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Minnesota Department of Commerce: “Beware the Insulation Contractor Who Does Not Include Air Sealing”

By In Attic Bypass, attic insulation On January 3, 2014


MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

Minnesota Energy Tips

January 2, 2014

Beware the Insulation Contractor Who Does Not Include Air Sealing

Consumers should beware of insulation contractors who offer to insulate attics without checking for and sealing attic air leaks. If the offer to insulate does not include sealing air leaks, then the contractor is in violation of the Minnesota energy code, which says “Attic insulation may not be installed unless accessible attic bypasses have been sealed.”

Before building science demonstrated the role that air leaks play in energy loss, it was commonly believed that insulation was enough to stop heat flow through a home or building. Although insulation slows heat transfer, it is easily compromised by air flow. The only way to stop this air movement—and associated heat loss—is by eliminating the air leaks between the inside of the house and the outside. First step to tightening one’s home: Identify air leaks and seal them.

Adding insulation is a great way to reduce the amount of energy that you use, but it only reduces energy costs if it is installed per the manufacturer’s instructions and in conjunction with air sealing activities.

Consumers should conduct careful research before investing in any energy-efficiency technology or improvement and before signing with a contractor. Get at least three bids. Utility companies and nonprofit energy groups may have contractors they recommend, and utilities may offer consumer rebates for insulation work. Get references and check sources like the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota (651-699-1111or 1-800-646-6222) to see if there are any complaints or actions against contractors.

For more information on insulation and other energy-efficient measures to improve your home, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources (DER) at 800-657-3710 or 651-539-1882 or visit www.energy.mn.gov. DER provides a free home energy guide called Home Envelope with detailed information about air sealing and insulation, saving energy, and selecting a contractor.

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Minnesota Energy Tips is provided twice a month by the Minnesota Department of Commerce, Division of Energy Resources. Contact the division’s Energy Information Center at energy.info@state.mn.us or 800-657-3710 with energy questions.


About the Author

Reuben

Reuben is a second generation home inspector with a passion for his work. He grew up remodeling homes and learning about carpentry since he was old enough to hold a hammer. Reuben has worked for Structure Tech since it was purchased by Neil in 1997, and is now co-owner of the company. Reuben’s favorite customers are the ones who have a lot of questions; he grew up thinking he was going to be a school teacher because he enjoyed teaching others so much. In a sense, that’s a lot of what home inspections are about, so Reuben truly does what he loves. Reuben has an A.A. degree in liberal arts and has attended most of the Building Inspection Technology classes at North Hennepin Community College. Reuben and his wife are the proud parents of two young childen, Cy Alexander and Lucy Nicole, and have a German Shepherd named Stanley. With two young children Reuben doesn’t have much free time, but he still tries to play disc golf as often as possible during the summer. Reuben lives in Maple Grove, MN. Professional Qualifications / Memberships: *ASHI Certified Inspector *President, ASHI Heartland Chapter *Member, Minnesota Society of Housing Inspectors (MSHI) *Licensed Minneapolis Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Saint Paul Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Maplewood Truth-in-Sale of Housing Evaluator *Licensed Hopkins Truth-in-Housing Evaluator *Licensed Robbinsdale Point of Sale Evaluator *Affiliate Member, Southern Twin Cities Association of Realtors

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