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Does A CPDS Spray Foam Machine Need Special Foam?

CPDS Spray Foam Dispensing Machine
CPDS Spray Foam Dispensing Machine

We were recently asked by a customer if they could use a 55 gallon drum  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.

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Plastic Storm Window Kits vs. Plastic Shrink and Seal Window Kits

Weatherproof Windows
Weatherproof Windows

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, let’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 you’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, you’ll increase the R-value of your windows up to 90%. That’s more thermal resistance, for just a few dollars and a few minutes of installation time. If you’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. They’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, you’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, you’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 you’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. You’ll feel the difference!

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How Does High Expansion Foam Differ from Low Expansion Foam?

High Expansion Foam vs. Low Expansion Foam
High Expansion Foam vs. Low Expansion Foam

You may be considering using spray foam insulation, but are unsure what type to use. High Expansion and Low Expansion Foam are the two primary types. Here are the main differences between them.

Uses

Because it expands as much as 5 times the output size, high expansion foam is primarily used for filling big voids, such as:

  • rim joists, roof/wall joints, or big gaps in framing
  • blind corners
  • wall/ceiling intersections
  • around boxes over can lights

Low expansion foam only expands about 10% larger than the output size, so it is used for smaller jobs like:

  • cracks and gaps around windows and doors too big for traditional caulk
  • plumbing, HVAC, and electrical penetrations
  • seams and small openings in framing

Curing Method

High Expansion foam has two components stored in separate tanks until mixed at the time of spraying. After spraying, it typically cures in less than 2 minutes.

Low expansion spray foam comes in a single tank or container, and relies on moisture in the air to cure, usually in about 20 minutes. In extremely dry conditions, you may need to use a spritzer to properly cure low expansion foam.

Dispensing Method

Since high expansion foam is used for larger jobs and requires separate tanks for the two components, the dispensing systems are are typically larger and have two tanks, each with a line connected to the spray gun.

Low expansion foam is typically in smaller containers that can either attach directly to the spray gun or have a single line connecting to a separate, single tank.

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DIY Insulation: Closed Cell Spray Foam Kits

Closed Cell Spray Foam Kits
Closed Cell Spray Foam Kits

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.

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4 Energy Conservation Kit Tools That Also Keep You Warm

Save Energy and Stay Warm

The holiday season is taking a break for the next 300-some-odd days, but the cold weather isn’t following. Keep the chill on the outside with an energy conservation kit. These kits – like a swiss army knife for combating drafts – are packed with supplies that properly insulate doors, windows, and other unintentional air entryways.

Foam Switch Gaskets, Outlet Gaskets, and Child Safety Caps

Unless every outlet is in use all the time (and I hope not, cause phantom energy loss can account for 5% of your home’s energy usage), those tiny slits in the wall are letting outside air slowly creep into your home. Along with outlets, the surrounding area behind the outlet and light switch plates also offer a way in for air. These leaks make the house colder than it should be and can cause energy loss of up to 20%.

Plastic Window Kit

Windows can let air in even when closed, but cold weather also makes them vulnerable to frost build-up and condensation. Plastic window kits, also known as shrink and seal window kits or window insulation kits, are installed over the entire window to provide airtight insulation from outside air. Kits are installed from the inside, and require a hair dryer (or some form of blowing heat) to “shrink and seal” film over the window. This method of insulation works on any type of window, is easy on the budget, and can increase R-Value (insulation level) by up to 90%.

Rope Caulk

Nearly every energy conservation kit features rope caulk, a substance is so easy to install a 5-year old could do it (we’re not kidding, just watch). Rope caulk is primarily used to combat cracks, gaps, and openings of every kind. Simply clean the area being sealed (remove dust, dirt, etc.), peel of the amount needed, and stick it into the open area. I think of it as 2-minute insulation.

The benefits of rope caulk don’t stop at insulation:

  • It’s cheap!
  • It’s durable through most weather conditions, so you don’t have to worry about it cracking during cold months
  • Just as easy as it is to install is how easy it is to remove (and clean up after), making this an easy insulation answer for renters

Door and Window Foam Tape

Foam tape is best used with sliding or swinging doors and windows. The tape blocks outside air by sealing the open space between the edges/side of doors and windows. Foam tape installs easily and is very cost effective.

Putting an energy conservation kit to good use – the gaskets, child safety caps, plastic window kits, rope caulk, and foam tape – will go a long way towards stabilizing the temperature in your home, saving energy and preventing energy loss, and allow you to subtract a few dollars from that energy bill.

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Understanding the Types of DIY Foam Insulation

DIY Foam Insulation
DIY Foam Insulation

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 is 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 a 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.

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Finding the Right Door Sweep for Your Home

Exterior Door SweepWith 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.

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5 Cost Effective Ways to Weatherproof Windows

Weatherproof Windows

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

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%.

Installation:

  • 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.

Installation:

  • 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.

Rope Caulk

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).

Installation:

  • 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.

Installation:
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.

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Savings and Staying Warm with Window Air Conditioner Covers

Window Air Conditioner Cover
Window Air Conditioner Cover

Air conditioners can be a gift from the heavens during sticky summer months, but as the seasons roll into cooler weather, those same air conditioners are a silent source of energy and monetary waste. Prevent energy loss, lower your heating/cooling costs, and protect the quality of your AC unit with window air conditioner covers.

Prevent Energy Loss

AC units get a much deserved break during cold months, but even when turned off they can still use up much energy. Uncovered air conditioners allow the cold outside air, dirt, dust, and other undesirables to enter the home and mix in with the warm air the heater provides. This creates an uncomfortable, inconsistent temperature throughout the house – some rooms are too hot, others too cold, and if you’re lucky at least one room will be just right. Air conditioner covers prevent energy loss by blocking the flow of air into and out of your home.

Energy loss does not only affect the house – it can be a drain on the energy bill as well.

Stop Money From Pouring Down the Drain (or flying through the air conditioner)

How much of your energy bill do you think is due to heating and cooling alone – under or over 20%? Believe it or not, 43% of your energy bill is devoted to keeping the house warm or cool. Along with other insulation solutions, you can erase 20% or more off energy costs with window air conditioner covers. When installed properly, AC covers keep the unit from acting as a source for air leaks.

Though less energy waste is the ultimate reason to use AC covers, it is not the only one. AC units also need protection from damages.

Protect The AC Unit From Damages

Overly heated rooms mixed in with the cold air coming through the AC can cause dampness, which leads to mold and mildew. Removing the mold and mildew will require one of three options:

  • Go through a lengthy process to remove the mold and mildew yourself
  • Hire a professional for the removal
  • Get a new unit (not recommended)

While it’s less pricey to do it yourself, the process takes a while and calls for removal of some parts in order to reach moldy areas. Window air conditioner covers are waterproof, making it easy to protect the air conditioner (and your health) from damages. Plus, the only manual labor involved will be installing the cover.

How to Install Window AC Covers

Even the less crafty of us can install an AC cover. All you need to provide is measuring tape because cover packages come with rest: fabric cover, plastic waterproof sheets, adhesive tape to secure the cover, and instructions.

Measure your AC unit to ensure that you purchase the right size for your air conditioner then follow the instructions for the cover.

No longer do cold weather months have to wreak havoc on your AC unit. Stop the energy waste, the sapping of your money, and the discomfort in your home by installing air conditioner covers.

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Smoke Pencil: What it is and How it Helps Save Energy

Smoke Pencil
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
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.