Comfenergy Q&A

Do I have to remove my existing attic insulation before adding more?

The short answer to that question is NO. You don't have to remove the existing insulation before adding more. However, removing the insulation allows us to perform a much better job of air sealing leakage points in the attic as they become easier to see and seal. If you have signs of rodents in the attic you definitely need to remove the old insulation as it will contain rodent fecal and urine tracings. These can become airborne and create unhealthy situations in the home.

How do you install foam board insulation?

Foam board insulation is typically installed using long screws with wide washers. The screws are typically an inch or so longer than the thickness of the foam board to allow it to securely attach to the framing behind it. Once all of the foam boards are in place, then one part spray foam is used to air seal any gaps between foam boards.

How do you remove my existing attic insulation?

The procedure for removing attic insulation varies depending upon the type of insulation that is existing.

Fiberglass Batts are removed by literally walking/crawling around in the attic with 50 gallon trash bags.  The fiberglass batts are picked up off of the attic floor, folded up, and stuffed into trash bags.  Then these bags are carried out of the home, thrown into a truck, and eventually taken to the dump to be disposed of.

Blown (fiberglass, cellulose, or other) insulation is vacuumed out of the attic with a large gas powered vacuum machine.  A crew of 2-3 people is typically what is sent to perform vacuuming existing insulation from an attic. One or two people go into the attic with a long flexible hose that sucks the insulation through it.  The hose is connected to a "drop box" which allows large or heavy items to fall into the box instead of going through the vacuum which could damage it.  Then, one person sits in the truck and makes sure the old insulation goes into large cylindrical bags that are 5 ft. long and 4 ft. ion diameter. The bags are eventually taken to the dump and disposed of properly.


How thick is R-49 blown insulation?

That's a trick question! It depends upon the type of insulation being installed, the brand, and the application for what it's being used. Cellulose insulation can vary in R value depending upon how tightly its packed. Fiberglass can vary depending upon where and how its installed. However, for the most part, here are a list of average R values per inch of depth: Fiberglass batts= R3.2/inch Blown Fiberglass=R2.6/inch Blown Cellulose=R3.6/inch Dense Packed Cellulose=R3.0/inch Open Cell Spray Foam=R3.5/inch Closed Cell Spray Foam=R6.5/inch Expanded Polystyrene Foam Board=R3.6/inch Extruded Polystyrene Foam Board=R5.0/inch SilverGlo Foam Board=R5.0/inch Polyisocyanurate Foam Board=R6.0/inch

What is cellulose insulation for attics made of?

Cellulose insulation is made of recycled newspaper. The recycled newspaper is shredded and treated with chemicals that help to make it fire resistant, and to repel insects and rodents too.

What is Radiant Barrier?

Radiant Barrier is a highly reflective sheet that is much like aluminum foil that is applied to the interior of your roof.  It is low maintenance and requires zero power to act as boundary between the outside air and the inside air, while also helping to reduce the naturally rising temperature of your attic due to the sun. 


What is thickness of R-38 spray urethane foam insulation?

The answer to this depends upon the type of spray foam you are asking about. There are two types of spray urethane foam insulation to consider. Each are used in different conditions and to solve different issues in a home. The first is closed cell with an R value of approximately 6.5 per inch of thickness depending upon brand and application. The second is open cell with an R value of approximately 3.5 per inch of thickness depending upon brand and application.

Why are my energy bills so high?

Energy bills can be higher than wanted if your HVAC system is running often.  If your home doesn't hold in conditioned air, your HVAC system will create more conditioned air.  As this process repeats, your energy bills can increase.  This can also cause added stress on your HVAC system, increasing the potential for wear and tear or failure.  A home performance company can identify ways to retain conditioned air and allow your HVAC system to work less.  

Why are the rooms in my house different temperatures?

There are many reasons why different rooms in the same house can be different temperatures.  Lack of air sealing, poor quality or inefficient insulation.  Windows with a bad seal or other uncontrolled airflow in and out of the home.  A home performance company can inspect and find the answer.  Comfenergy.  

Why can't you give me a quote for attic insulation over the phone?

There is a LOT more than you would think that goes into your pricing that we need to see to provide even an estimated cost to you. What is the existing insulation made of? How deep is it? Do we need to remove it, or can it stay? How do we access the attic? Do you need longer soffit baffles? Are there fire hazards we need to worry about? Are there metal or brick chimney's? Do bathroom exhaust fans go through the roof or gable end of the attic? Any exposed electrical wiring? All of these questions (and more) need to be verified by our building science experts during the evaluation. The evaluations are typically free, so why not?

Why do I have water spots on my ceiling?

Water spots on a ceiling could be the result of a plumbing leak or they can be due to "duct sweating".  Duct sweating is caused by condensation from and HVAC duct running through the walls or ceiling of your home. spray foam insulation can be used to seal and protect and HVAC duct and keep it from sweating.  

Why is the insulation in my attic so dirty?

Attic insulation can collect dirt if there is poor air quality or uncontrolled air flow in or out of an attic. Outside air with dust and allergens can enter an attic space through open vents, gaps and cracks in the walls.  Insulation can act as a filter and trap the dirt, causing dark spots in the insulation.  Proper air seal and control of the air flow in and out of the attic can help.  A home performance company can identify ways to improve this. 

Why is the room over my garage so uncomfortable?

Garages are often unconditioned spaces with nothing to heat or cool them.  This means outdoor weather and temperatures can impact the temperature inside.  A cold or hot garage can influence the temperature of the room above.  Lack of air seal, poor quality or inefficient insulation can add to this problem.