Foam or Fiberglass?

Are You Letting Your Dream Home Get Away?

When purchasing a new or previously owned home, a buyer must consider many things before putting their signature on the dotted line. Will the house be large enough to accommodate my family comfortably? Will the mortgage and insurance payments fit my budget comfortably? Is this the right neighborhood, and are there schools nearby, etc.

Increasingly, prospective homeowners are considering the costs of maintenance and operating costs. In a new report from the National Association of Realtors it was found that individuals between the ages of 24 and 39 consider the price of heating and cooling their prospective home “very important.”

What Buyers Are Looking For
In addition to the cost of the home itself, buyers are looking into what type of insulation the home currently has and the cost of upgrading to spray foam insulation, if the home currently lacks it.

This is because while fiberglass is significantly cheaper in the short-haul, it is also far less effective when it comes to keeping a home warm or cool. Spray foam isn’t nearly as expensive as many homeowners believe and the savings on a typical heating or cooling bill can be enormous.

In fact, in one test, conducted by a company in San Antonio, Texas, three homes of compatible sizes were insulated with different types of materials. In this test found that by using spray foam insulation to make walls and roofs more efficient, the size of the HVAC system can be downsized by as much as 35 percent, while the homeowner can see savings of as much as 50 percent on their heating and cooling bills.

Why Spray Foam Insulation?
You can instantly recognize a home that has been insulated with spray foam; it is quieter, cleaner smelling, and the overall temperature remains the same throughout each room. Comfort is one item that all about-to-be homeowners are looking for, of course, but the cost of maintaining that comfort can make or break the sale of the home.

The Benefits of Spray Foam Insulation
Spray foam makes nearly any home feel more comfortable by reducing those annoying drafts and huge fluctuations in temperature from room to room. A home that is insulated with spray foam allows HVAC units to work more efficiently and more environmentally friendly by consuming less energy. Less energy use translates to lower monthly bills.

Another benefit to spray foam is an improvement in overall air quality inside the home. By sealing the air leaks that cause drafts, this will minimize the amount of dust, pollution, airborne allergens, and germs that find their way to the inside. Since spray foam insulation can be applied to nearly every room of the house, including garages, attics, and crawl spaces, this not only provides cleaner air, but protects against water leaks, which can cause mold or mildew damage, and prevents insects from making the inside of the home their home as well.

Spray foam is also incredibly durable. Once installed and fully cured, spray foam will last the life of the home. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has revealed that closed-cell spray foam is classified as being highly resistant to flood damage (class 5). Spray foam also provides improved integrity for walls and offers wind uplift resistance in homes with unvented attics.

When used to insulate wall cavities, roof deck undersides, and garages, homes with spray foam insulation are notably quieter than those with the standard pink fiberglass.

When purchasing a new or previously owned home, prospective homeowners are considering the costs of maintenance and operating costs.

Common Misconceptions about Spray Foam Insulation
While the internet is great for finding out anything you need to know about nearly every subject on earth, it is also full of misinformation and myths. Some of the common questions that I am asked about week after week include:

1. Doesn’t Fiberglass Insulate as Well as Spray Foam?
It’s not even close. Fiberglass will settle over time, which means you will need to replace it. You never need to replace spray foam. In addition to that, fiberglass insulation has a far lower R-value. Fiberglass insulation is also notorious for allowing air and moisture to leak past it, causing drafts, as well as mold and mildew. Spray foam insulation is “done once and you’re done.” You never need to replace it and it prevents insects, drafts, and mold from making its way inside your home.

2. Is Spray Foam Harmful to My Family or Pets?
Not true. While the two chemicals that create spray foam are being mixed and sprayed, yes, it can be dangerous to be without some heavy-duty protection, but after the foam is fully cured, it is completely non-toxic.

3. All Spray Foam is the Same, Right?
There are three different types of spray foam insulation. Spray foam is classified by density.

A. High-Density- this is the most durable type and is mainly used in roofs or exterior buildings.
B. Medium-Density- Sometimes called closed-cell, this is the most common type of spray foam and is used to insulate nearly all parts of a home.
C. Low-Density- Also called open-cell, this is the type that you purchase in those cans from your local hardware store. These are designed for very small spaces, such as insulating around an outdoor water spigot.

4. Is it True that I Will NEVER Recoup My Payout for Spray Foam?
This is another myth. In fact, in studies done by the USDOE (Department of Energy), the average home loses about 60 percent of its energy from the air that passes through the attic or from crawlspaces, with windows, walls, and doors coming in a close second. However, homes that have spray foam insulation will lose less than 50 percent air than homes without spray foam. The amount of money saved over the years on energy bills is astounding and you might qualify for a federal or state tax deduction for using spray foam insulation.

5. Isn’t Spray Foam Bad for the Environment?
This one is yes and no. While there are plenty of spray foam products that aren’t good for the environment, there are others that are quite eco-friendly. Here at Chicago Green Insulation, we use products that are free from formaldehyde, VOCs, and HCFCs. Our products are made from sugar and natural oils, which aren’t damaging to the environment, so you can feel good about them.

In a Nutshell
If you are constructing a new home, come and talk to the professionals at Chicago Green Insulation. If you are considering purchasing a home, we can give you an estimate for insulating your castle if it doesn’t have spray foam insulation now. Don’t spend a hot and muggy Chicago summer spending a fortune to cool your home. Call Chicago Green Insulation today. Remember, comfort is only a FOAM call away!

About the Author, Tom Decker

With ten years of experience selling spray foam insulation in Chicago, Tom Decker is THE person to call and the Chicago Green Insulation is the organization to hire when you are looking for top notch quality and performance as well as someone who can deal with the needs of code officials, home owners and general contractors. Call the others in Chicago, if you are interested in the cheapest price, call Chicago Green Insulation if you are interested in using your dollars to make Chicago a better city for all of us!

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