Q&A

Fogarty's Home Services Q&A

Can a contractor effectively eliminate mold in my attic?

Fogarty's Home Services can remove your mold by using our Mold-X2 solutions. Mold-X2 Cleaner effectively eliminates mold and mildew stains on contact. It is non-abrasive and non-flammable, and is sprayed on effected areas. There is a temporary odor from the product, so we recommend that the homeowners leave the house for a few hours, depending on how well the space can be ventilated. Once Mold-X2 Cleaner is applied, mold disappears instantly, leaving wood surfaces looking nearly new. Mold X2 Botanical, a plant-based disinfectant with a pleasant, temporary scent, is sprayed or fogged on surfaces, which prevents mold from growing back. Results - Mold is eliminated, no odors or wood rot are present.

Can I insulate my barn floors?

With the help of Fogarty's Home Services, yes you can! When the outside air flows under a floor, it feels very cold and uncomfortable in the winter - especially with ceramic tile, linoleum, or laminate floors. Since the floor is the surface of the room we are in contact with most, it's very important to fix, in order to be comfortable. There are two issues - air leakage through the floor, because heat moves from more to less through solid materials. Even if there is fiberglass batt insulation in the floor, because it sags down away from the sub floor, the same outside air gets over it ("thermal bypass") rendering it useless. Mold on the floor joists and sub floor is also a concern. Fogarty's Home Services will install  SilverGlo™ foam insulation board across the bottom of your floor joists, which bumps up the insulation ("R") value by 24% over standard EPS foam. Further, SilverGlo™ has a radiant barrier to reflect heat, so the insulation isn't doing all the work by itself. All seams are sealed. Results - much warmer floors, less drafts, more comfortable rooms, quieter home, lower fuel and electric bills.

Can sloped stairwell ceilings be insulated?

Yes, and Fogarty's Home Services can help! When a stairwell has a sloped ceiling forming a big triangular space that is open to the attic, it creates a heat loss (winter) and heat gain (summer) problem in your home. the sidewalls of the open well into the attic are hard to insulate and often leak air from the walls of your house into the attic. The stairwell ceiling radiates heat from the house in to the attic, and from the hot attic to the house in the summer. Insulating the attic properly is not possible with this big stairwell hole in it. Fogarty's Home Services is happy to come and install a wood cover over your stairwell at the attic floor level. Appropriate framing and wood sheets are used. The cover is sealed with expanding polyurethane foam to make it airtight. Blown insulation can now be installed over the attic floor and the stairwell cover. The sturdy cover doesn't pose a fall hazard if someone crawls into the attic in the future. This results in less air leakage, less unwanted heat loss and heat gain, and the attic can be insulated properly.

Can you insulate under a crawl space in the basement?

Every home is unique. In most cases, yes. It would be best for us to schedule an appointment with you to look at the space and let you know how we can help.

Could my kneewall space in my attic be causing drafts in my home?

Answer: Yes! A kneewall space is created when a finished room is built within a sloped roof. A short wall called a "kneewall" forms a triangular space which mar or may not be accessible with a short door or access panel. The floor of the kneewall space forms the ceiling of the room below it. The floor and kneewall space side with exposed fiberglass batts. Since fiberglass does not stop air flow, the insulation does next to nothing to air seal and insulate. The floor of the upper level, the ceiling of the lower level and the kneewall are all cold in winter and hot (from radiant roof heat) in the summer. The kneewall space is not suitable for storage since it is dusty and very cold or hot. Fogarty's Home Services can come in and properly insulated your kneewall space with blocks of SilverGlo™ foam insulation, which increase the R-value by 24% compared to regular EPS foam. SilverGlo™ also has a radiant barrier on both sides to reflect roof heat out in the summer and house heat back in during the winter. The addition of this radiant barrier gives some thermal benefit so the insulation isn't left alone to do all the work. After installation, inside air can't get out of the house through the kneewall spaces and outside air can't get in. Insulation is added, with integrity, to the correct surfaces. Results - significantly warmer upstairs room in the winter, cooler room upstairs in the hot weather, less drafts, more comfort, less dust. A kneewall space suitable for clean storage. Lower fuel and electric bills.  

Does my dryer vent need to be insulated?

Insulating your dryer (and bathroom) vent is always a good idea. Some dryer vents are installed through a basement window pane, simply because it was more convenient for the installer than placing the vents near a Rim Joist that may not be in a good location. The problem is that when this type of ventilation is not installed properly, air will leak, causing temperature and moisture discomfort in the home. The homeowner will also experience higher energy bills. Some dryer vents are installed through a basement window pane, simply because it was more convenient for the installer than placing the vents near a Rim Joist that may not be in a good location. The problem is that when this type of ventilation is not installed properly, air will leak, causing temperature and moisture discomfort in the home. The homeowner will also experience higher energy bills. Fogarty's Home Services installed Foamax® insulation over the plywood covering where the vents are located. Foamax® is an advanced polyisocyanurate foam insulation panel designed with a white foil finish on the front and a foil vapor barrier on the back. The white finished face brightens the basement and the vapor barrier helps control basement humidity. Foamax® makes a big difference in the temperature of your walls, providing a comfortable basement and lowering heating costs. Fogarty's Home Services installed Foamax® insulation over the plywood covering where the vents are located. Foamax® is an advanced polyisocyanurate foam insulation panel designed with a white foil finish on the front and a foil vapor barrier on the back. The white finished face brightens the basement and the vapor barrier helps control basement humidity. Foamax® makes a big difference in the temperature of your walls, providing a comfortable basement and lowering heating costs. We then air sealed around the vent openings using Closed Cell Spray Foam. Now, the home will have a healthier temperature and moisture level. 

How can I make my basement and first floor warmer in the winter?

Fogarty's Home Services can help make your basement warmer. If your home has poured concrete basement walls, they will be perpetually cold - about 17°F cooler than we like the interior of our homes, due to being below ground level. In the winter, the part of the foundation that sticks up above the ground is much colder than that. Heat moves from more to less. The dense concrete has a lot of mass and heat from the basement constantly flows into and through the wall by conduction. You can never heat them up. Heat that comes off the heater and hot water heater was being wasted - lost into the cold concrete, instead of warming the basement and floors above it. In the summer, warm humid air from outside hits the cold basement walls and condensation forms, supporting mold. This is why the homeowner's basement and floors above the basement were cold. Fogarty's Home Services made this home more comfortable by installing foam insulation board is on the basement walls with Dr. Energy Saver's proprietary Foam-site fasteners. But not just any foam - Polyisocyanurate foam has the flame retardant properties to satisfy building codes to leave it exposed in a basement - unlike expanded or extruded polystyrene foam (EPS, XPS). In addition, the "polyiso" board has a foil facing to reflect heat so the insulation isn't doing all the work by itself. This happy customer will now have a warmer basement and much warmer floors.

How do you remove my existing attic insulation?

The procedure for removing attic insulation varies depending upon the type of insulation that is existing.

Fiberglass Batts are removed by literally walking/crawling around in the attic with 50 gallon trash bags.  The fiberglass batts are picked up off of the attic floor, folded up, and stuffed into trash bags.  Then these bags are carried out of the home, thrown into a truck, and eventually taken to the dump to be disposed of.

Blown (fiberglass, cellulose, or other) insulation is vacuumed out of the attic with a large gas powered vacuum machine.  A crew of 2-3 people is typically what is sent to perform vacuuming existing insulation from an attic. One or two people go into the attic with a long flexible hose that sucks the insulation through it.  The hose is connected to a "drop box" which allows large or heavy items to fall into the box instead of going through the vacuum which could damage it.  Then, one person sits in the truck and makes sure the old insulation goes into large cylindrical bags that are 5 ft. long and 4 ft. ion diameter. The bags are eventually taken to the dump and disposed of properly.

How much insulation do I need for my attic?

The amount of insulation you need in your attic varies from home to home. The type of home you have, existing insulation, and accomplished goals are just a few of the factors we look at to determine that for you. Fogarty's Home Services will send a Home Comfort Specialist to your home for a FREE estimate to help you with your attic insulation needs.

Is batt insulation sufficient for a crawl space ceiling?

The old thinking in crawl space construction was to vent the crawl space and create the thermal boundary (insulation layer) at the crawl space ceiling. It doesn't work. Insulation is pulled by gravity away from the sub floor you're supposed to be insulating. The same cold air under the insulation flows into the space on top of it - rendering the insulation useless. As the insulation gets heavier with moisture content, it falls away from the sub floor even more and can even fall to the floor. Fiberglass batt insulation has paper facing and organic material in the resin used to set the fibers into a batt - both are mold food. Fogarty's Home Services will remove existing fiberglass batts from your crawl space. It's not fun laying on your back in a tight (dirt) crawl space. Insulation has hostile fibers when it is disturbed. The insulation is very bulky and takes up a tremendous amount of space in trucks, and our dumpsters which must be emptied. But, it's necessary to have a healthy home in the end. Results - now your crawl space is ready to be fixed properly with Dr. Energy Saver® solutions. The thermal boundary will likely be moved to the crawl space walls and vents eliminated. No more nasty fiberglass insulation!

Is it necessary to insulate my attic scuttle hole?

The scuttle hole is necessary to access your attic. The problem is they leak a LOT of air that you paid to heat from your home to the vented attic where your home to the vented attic where it is lost. All this air leaving the top of the house is replaced with cold outside air entering at the lower levels of your home, causing drafts, cold floors, and uncomfortable rooms that are hard to heat. In addition to these problems, your scuttle hole is a big area in your ceiling that is not insulated - and your attic can be 30°F in the winter and a blazing 130°F in the summer! Result - cold, drafty rooms that are hard to heat, high overall home air leakage, and higher heating and cooling (fuel and electric) bills.

 

The scuttle cover is weather-stripped to stop air leakage. then the cover is insulated with a SilverGlo™ foam insulation panel. SilverGlo™ has graphite infused into the foam which bumps up the R value (insulation value) by 24% over standard EPS foam. In addition, it has a radiant barrier on top to reflect heat from a hot summer attic. Result - a tighter, more comfortable, less drafty home you'll notice. Rooms are easier to heat and you'll have lower fuel and electric bills.

Is my chimney causing drafts in my home?

Your chimney absolutely CAN be causing drafts in your home, and here is why:

The building code requires that no combustible materials, including wood framing and insulation, be within 2" of a masonry chimney. This has left millions of homes with an airspace from the basement or crawl space right to the attic. Air that you paid to heat is continually leaking out of your home to the vented attic where it is lost. This results in a more drafty, uncomfortable home that's harder to heat, with higher energy higher bills. Fogarty's Home Services can come give you a FREE evaluation of your home to get to the bottom of the problem you're experiencing. Once we've determined that your chimney has open air space around it, we will come in to seal and wrap the chimney. First, the space between the wood framing and masonry is flashed with metal and then sealed airtight with special high-temperature fire caulk. Then, completely fireproof "Rock Wool" insulation panels are installed around the chimney so that TruSoft™ cellulose insulation may be blown against the chimney. In some cases, unfaced fiberglass batts may be used instead of Rock Wool panels. "Chimney Wrap" leaves no gaps in the insulation around your chimney, and seals one of the biggest air leaks in your home. Once we've completed this job, you'll notice less drafts, less heat loss, a more comfortable home, and lower energy bills. 

Should I encapsulate my dirt crawl space?

Yes, you should encapsulate your dirt crawl space, and Fogarty's Home Services is happy to help. Millions of homes were built with vented dirt crawl spaces. Now all building scientists agree - that was a big mistake. Now building codes are changing. In the winter, vents let cold air directly into our homes. Floor insulation sags away from the sub floor and the cold air gets above it - rendering the insulation useless. In the summer, the vents let warm, humid air, which is cooled by the subterranean crawl space. This caused the relative humidity to go way up and condensation to form all over the crawl space surfaces including floor joists and ducts. Mold grows and wood rots, while insects and other pests flourish. Musty odors can be noticed upstairs as mold spores travel upwards into the living space. Eventually, rotted floor joists must be replaced and mold must be remediated. An unending stream of water vapor comes up from the ground adding to the moisture load in the crawl space and house. The damp air is harder to heat and cool. Results - condensation, mold, rot, pests and odors, cold floors, drafts, uncomfortable home, higher fuel and electric bills. This is where Fogarty's Home Services comes in. We will seal up your vents and install plastic drainage matting to create a space and thermal break. Then TerraBlock™ foam floor insulation is installed over the drainage matting across the entire floor. A heavy-duty 20 mil thick GoldSeal™ liner is installed across the floor over the drainage matting and up the walls, sealed with mechanical fasteners to the walls and spiked to the floor. Finally, closed cell spray foam is installed from the bottom of the walls, over the sill plate, and to the top of the rim joist. When we finish, your home will have much lower humidity, much warmer floors upstairs, less drafts, a more comfortable temperature, and lower energy  lower bills.

Should I insulate my attic-adjacent wall that is exposed to my attic?

At Fogarty's Home Services, focusing on air sealing and insulating ceilings is critical to making a home comfortable and energy efficient, but some homes are constructed with rooms that have walls exposed to the hostile attic temperatures. It's part of why rooms are too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Fogarty's Home Services can install SilverGlo™ Foam Insulation to fix this problem. SilverGlo™ is an expanded polystyrene foam insulation board with graphite infused into the foam. This gives it a 24% higher insulation value per inch than standard EPS foam. It also has a shiny radiant barrier to reflect heat as well, so the insulation isn't doing all the work itself. The SilverGlo™ is applied and sealed to the attic side of the interior walls to stop heat gain in summer and heat loss in winter. Your results will be more comfortable rooms that are easier to heat and cool, and lower energy bills.

 

Should I replace my basement door?

Proper framing is installed and a new insulated exterior door with weather-stripping and locking knob is installed. Now "inside" the house is inside the door, and "outside" is outside the door, so it doesn't matter that the hatch door is uninsulated and leaks air. Result - warmer basement and floors over the basement, drier basement in summer, lower fuel and electric costs, less drafts, house easier to heat, more security.

What are the benefits of encapsulating and insulated my crawl space?

In the winter, vents let cold air directly into our homes. Floor insulation sags away from the sub-floor and the cold air gets above it - rendering the insulation useless. In the summer, the vents let warm, humid air in which is cooled by the subterranean crawl space. This caused the relative humidity to go way up and condensation to form all over the crawl space surfaces including floor joists and ducts. Mold grows and wood rots, while insects and other pests flourish. Musty odors can be noticed upstairs as mold spores travel upwards into the living space. Eventually, rotted floor joists must be replaced and mold must be remediated. An unending stream of water vapor comes up from the ground adding to the moisture load in the crawl space and house. The damp air is harder to heat and cool. Result - condensation, mold, rot, pests and their odors, cold floors, drafts, uncomfortable home, higher fuel and electric bills.

 

Fogarty's Home Services can fix this by sealing your vents and other air leaks to the outside, often using our insulated vent covers. Walls are insulated with SilverGlo™ foam has graphite infused into the foam to increase the R-value by 24% over standard foam. A dimpled plastic drainage matting is installed across the floor to  create an airspace and thermal break, and TerraBlock™ floor insulation is installed over it. Finally, the heavy duty crawl space encapsulation liner is installed permanently across the dirt floor - sealed with mechanical fasteners to the walls and spiked to the floor. Results - much lower humidity, much warmer floors upstairs, less drafts, more comfortable house, lower fuel and electric bills. 

What are the benefits to installing basement window enclosures?

There are many benefits to having proper basement window enclosures installed in your home .Open metal window wells let leaves and debris collect in them, blocking light to your basement. Rain gets in, and water from over flooding gutters cascades into your window wells. Weeds can grow in your window wells since they have no bottom, and mud splashes up against your window glass. Fogarty's Home Services can install a SunHouse™ window enclosure to fix this unsightly and inefficient problem. The SunHouse™ window enclosure is a bright color and has a bottom to reflect much more light into your basement. The bottom prevents weeds from growing and mud doesn't splash against your windows. SunHouses™ have a sturdy matching clear cover to keep rain and leaves out*, and it keeps the wind from blowing against your windows. Call us for a FREE Evaluation and Estimate today!

 

*While a SunHouse™ keeps most water out, it cannot warrant against a window/well flooding. A window well drain system will be necessary if that is a problem. 

What is an energy audit?

Fogarty's Home Services evaluates your whole home to factor in all of your home's energy usage and show you where you can save on energy consumption and lower your home energy bills. Some of the symptoms you may be experiencing that we can help you plan to resolve as a result of your energy evaluation include: high electric bills, mold in your attic or basement, allergy/asthma-related health issues, inconsistent room temperatures, and high oil/gas heating bills.

What is cellulose insulation for attics made of?

Cellulose insulation is made of recycled newspaper. The recycled newspaper is shredded and treated with chemicals that help to make it fire resistant, and to repel insects and rodents too.

Why is the room above my garage hot in the summer and cold in the winter?

Garages are not heated, but the finished rooms above them are, so the garage ceiling must be insulated. Unfortunately, fiberglass batts leave lots of air space for air to circulate around them, eliminating their R-value. Results -  cold, drafty floors upstairs and excess noise from the garage heard upstairs.

 

Siding can be removed or drilled. Holes are drilled into the rim joist (outer edge of the ceiling/floor framing) from the outside, a very long pipe is inserted into the joist bays all the way to the other side. Cellulose is blown in and dense packed into the floor. This not only compresses existing loose fiberglass batts and adds much insulation value, but the density stops airflow through the floor from air leaks. The homeowner may need to touch up paint the wood siding or paint over wood plugs. Results - warmer floors above, more comfortable rooms, quieter floors upstairs without that hollow sound, and lower heating and air conditioning bills. 

Why remove attic insulation?

Fogarty's Home Services will conduct the unpleasant task of removing the damaged, soiled insulation in your attic. Batt insulation is bagged and then the attic is vacuumed to remove pieces, parts and dust. Loose fill insulation is vacuumed with a giant vacuum located outside with giant filter bags and a very long, fat hose. Result - Now your attic is clean! It's ready for proper air sealing and installation of clean, new, fresh TruSoft™ cellulose insulation or one of our other Dr. Energy Saver strategies to make your home comfortable and energy efficient.

Why should I air seal and insulate my crawl space for the winter?

In the colder months, cold/damp air is sucked into your home through the crawl space. That air moves through your home and flows out the attic vents. This unconditioned outdoor air causes cold drafts, cold floors, discomfort, and higher energy costs.

Why should I insulate my attic pull down stairs?

Attic hatch pull down stairs are necessary to access your attic. The problem is that when closed, they leak a LOT of air that you paid to heat from your home to the vented attic where it is lost. All of this warm air leaving the top of the house is replaced with cold outside air entering at the lower levels of your home, causing drafts, cold floors and uncomfortable rooms that are hard to heat. In addition to these problems, your pull down stairs are a big area in your ceiling that is not insulated - and your attic can be 30°F in the winter and a blazing 130°F in the summer! Result - cold, drafty rooms tha tare hard to heat, high overall home air leakage, and higher heating and cooling (fuel and electric) bills. Fogarty's Home Services has an exclusive "David Lewis Hatch Cover" (named for our engineer who developed it) that rests right over your pull down stairs. It stops air leakage and insulates over the stairs. Made of lightweight SilverGlo™ foam insulation, you just lift it aside to go up to your attic, and set it back in place when you leave. You don't see anything from the finished area of your home. SilverGlo™ foam insulation has graphite infused into the foam which bumps up the insulation value by 24% over standard EPS foam. It also has a radiant barrier (foil) on the flat lid to reflect heat back in during winter and out in the summer, so the insulation isn't doing all the work by itself. Result - a tighter, more comfortable, less drafty home you'll notice. Rooms are easier to heat. Lower fuel and electric bills.

Will vinyl windows make my house more energy efficient?

Yes, especially if you have single pane glass windows with metal frames. These let lots of cold air leak into your home and heat from your home escapes by conduction through the cold glass. Metal is highly thermally conductive and a poor material for a window frame. And metal rusts in the damp environment near the ground. Perhaps the worst part is that these basement windows leak air - lots of it, because the house has lower air pressure at the bottom and sucks cold outside air into your home, causing a cold basement and cold floors above. And let's face it, these windows are ugly. Fogarty's Home Services can remove your old windows and frames and install new Everlast™ basement windows. The sliding windows have double pane glass with a specially metallic "Low E" coating on the inside of both panes of glass to reduce heat flow in or out through the glass. The frame and sashes are made completely from vinyl - the perfect material for a window so close to the ground in a damp environment - they will never rust, rot, or need paint. And Everlast™ windows are a big improvement over the way your home looks. The results include: warmer basement, warmer floors above the basement, less drafts, less condensation in summer, lower overall home air leakage, lower fuel and electric bills. 

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