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A
"I am very satisfied with the job they did. They arrived on the date we specified and the time we agreed on. It took a little a little more than an hour to complete" the job. I highly recommend them.

-Raymond K.

B
"The company responded promptly; the representative (I don't remember his name) came on time for the appointment. He arrived and we discussed my current insulation." He used my ladder to climb up and then looked into (but did not enter) the attic from both the hallway and garage. The representative then presented slick magazine advertisements for VERY expensive replacement insulation, which I said was more than I could afford and far more costly than any I had ever seen. The representative left me with the paperwork, and advised that my insulation was a "tinderbox" that could ignite at any moment (it was installed as part of a remodel in 2007). The whole process lasted no more than 30 minutes. I don't know what I expected, but I felt I was given a "hard-sell" estimate for products and materials whose costs were higher than average.

-Lynn C.

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Local Articles in Sterling

The Angie's List Guide to Winter Maintenance

It's the time of year when the winter weather can take a toll. Follow this winter maintenance checklist to protect your home, your car and your health.

Avoid ice dams with proper attic insulation

Do you have icicles forming on your eaves and gutters and ice collecting on your roof? An ice dam can cause serious problems without proper insulation.

Even in cold-weather climates, homes often lack insulation between the finished, occupied portion of the home and the ground. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Paul B. of Bluffton, South Carolina)
Insulation, Energy Efficiency Auditing

Exterior foundation insulation is an often overlooked home improvement. It can help stop drafts, lower energy bills and keep your house warmer during winter.

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Contractors say homeowners with this trait are the most satisfied with home improvement projects.

With insulation technology always advancing, you’ve got choices to make when it comes to the material you pick, says Lindus. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Lynn M. of Columbus, Georgia)
Insulation

Thinking of installing your own insulation? One highly rated provider shares six things that every homeowner should be aware of before attempting to DIY.

Before winter arrives, ensure your attic is sealed properly and has both adequate insulation and ventilation. (Photo courtesy of member Kitty Jones of Columbus, Ohio)
Insulation, Heating & A/C, Roofing

A comfortable, energy efficient home starts at the top. Those hot spots and cold rooms may relate to problems in your attic. Beyond adding insulation, what's a homeowner to do?

Angie's Answers

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Google and read about it. Some people swear by it, though their comments sound suspiciously like they were all written by the same person. Some call it a rip off - expecially people paying $6000-8000 for what would normally be a $1,000 range job.

I would not call it an outright fraud as they are providing a product that has some potential merit in the right application, but from a technical standpoint it sounds suspicious. They claim a 1/4 mat with doiuble sided foil facing is R-16 insulation. This at least is deceptive - they appear to be saying its radiant heat reflective properties give the equivalent of R-16 insulation, because there is NO WAY 1/4" foam is going to yield R-16 in an ASTM test for insulation, which is a thermal conductivity test. Would be lucky to get R-2 or so as an insulator, so this is basically a radiant barrier. Competing products from national brandname manufacturers list R value of 3.8-4.2 for one inch mats, so the equivalent for this 1/4" mat would be expected to be in the R1 range.

Properly installed, with ventilation on BOTH sides, it can be slightly effective in reducing radiant heat loss from the house, and more effective in reflecting heat in the attic from coming down into the house. However, from a thermodynamic and vapor control standpoint, they are trouble unless their integration into the house envelope is designed VERY carefully. Short explanation:

1) for keeping heat in the house, if they are installed above the attic floor insulation they can slightly limit air loss through the ceiling, and reflect radiant heat back down, resulting in warmer insulation, hence a warmer ceiling - but not as marked an improvement as added insulation would give.

2) for keeping attic heat from getting into the ceiling, they do reflect back a good portion of the radiant heat coming from the roof sheathing. This reduces the attic floor insulation surface temperature, so can reduce air conditioning cost. it does increase teh temperature in the attic, which can be very bad for support timbers and the roof sheathing.

3) the worst thing about how this type of foil radiant barrier is used is that, unless it has free air space on both sides, it acts as a vapor barrier. In the typicall application as a blanket over attic floor insulation, it traps any moisture coming up from the house, and can cause mildew and rot, especially in climates where the outdoor temperature gets quite cold.

4) the attic fans are generally a last resort measure - the normal house does much better, at no energy cost, using ridge vents with adequate eave openings to provide ventilation and cooling in the attic.

5) their effectiveness in winter heat diminshes rapidly with time - tests of attic radiant barriers show they lose about half their effectvieness within 5 years, because even a light dust coating greatly reduces their ability to reflect radiant heat, and greatly increases the absorption of heat from the hot air above them.

6) pay attention to cost - from what I see, their installed cost is many times the cost of normal insualtion or radiant barrier placement.

I would say, in summary, buyer beware, and I would be inherently leery of a product being sold the same way timeshares and "secret" moneymaking schemes are.

?

Obviously this is not a timely response to the initial question. However, for those who may be reading these answers at a later time, a couple of added thoughts:

1) the radiant barrier being discussed is basically heavy-duty metal foil or metallized surface on a plastic sheet, intended to reflect RADIATED heat (infrared radiation - think heat light, or heat you can feel at a distance radiated from a fireplace), the same way a mirror reflects light. Radiated heat is how a standard oven broils and how steam and hot water baseboard heat predominately work.

2) you generally should do NOT place a radiant barrier over the insulation that lies between and over the joists in a normal attic, especially in a region where the attic temperature can frequently reach condensation temperature (below about 45-50 degrees) - it may reflect back some of the house heat that is coming up from the house, but by destroying most of the temperature gradient from the house to the attic air destroys much of the driving force that moves moisture to the attic air and subsequent venting. Between that greater heat and the fact the barrier is also a moisture barrier, that makes a perfect condition for mold and rot in your insulation and attic wood, and has become quite an issue in energy upgraded homes because of retrofits that cut off airflow outside the insulation, but do not cut off the moisture source leaking thorough from the house. The proper and ONLY place for a vapor barrier in a normal attic insulation system is on the pressurized and normal warm, humid side of the insulation zone - directly above the ceiling drywall in the top floor, fastened to the UNDERSIDE of the ceiling joists or trusses, NOT anywhere above that. Perforated barriers are supposed to reduce this tendency, but the perforation area percentage is so small that typically they still act as a vapor varrier, just not a totally effective one.

3) radiant barriers reflect radiated heat ewith up to 99% efficiency but have basically zero resistance to CONDUCTION (body to body heat transfer at points of contact - think heat transfer from your warm hand to a frozen cold drink can, or hot pavement heat transfer to the bottom of your feet) - so there needs to be an air gap between the radiant barrier and the hot item passing the heat to it, otherwise the heat will just pass through it by conduction. Therefore, applying it directly to the sheathing (above or below) or manufacturing it directly on the surface of the sheathing defeats its purpose, even though this is commonly done.

4) there is a lot of discussion, particularly in the professional design community, about attic radiant heat barrier effectiveness and problems. Because they are being installed on the bottom of the sheathing or underside of roof joists, they act as a heat trap for the energy being conducted through the roof which would normally radiate into the attic air or be transferred by CONVECTION (fluid flow heat transfer) to the attic air, and be vented through roof vents, ridge vents, gable vents, etc. By trapping that heat, they are causing the underside of the shingles and particularly the felt and sheathing to get a lot hotter than they otherside would, essentially changing it from a system where the shingle top surface might reach 120-180 F and the inside surface of the sheathing about 80-140F in the summer, to making the entire roof system equal to the outside surface temperature. This causes more rapid shingle deterioration and cracking, and makes the felt or plastic moisture barrier under the shingles brittle and subject to failure.

Also, any moisture above the radiant barrier (from roof leaks or humid air coming into the area) is prevented from evaporating by the attic airflow which would normally remove it, so it starts acting like a steamer. I have seen both wood and metal lofts and attics become a major mold farm in months because of this effect, and a couple of roofs which started sagging due to rotted sheathing within 2 years of reroofing with tightly adhered radiant barrier. Some radiant barriers are vapor-permeable to reduce the moisture issue, many are not, but few actually are effective in letting moisture freely escape.

Having seen these products in use, and having analyzed and specified building products for use from the Middle East to the Arctic for decades, and having a Masters in Arctic Engineering (a degree predominately in energy conservation and heat flow), my personal opinion is that these radiant barriers will be banned by code within 10-15 years for unheated (so-called "cold" roofs) roofs, because they just do not use the principles of thermodynamics correctly. For more info on this issue Google the following search phrase  - moisture trapping by radiant attic barriers       and read the government (not the manufacturer) literature on the issue.

5) Unfortunately, the right way to handle this issue is to put the radiant surface on the OUTSIDE of the house - by using reflective materials on the roofing material. This is already done with flat roofs, house trailers, and industrial structures by spraying with alumiunum paint, and a few brands offer reflective aggregate shingles that are slightly more reflective and radiant than normal shingles. People obviously do not like this reflective surface from an aesthetic standpoint, though with solar cells coming into more general use this may soon be more widely adopted. The idea should be to keep the solar energy from penetrating into the building envelope at all, not try to re-reflect it away after it has penetrated throguh the roof system.

The sprayed-in foam has a couple of issues you need to be aware of:

6) it needs to be the low-pressure expanding type mixed for use around window frames, as fully expanding foam can bow joists or trusses and pop drywall ceilings free as it expands, and non-expanding foam actually shrinks as it cures, leaving gaps for air and heat flow alongside the ceiling joists.

7) being closed-cell it is essentially impervious to moisture, so the vapor barrier on the house side has to be EXCELLENT (incuding sealingof all penetrations), or it will trap household moisture escaping into the attic and promote mold and rot in the ceiling drywall and joists.

8) it tends to bleed chemical fumes into the house for a long period of time (can be noticeable for years), which may be objectionable to some people from an odor or environmental standpoint, and especially should be considered if any residents have severe allergy issues or respiratory problems.

9) I emphatically recommend AGAINST use of sprayed-in foam between ceiling joists or truss members in any area that can have cold attic air that could cause moisture condensation in the insulation, though this is probably not a significant problem where you live, assuming your Dallas is the city in Texas. For essentially year-around air-conditioned homes in hot climates, the problem can actually be condensation of attic air moisture on and in the colder ceiling surface insulation and on cold attic runs of air conditioned air, so attic ventilation becomes a critical issue to remove the moisture before it condenses.

In summary, having seen an awful lot of attic moisture and thermal problems, my personal recommendation would be to ensure excellent sealing of the house from the attic, use normal UNFACED fiberglass insulation, and instead of a radiant barrier ensure adequate full-attic ventilation. If you decide to got with a radiant barrier, then I would recommend a perforated one, sloping up towards the sides a foot or two and stopping a foot or so clear at the sides so moist air under it can escape to the roof joist spaces and be vented from the attic. I have seen this done several times with a fine nylon net strung above the insulation in the attic, supporting the barrier, resulting in something very similar to the double-roof system used in bedouin tents, where airflow between the two layers keep the hot air away from the living space.

?

A couple of comments about what Jim said:

1) Regarding type of insulation, in cold winter environments: Cellulose and fiberglass are actually about comparable in R value when installed - blown in cellulose runs from 3.2-3.8 R value, fiberglass batt 2.9-4.3 R value depending on manufacturer and whether hig-density or low density, high-efficiency or standard, according to official Department of Energy publications. Measured values in attic test cases, in areas with a true winter, after 10 years showed a decrease from 3.4 (in the test case) down to 2.1 for cellulose, and 3.5 to 3.3 for fiberglass batt, due to packing or matting. In an attic environment, there WILL be condensation or frost on the insulation at some point during the year (assuming an area with true winters) and in highly insulated houses commonly for a substantial time period each winter. Fiberglass packs down slightly from that weight but mostly rebounds, cellulose packs down and mats and does not substantially recover, so over the years cellulose loses 1/3 to close to 1/2 its insulation value, fiberglass about 10%.

2) a note on radiation barriers attached to the bottom of the rafters - there are a lot of installers and homeowners making two major mistakes with this product that can cause major trouble: First, be sure to terminate it short of the eave openings. I have seen cases where it was carried all the way out to the fascia board, thereby blocking all airflow on the underside of the roof. Even carrying it all the way to the eaves along the bottom of the rafters will block off ventilation to the main attic area. You have to leave the air space between the rafters open to full airflow from the soffit/eave area ot the ridge vent. Second, do NOT run it continuous from eave to eave across the full width of the attic - leave a gap about a foot wide under the ridge vents so warm and moist air in the attic can vent through the ridge vent. Closing the ridge vent area off with the radiant barrier effectively puts a vapor barrier around the main attic area, causing retention of the moisture which WILL accumulate there, promoting mold.

?
Steve made a good point.  Also, while it isn't required to remove the old insulation you can check the ductwork, wiring, etc. with the old stuff removed,  You can also spray foam around all openings and holes in wall top plates to better seal your home as Steve was pointing out.  My concern is the potential for mold spores you mentioned in your question.  If you suspect there are any get a good company in to remove the old and clean the attic.  Another concern is asbestos.  Your home is old enough you could have it in there and that's worse than mold if released into the air.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
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Insulation reviews in Sterling

A

Rating
My point of contact with ABET was
Sterling Insulation Contractors Provider Name Locked
. He was very responsive to my emails, set the appointment up quickly and showed up on time. He was courteous and professional while going through the various compartments of our house determining where heat could be escaping and cold air sneaking in. He's clearly been doing this work for awhile and was very knowledgeable. We received a very thorough report within a few days of the visit along with cost estimates for addressing major concerns. The report broke down what each portion of the project would accomplish and how long it would take to recover the investment through savings on our energy bill.
- Nathan C.
A

Rating
They had to run a tube from their truck to attic entryway which is in master bedroom..They were very careful to cover everythin
with sheets/blankets..This to prevent dust from settling on furniture..They did a great job...I would hire them again..
- HARRY J.
A

Rating
It was a great experience. The team arrived on time and did not disturb us while working in the attic. Great service and will definitely recommend them to anyone that would like to save on their electric bill.
- Carol F.
A

Rating
All has gone well. They provided all documentation necessary for PUD reimbursement. PUD rebate $946 More vents had to be added per PUD requirements. Not included in the original estimate, these were added at no cost. Clean up was complete everything was hauled away for disposal.
- lynn M.
F

Rating
Mo replied with email within hours after I left the message. He came the same day to look at the ceiling. He was extremely thorough, even going to the attic to assess the existent insulation there. As he was leaving , Mo promised to submit the quote within a few days. After a week passed by, I tried to contact him to no avail. As of 02/24th , Mo has not returned my call or submitted the quote.
- EUGENE B.
A

Rating
Sterling Insulation Contractors Provider Name Locked
came to the rescue after the plumbing that ran through our uninsulated crawl space froze. He was able to make time for us in his schedule right away and spent the day insulating our crawlspace and our pipes to help prevent another freeze. The space is now weatherized and will help us retain heat in the winter and cold in the summer.
- Deborah S.
A

Rating
The rep,
Sterling Insulation Contractors Provider Name Locked
, did a thorough inspection and reported that the attic was clean and well-insulated. He found evidence of a bees' nest which he removed and sealed the opening. He recommended that I consider adding a radiant
Sterling Insulation Contractors Provider Name Locked
to the exisiting insulation because it would reduce my AC's electrical consumption in the summer months and would save on the wear-and-tear of the central air system. I appreciated his clear explanation and promised I would consider this upgrade. I would hire this contractor again.
- Anna S.
A

Rating
The staff was friendly and happily answered all of my questions. They were on time for both the attic inspection appointment and the installation appointment. They brought all of the appropriate equipment, worked fast, and cleaned up before they left. I would use this company again and would recommend to others.
- Sherry H.

All Insulation Contractors in Sterling, IL

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

A FISCHER BUILDERS INC

814 OHIO ST
Quincy

All-Pro Home Improvement

97 Marion Street
Walnut Hill

American Home Shield

889 Ridge Lake Blvd

Anything Exterior, Inc

17919 Grandview Dr
Sterling

Bergschneider Well & Pump

117 Reinbach St
Franklin

Billy the kid & Son

401 E 1st. St.
Pana

blast master

14727 n 200th street

Carter Quality Home Improvements

2009 EASTGATE ST
Olney

CJ Insulation

305 Boombah Blvd
Yorkville

Dan Hanell Construction Inc

3900 24th St
Moline

Dave's Contracting & Cleaning Inc

All over Illinios
Plainfield

E and J Services

21828 Dove Lane
Carlyle

ENERGY SEAL FOAM INSULATION

29755 1250 East St
Walnut

Exterior Touch Inc.

12610 Waverly RD.

H.O.M.E. LLC

Montgomery

Healthy Spaces

2501 N Cullen Ave

Illiana Insulation Inc

PO Box 300
Cissna Park

Illinois Valley Insulation

PO Box 364
Princeton

Insulation Service

11693 N County Road 1200e
Charleston

J & R Remodeling and Construction

215 W 16th St
Metropolis

JB&D Siding & Window-Galesburg

425 Home Blvd.
Galesburg

McCormick Insulation Co

3031 Hickory Grove Rd

Mid Northern Construction

412 E Dixon St
Polo

Power Home Remodeling Group

9450 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
Rosemont

Prairie State Insulation

706 26th St
Roseville

R Cozzie Waterproofing

633 N Center St
Naperville

Saunders Insulation

201 E. Winslow Rd
Warren

Solutions Contracting

1173 BAinbridge St
Barry

Stormpro Construction LLC

548 Legend Lane
Mchenry

Top Notch Remodeling Inc

12040 S Aero Dr
Plainfield

Warmzone

12637 S 265 W Suite 100

Window World

1100 NW Valley Ridge Dr.

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Sterling Zip Codes

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