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Prevent Air Leaks and Insects in Your Home with Pur Fill Foam

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PUR Foam
PUR Foam

For the times when you only need to insulate small areas, like gaps and cracks that bugs and other critters can crawl through, consider using Pur Fill Foam. Pur (short for polyurethane) foam is a low cost, low maintenance solution for insulation.

What is Polyurethane Foam?

Polyurethane is a plastic material that can be manufactured for various purposes, including as: adhesives, furniture cushioning, insulation, and even as the soles of your shoes. This multipurpose material is easy to manipulate, which is why it works as a solution to insulation in both high and low expansion varieties.

Low or High Expansion Foam: Which do I need?
The difference between low and high expansion foam is simply how much area the foam covers.

High expansion foam is used on large cracks and gaps. It can grow, or expand, by 30x when only 1″ of thickness is used.

Low expansion Pur foam differs in that it expands by 10%. For insulating small spaces, the best type of foam to use is low expansion.

Benefits of Low Expansion Foam

The ultimate goal here is to properly insulate the home, but it helps to be able to accomplish this goal with material that offers a bit more. The benefits of using low expansion spray foam include:

The cost
For less than $20 you can purchase a 750 ml (32 ounces) can of this low expansion foam.

Easy installation process
The foam is easy to install and apply. Just load the can of foam into the application gun and spray it into the area you want sealed. For tips on how to use the form, Todol has a number of training videos.

Money saved from insulation
Not only does Pur Fill Foam close up those cracks and gaps, but you’ll shave off 20% from your energy bill with proper insulation. Air leaks create a temperature imbalance in the home, increasing the amount you spend on energy every month.

Where to Install Polyurethane Foam

Air leaks can be anywhere, but there are generally some places that you can always expect to find gaps that need to be sealed.

Attic and Garage
During summer and winter months, the attic and garage often mirror and at times intensify the temperature outside. When looking for open holes in the attic or garage, start with the ceiling and walls.

Basement
Air leaks in the basement can be around air vents, ducts, and other places that lead outside.

Block air leaks and the invasion of bugs, rodents by putting polyurethane foam to good use.

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Use Q-Lon Weatherstrip to Prevent Energy Loss from Doors

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Q-Lon Weatherstrip
Q-Lon Weatherstrip

A door’s weather seal can wear out over time, causing cold and costly drafts to flow into your home. A simple way to check if your doors have this problem is through a sight test. While the sun is out, if you can see light coming in through the door when it is closed, you definitely have an air leak on your hands.

You could also use a smoke pencil to identify drafts and air leaks.

Installing a q-lon weatherstrip is beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Seals up to ½” gaps. Sealing air leaks from the door can reduce home energy loss up to 11%.
  • Reduces energy loss eases the burden on the heating/cooling systems, thus lowering bills.
  • Limits unwanted air exchanges in the home and provides more control over home temperatures.
  • Acts as both a sealant and a door stop.
  • Fits standard doors, but can be cut to fit smaller doors.

This type of door weatherstripping is comprised of polyethylene-clad urethane foam that remains flexible through temperatures as low as minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. The foam is secured to an aluminum (metal/steel) or vinyl (PVC), carrier. The type of carrier that would be ideal for your home depends on the door that the weatherstrip will be installed on:

  • Aluminum: Heavy duty carrier that is ideal for metal or wood doors.
  • Vinyl: Suitable for use on doors that are not metal, steel, or wood.

Weatherproofing doors with a q-lon weatherstrip is an easy, inexpensive way to save on energy costs for your home.

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Energy Saving Kits and Weatherization Workshops Available Across the US

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Weatherization Kit

The U.S. Department of Energy Weatherization Assistance Program provides grants to states, territories, and some Indian tribes to improve the energy efficiency of the homes of low-income families by providing energy conservation products.

The grants enable local governments and nonprofit agencies to provide weatherization services and home energy upgrades. The low-cost improvements, like adding weather stripping to doors and windows to save energy, lead to long-term savings.

In addition to helping families save money, the resources saved through energy conservation also helps our country reduce its dependence on foreign oil and decreases emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Weatherization Assiatance Program (WAP) has training centers across the country and boasts some impressive statistics:

  • Since the inception of the WAP, over 7 million homes have been weatherized with DOE funds.
  • Energy savings average 35% of consumption for the typical low-income home.
  • Occupants of weatherized homes experience in the range of $400 in annual savings on their energy bills, at current energy prices.
  • Weatherization measures reduce national energy demand by the equivalent of 24.1 million barrels of oil per year.

If you do not have a WAP in your area, look for a Community Action Partnership (CAP) program.

Their weatherization program is available for both homeowners and renters who receive fuel assistance. Using local licensed contractors, the program provides free major improvements, such as attic and wall insulation, air sealing, and other energy-saving repairs.

These organizations and other local agencies, like the Community Energy Project in OR, offer weatherization workshops to learn how to install energy saving devices in your home.

Energy Saving Kits often include items such as reusable vinyl storm window kits, door weatherstripping, pipe insulation, a compact fluorescent light and more.

Conservation Mart offers a wide variety of weatherization, energy conservation products and water saving devices directly to consumers and we are happy to customize kits for your organization. Please call us for a quote: 1-800-789-8598.

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Does A CPDS Spray Foam Machine Need Special Foam?

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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

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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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DIY Insulation: Closed Cell Spray Foam Kits

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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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