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How Air Sealing Insulation in Your Home Works Like Your Airtight Cooler

existing home insulation

How Air Sealing Insulation in Your Home Works Like Your Airtight Cooler Blog Feature
Eric Garcia

By: Eric Garcia on December 20th, 2019

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Just floating down the lazy river reaching into your cooler to grab a cold beverage is the epitome of comfort.

It wouldn’t be a relaxing float if you reached in that cooler and pulled out a drink that was warm. That’s because that cooler is airtight and keeps your items cool or warm depending on what you have inside. That’s really the point of the cooler – keeping the inside items at the temperature you want them to be at.

I think you get what I’m about to throw down here.

When you talk about air sealing insulation, like spray foam, for your house you are essentially creating the same kind of atmosphere as your cooler.

I’m not a scientist, but I am the Professor of Foam on our YouTube show Foam University. Also, as the general manager here at RetroFoam of Michigan I find the analogy of how air sealing insulation in your home is like an airtight cooler a great way to explain foam to homeowners.

Let’s dive right into how creating an air seal with foam insulation works just like an airtight cooler.

Home Air Sealing Insulation Compared to an Airtight Cooler

When you drop the dough on a nice, airtight cooler the thought is the same as creating an air seal in your home.

The whole thought is that you don’t want the outside air getting in and you don’t want the conditions you created inside to leak out. This is the very definition of creating an air seal, whether it’s in your home or in the cooler you spent a lot of money on.

These expensive coolers have thick walls, thick bottoms, and thick tops that are filled with closed cell foam. Each and every part is filled with foam that creates an air seal.

When your home is insulated with foam all of the cavities are also filled to create a similar air seal.

If you compare your grandpa’s cooler to one of the fancy ones today, the big difference is the bottom and top of the old cooler have nothing in it at all. 

This is a pretty accurate depiction of some homes with older insulation. Sure, the walls have something in them, but the attic, rim joist, and crawl space were likely overlooked. The outside air comes in through the bottom portion of the house, moves through the living space, and pushes the air you pay to treat right out through the roof.

This is called stack effect, which is essentially air movement that can negatively impact your monthly energy bills and the comfort level of your home.

Now let’s kick it back to today’s coolers.

These higher-end coolers are completely encapsulated, so the inner cavity maintains the temperature you want it to. There is also a seal around the lid with a latch ensuring no air can escape.

The same is true about your house when you create an air seal. You pay a lot of money to heat and cool your home. A material like foam insulation, when installed throughout the entire home, keeps all of that treated air inside where you want it.

The lid I mentioned on the new cooler can be compared to your attic. The majority of the air leakage in your home is coming from the attic. All of the air in your home moves up and right out of that space. When you create that air seal in your attic similar to the one in the cooler, you’re helping to maintain a constant temperature in your home.

As you can see, the comparisons make sense because it comes down to creating a conditioned space. You don’t want your beer to get warm, and you don’t want your house to be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

Getting Air Sealing Insulation in Your Home

Creating an air seal in your home won’t just make it more comfortable, even though that is a huge benefit.

Creating an air seal in your home with insulation can help reduce your energy bills. This happens because your air conditioner and furnace aren’t working constantly. 

Who doesn’t want to save money and live in comfort?

If you want to learn more about the benefits of foam insulation, I have some options for you. First, you can check out the Learning Center on our website, where you will find a ton of resources on all things foam insulation. 

Second, and my favorite option, is you can watch my Foam University videos on YouTube and learn with the rest of the class about foam insulation in your home.

The choice is yours, so happy learning!

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What is Air Sealing a Home?

R-Value vs. Air Seal: What is More Important When Buying New Insulation?

3 Reasons to Air Seal Your Home with Foam Insulation

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About Eric Garcia

Eric brings his knowledge and training in building science, training in spray and injection foams from the manufacturers, more than 8 years installing foam insulation, as well as selling and managing in the foam insulation industry. He is also BPI and Dale Carnegie certified and has taken several building science courses including air sealing and building envelope. Eric’s responsibilities include overseeing and giving support to all of the branches of the RetroFoam of Michigan company, office, estimates, and installs. He is also the Professor of Foam on our educational YouTube series Foam University. Even when Eric is off he is usually still “working” or thinking about work, but when he can get away he enjoys camping, hiking, hunting, and woodwork.