won’t settle over time
- Easy to handle and install
- Many products are GREENGUARD® Children & Schools Certified for superior indoor air quality (IAQ) performance
Features & Benefits: Spray Foam
CertainTeed’s CertaSpray™ foam insulation provides you with:
Outstanding energy efficiency
- Peace of mind for the life of your home
- Excellent resale value
- Superior comfort and indoor air quality
- Part of an ENERGY STAR® Home
- Superior air sealing and thermal performance
- Excellent sound control
- Filling every void, especially irregular cavities
- Assurance from the nation’s leading manufacturer of insulation
Features & Benefits: HVAC – Air Handling
There are three key benefits to using fiber glass as its own duct system or as a liner or wrap in conjunction with sheet metal duct systems.
First, fiber glass duct systems or metal systems lined or wrapped with fiber glass, when properly installed and sealed, allow for minimal air leakage. This also reduces heat loss or gain. In addition, fiber glass helps ensure that air in the ducts is transmitted into each room at designed temperatures. The result? A more comfortable and efficient HVAC system that will be more economical to operate.
Second, fiber glass is a better acoustical material than metal. It absorbs noise generated by mechanical equipment and air flow. Therefore, fiber glass ducts or metal ones lined with fiber glass reduce the transmission of heating/cooling system noise through your duct system to the rooms of your home. Air rush noises are eliminated as well, resulting in quiet comfort. Fiber glass also helps reduce “cross talk”, the noise transferred from one room to another through the ducts.
Third, metal air conditioning ducts can cause moist air to condense and ducts to “sweat”. Any time the duct surface temperature is below the dew point temperature, moisture will condense and may drip and cause damage and rust. Rigid (Class 1) fiber glass air ducts help control condensation in air-conditioning duct systems.
Home Energy Efficiency
Insulating is a quick, easy project that can help you improve your home energy efficiency and, in turn, save* on energy bills and add greatly to the comfort of your home.
When it comes to your day-to-day living and comfort, fiber glass insulation has a significant impact on your home energy efficiency and the environment – both your personal space and the earth’s. A proper thermal “blanket” helps keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer for the life of the structure, lowering year-round energy bills and conserving the earth’s natural resources. Fiber glass is the original green building material – conserving nonrenewable resources and lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Made from recycled glass and sand, an abundant and rapidly renewable naturally occurring resource, a typical pound of fiber glass saves 12 times as much energy in the first year in place as the energy used to produce it – and then goes on conserving energy for the life of the structure.
But insulation does much more than improve your home energy efficiency. Strategically placed, it absorbs sound and helps make your home a quieter place to live. And when you go to sell a home that boasts recommended optimum levels for your geographic region, you can expect it to have a higher resale value. More and more potential home buyers are becoming concerned with energy efficiency as experts continue to predict that energy costs will increase throughout the next decade.
*Savings because of home energy efficiency may vary. Learn about R-value http://www.simplyinsulate.com/. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
Insulation Fundamentals: Advantages of Fiber Glass
Fiber glass insulation is available comes in a variety of lengths and widths, faced or unfaced.
Fiber glass is the preferred insulation material by builders and homeowners. It is inorganic, naturally noncombustible and will not retain water nor deteriorate or lose its insulating power over time. Fiber glass is also:
- an excellent absorber of sound
- proven in third-party tests performed by the NAHB Research Center for assuring thermal performance
- safe when installed properly
- Low cost
- Won’t settle over time
- Easy to handle and install
- Many CertainTeed products are GREENGUARD® Children & Schools Certified for superior indoor air quality (IAQ) performance
Insulation Fundamentals: R-Value
Insulation is measured in R-value, the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
When you’re purchasing insulation, buy or specify R-value, not inches, as R-values of materials vary.
Achieve a higher total R-value by “combining” two different R-values. For example, R-38 added to an R-11 results in R-49.
Insulation Fundamentals: Controlling Moisture
Insulation can do more than help control the flow of heat into and out of your home – it also helps control the movement of moisture and water vapor that a family generates during everyday activities such as cooking and cleaning.
During the heating season, this vapor moves from a home’s warmer interior to the cooler exterior, where it can condense. Continued or prolonged condensation can cause wood rot and the growth of mildew and mold. It can also lower the efficiency of the insulation.
That’s where vapor retarders come in. With a vapor retarder, moisture doesn’t reach cold surfaces to condense. Without a vapor retarder, moisture can penetrate a wall and condense on cold surfaces.
CertainTeed is also the only North American manufacturer to offer even greater moisture control for your home in the form of an intelligent vapor retarder: MemBrain™ – The Smart Vapor Retarder and DryRight™ insulation with MemBrain facing. MemBrain performs like a traditional vapor retarder, but, when needed, it will change in order to “breathe” – allowing damaging moisture to escape rather than trapping it in the wall.
Insulation Fundamentals: Vapor Retarders
A vapor retarder is any material that limits the transmission of water vapor. If you’re using unfaced fiber glass insulation, a suitable vapor retarder is a 2-mil nylon film called MemBrain™, the Smart Vapor Retarder. Or, you can buy faced fiber glass insulation, which has the vapor retarder already attached. Types of faced insulation include:
- DryRight™ – fiber glass batts with MemBrain, the Smart Vapor Retarder attached.
- Kraft-Faced – kraft paper coated with an asphalt adhesive.
- Foil-Faced – foil-backed paper coated with asphalt adhesive.
- Flame-Resistant Foil-Faced – foil-scrim-kraft (FSK) paper that is strong and resistant to flame spread.
Insulation Fundamentals: Insulation and Ventilation
Insulation and ventilation work in tandem to keep your home comfortable. Adequate ventilation creates a positive flow of air that allows the house to “breathe” and helps prevent moisture from damaging your attic and walls year-round. Because warm air rises, vents are placed in the soffits or low on the rooftop to let in fresh air, and along the ridge of the roof or in the gables to let the warm air escape. Always provide at least two vent openings for proper air flow.
1. Natural or static ventilation systems consist of simple vent or covered openings in your attic. Many experts agree that externally baffled ridge vents combined with vented soffits are the most effective method for ventilating an attic.
2. Many codes require a ventilation area equal to at least one three-hundredth of the attic floor area. Ideally, 50 percent of the required ventilating area should be provided by vents located in the upper portion of your attic, while the remaining 50 percent should be provided by eave vents. Baffles at the soffits are necessary to protect insulation from air flow due to wind. Air movement through the material will reduce the effective thermal resistance.
Insulation Fundamentals: Controlling Noise
Fiber glass insulation is effective at reducing unwanted sounds from appliances, TVs, stereos and ventilation systems. For a quieter home environment, install fiber glass insulation in some or all of the interior walls, ceilings and floors of your home. This includes bathrooms, bedrooms, entertainment rooms, home office areas and kitchens. You not only benefit from increased peace and quiet, you also add lasting value.
CertainTeed has a sound control batt specifically designed for interior wood-stud walls called NoiseReducer™.
You can get better results by insulating heating and air conditioning ducts and water pipes. Metal ducts may be wrapped in insulation, or you can install rigid fiber glass insulation duct board.
Insulation Fundamentals: Sound Performance
The sound performance of a wall or ceiling is given a number rating called STC, or Sound Transmission Class. The higher the number, the better the sound control.
Another rating, the IIC (Impact Insulation Class), is used to describe the sound control performance of floor/ceilings on impact sounds, such as footfalls or moving furniture.
As an example, standard wall construction containing 3 1/2″ of insulation with a single layer of 1/2″-inch gypsum board on each side produces an STC of 39. The wood stud wall cavity has been filled with 3-1/2 inch thick fiber glass insulation, one layer of 1/2 inch gypsum board has been mounted to resilient channel spaced 24 inches on center, and the perimeter edge has been sealed. The STC value is 46. The combined effect of absorptive material in the cavity, using 1/2 inch resilient channel to reduce the structural tie between the gypsum board layer and the wood studs, and air sealing the perimeter edge results in increased system acoustical performance.
Installation: Protective Gear
Some insulation jobs you can do yourself. For many jobs, CertainTeed recommends that you hire professionals to install insulation in your home. If you choose to tackle the job yourself, be sure to follow a few simple precautions and use the right tools and supplies:
- Protective glasses and gloves
- Disposable dust respirator
- Long-sleeve shirt
- Cap or hard hat (a hard hat is recommended in the attic to protect against protruding nails overhead)
Note: Be sure to wash all work clothes separately. Then run washer through extra rinse cycle after you remove your clothes.
Installation: Tools and Equipment
You’ll need the following tools to install insulation:
- Utility knife and extra blades
- Tape measure
- Straight edge for cutting insulation
- Stapler and staples
- Boards or plywood sheets for attic work
- 2-mil Nylon film (MemBrain™, the Smart Vapor Retarder) if a separate vapor retarder is needed
- Duct tape for sealing tears in the vapor retarder
- Long pole for positioning pieces of insulation in attic eaves
- Baffles for soffit eave vents
- Supports (chicken wire or tiger teeth supports) for holding insulation up under floors
Installation: Faced Insulation
These basic techniques can be used for many different areas where you will be installing faced fiber glass insulation.
- Place the insulation in the cavity and check to be sure it completely fills the cavity, top to bottom.
- Be sure that each sidewall batt is butted closely to the next one before fastening. Gently press the insulation at the sides into the framing cavity, until the outside edge of the stapling flange is flush with the face of the framing.
- When inset stapling insulation between framing members, start stapling at the top and work down. Use enough staples to hold the insulation firmly in place (about every 8″) and avoid gaps and “fishmouths” between the flanges and framing.
- Place the insulation between framing members and check to be sure it fits the cavity at both ends. With facing material flush to the face of the framing, the flanges will overlap the framing. Staple the flanges to the face of the framing, using enough staples to hold the insulation firmly in place to avoid gaps and “fishmouths.”
- The flange of the faced insulation placed in the next cavity will overlap the previously stapled flange. When more than one batt is used, pieces must be snugly butted.
INSTALLING FACED INSULATION WITHOUT USING STAPLES
- CertainTeed’s high-performance batts (high-density R-13, R-15 and R-21) do not have to be stapled in place. The higher density of these products help hold them in place without a loss in moisture or thermal protection
- To install faced products by pressure fit, gently place the insulation into the cavity space between framing members. Make sure the insulation facing is flush with the face of the stud. The insulation must fit snugly at the sides and ends.
- Some CertainTeed products, such as DryRight, EZR and SpeedyR, which do not need to be stapled, are produced without stapling flanges.
To install unfaced insulation, gently place the insulation into the cavity space between framing members. It’s important that insulation be correctly sized for the cavity and fit snugly at the sides and ends. Wherever batts or rolls of any type are too short to fill a stud cavity, a piece should be cut to size to fill the gap. When insulation is too long, it should be cut to fit properly, not doubled over or compressed.
Installation: Vapor Retarders
- For most of North America, vapor retarders should be installed in exterior walls on the warm-in-winter side of the insulation (toward the interior).
- For some warm and humid areas, such as Florida, the Gulf Coast and Hawaii, the vapor retarder should generally be installed facing the outside. Check local building practice and/or building codes to be sure.
- Vapor retarders are not a standard recommendation for attics. Except for very cold regions and in isolated cases where there is high humidity in the house during the winter, attic vapor barriers aren’t required provided the attic is sufficiently ventilated (as a rule of thumb, one square ft. of vent opening is needed for every 150 square ft. of ceiling).
- If installed in an attic, a continuous vapor retarder is usually used to reduce air infiltration. If this is accomplished and a similar air infiltration retarder is installed in sidewalls, mechanical ventilation such as a heat recovery ventilator should be installed to prevent trapping air pollutants and moisture within the house. Moisture build-up can cause mildew on the walls and ceilings.
- In other warm, humid regions, especially southern coastal areas with a long cooling season and high exterior humidity, air conditioning causes continuous moisture flow from the exterior toward the interior cooled area. If a vapor retarder is used, it should be on the exterior of the wall.
- In some areas of the South, it may be difficult to determine where the vapor retarder should be placed. Where there is uncertainty, it is best to follow local practice and local codes.
- Never leave faced insulation exposed. The facings on kraft-and foil-faced insulation will burn and must be installed in substantial contact with an approved ceiling wall or floor construction material.
- Flame-resistant foil (FSK-25) is the only insulation facing that can be left exposed.
- Separate vapor retarders are used in some constructions. They should be installed to the warm-in-winter side of framing. A 2-mil nylon film (MemBrain™, the Smart Vapor Retarder), available in rolls, is rolled out horizontally and stapled to the face of the framing. It is recommended that the vapor retarder be stapled at the sides and the excess material folded back into the room. If more than one sheet of the retarder is required, a double fold should be made at the meeting of the two pieces and stapled, or the sheets may be overlapped and taped. The pieces, if stapled, should meet only at a stud or a joist.
- Cover the retarder with gypsum drywall or other approved interior material, as required by local codes, as soon as the insulation and vapor retarder has been installed.
Installation: Loose-Fill Insulation
Although you can rent a blowing machine from lumberyards and install loose-fill insulation yourself, CertainTeed recommends that you hire qualified professionals.
In an attic, installation of blown-in insulation includes these steps:
- Run a hose from the blowing machine through any available attic opening.
- Blow insulation in the direction of the joists, keeping the hose close to the floor.
- To achieve the desired R-value, the insulation must be installed to the manufacturer’s recommended minimal thickness using the recommended number of bags.
How Much Insulation do I Need?
Each year the CertainTeed receives thousands of inquiries from homeowners around the country with questions on home insulation and saving energy. The most common question is simply “How much insulation do I need?”
Since the energy crisis of the mid-1970’s, people have become aware of how a properly insulated home can help save on their heating and cooling and result in a more comfortable home year ‘round. Now smart homeowners, conscious of the new energy and environmental problems that face us, are again concerned about insulation levels in their homes.
Every material resists the flow of heat but some are more efficient insulators than others. The most common are fiber glass, rock wool and cellulose, with fiber glass being by far the most preferred material. It is thermally efficient and will last the life of your home without settling or deteriorating with age.
Insulation effectiveness is measured in R-Values or the ability of the material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power. So when selecting insulation, buy or specify R-Value, not inches, as R-Values of materials vary.
Recently the US Department of Energy (DOE) upgraded its thermal requirements. Visit DOE-R value revised for the chart of recommended minimum insulation levels based on the DOE requirements. To use it, locate your geographic zone on the map, then find the appropriate R-Value for attics, sidewalls, floors and ceilings.
R-Values of individual products can be added to achieve recommended levels. For example, an R-38 added to an R-11 results in R-49.
For recommended levels of insulation in Canada, visit the website for the Office of Energy Efficiency for a similar chart.
Note: these recommendations are a starting point. Be sure to check local building codes for specific requirements in your area.
Energy Efficiency – Better for the Earth and Lower Energy Bills for You!
Insulating is a simple concept. It is no more complex than the idea of using a blanket or a drink cooler – it helps keeps the heat either in or out and helps to keep items and spaces at the desired temperature for a longer period of time.
Insulating with fiber glass is one of the most effective and sustainable things we can do to reduce energy use and control the environmental impact of homes and other buildings. Reduced energy use means a cleaner future for our children, reduced carbon footprint and less dependence on foreign energy sources. Properly installed, maintenance-free fiber glass insulation, by its very “nature”, provides a lifetime of energy savings and the possibility of lower energy bills.*
When you reduce energy use or the total demand for energy in your home, you will have lower energy bills assuming a constant or increasing cost of that energy. Lower energy bills can be achieved year round with an increase in properly installed insulation by keeping the house as warm in the winter and as cool in the summer as before but with less effort. You can be as comfortable and the furnace won’t have to run all night during the winter or the air conditioner will be able to “take a breather” during a hot summer afternoon. Energy Star® estimates you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs by sealing and insulating. Visit http://www.energystar.gov/ for more information on getting lower energy bills.*
CertainTeed fiber glass insulation may be yellow or white in color, but all our insulation is green – inside and out.
*Savings may vary. Learn about R-value. http://www.simplyinsulate.com/. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power.
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