(888) 383-HERS (4377)

Quality Insulation Inspection

Unsure about insulation requirements for your construction project? Learn more about Building Codes!

Quality Insulation Inspection

Insulation Requirements

If you are planning to build new walls, California requires compliance with Energy Efficiency Standards. Efficient insulation ensures that outside air does not affect the temperature-controlled air inside. Therefore, the HVAC won’t be overwhelmed, as each system in the building can work together. Yes, regulations apply to interior walls as well. Why? To prevent temperature fluctuations from room to room. Unless you’ve thoroughly studied Title 24 Building Codes, it can be difficult to determine what’s required in each situation. That’s because there are different rules depending on what type of wall is being built, and what materials are being used.

For starters, there are distinctive requirements for interior walls, exterior walls, attics, roofs, ceilings, soffits, ducts, and floors. Then, you must also take into account what type of metal or wood framing is being used. What a mouthful! Rather than trying to DIY, we recommend you seek the guidance of certified experts. From planning to implementation, an Energy Consultant’s job is to assist. That’s where we come in! Our HERS Raters stay up to date on all current codes, so you don’t have to. However, it’s still important to understand the basics.

There are a few key components that affect the energy efficiency of insulation:

1) R-Value

R-Value stands for heat flow resistance. A higher R-Value means greater resistance and thus better efficiency. Better efficiency means more comfort and lower energy bills. The factors that affect this measure are type, thickness, and density. Average values range from R13-R60. Typically, attics and exterior walls require the highest heat resistance.

2) U-Factor

The measure of thermal heat transfer. Where R-Value rates the materials of the insulation itself, U-Factor takes into account all of the walls’ elements including the size of air gaps and wall thickness. 

3) K-Factor

Thermal conductivity is rated on a scale of 0-1. Lower conductivity has more efficient performance.

4) C-Factor

C-factor is thermal conductance based on thickness. In other words, it rates the flow of heat through a particular quantity of material. 

 

Types of Insulation and Radiant Barriers

There are many different kinds of insulation to pick from. Some are more fire-resistant, sounds-resistant, and water-resistant than others because they are made from a variety of materials. In California, the installation of formaldehyde foam is banned. So, let’s get into the options available to you:

1) Spray Foam

Spray foam is a semiliquid that molds to the surfaces its applied to and dries into a solid. It’s usually used in conjunction with other types of insulation, but it’s applied first as a base. That’s because it’s perfect for sealing air gaps around outlets, fixtures, walls, windows, and doors. On top of preventing air leakage, it can prevent condensation, sound transfer, fire, and mold growth.

2) Fiberglass – Wools, Batts, Blow In, Boards 

Fiberglass is a common element of insulation that comes in many forms. It’s made from a combination of plastic and glass fibers, making it fire-repelling. It comes in many forms such as glass wool rolls, batt blankets, loose blow-in, and rigid foam boards. Often, rolls and blankets are covered in Kraft paper on one side to prevent water vapors. Alternatively, fiberglass insulation wrapped in foil can be used as duct insulation. Commonly used in attics and non-condition spaces, average insulating values for ductwork have are between R6-R8.

3) Mineral Wool – Rock or Slag

Similar to fiberglass wool, mineral wool is made from a combination of wool and tiny fibers. Except, instead of glass fibers and plastic, mineral wool is made from organic compounds such as volcanic rock, limestone, diabase, and/or slag (from steel). The recycled materials in this product make it a more eco-friendly alternative to fiberglass. Furthermore, mineral wool is more dense, giving it a higher R-Value. 

4) Polyiso Sheathing

Pressed polyisocyanurate foam creates rigid insulating boards that are known as polyiso sheathing. They are more efficient and resistant to heat flow as compared to fiberglass foam boards. Foam boards are thin and light, minimizing space, labor, and materials.  

5) Cellulose – Blow In, Spray on, Boards

Cellulose is another name for plant fiber, making this another environmentally-friendly option. Loose blow in type insulation is mixed with treated newspaper. Spray on cellulose is in a semiliquid form that applies like spray foam. Lastly, it also comes in the form of foam boards which have an even higher performance than polystyrene foam. One great advantage of cellulose is that it’s non-toxic and can thus improve indoor air quality. We give this product our green stamp of approval!

6) Radiant Barrier

Radiant Barriers are made from highly reflective material to repel thermal radiation. Either paint or foil is placed on the inside of the ceilings’ roof/attic space. Radiant Barriers are about 97% reflective and require an air gap in order to prevent heat transfer. The roof is an important part of the building to insulate because they receive a majority of direct sunlight.

7) Insulated Concrete

Concrete walls can have insulation built in, making them strong and resistant to environmental factors. These designs are most common in low rise commercial and residential structures. They look exactly like regular concrete walls, except they are slightly thicker. With ICF’s your project can meet energy code standards with much less installation hassle. 

8) Structural Insulated Panels

SIP’s carry the same concept as insulated concrete, in that they’re created under factory controlled settings. Thusly, their efficiency ratings are consistent and reliable. Structural Insulated Panels consist of foam insulation sandwiched between two pieces of plywood. They’re used almost exclusively on exterior walls, as they result in quick and easy construction of framing. Another bonus is that they aid in preventing building leakage and contaminants from out air.

 

Quality Insulation Inspection Process

An energy consultant can help you select the correct insulation during the design phase. Otherwise, closely examine the Title 24 regulations that apply based on what year the permit was pulled. It’s also going to depend on what climate zone the structure is located in and the type of structure being built. A little extra time spent during this phase can speed up the entire process.

After your plans have been approved, the next step is installation verification. A HERS technician will perform the Quality Insulation Inspection. The building department requires this additional inspection be performed by an energy efficiency specialist to ensure that Energy Standards have been followed according to the plans. We come out at rough, before walls are up, to visually inspect for gaps as well as verify the R-values and U-factors. Lastly, we enter this data into a certificate of installation for the building department to access. All of our work is quality assured so that the energy compliance process goes smoothly. 

 

(888) 383-HERS (4377)

Contact Us

Please, let us know if you have a question or a comment!

Call Now ButtonClick To Call