We’re lucky in North Carolina. We enjoy mild winters. But sometimes the temperature drops—and the energy bill goes up when it does.
It pays to have the best possible insulation to keep that bill low. More and more homeowners are turning to a newer (but proven) type of insulation: spray foam.
Spray Foam Insulation 101
If you poke your head up in your attic space, you will probably see either blown-in cellulose insulation (puffy grey or white cotton looking) or batten insulation (rolls of pink fiberglass with brown backing). Both are adequate but not optimal. They both tend to lose R-value over time and don’t stop cold air from entering.
Spray foam, on the other hand, encapsulates the entire attic space preventing cold air from entering in the first place. During a spray foam installation, the material expands to fill all possible entry points for outside air. Any ductwork or plumbing is no longer exposed to air that needs to be heated or cooled.
The energy savings can be substantial. The U.S. Department of Energy states that the average homeowner can save up to 15 percent on heating and cooling by using spray foam.
Closed-Cell vs Open-Cell
Spray foam insulation comes in two varieties. Open-cell spray foam is around 40-50% less expensive than closed-cell spray foam. The savings come at the cost of a lower R-value and a thicker profile.
If you can afford it, or have very narrow spaces to insulate, then closed-spray foam insulation is a great option because it hardens into a more rigid structure it can also increase structural integrity. However both open and closed cells foam provides the energy efficiency benefits that you need and want.
Once you’ve made the call to use spray foam, the next question is where to install it.
The 5 Best Places to Insulate with Spray Foam
Applying spray foam to the underside of the roof keeps cold air from entering the space in the first place. Ductwork gets protected from the cold and your heat pump or furnace works way less.
Ceiling spaces are notoriously difficult to cover completely with cellulose or fiberglass insulation. For total encapsulation, spray foam gets into all crevices, connection points, and valleys. Because the ceiling is the same temperature as the home, there is no circulation to worry about. This means no roof venting is required.
As a bonus, spray foam bonds the rafters to the rim joists adding structural integrity to your home.
Any room that sits above an unheated or uninsulated space can use an application of spray foam underneath. Otherwise, you will be battling a constant flow of cold air from down below. Examples include bedrooms over garages, cantilevered second-story rooms, and bay windows.
If you have concrete walls in your basement, spray foam is perfect for eliminating the damp, cool air that never seems to go away. Despite appearing solid, concrete is porous. Which means it pulls in moisture from the surrounding earth. Spray foam stops it before it enters the room.
If your crawl space is deep enough for workers, then the same principle as basements applies. Lock in warmth and stop moisture from getting in. As a bonus, you will be depriving mice and bugs of a place to gather.
Retrofitting walls with spray foam can increase the comfort and efficiency of older homes. Almost all homes built before 1995 lack vapor barriers in the walls. As a result, cool moist air can travel into the fiberglass and lessen its R-value over the years. That cold air finds its way into the home and makes homeowners reach for the thermostat.
Stay Warm This Winter
With so many possible applications it’s worth it to call the pros at MPI Foam and have a free, no-obligation inspection to see which part of your home will benefit most from a spray foam upgrade.