Insulation

Professional Insulation Services and Installation from the Expert Contractors at Bell Brothers

There really is no place like home. It’s the four walls that hold all the things most important to you, where you make memories, raise your family, and just relax. There’s no other place in the world like it. Your home is a treasure. And your insulation protects it—and your family—from the elements. Insulation is also key to conserving energy and maintaining the comfort level in your home.
In an area like Northern California that experiences a broad range of weather conditions, it’s critical to have the right insulation—and proper installation. A well insulated home involves the entire shell, or envelope, being insulated against not only rain, snow, and winter winds, but the hot, humid summer air as well. It’s a whole home approach to ensuring that every space your family enjoys is carefully conditioned for year round comfort and health.

The Value of Home Insulation

Think of the walls of your home like a layer cake: Each layer serves a purpose and isn’t the same without the others. It’s the raspberry filling to a chocolate cake—it changes the entire “flavor” of your home. But insulation is often an overlooked step in protecting your home. Insulation goes unseen behind walls and in attics, but it’s always at work creating a barrier against the world outside so that your home stays deliciously well conditioned.

The Benefits of Home Insulation

SAVINGS ON ENERGY BILLS

Insulation has two jobs: to keep conditioned air in, and unconditioned air out, allowing your home to stay in the comfort zone year round.

A HEALTHIER HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEM

The right insulation means you can rely less on your HVAC system, allowing your AC and furnace to work at optimum levels. Reduced use means less wear and tear, which increases the lifespan of your units and cuts down on costly repairs.

INCREASED COMFORT

If the temperature controlled air from your HVAC unit is quickly dissipating out of it, it’s pretty difficult to stay comfortable. Insulation traps conditioned air in, helping to maintain a steady temperature in your home and keep your family comfortable no matter the weather outside.

PROTECTION FROM AIR POLLUTANTS

Insulation can even help prevent the infiltration of air pollutants through the walls of your house. It provides an extra layer of protection from harmful substances that might be traveling by air.

Insulation Options for Your Northern California Home

Insulation is like a winter coat for your home. And, just like with coats, it comes in a variety of lengths, materials, and thicknesses with varying insulative R-values, which measure how well a particular insulation seals your home. Each type of insulation has its own advantages and disadvantages. Bell Brothers can help you better understand the differences to empower you to decide which is best for your home—and your budget.

Three Most Popular Types of Insulation In Northern California

FIBERGLASS BATTING

This is the most common, and least expensive, type of insulation—and it’s easy to install since it often comes in sheets. While it may be a quick fix, and work well in walls and ceilings with straight lines, it’s not always the best solution for complete coverage.

LOOSE FILL CELLULOSE

Cellulose is environmentally friendly, made from recycled newspaper. It’s a popular choice for blow-in applications as its ability to fill in small cavities and close gaps is a big advantage over rigid batts that are susceptible to air leaks in awkward spaces. It can also be installed into walls through small holes, making installation much easier for pre-existing walls than with traditional types.

SPRAY-IN FOAM

While more expensive, spray-in polyurethane foam insulation is the best at preventing air leakage due to its ability to expand and conform to even the tightest spaces. It’s an excellent filler for oddly shaped spots. There are two types of spray-in foam: open cell and closed cell. While both are excellent air barriers, open cell may be permeable to water vapor while closed cell is impermeable, making it an excellent vapor barrier as well. As the name implies, spray foam has to be sprayed in, which requires mixing two solutions and spraying through a machine. This can be a precarious process and is best done by a professional. Hiring a Bell Brothers professional will not only take the hassle out of installion, but will also ensure that the job is done correctly, making your new insulation as effective as possible.

Seal Your Home with Insulation

By now you might be thinking it’s time to throw some new insulation up in the attic and upgrade what’s in your walls. But insulating your home properly requires the entire building, from top to bottom, to be shielded from the elements outside. Every space in your home needs to have some form of insulation, regardless of its layout.

Where Should You Install Insulation?

EVERY WALL

It’s critical your walls create an air barrier between your family and the outside world. An air barrier is just what it implies—a prevention against air freely moving in and out of your home. Our changing seasons, and often extreme Northern California weather, make wall insulation upgrades a must in older homes. Historic homes and even homes built in the mid-twentieth century were often inadequately insulated.

YOUR ATTIC

Attic insulation can’t be ignored. Even if your attic is just being used for storage, it’s important to insulate it against cool air leaks in the summer and heat seepage in the winter, especially if you want to lower your energy bills.

THE BASEMENT OR CRAWL SPACE

Basements, and even enclosed crawl spaces, should be considered a part of the envelope of your home. These subterranean areas can collect moisture and leach air from the outside in if they aren’t well protected from the ground and outdoor air.

YOUR GARAGE

You might not consider your garage an interior space in your home, but it also needs to be insulated. While your car might not mind braving the elements, the plumbing and HVAC equipment in your garage can freeze or malfunction when exposed to extreme temperatures. Also, walls shared with your living spaces need to be insulated to help keep energy bills low.

Signs Your Insulation Needs an Upgrade

Evaluating and upgrading insulation throughout your home may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Bell Brothers can assess your walls, attic, basement, and garage, making custom recommendations for every square inch. But how do you know when it’s time to give the professionals a call? If you have a historic or older home, it’s probably time. If you have a newer home, consider the following factors:

Newer Home Insulation Factors

YOUR HOME IS UNINSULATED

This may seem obvious, and will likely only apply to an older home built at the turn of the century, but fiberglass insulation wasn’t invented until the 1930s, so any home built before that time either had no insulation or had a substance called vermiculite that was used primarily in attics only.

YOUR INSULATION CONTAINS ASBESTOS

When asbestos fibers are disturbed or deteriorate, they’re released into the air and can be easily inhaled. If inhaled, they’re pretty harmful to your health. Asbestos should be thoroughly and immediately removed and replaced—by a trusted professional—with a safer type of insulation like fiberglass or cellulose.

YOUR INSULATION IS DAMAGED

This can happen for a number of reasons. A common one is if pests in attics and basements, like mice, have moved or torn insulation to make nests. Fiberglass insulation makes an especially cozy home for small creatures, but can render your insulation ineffective, especially if it begins to collect moisture or breaks the air barrier.

YOUR INSULATION IS UNDERPERFORMING

Insulation no longer at its peak can have serious implications on your energy bill and comfort level. This likely happens gradually rather than an immediate failure, creeping up on you so slowly you may not realize it. If your home heats slowly in the winter, but overheats in the summer, your insulation is probably lacking. Outside indicators like ice dams on your roof are also a sign that your insulation is no longer at its peak.

YOU’VE RECENTLY HAD CONSTRUCTION OR ELECTRICAL WORK DONE

If your home has recently undergone a remodeling project, or had electrical work done, your insulation may have been affected. Often, insulation will be shifted, removed, or be replaced with poor quality materials during construction projects, leaving areas of your home susceptible to air leaks. An insulation expert can offer a professional evaluation of your home’s seal after work has been done within your walls.