Monday, March 23, 2009

The bitter taste of a cheap product or install will always last longer than the sweet taste of a cheap price!

I was in Vernon today to witness a blown insulation job gone horribly wrong. Unfortunately this is very common with insulation here in the Okanagan. As things slow down for just about everyone, homeowners have the luxury of shopping around to find a contractor that best suits their needs. Over the past few years things have been busy for just about everyone and home owners and business owners were lucky to find anyone available. So now that we have options available customers need to educate themselves even further on what products are best for my project and who is going to give you the quality workmanship you deserve?

Every contractor including myself should have some sort of biased point of view as to why their products and services are better than the rest. So how does the customer know fact from fiction?
Start with the wonderful tool you are using right now...the Internet! The Internet has plenty of unbiased articles for customers to educate themselves so they can make the right choices. Also ask as many questions as possible and check for references and testimonials.Here is an example of poor work and a big mess to correct: At the top are some pictures i took today on my camera phone (sorry for the poor quality) of a fibreglass blown insulation job gone wrong.

The picture on the top is a return air duct for the air conditioning that is completely blocked with insulation leaving this business with poor air quality, an air conditioning system that won't function properly and random pieces of insulation falling on customers. In the picture on the bottom you can see the air conditioning duct has been stepped on and pushed through the ceiling. This is typical craftsmanship from a company who hasn't properly trained their staff and obviously didn't take the proper measures to make sure the job was done properly. In addition to these errors they also neglected to properly block the insulation around the hatch leaving me covered in fibreglass when i opened the hatch to the attic.

So what Insulation is the best choice for your project? The answer varies from house to house and project to project. There is many choices from Urethane spray foam, Reflective foil insulation, batt insulation and blown insulation. They all have their ups and downs and are better used in some places than others.

Lets take the attic for example: You could use the old school method and batt your attic, however the insulation coverage is much better if you blow in some insulation and for you real green thumbs reflective foil insulation can be added as well. Now you have another decision to i use cellulose or fibreglass blown insulation? 95% of insulation contractors will only offer you fibreglass for one reason only; it’s cheap making profits high!

Cellulose is about two times the cost in material but has many qualities that make it the greener smarter choice. Cellulose is first off 100% recycled newspaper treated with borax to make it fire resistant. Cellulose is also a more dense material giving you higher R-values per inch and in turn making it safer than fibreglass by not allowing the fire air to breath and therefore smothers the flame giving you more time to save your home and make a safe exit in case of a fire. Check out this link of a burn test to see what i mean.

Another thing you may not know is that fibreglass in most cases contains formaldehyde and is often extremely itchy.

Cellulose is often slagged by insulators again because it costs more and therefore they make less. Some of the things you will here is that it settles, well all insulation settles over time. Its dusty...this is true but only during the installation will it get a bit dusty around the hatch.

I have heard every excuse in the book as to why most insulators will try to get you to use fibreglass and i have a rebuttal for them all, but then again i must be bias as well seeing on how this is what i do for a living. So don't trust me, do the homework for yourself and once you are educated....TLC Energy Solutions would be glad to help.

Terry Laurin - TLC Energy Solutions 250-215-8020