Insulation has been a part of building construction for centuries. In a general sense, insulation is used to describe any substance that slows down or inhibits the transfer of heat or sound. The Ancient Egyptians used mud to form thick bricks. These bricks formed the insulation they used to prevent heat rays from entering their properties. Asbestos was the insulation of choice for the Ancient Grecians. In fact, they believed that asbestos had mystical properties although they knew that it posed health risks. The Ancient Romans insulated their water pipes with cork. The Vikings insulated their homes using mud chinking. Tapestries were used in the Middle Ages to prevent drafts. Asbestos rose one again rose to prominence as the insulation of choice during the Industrial Revolution. In the mid twentieth century scientists discovered that asbestos exposure caused serious respiratory problems. Chief among these problems are; mesothelioma, lung cancer, and asbestosis. In the United States, the federal government imposed asbestos exposure limits in 1972 as a means to curb its harmful effects. Despite their efforts, however, thousands of people still die each year from asbestos related ailments.
With such dire consequences associated with asbestos exposure, it was crucial for an insulation alternative to be found. Spray foam insulation has been one successful alternative. Comprised of polyurethane, spray foam is essentially a plastic coating that is sprayed onto walls, roofs, corners, and contoured surfaces in a building. The insulation is distributed using a hose that mixes chemical compounds: methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI), polymeric methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (pMDI), polyols, catalysts, a blowing agent, a flame retardant, and a surfactant. When these compounds combine they expand to create insulating foam.
There are two main types of spray foam: high-density closed cell spray foam and closed cell SPF. One of the main differences between these types of spray foam is their R-value. R-value is a measure of the spray foam’s resistance to conductive heat flow. High- density spray foam has a higher R-value and is used in roofing and exterior insulation. Closed-cell spray foam (also called medium-density spray foam) is an interior insulation that consists of two main components of polyurethane.
Spray foam has to be installed correctly by a professional. When installed correctly, it provides a myriad of benefits for the home owner.
Benefit 1: Spray Foam Cuts Energy Costs
Insulation is all about keeping the cold or heat out so that the right temperature can be maintained inside. Insulation also provides a means by which air loss can be minimized. Reducing air loss and maintaining the right interior temperature inside result in less pressure on your HVAC system. Your HVAC system is the largest contributor to your utility bills and energy consumption. In fact, it is estimated that you could save about 20% on your monthly energy bills. This is, therefore, a twofold benefit. You are able to save the environment by reducing your energy consumption. You are also able to reduce the amount of money you spend on your utility bills.
Benefit 2: Your Home Increases in Value
The fact that spray foam insulation is costly cannot be negated. However, it is a worthwhile investment. Its energy efficiency and increased comfort are two criteria often valued by home buyers. The resale value of your home is, therefore, likely to increase.
Benefit 3: Tax Rebates and Incentives
Governments are placing now placing great emphasis on reducing their country’s ecological footprint. The United States has one of the highest ecological footprints in the world. The amount of energy we use is a factor that is considered when discussing ecological footprint. Some states offer incentives to home and commercial real estate owners who use spray foam insulation. Visit http://www.dsireusa.org/ to determine if your state offers a tax rebate.
Benefit 4: Reduction of Allergens, Pollutants, and Moisture
Allergens, pollutants, and moisture love to find the cracks in your home. They use these cracks as points of entry to invade your space and cause misery. Foam insulation eliminates the cracks in your home or commercial space. This, therefore, results in a reduction of allergens, pollutants and moisture entering your home.
Benefit 5: Minimizing Airborne Noises
Foam insulation is often used in the sound booths of recording studios. This says a lot about its ability to keep sound contained in a space. If you have any areas of your home where there is a noise nuisance, consider lining the walls with spray foam insulation.
Benefit 6: Increasing Structural Integrity
The walls in your home have to do a lot of work to keep your home upright. Wood-framed walls are compressed by the weight of the roof and upper floors. Strong winds also exert force on your walls. Both types of spray foam insulation help walls withstand these external forces. Spray foam causes walls to become more rigid which makes them resistant to compression and shearing.
Insulating your home with spray foam is the right decision to make. The six benefits outlined will not only save you money, but they will also provide you with a more comfortable and structurally sound home to live in. Make the decision to invest in spray foam insulation today.