We were recently asked by a customer if they could use a 55 gallon drum Â of foam material with the CPDS series 2 – the Constant Pressure Dispensing System Foam machine from Touch n Seal. It’s a valid question – he was probably trying to get the most foam dispensed and so the bigger the canister the better. However, the answer is NO. You need to get specific foam that will work with the manufacturer spray foam dispensing machine. In this case the manufacturer is Touch n Seal, and you would need to use either the 750 board foot fire retardant closed cell foam or the 1200 board foot open cell foam. Both come with an A and B tank which contains chemicals that are formulated to work specifically with the CPDS. So you can’t use this foam on its own.
Also the accessories such as gun dispensers and hose assemblies to be used with the spray foam machine are brand specific. So you would have to purchase ones made by Touch n Seal designed to work with the CPDS.
So when deciding to invest in the CPDS machine for your next spray foam project, be sure to make a list of all the components you would need and where you would source them.
Weather proofing your windows is key to maintaining both a comfortable and energy efficient home in the coming winter months. But as you sit huddled in your overstuffed arm chair, bundled in blankets, trying to escape the chilly draft sneaking its way into your home, you may find yourself wondering where to begin. Plastic Storm Window Kits and Plastic Shrink and Seal Window Kits each offer their own pros and cons. But before you make your choice, letâ€™s see how the two stack up in factors of cost, time, investment, and reuse.
Think of the weather proofing of your windows like buying a new winter coat. You can buy the bargain coat and it will do the job, but youâ€™ll probably find yourself purchasing a new one as next winter approaches. Invest in a sturdier, slightly more costly coat and it will last you countless winters to come. Plastic Shrink and Seal Window Kits are the bargain buy of window weatherization. These offer a lower price than their counterpart, but only a single season of sealed windows. These kits come in the form of a plastic film that covers the windows surface, eliminating drafts, energy loss, and frost build-up. With just a little bit of trimming and a common household hair dryer, youâ€™ll increase the R-value of your windows up to 90%. Thatâ€™s more thermal resistance, for just a few dollars and a few minutes of installation time. If youâ€™re looking for a quick fix at a low price, Plastic Shrink and Seal Window Kits may be the product for you.
Plastic Storm Window Kits are the investment winter coats of window weatherization. Theyâ€™re slightly more costly upfront, but can be used for more than just the current chilly season. This kit includes a plastic spline and a channel system to produce the seal in the front of the window. Because of this process, the installation time is a bit more involved than for the speedy, bargain option. But with that comes the ability for them to be reused. With an investment of your time and money, youâ€™ll be well on your way to saving anywhere from 10% to 15% on your energy bills. Because Plastic Storm Window Kits are sturdier than their Shrink and Seal counterparts, youâ€™ll be able to enjoy their benefits for many winters to come.
Just like picking out a new winter coat, the choice between the Shrink and Seal versus the Plastic Storm Window kits is a matter of preference. Whether youâ€™re in the market for a one season bargain or a pricier investment, you can rest assured, warm and comfortably, that your home will be more energy efficient. Youâ€™ll feel the difference!
If you live in North America, you’re probably experiencing record breaking cold temperatures this year. Related to that, you’re probably also seeing shocking energy bills. Lack of insulation is the main cause of high energy usage in homes and buildings. Spaces that don’t have insulation are the main trouble spots for loss of heat in the winter and also gain of heat in the summer. So, do you hire an insulation contractor and shell out thousands of dollars? A good low-cost solution to insulating your home is via Do-It-Yourself Closed Cell Spray Foam Kits.
A spray foam kit comes with everything you need to insulate those trouble spots in your home or building. It contains a dispensing gun hose assembly as well as cones and nozzles to provide more control over the way it is sprayed. There are 2 types of spray foam available: closed cell and open cell. In closed cell foam, the cells of the chemical are closed and hence have a rigid and denser structure. Open cell foam by contrast has a more open cell structure and therefore has a more sponge like texture. As a result, closed cell foam has a higher R value than open cell foam. Another difference is closed cell foam acts as an air and water vapor barrier, whilst open cell foam is only suitable as an air barrier. Therefore, open cell foam is not recommended for use outside.
Closed Cell Spray Foam is very useful for insulating places such as: garages, rafters, walls and floors as well as roofing and outdoor projects. DIY Spray Foam Insulation comes variety of sizes such as 600, 200 and 15 Board Foot. Board foot just means that one 600 board foot kit will cover a 600 square foot area with 1 inch of foam. So, whether you need to insulate a whole wall in your basement, or you just need to insulate a small area, there is spray foam size for your need. Another advantage of closed cell foam is that it comes in a Fire-Retardant formula. This is useful because some city codes require insulation to have fire retardant formulas.
So if you’re looking for a low cost, do it yourself solution for insulating those cold areas of your home, Closed Cell Spray Foam is a great option. And if you’re unsure if you’re up to the task, there are plenty of instructional guides and videos available to help you.
You don’t need to be a conservation specialist to understand foam insulation; more importantly you don’t need expert knowledge to install it. Whether sealing large areas, small areas, or openings in-between, understanding the types of DIY spray on insulation will go a long way towards raising the comfort level in your home.
R-Value and What it Means for Foam Insulation
Insulation material needs to resist heat to be effective: this is R-value. R value is measured based on the density, thickness, and type of material (spray foam) and it tells us if the material holds a high or low amount of thermal resistance. Both types of foam, closed and open cell, offer different R-values and benefits for insulation.
Closed cell foam
The cells in closed cell foam are packed tightly together, so it insulates better. Because the cells are packed so tightly, the foam also has a high resistance to heat and water – meaning that is boasts a high R-value. Though the R-value is high, over time that number can decrease.
Closed cell, or high expansion foam, better insulates large areas like attics, basements, and garages. FYI: A little goes a long way with high expansion DIY foam insulation – spray only 1″ of this to see it expand 30x.
Open cell foam
The cells in open cell, or low expansion spray foam are loosely packed, and the R-value is lower, but – installed in the right place – this is not a disadvantage for insulation. Open cell foam works as an air barrier, and unlike closed cell foam the R-value of open cell foam will not change over time.
Low expansion DIY spray on insulation expands by only 10% of the initial spray size, so it’s best used in small areas, like cracks and gaps in floors, walls, windows, etc.
It only takes a little information, the right type of foam, and the right amount to properly insulate your home.
With or without a security system, intruders can enter your home through a closed door – but not the kind you have in mind. Dust, cold air, bugs, and more use the open spaces between door bottoms to become a mainstay in your house. Protect your energy bill from bloat by installing a standard, foam, self-stick, or automatic exterior door sweep.
Standard Door Sweeps
Install a standard sweep on doors that cross wooden, tiled, or smooth floors of any kind. Standard sweeps need to be screwed into the bottom of a wooden or steel door, but a little labor is worth the benefit. They seal saps as large as 3/4ths of an inch and have a long lifespan, lasting for years at a time. The most common size is a 36 inch door sweep but you may need a 42 inch door sweep.
Foam Door Sweeps
Renters rejoice! Foam door sweeps install without any screws whatsoever and work on doors that cross nearly any type flooring: carpet, tile, wood, and more. This exterior door sweep comes with two tubes and a connected pocket, or sleeve, for each tube. Simply slide one tube into each sleeve and slip it under the door.
Self-Stick Door Sweeps
If you can peel a sticker you can install a self-stick door sweep. Peel the adhesive from the backing and stick it to the bottom of the door. This type of door sweep works best on metal and wood doors, but regardless of the door you’ll have weatherproof, dust-proof, bug-proof and hassle-free insulation with self-stick sweeps.
Automatic Door Sweeps
Carpeted areas or doors that cross over rugs will get the most benefit out of automatic door sweeps. This exterior door sweep was designed to rise just enough to cross the carpeted area but still seal firmly when the door is closed. A little more install work is required here, with screws and a “roller” (plug), but these sweeps seal up to 1/2″ of space between the door and threshold.
Get proactive in your home’s energy security (along with your finances) by investing in door sweeps.
Cold weather can be fun when skiing, having snowball fights, and using your garbage can lid as a makeshift sled, but none of those activities occur inside the home. Air leaks, gaps, cracks (or however you want to see them) in your window sneak outside weather into your home and lead to higher fees onto your energy bill. Keep drafts at bay and your monthly energy costs low by using one or more of these inexpensive tools to weatherproof windows.
Foam tape is usually used to seal windows that slide or swing. It works just as the name would suggest, sticking to the edges or bottoms of windows to prevent air leakage when windows are closed.
Installation: At less than $3, not only is foam tape a fairly cheap weatherization solution, it’s easy to install.
First, clean and dry the area (must be more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit) where the tape will be applied. If the area is dirty, wet, and/or cold, the tape won’t stick properly or it will easily loose its stickiness factor.
Cut the amount of foam tape needed based on the length of window sides/bottom.
Remove the adhesive backing then press the tape into place to cover the area in need of sealing.
Shrink and Seal Window Kit
If you have scissors, a blow dryer, and $4 you can easily weatherproof windows with a Shrink and Seal Window kit. This kit will seal the whole window from the inside and increase the R-value, or insulating power, of the window by as much as 90%.
As always, clean and dry the area before applying any sealing. You should also clean the insides of windows because you won’t be able to clean that area again until you remove the shrink film.
Cut the amount of shrink film needed. Cut enough film to cover the entire window (including some of the frame area).
Remove the backing from one side of the two-sided tape and stick it to the top, bottom, and sides of the window. After installing the tape, remove the adhesive backing from the other side.
Apply the shrink film around the window, gently stretching it as you work your way from one corner of the window to the other.
With the blow dryer on the highest setting, slowly move the dryer across the film to tighten it over the window. Don’t stand too close to the window while doing this, otherwise you’ll melt the shrink film.
Trim any film that’s left over.
V Seal Weatherstrip
The V Seal Weatherstrip, which is much like tape, is another $4 tool that allows a hassle-free installation and removal.
Clean, measure, then cut as always. Clean the area. Measure how much V Seal strip is needed then cut away.
Bend the strip down the marked center line to create a “V” shape.
To seal, remove the backing and press the V strip into the corner of the window.
Caulking is a method of weatherstripping that targets the crack, gap, hole, or opening that allows air to seep through. Basically it’s like sticking silly putty in the exposed area to seal it off. However, unlike silly putty rope caulk provides a better stick, can weatherproof windows in an weather condition, and is a lot more pleasing aesthetically (unlike your lime green putty).
Clean, clean, clean the area where caulk will be used.
Peel of a lay of the rope caulk “beads” and divide it based on how much you need.
Press to seal.
Window AC Cover
Though it’s easily overlooked, your window AC unit could be a major player in the game of air leakage. Window AC covers are often placed on the outside of inside units, but those covers only protect the unit from wind and rain. Installing window AC covers indoors will give your unit added protection by stopping air leaks.
Tape the insulation liners to the face of the air conditioner and place the fabric cover over the windblock liner and air conditioner. Before you purchase an AC cover, measure the air conditioning unit because covers come in three different sizes.
With weatherproofed windows you can still enjoy skiing, snowball fights, and garbage lid sleds without the threat of winter weather becoming household guests.
While it may sound like the latest craze in runway makeup, the smoke pencil has benefits far beyond the superficial.
What does it do?
Resembling a gadget straight out of a 1980’s sci-fi flick, this battery-operated machine uses smoke to help homeowners and HVAC contractors find air leaks and drafts in the home. To use this device, turn on the smoke stick in the area you suspect of leaks and watch the movement of the smoke to determine if there are any cracks, gaps, and the like.
How does this help me save energy and money?
Putting a smoke pencil to use will help you locate one of the biggest, silent problems on your energy bill: air leaks. Drafts, air leaks, gaps and little cracks:
Serve as a “vacant” sign for critters
Allow air to flow in and out of your home – leading to an inconsistency of comfort during extreme weather seasons
Cause you to lower/raise the thermostat to create a feeling of balance in the home – as your energy bill rises creating a feeling of hostility towards your energy provider
Once the smoke puffer has located the problem areas, you can get to work insulating your home and lowering your energy needs. A properly sealed house can slice 20% or more from your energy bill.
Is it safe for a homeowner to use, or only energy professionals?
There are different types of smoke sticks, and some use dangerous chemicals to produce smoke. The smoke pencil pro is actually very safe for anyone to use. The smoke is made of Glycol and Glycerin vapor that is not toxic and actually gives off a sweet smell. No protective gear is needed to operate this smoke machine, and you can produce as much or as little smoke as you need without the worry of toxins and pollutants entering your system (at least not from the smoke stick).
What accessories do I need in order to make the most use of it?
At the most basic level you need:
The smoke pencil
Batteries to operate it, and
The smoke liquid
You would also need a screwdriver or something to open the area where the batteries are placed in the machine. If you want more control over the smoke, like a smaller stream to come through the smoke puffer, you would need an adapter tip. All of these accessories (with an added carrying case) can be found in a field kit if you don’t want to purchase them separately.
Finding air leaks has never been more important for your home’s comfort level, energy usage, and the numbers after a dollar sign on your energy bill – benefits that go way beyond the superficial.
In our second installment of the “How to Insulate your Attic Stairway” series, we discuss another option to reducing drafts emanating from your attic stairway. For our previous post – see How to Insulate that Folding Attic Stairway with a Thermadome. The Attic Tent is an affordable, easy to install, lightweight solution that consistently gets great reviews from DIYers. It’s pretty much full assembled, all you have to do it get a staple gun to tape it down to the attic floor opening over the stairway and caulk down any loose material to get an extra good seal. Start to finish you can get this done in 15 minutes. It’s very effective in creating an air barrier and has a R Value of 3.2. You can almost see temperature difference and the associated cost savings immediately. It’s available in 5 sizes, so you’re almost certain to find a size that fits your attic stair way opening.
Another plus to this solution is that a lot of electric companies offer a rebate on this product, sometimes as much as half the cost, so be sure to check with your local energy company.
Polyurethane foam has been around since the 1970s, but its use has recently exploded with more and more people jumping on the conservation bandwagon. DIY spray on insulation is a simple, cost-effective solution to air leaks in the home, blocking air intrusion and escape at the same time. In order to get the most out of foam insulation, here are a few bits of information to keep in mind.
What Foam Do You Need?
The biggest factor to consider when deciding which foam to use is simply this: how much area do you need to cover? Both the high expansion foam and low expansion foam expand to cover the area where sprayed, but they differ in a few ways as well.
High Expansion Foam
High expansion foam covers larger gaps, cracks, and the like than low expansion foam. It also expands 30x when sprayed at 1″ thickness, so I’d advise against spraying liberally.
How to Use the 2-tank Foam System
The 2-tank foam system makes installing foam insulation an easy do-it-yourself project, so as with any DIY project, make sure to wear protective gear.
In the 2-tank foam system, Tank B must be warmed up to make it the same creamy consistency as A; this allows for an even stream of foam. A few methods for warming Tank B include:
Keeping it in a warm room
Putting it in a tank warmer
Warming the tank in an electric blanket
The 2-tank system uses high expansion foam, so remember that spraying 1″ of thickness will expand 30x.
Which Rooms Need it the Most?
When installed in the draftiest, gap-ridden areas in the home, polyurethane foam insulation can save you up to 20% on cooling and heating costs alone. So which areas have the most potential for energy loss?
Attic and Garage
These areas typically suffer from poor insulation, making it easy for winter and summer to wreak a lot of havoc. Attics and garages can sometimes reflect (and even magnify) the temperature outside. The main source of insulation problems come from the ceiling and walls; check these first before going over the rest of the room for any missed gaps and cracks.
Basements often deal with humidity, which can lead to mildew and mold. First, make sure the basement receives proper ventilation, then seal all the air leaks. For basements, air leaks can be found around areas that lead outside, like air vents, ducts, and pipes.
It may not seem like a big deal, but exterior gaps can cause just as much insulation problems as the ones inside. Dryer vents and water faucets (with hoses) are unexpected culprits of air leaks and can also contribute to that inflated energy bill you see each month.
Applying polyurethane foam insulation will help you control the temperature in your home and finally get a better grasp on the outcome of your energy bill.
During the hotter months of the year, there is often nothing more comforting than knowing you have a working air conditioning unit. If this unit is of the indoor wall variety, that comfort can easily become an annoyance as cold weather sets in. Drafts can easily enter the home through these units, which not only causes heat loss and discomfort, but raises energy bills as well. Installing window air conditioner covers helps you stay warm and save money on energy this winter.
How the Covers Work
Window air conditioner covers come with a fabric cover, waterproof sheets (windblock liners), and a roll of tape. The fabric has an insulating fiber on the inside, and is designed to fit perfectly over the unit. The sheets are taped to the unit to protect the seal from inclement weather conditions and keep the air waterproof. In addition, this layer prevents cold air from coming into the room through the air conditioner. In doing so, the insulation is saving energy, by reducing the amount of energy the heating unit requires to warm the home up. In turn, this leads to savings on energy costs.
Choosing the Right Size
Indoor air conditioners come in a variety of sizes, and so do covers. Before purchasing a cover be sure to measure your wall air conditioner. There are three different size air conditioner covers, and they allow about 1″ of give for each unit:
Small: From 12″ x 14″ in height and 18″ to 21″ in width
Medium: From 15″ to 17″ in height and from 22″ to 25″ in width
Large: From 18″ to 20″ in height and from 26″ to 28″ in width
Installing Window AC Covers
All you need to install window air conditioner covers besides the items they come with is a pair of scissors. Important to keep in mind is that the tape holds best when the temperature outdoors is above 35Â°F.
Unplug the air conditioner and wrap the electric cord as tightly around the front edge of the unit as possible. Hold it in place using a 3″ piece of tape.
Measure the width and height of the unit, adding 6″ to each measurement. This is the measurement you will use when cutting (with scissors) the windblock liners.
Place the windblock liner over the front of the air conditioner, allowing it to overlap by 3″ on each side. For the best results, make sure the windblock also covers the electric cord, plug, and the place on the unit where the cord exits.
Fold and tape square corners, then use the tape to hold the complete edge of the liner to the unit. Make sure that the tap overlaps so half is attached to the liner, and half is attached to the air conditioner.
Place the fabric cover over the air conditioner.
By insulating the window AC unit, there will be less outdoor air interfering with the temperatures inside the home. Limiting the places where drafts can enter the home results in gaining more control over home temperatures, reducing the amount of energy and heat lost, and spending less money to keep yourself and your loved ones warm this winter.