Why Insulate With Foam Insulation?
It's a good question. And in these days of soaring energy costs and uncertain supplies, there is an obvious answer. We believe you should harness the insulating power of foam insulation for use in your home. Not only is it a wise decision, but it is also practical to accomplish with a 21st Century state-of-the-art sprayed foam insulation called Spray Foam Insulation You already know how well foam insulates. Think about the effectiveness of some common foam products that we use on a regular basis:
The Foam Coffee Cup.....Just 1/8" of Foam With An R-value Of Less Than One.
Go to your favorite fast food restaurant or 7-11 store and buy a cup of coffee. Hold the foam cup in one hand and pour yourself a cup of steaming hot coffee with the other hand. Go ahead...you won't burn your hand. The foam cup will only be warm to the touch. In fact, if the foam was a bit thicker, it is doubtful if you could feel whether the coffee was hot or cold. Only the steam would give it away. In this example, we think you'll agree that just 1/8" of foam is a pretty effective insulator.
The Foam Picnic Chest.....Just 1/2" of Foam With An R-value Of Only About Two.
This is the classic example of the insulating power of foam and a great illustration of the importance of air sealing the area you want to heat or cool. Consider your experience with a foam picnic chest. You can learn a great deal about insulating your house from its' performance. You buy one at the local drug store or Wal-Mart for a couple of dollars, and you entrust it to keep your beverages cold for the weekend. Put in the drinks and a bag of ice on Saturday morning, and put the lid down tight, and it's pretty likely that you'll still have ice left on Sunday night. (Whether or not there are drinks left is another question!) You have just proved the insulating power of about a half inch of foam with a relatively low R-value (resistance to heat flow) of only about an R-2. (Frankly, if your house was as efficient as this foam picnic chest, you'd be ecstatic!)
Here's an age old riddle about Insulation.
Q. Which is More Important...
Obtaining a Higher R-Value or Stopping Air Infiltration? This is an extremely important question. Let's say, for example, that you put in the sodas and the ice in the foam picnic chest above, but didn't put the lid down tight. The ice would only last a few hours at best, and your drinks would probably be lukewarm (or hot) by mid-day on Saturday. What happened? The R-value didn't change...it's still an R-2! So why did the ice melt? Because you allowed air to leak into the picnic chest.
What should we learn from this example? The efficiency of the picnic chest does depend on the insulating power of the foam (its R-value), but its insulating ability is somewhat irrelevant if you don't also control air infiltration
The answer to the riddle, in our example, is that CONTROLLING AIR INFILTRATION HAD MORE TO DO WITH KEEPING THE DRINKS COLD THAN THE R-VALUE DID!
What does all this have to do with your new house? We think the same is true for your new home, and we believe that your experience with a foam picnic chest is the most convincing argument that you should insulate your new home with foam.
Why? Because foam not only insulates extremely well, but it will also stop air infiltration far better than fiberglass products.
Now that you are gaining an appreciation for the benefits of foam, let's see how applying it in your home can make it so much more efficient? You've just seen how well 1/8" of foam insulates. And you've seen a dramatic example of how well 1/2" of foam can both insulate and airseal. But here's the good news. In your home, we propose foam from seven to eleven times thicker than the foam in a picnic chest. Imagine the efficiency you can achieve with that much foam, both to insulate it and to prevent excess air infiltration. The result? A home that will be more comfortable and efficient and affordable to operate. And a home well prepared to cope with the energy uncertainties we are certain to face in the years to come.