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An Illinois River Almanac

Jason Haupt's Energy and Environment Blog

Slow the Flow

Posted by Jason Haupt - Energy

Summer is great.  The days are longer, the sun shines and you can be outside enjoying nature.  Summer also means that utility bills are higher.  Hot weather means that your Air Conditioner has to work overtime to keep you comfortable.  So what can be done to help reduce your utility bills not only in the summer but also in the winter?  Reduce the air exchange rate in your home.  There are several options to do this.  The most expensive would be to replace the doors and windows that are in your home.  More efficient windows and doors mean that your home is not going to "leak" as much.  But you could also upgrade your homes insulation.  The attic is an excellent place to start on this.  Attics get extremely hot in the summer.  An attic can get as hot as 180 degrees in July and August and that heat has the potential to warm up your house.  Upgrading your insulation to a foam insulation is an excellent way to reduce your utility bills all year round.

The most effective foam insulation is the spray foam.  This insulation is sprayed into a space and the foam expands to fill all of the gaps and cracks.  Foam insulation is 3 or more times more efficient than blown-in cellulose insulation.  When you have a foam insulation installed it comes in 2 forms.  Open cell and closed cell foam.  Open cell insulation is soft and resembles a sponge.  It stays soft and will flex with the material that it is applied to.  Open cell insulation is not as efficient as closed cell but it is generally less expensive.  Closed cell on the other hand is more expensive but is more efficient than the open cell foam.  Closed cell foam becomes hard when it dries because it hardens it will not flex with the material that it is applied to and could crack if the material flexes.

To get the best results you should contact an installer and discuss what your goals for the insulation are and they will help guide you to the right product for your application.

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