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Dana Zurbuchen

spray foam insulation

Thermal Barriers for Spray Foam

By News

spray foam insulationIt is important to understand thermal barriers when it comes to proper installation of spray foam insulation, specifically what the ICC building code says about spray foam insulation. The building code specifically talks about foam plastic installation including spray foam, extruded polystyrene, ISO boards, and other forms of foam plastic insulation material.

The ICC building code says that all foam plastic insulations must be separated from the interior of the building by a 15-minute thermal barrier. Because foam is combustible, this code helps provide time for occupants to vacate the building in the event of fire.

One-half inch of gypsum board is the prescriptive thermal barrier of the building code. Gypsum board is comprised of crushed rock and is fire resistant. Gypsum board can be omitted as the thermal barrier by applying a cementitious-based product that passes a standalone thermal barrier test. This is spray applied over the surface.

Another option that is often considered is an intumescent coating. While technically an intumescent coating is not a thermal barrier, an intumescent coating tested over a specific spray foam can provide an interior finish system that omits the thermal barrier requirement. This can be desirable in open concept spaces, providing an interior finish that can be left exposed.

When using something other than half-inch gypsum board, the thermal barrier must meet the prescriptive requirements of the code. Thank you to Spray Foam Advisor for this valuable information. For more information we invite you to view the video to the right. Contact our office to discuss spray foam insulation and thermal barrier.

sealed crawl space

Why You Should Seal Your Crawl Space

By News

Most homes in the Auburn, AL area are built on a crawl space. A crawl space provides access to pipes and ductwork under the home. Many crawl spaces are not sealed and this may not seem like a high priority project.

Here are three reasons why you should seal your crawl space now:

  1. Lower Energy Bills
    Sealing your crawl space helps prevent unconditioned air inside the crawl space from entering the interior of your home. If there is a pocket of cold or warm air underneath your home, that air will work to move toward the conditioned inside air to balance the pressure. This forces your home’s heating or cooling system to work overtime to condition this air that will continually flow into your living space. Sealing the crawl space will help reduce your energy costs so you can save money on monthly bills.
  2. Accessibility
    A sealed crawl space helps keep out leaves, sticks and debris. This makes your crawl space easier to access if work needs to be done on any plumbing or ductwork. A clean crawl space can also be used for storage.
  3. Structure Protection
    A damp crawl space allows moisture to build up which can promote mold growth. Dampness also creates an ideal living space for pests. Both of these scenarios can damage your home’s structure. Sealing your crawl space helps manage moisture and helps protect the structure of your home.

It’s important to properly seal your home’s crawl space. So when you are ready to seal your crawl space be sure to hire a qualified, established company. This investment will benefit your home and your family.

building envelope

Understanding Building Envelope Systems

By News

The building envelope is simply what lies between the interior and the exterior of a structure. It consists of all the parts of the outer shell that assist in indoor climate control such as the foundation, roof, walls, doors, windows, ceiling and their insulation and barriers. Also known as the thermal envelope, managing this area helps to prevent the transfer of conditioned interior air to the exterior and vice versa.

Building envelope design is a specialized area of building science. Properly sealing a building envelope is an important part of the insulation process. Expert envelope sealing can create a more energy efficient structure.

Here are a few reasons why the building envelope is important:

  • Moisture control. Control of moisture is vital in all climates, especially in hot humid climates. Water can infiltrate the building interior – and crawl spaces – through the floor or walls. Proper building envelope management can control interior moisture.
  • Air control. Control of air flow – including air movement through the parts of the building envelope – is necessary to ensure indoor air quality, energy conservation and comfort.

If you have questions about the building envelope of your home or business contact us.

thermostat settings

Insulation Saves Money – Here’s How

By News, Uncategorized

Insulation is the most practical and cost-effective way to make a house more energy efficient. Insulation keeps a home cool during summer and warm during winter. Insulating and air sealing can lower annual energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Insulating and air sealing can save energy throughout your home. Here’s how:

Attic Insulation
Air naturally moves upward through your house from ground to sky. As this happens, conditioned air is drawn through the roof and out of the home. Increasing attic efficiency prevents air you’ve already paid to cool or heat from leaving your home.

Basement and Crawl Space Insulation
Today’s building science proves that what’s beneath your home affects the comfort inside your home. As your home naturally breathes, air is drawn up from the basement or crawl space and into the home’s interior. Therefore, the temperature and air quality in your crawl space or basement directly impacts your home’s comfort. Insulating and air sealing your basement or crawl space can improve your home’s comfort and help manage energy bills.

Air Sealing
A drafty home requires more energy to cool and heat. If your home has air leaks, interior air that’s been cooled or heated can escape through cracks and gaps around the building envelope. These air leaks also allow pollutants, moisture and pollen to enter your home. This impacts your family in many ways, in particular if you suffer from asthma or allergies, or have a family member who does.

Insulating and air sealing your home saves money on energy bills, keeps your home comfortable and can improve indoor air quality. To learn more about insulation and air sealing, contact our office to schedule an estimate.

smart home controls on smart phone

Take Savings and Comfort Further with Home Automation

By News

You’ve recently invested in upgraded insulation for your existing or new home. You’re saving money on energy bills and your home feels comfortable. What if you could take the savings and comfort one step further? Consider adding home automation.

The idea of home automation may be unfamiliar to many homeowners. Home automation puts control of basic home systems such as heating and cooling, appliances, and more at your fingertips. These systems can be accessed remotely through an app on your phone or at a centralized unit within the home. Home automation makes it possible to control your home’s systems conveniently from inside your home or anywhere in the world.

These systems aren’t as costly as most homeowners think and they don’t have to be complicated to use. Beyond being “flashy” there are many benefits you may not know about home automation.

Energy and Cost Savings
Saving energy and money are significant benefits of home automation. Home automation can turn off power to appliances and home systems when they are not in use – such as during the work or school day when a home is empty. When your home delivers power to key systems and appliances, only when necessary your energy bills will decrease. This savings can be noticed as soon as your first energy bill.

Have you left your house and wondered if you’ve turned off lights or adjusted the temperature? Home automation allows you to know what’s happening in your home at any time. Gone are the days of asking a neighbor to check your house – you can check and adjust your home system directly from your phone.

Home automation can make your home more comfortable. Through the touch of a button you can turn on interior lights, adjust your heating system, and more to ensure your home is at your desired comfort level the moment you walk in the door.

Have a friend or neighbor stopping by your home while you are away? Home automation can unlock the doors and adjust the lights so they arrive safely and you can secure your home after they leave.



spray foam insulation

Spray Foam Insulation – Air Seal and Insulate in One

By News

sprayfoam1Homes, offices and commercial buildings in and around Montgomery, Alabama have air leaks. Air leaks naturally occur around the exterior of a building as a result of the construction process. These can be found around any opening in a building – windows, doors, vents, outlets and more. Air leaks allow conditioned indoor air to escape and outdoor air to enter a building. For years it was believed air leaks allowed for adequate home ventilation. Today’s building science proves uncontrolled air leaks can cause too much or too little air to enter or leave the home. Either situation can result in poor indoor air quality and increased energy bills.

Air sealing is the process of reducing the amount of air that enters or leaves a building through penetration points around the building’s exterior. Air sealing is an important step to making homes in Montgomery, Alabama more efficient. Sealing air leaks can help keep out pests and allergens, improve indoor air quality and reduce monthly energy bills. Spray foam insulation in Montgomery, Alabama insulates and air seals your home, business or commercial building in one step.

Spray foam insulation expands after it is applied (not unlike how shaving cream expands when dispensed from a can). This property allows spray foam insulation to completely fill a cavity. When it expands it naturally fills the cracks, crevices and penetration points in a cavity, and expands to seal these gaps. With one application, your home, office or commercial building is insulated and air sealed.

If you are looking to for the benefits of air sealing from spray foam insulation, contact our office. Our Montgomery, Alabama team is happy to provide a free estimate for your next project. You may also contact one of our other offices – find our locations here.

What is an Unvented Attic Assembly and What Does It Do for Your Home?

By News

Looking to reduce wear and tear on your HVAC system and create a more consistent climate in your home? An unvented attic assembly may be your answer – and it’s an insulation method that’s become popular in recent years.

An unvented attic differs from a standard vented attic in one key way. Simply put, an unvented attic does not have venting in the space between the roof rafters and the ceiling joists of the top story.

In an unvented attic assembly, spray foam insulation is applied directly to the underside of the roof deck and gable end walls and soffit area (different from a standard vented attic where insulation are installed on the attic floor). Spray foam is then tied directly into the wall insulation of the floor below. This ties the roofline directly into the building envelope, making the attic part of the insulated building enclosure.

An unvented attic results in the attic being “indirectly” conditioned space. Although there are no supply or return vents in the attic from the HVAC system, the system naturally conditions the space through natural leaks in the system structure. Unvented attics reduce energy consumption in three ways:

  1. HVAC equipment is placed in conditioned space with moderate temperatures, reducing wear and tear on the system.
  2. Any duct leakage remains within the conditioned space, reducing wasted conditioned air.
  3. Duct penetrations through the ceiling of the top floor of the house (directly below the attic) don’t negatively affect the air tightness of the building envelope, as the envelope has now moved from the attic floor to the roofline.

If you are interested in an unvented attic for your new home, contact our team to learn more.

happy family in comfortable home

Indoor Air Quality – Why It Matters and What to Do

By News, Uncategorized

happy young family with kids in bright modern living room have fWhen thinking of poor air quality, many of us don’t think about the indoor air we breathe throughout the day. In fact, most of the exposure we have to pollutants in the air is from indoor air we breathe. Indoor air is anywhere from two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. Indoor air pollutants can come from outside air infiltration that isn’t properly ventilated, materials used in the manufacturing of home furnishings, cleaning products and more.

When considering the significant amount of time we spend indoors, indoor air quality becomes even more important. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) estimates that the average person receives 72 percent of their chemical exposure at home.

There are many ways to improve your indoor air quality. Here are some tips:

  • Reduce indoor chemicals – Choose low-emitting products that have been third party certified such as GREENGUARD. Many insulation products are GREENGUARD certified. Contact us to learn more about these products.
  • Properly ventilate – An effective mechanical air system with good filtration can help remove polluted indoor air from the house.
  • Seal air leaks – Sealing air leaks helps create a controlled indoor environment. This allows a qualified energy auditor to develop a ventilation plan to effectively maintain clean indoor air. Spray foam insulation effectively seals air leaks and insulates in on step.

Have questions about your home’s indoor air quality? Contact our office, our team is happy to help.

ceiling fan

Five Ways to Save Energy (and Money) This Summer

By News, Uncategorized

High heat and humidity can take a toll on our homes and our energy bills. Don’t let high temps take the fun out of summer and money out of your wallet. Here are five easy ways to save energy (and money) this summer.

  • Run Your Fans. Keep your ceiling fans running to circulate conditioned air. This will create comfort without putting extra strain on your HVAC system.
  • Vent It Out. If your home has a bath fan and/or a kitchen fan, run it! Running the bath fan after showers will help remove warm, humid air. Running the bath fan on a timer will help continually move stale, warm air out of the house. Running your kitchen fan will help remove warm air that results from cooking and pull out food odors (an added bonus).
  • Seal Air Leaks. All homes have air leaks as a result of the construction process. Air leaks allow conditioned inside air to escape. You wouldn’t leave a window open when the air conditioning is running, would you? Not having your home air sealed has the same result. Having your home air sealed by a qualified contractor will help ensure the job is done right the first time.
  • Adjust The Temp. Consider increasing the temp in your home and drawing curtains. Drawing curtains helps control indoor temps, and running ceiling fans can help make your home’s interior more comfortable.  Be sure your home has a programmable thermostat to automatically adjust your HVAC system when you aren’t home.
  • Increase Attic Insulation. Many older homes don’t have enough attic insulation. Even newer homes may have attic insulation that does not meet current codes. Contact a qualified contractor to have insulation added to your attic. Increasing your attic insulation can save up to 30% on your energy bills!


Don’t wait for summer heat and humidity to arrive! Now is the time to make your home more energy efficient. Your wallet will thank you this summer (and all year round)!

fiberglass insulation

Our Fiberglass Install Receives Top Grade

By News

img_3042-1In 2006, The Residential Energy Services Network revised home energy rating standards. These new standards included grading insulation projects based on the quality of the installation work. This means a properly installed job would receive a higher rating (and be more energy efficient) than a poorly installed job.

Since proper installation is critical to the effectiveness of any insulation job, this new standard allowed quality contractors to stand apart from its competitors based on the skills and training of their installer team.

There are three grades in this new system: Grade 1, Grade 2 and Grade 3. These grades apply to any type of insulation – fiberglass, spray foam, etc.

We recently completed a fiberglass installation that received a Grade 1 rating – the highest rating possible. A job receives a Grade 1 rating when the insulation is installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For a fiberglass installation, this includes:

  • Fiberglass batts completely filling the cavity in the case of air-permeable insulation
  • Fiberglass batts are encapsulated on six sides (with an exception for IECC climate zones 1-3).
  • Fiberglass batts are cut around electrical junction boxes, split around wires and pipes, and generally not compressed.

A Grade 1 install can be achieved with any insulation project, including cost-effective products such as fiberglass. When combining proper installation techniques with air sealing, fiberglass insulation effectively insulates at a lower price point than other products.  We strive to achieve Grade 1 ratings on all fiberglass installations.
Ask your insulator how their installations are graded. Looking for a Grade 1 install on your next project? Contact us for a free estimate.