Pole Barn Insulation Application and its Benefits

An uninsulated pole barn, garage or farm building always bears the risk of having problems with condensation at certain air temperatures. Using our pole barn insulation better helps regulating temperature and moisture inside the building to make a structure safe and comfortable for its inhabitants.

The non-toxic insulation material, which is recyclable, is both fire and moisture resistant. The product does not promote the growth of fungi and bacteria and is non-corrosion to make the building lasts longer.

The insulation product consists reflective foil layers on the outside. It is thin, lightweight, flexible and strong and can be cut with a knife. The product is easily stapled, nailed and glued in a place.

The roof of a pole barn or building is insulated by placing the insulation blankets at the top or bottom of the truss. While a metal liner panel is insulated at the bottom of the rafters. In both the cases the insulation blankets are positioned over the top of the banding or liner panel.

In the warm months, without insulation, the temperature arising out of radiation from th hot roof and walls of the pole barn can pose a problem. The higher heat can badly affect the livestock and poultry which lack an effective cooling mechanism. Heat stress contributes to their lower milk production and reduced fertility.

The Insulation product takes care of the two basic prevailing conditions of temperatures and moisture inside pole barns. Since the material is non absorbent, the reflective insulation is not easily broken down and does not promote mold or fungus growth. The insulation helps to protect livestock and poultry from heat stress by controlling humidity, air flow and solar radiation.

In addition to managing indoor temperatures of the building, the insulation also helps to control condensation. The vapor retarding reflective insulation resists moisture and its accumulation in the walls and ceilings causing dripping, rot, mold and fungus.

Insulating HVAC Ducts Can Save Big Bucks

If you haven’t looked at your HVAC ducts lately, or ever, you may be losing money every time the system comes on. The ductwork connected to the HVAC system carries the heated or cooled air to various parts of the home. However, it the ducts are not insulated, some of the temperature from the air duct escapes through transfer. In fact, the Department of Energy reports that up to 20 percent of air is lost through uninsulated ducts. Preventing this is easily accomplished using the right HVAC insulation material.

Why Energy Transfer Is Bad

In addition to heat escaping from the HVAC ducts, there are other factors that can impact energy loss from your HVAC system. For example, most ducts are located in unfinished areas of the home, primarily the attic, basement and the crawlspace. These areas reach freezing temperatures in winter, and attic temps can reach over 100 degrees in the summer. That is like putting your HVAC ducts into a freezer in the winter and into an oven in the summer. By insulating the ducts, you make them less susceptible to the wide temperature swings of the areas where they are installed.

How Duct Insulation Works

Duct insulation works just like the insulation in your attic. It blocks the transfer of air, whether hot or cold, to the duct. Thus, the air inside the duct stays at virtually the same temperature it was when it came out of your HVAC system. The end result is that your HVAC system doesn’t have to constantly turn on and off, which reduces wear and tear and saves you money too. Additionally, you will notice that your home feels more comfortable because it stays at a more consistent temperature.

Reflective Bubble Insulation Is Best

There are several types of insulation materials that can be used on HVAC ductwork, including insulation sleeves, foil-backed adhesive foam and fiberglass. However , there is another, newer option. Foil bubble wrap insulation is a duct wrap insulation material that has a reflective material on the exterior that helps to deflect heat away from the duct. In addition, it blocks moisture and condensation from getting into the duct, which is critical. The areas where ducts are typically installed are often high in condensation which can enter the ductwork and then the home. Proper installation of foil bubble wrap requires the uses of spacers to create an air gap between the bubble wrap and the actual duct.

Should You Buy Foil Faced Fiberglass Insulation?

Yes but no. You should certainly use foil facings and fiberglass insulation. But do you want to purchase it as just one product? Maybe not if you are watching your budget.

Foil facings applied to fiberglass insulation although still very common as duct wrap insulation are not as common for standard construction use as they were in this home built in the late 1980’s. Check out the pictures below.

We recently set out to find the material and get an idea of what it costs. What we found is that you can still get it in home centers as a special order item typically in pallet quantities.

When we researched cost we were shocked to find out how much the difference was between foil faced, kraft faced, or the unfaced varieties. We did our calculations on about 1,000 square feet.

Basically in all cases, buying unfaced fiberglass and purchasing a standalone radiant barrier saves a lot of money as compared to purchasing the foil faced fiberglass.   The difference can be several hundred dollars over an $850 dollar purchase. It’s clear the fiberglass companies get a premium for using kraft and foil facings.

Another benefit is when you purchase radiant barriers separately you can find people like ourselves that specialize in the products, ensuring you are getting top quality products.  The amount of technical information available for the foil facings on the fiberglass was very limited.

InfraStop® Concrete Insulation – Customer Project – New Jersey Post Frame Barn

Thank you to B.P. for the awesome photos of his concrete slab pour in his new pole barn located in Central New Jersey.

InfraStop® concrete insulation is ideal for use in residential and commercial applications. There are several attributes that make InfraStop® concrete insulation a good choice for under slab and under slab radiant heat applications.

Lightweight and flexible but tough, InfraStop® concrete insulation is a vapor barrier so you don’t have to use poly plastic sheets. Unlike poly, InfraStop® is also a radon and methane barrier. It’s a rolled product so handling and moving around the jobsite is easy. . Installation is fast allowing you to cover large square footage projects quickly. Installing InfraStop® is also easy with just a razor knife and seam tape. Because it’s flexible InfraStop® will contour to uneven grades without cracking. And, compared to the price of rigid foam board insulation, the material costs are much less.

Take a look at this great slab pour for B.P’s pole barn. The barn is located in Central New Jersey.

B.P. Thanks again for the pictures.

Insulating Roof of Indoor Riding Ring in North Carolina – Customer Project

Thank you H.J. for submitting pictures of your indoor riding ring.  This beautiful post and frame building has a metal roof and side walls.  The roof is insulated with InfraStop® double bubble white foil insulation giving an excellent radiant barrier to the exterior and clean white finish to the interior.  The decorative trusses look great.  We wish you good luck with your building and horses!

Investing in Insulation

Adding insulation into a home, garage, shed, barn, or other outbuilding is not a glamorous home improvement project, but if done properly will provide a positive return on your investment. Upgrading the quality or amount of insulation will reduce monthly heating and cooling costs resulting in overall savings and make any structure feel more comfortable.

Few homes and buildings are constructed with an appropriate amount of insulation necessary to maximize heating and cooling benefits. The amount of insulation needed depends on three primary factors, location, usage, and current heating/cooling expenses.

Location: Where your property is located will impact the amount of insulation you might need in your home or outbuildings. While many people think of insulation in terms of cold climates, it is important to remember that the proper insulation can keep the heat out in the summer as well as retain it during the winter, reducing cooling costs as well. Buildings located in temperate climates require less but often different types of insulation than those located in areas which experience extreme cold or heat.

Usage: How a building is used will also determine how much insulation is needed. A home that is heated and cooled will benefit from higher insulation protection than a barn used to store a camper. However, some outbuildings may require more insulation such as sheds used as workshops or to store items that can be damaged by extreme temperatures. While most buildings require some level of insulation, some will need more than others.

Current Expense: Most gas and electric companies can provide you with information about the average cost of heating or cooling homes of specific square-footage in your community. This data combined with your own budgetary goals can help you determine if you need more insulation and if so, how much makes financial sense.

To achieve a true return on your investment when increasing the levels of insulation, it is important to add only as much as is needed to achieve heating and cooling goals. Spending too much on additional insulation products can reduce the financial benefit you receive. There are many cost-efficient and effective products on the market including reflective insulation, foil insulation, radiant barriers. However, there are also some products that can cost as much as $250 per square foot and offers a level of insulation unnecessary for most buildings.

When considering options, the goal should be to maximize the level of insulation at a cost that will reduce monthly expenses and result in an overall savings.

Man’s Early Insulation

While a burning fire provided warmth, light and the ability to heat food, insulation in the form of animal hides gave Homo erectus, Homo ergaster, and other early humans the continual protection needed to survive freezing weather. Over 1.5 million years ago, humans lost much of their body when they became fully bipedal and lived on the flat African savannahs. After several million years of prolonged walking and running across the savannah, early humans experienced an evolutionary genetic process called natural selection that eventually replaced their hair with sweat glands necessary to regulate body temperature and prevent hyperthermia.

Does This Coat Make Me Look Fat?

Oxford University anthropologists Walter Bodmer and Mark Pagel have suggested that hair loss resulted when early humans developed insights into utilizing animal hides and wearing them to protect the body during freezing weather. Since rudimentary stone tools were needed to produce clothing made of tough animal skin (skinning an animal is not easily performed with bare hands), anthropologists think we may have started insulating ourselves with clothing made from animal skins after developing tools, leaving Africa over one million years ago., and encountering much cooler weather.

Designer Rack Clothing–Who was the First Tommy Hilfiger?

Because fibrous clothing deteriorates in tropical, humid weather, the oldest evidence found that substantiates early humans’ ability to weave clothing from plant or animal fibers was found in Czech Republic and dates back to the Upper Paleolithic period, around 25,000 BCE. Early insulation for the body included animal hide clothing, shoes and accessories such as bone needles, and dye and bleaching technology that may have provided clothes with hierarchical meanings within a tribe.

When the first anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) left Africa about 100,000 years ago, Neanderthals already inhabited parts of Europe and had developed both genetic and creative adaptations to survive the brutal cold of Earth’s last glacial period. Neanderthals tanned hides, colored them with ochre staining and probably wore shoes made of tougher animal skins. Animals hunted by Neanderthals for their meat and hides include wild boar, mammoth, reindeer, elephants (straight-tusked) and an extinct species of wild cattle called aurochs.

Otzi, the Well-Dressed Ice Man

Otzi the Ice Man is a mummified Neolithic corpse possibly 5300 years old who was discovered in 1991 buried on a mountainside in the Italian-Austrian Alps. What’s fascinating about Otzi is the type and amount of insulative clothing he wore–a goat and deer-hide jacket, a loincloth, leggings, a cape made from bark and Alpine grass, a bearskin hat and shoes composed of goat and bear skin insulated with hardy grass types.

Home Sweet Home

Anthropologists speculate that Homo heidelbergensis may have been the first Homo sapiens to construct a simple shelter from natural objects such as plants, rocks and wood. Evidence about 400,000 years old from the Terra Amata site in France suggests that these early homes were large and elongated enough to house extended families. Previously, shelters had consisted of caves, cliff over hangings or simple hearths perhaps protected by large rocks surrounding one or more fires.

Energy Efficient Inuit Homes

Descending from the Thule culture who crossed Siberia and emerged in western Alaska around 1000 BCE, the Inuit relied on driftwood, bones and animal hides to create homes called tupiq that were insulated and tough enough to withstand the bitter Artic cold. Temporary shelters made from snow and ice called iglus offered protection from the elements outside a permanent settlement.

Animal skins also provided the Inuit with footwear, leggings and parkas sewn with bone needles and sinew. Bearded seal skin or caribou boots kept their feet from suffering frostbite when hunting or fishing in subzero weather.

Could We Survive an Ice Age Today Using Early Forms of Insulation?

Maybe. However, most of the animals hunted for clothing and shelter thousands of years ago are extinct. In addition, many creatures with the types of skins required to give us the insulation we would need to survive 5000 years of below normal temperatures, raging blizzards and ice sheets have dwindled in numbers so drastically that there wouldn’t be enough of them to provide the billions of people living on Earth with enough insulation to live as successfully in the wild as our predecessors.

 

How Aluminum Foil Insulates

Many insulating materials come with a layer or multiple layers of aluminum foil. In fact a basic radiant barrier can function properly with but aluminum foil. Given that metals conduct heat rather well, especially aluminum, it might seem strange to use it as an insulating material. Here’s how it works.

Heat Transfer Basics

Heat is really a measure of the energy of the atoms in a material. The more energy they have the higher the material’s temperature. This energy is transferred in three ways: by conduction, convection, and radiation (and don’t forget that heat always flows away from its source, from hot to cold.)

Conduction happens when thermal energy is transferred through a material. When atoms are tightly packed, as they are in a solid metal, the energy moves easily.

In a gas the atoms have more space, and the energy moves more slowly. That’s why bubble materials are effective – like down in a winter coat, which creates similar micro-air pockets – they slow the rate at which heat moves.

Convection takes place when a liquid or gas expands. This makes it less dense and it rises, letting cooler fluid take it’s place. That’s why we say that heat rises.

This leaves us with a puzzle: how does heat from the sun reach us through the vacuum of space?

The answer is as light, both visible and invisible, or infrared. The sun radiates light, some of which passes through the earth’s atmosphere to be absorbed by plants, soil, water, and so on.

Absorbing Radiant Energy

Some materials absorb light, and hence energy, better than others. A shiny material like aluminum tends to reflect a lot of heat while wood and concrete absorb a much higher proportion. That means aluminum is slow to warm up when exposed to radiant heat.

Re-radiating, or emitting

Everything that absorbs heat tends to give it off again. (Stand near a brick wall that’s baked in midday sun and you’ll feel the heat being radiated.) And just as some materials reflect better than others, some radiate heat better. This property of being a heat radiator is termed “emissivity” and it’s given a value from 0 to 1.

(Scientifically speaking, emissivity is the ratio between how much heat a material emits and the amount emitted by a ‘perfect’ emitter, otherwise known as a “black body”.)

Iron and steel are quite good emitters and have emissivity numbers in the region of 0.5. (This is why they glow red hot when heated in a furnace or by a welding torch – they are radiating heat.)

Aluminum has an emissivity of around 0.04. That means it radiates very little heat away from its surface, which is one reason why radiators aren’t made from aluminum!

Insulating with Foil

Aluminum foil can be an effective insulating material because it doesn’t radiate heat out into the environment. That’s what makes it effective directly under a roof: although it will warm up through conduction from the shingles, it won’t radiate that heat out into the attic space.  In HVAC applications for example, the foil blocks heat from entering or escaping keeping the temperature where it is wanted inside the ducts.  This same concept is used in many other residential and commercial applications.

And that’s how foil insulates.

 

Garage Door Insulation – Reflecting the Heat

Garage Door Insulation TexasIs your garage insulated? If you are a typical homeowner, you’ve probably thought about insulating your garage to keep it warmer in cold weather (with the assistance of a small heater) but didn’t want to spend the money or time on something you really only need a few months out of the year.

Alternately, homeowners living in southern states have to cope with hot, stuffy garages all the time. Depending on the size of a garage, the cost of insulating the walls and ceiling could reach $1000 or more. Then you have the skin and respiratory irritations caused by fiberglass insulation, as well as the depressing thought of spending an entire weekend cooped up in a sweltering (or freezing) garage.

Actually, It’s the Garage Door’s Fault

Forget about insulating your garage walls and ceiling because it’s not their fault your garage is uninhabitable–it’s actually the garage door’s fault for allowing most of the heat and cold into the garage. But the good news is you can insulate your garage door with an inexpensive, low-profile, easy to install type of insulation that is impervious to moisture and capable of repelling even the most intense UV rays.

Reflective Insulation Will Make You Fall In Love With Your Garage Again

In addition to allowing you to reclaim your garage, reflective insulation also provides these benefits:

  • Reduces energy bills in the home by keeping the garage temperature moderated (attached garages share a wall with the home)
  • Maximizes the efficiency of temperature-sensitive appliances in the garage (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
  • Makes the garage a more pleasant work environment (for vehicle repairs, big projects)
  • Reduces the level of outside noise
  • Contributes to a warmer garage in the winter and a cooler garage in the summer
  • Reflective insulation is quick to install and much easier on your wallet than fiberglass or “blown” insulation

For homeowners living in steamy, southern climates, reflective insulation on garage doors not only keeps garages nice and cool but can help minimize infestations of insects or rodents seeking overly warm, dank conditions to raise more pests.

Installing garage door insulation is the key to maintaining a comfortable temperature in your garage, regardless of the climate. Because reflective insulation has an aluminum layer on both sides, it works to prevent radiant heat from penetrating solid objects by powerfully reflecting it away from whatever it is insulating–specifically your garage door and garage.

 

 

Customer Project: Insulating Exhaust Line for Portable AC Unit

Sometime in early March a customer called in looking to see if InfraStop® would work for his DIY project. “P.J” in Boca Raton, Florida wanted to insulate the exhaust line on his interior air conditioning unit. The exhaust line was very warm and he was concerned that although he was cooling his bedroom, the exhaust line was making it harder for the air conditioning unit to do its job.

We explained to him this is why InfraStop® is so effective for duct wrap insulation and in related HVAC applications. Even though his project was small, the principle was the same. He needed to control the radiant heat escaping the AC unit’s exhaust line and keep it from entering his conditioned space, in this case his bedroom.

P.J. was a little skeptical that our insulation would work as well as we explained so we decided to send him a roll at no charge in agreement that he would send pictures of his project and let us know how our material worked whether good or bad.

We did our part and P.J. did his and now has a much cooler exhaust line on his interior AC unit. Take a look at the pictures and project narration he sent back to us. Thanks P.J!