Insulation: How To Do Business with Customer Service in Mind!

I do Home Energy Audits. When I am collecting the data from the home, I look at many things that effect energy usage. Equipment, Solar Orientation, Infiltration and the building shell (includes doors and windows), and Insulation are the major components.

I like insulation. A home with lots of insulation is like waking on a cold morning and feeling the warmth of the bed with the covers pulled up tight. Stick you pinky out or have the covers pulled and BRRR! Same with your home.

I like lots of insulation. The more the better. The only limit seems to be how many years will the current utility rates provide a payback. I try to keep my recommendations in the 10 – 20 year range. Beyond that, you can better spend your money for other improvements.

What insulation is best? All of them! I have yet to meet a bad type of insulation. All forms have their advantages and disadvantages. Some work better in one place, others in another place. Some work well in several places.

What differentiates the different types of insulation?
The color of the insulation?
NO!
The Manufacturer!
Probably not!
The installer hired to put your insulation in place!
Yes!!!! You’ve got it.

A good installer will install the insulation correctly! That means according to the specifications of the manufacturer and Industry Best Practices. Manufacturers specifications can be found on the Manufacturers website. Industry Best Practice can be found at Energy Star; Dept of Energy; and the Building Science Corporation.

When looking at different types of installed insulation – which is the one I see most often installed incorrectly? Fiberglass Batts!

Poorly installed Batt Insulation

Poorly installed Batt Insulation

This image shows an example. Compressed, miscut, uneven, stapled to the side of the 2x not the face.

Why are these problems not either following the Manufacturer’s Recommendations or Industry Best Practices? To maximize its effectiveness, Fiberglass batts need to be installed with no compression. The insulating value is their air pockets between the strands of fiberglass. Anything that results in compression degrades the performance of the installed insulation. In many cases badly installed insulation is no better than no insulation.

Good Installation of Fiberglass Batts

This image shows fiberglass batts installed correctly. The batt is cut around the electrical box, the wires do not compress the insulation, it is stapled to the face of the 2x and it is cut to the correct length.

So, what are the white spots in the photos? I took the brand name out. Why? My friend and fellow HERs Rater, Allison Bailes of Energy Vanguard recently received a letter from the lawyers for Guardian Insulation complaining that his blog post, similar to this one, defamed their product and their company! Why, because he left the name of the company on the picture of the batt that was installed in error of the manufacturer’s specifications.

    Why is the first reaction of some people to ‘call the lawyer’?
    Is that good business?
    Is that good for business?

I don’t know! No! No!

What could Guardian have done differently?

They could have supported their own manufacturers recommendations and worked to educate the installer to do a better job next time.

They could have a responsive technical assistance department to assist those installers and others who ‘want to get it right the first time’! Other manufacturers of Fiberglass Batts have these people – and they work well with those who ‘want to get it right the first time’!

Will Guardian continue with the lawyer track or move to a customer service track? Only time will tell.

For more information on the letter from Guardian and the story of batt insulation installed incorrectly you can go to Allison’s Energy Vanguard Blog at http://bit.ly/ueocQo

or Martin Holiday’s Blog at http://bit.ly/rs7HhK

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