It is that time of year again where the weather starts to turn warmer and homeowners start making plans to make improvements to their homes & landscapes. Many homeowners are DIYers but a large number are not and will call on you to help them with their projects. These weekend warrior wannabes don’t know a hammer from a nail and need all the help they can get from a prepared contractor like you.
Service Partners carries a variety of tools to help you on roofing jobs to building decks. Your tools will likely take a beating over time but don’t worry; Service Partners’ branches keep extras on hand for when you need a replacement. We carry extension cords, hammer staplers, safety & fall protection, flexed knifes and many other accessories you’ll need on the job.
Be prepared for your customers and give your nearest Service Partners location a call to help you gather all the accessories you need for a busy summer.
This is part three of a three part series on how to properly install batt insulation courtesy of NAIMA.Bottom of Form
In part 1 we covered the layout of the home and all the places that needed to be air sealed and insulated to meet resnet grade 1 criteria. In part 2 we discussed a few tips on how to make your insulation job go quickly, efficiently, but more important, accurately. Now we’ll discuss the pre drywall inspection process.
First and foremost, insulation should never have compression, voids, misalignment, gaps, or wind intrusion.
Compression: This impacts the R-value of the insulation, and depending on the case it can either improve or degrade the thermal performance of the envelope. Compressing insulation is fine when the compressed insulation completely fills the cavity or void you’re trying to insulate, but compressing that same insulation into a cavity so that it leaves an uninsulated void can result in greater energy loss.
Voids: These are defined as pockets or areas where insulation is missing.
Misalignment: This is when insulation is placed incorrectly and is not in touch with the air barrier, which can lead to a loss of energy through convection.
Gaps: These are spaces between insulation and framing, or between pieces of insulation that extend from the interior to the exterior surface of the wall cavity.
Wind intrusion: When exterior air enters the building envelope. It often occurs at roof eaves with soffit vents, and if the attic insulation at the soffit is left exposed the wind blowing through the soffit can flow through the exposed insulation, and in some cases blow it away from the edge. As a result wind intrusion can undermine the effectiveness of the insulation and create opportunities for moisture problems.
When conducting your walkthrough, make sure that there are batts in place and that they are properly installed. They should fill the cavity and be tight to fit around the framing. Look around windows to ensure they’re insulated around the frame. Check around obstructions like gas lines, wiring, and outlet boxes. Pull the insulation back to ensure the installation has been split around the obstructions to cover the exterior and interior filling and that it completely fills the cavity.
Check the caulking of the studs, the top plate, the bottom plate, and look up to ensure the band has been insulated. Also inspect the air sealing to ensure it is well sealed and that the insulation is cut tight to fit and tightly fits the framing on all four sides.
During the pre insulation walkthrough you will have checked for baffles to ensure that the end of the insulation was protected from air moving through the soffit vents into the attic space. Knowing that the insulations is well installed, that it’s tight to fit the framing, that it will contact the gypsum board once it’s installed, and that the ends are protected from wind washing, you are ready for drywall.
For homes with attics ensure the attic platform was insulated with fiberglass batts since you’ll be unable to access it after the gypsum boards installed. Also look for any gasketing material around the top plates, which helps ensure a tight seal between the drywall and the top plate so attic air can’t make it down into those framing assemblies.
In any bathroom, look for an air barrier that will continue from where the gypsum board will be in place down behind the cavity that this tub forms. For any walls with a plumbing stack, check to see that the insulation is cut to fit around the stack really well, and feel back behind the stack to ensure there’s insulation behind it and around it.
There are lots of other things that go into making a high-quality energy-efficient home but energy efficiency starts with good air sealing and properly installed insulation. Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or an insulation contractor we hope these insulating tips will help you achieve a comfortable and energy efficient home.
This is part two of a three part series on how to properly install batt insulation, courtesy of NAIMA.
In part 1 of this batt insulation instructional series, we covered a few intricate insulation details that need to be done in order to meet the resnet grade 1 insulating criteria. The next stage is to organize and stage the job. Ensure you have the right insulation products on site and the right tools for cutting fitting and attaching the insulation.
Safety should always come first. Ensure you have all the personal protective equipment recommended for installing batt insulation. You’ll need a hat, for protecting your head, as you work overhead. Glasses for protecting your eyes, and an N95 dust mask to protect you if exposures exceed one fiber per CC in this work environment. Wear long sleeves for protecting your arms, long pants for protecting your legs and gloves to protect your hands from cuts and abrasions.
Making sure the right products are on site for properly insulating all the areas in the home is important. Insulation comes in a variety of our r-values and forms. Batts come in plain, or with papercraft facing our other types of vapor retarder faces. You can get bats with stapling tabs or in a variety of precut wits and links to fit both standard and advanced framing. The point is you need to know the home your insulating make sure you have the right R-value to meet the code. Find out if the vapor retarders are required and make sure that you have the combination of products you need to complete the job.
Finally let’s go over some basic tools. It would be helpful to start with a bucket, which makes it easy to carry tools in from the truck and have them readily accessible before he starts the job. In the bucket you should have a hammer stapler, a dust mask just in case you need it for personal comfort, safety glasses, gloves and also is cutting tool. Inexperienced installers may need a tape measure to help them with the non-standard cavities.
A clean work site is a safe work site. Before installation begins ensure the work site is clean and has been swept so all debris is removed. Load each room with the amount of insulation you estimate will be needed while making sure it is readily accessible. Leave a walking area so the tools and product aren’t in your way as you begin to install the insulation. This also leaves a path for easily moving your ladder during installation. All blocking and air sealing that will be covered with the insulation should be installed prior to insulating. This could include around windows and doors, all penetrations, and inaccessible areas such as fireplaces, inserts, small attic spaces, and behind tubs and showers. For optimum energy efficiency, and meeting Energy Star requirements, top and bottom plates must also be air sealed.
Begin installation by friction fitting insulation in the stud cavities. This makes the insulation more accessible from your ladder so you don’t have to make multiple trips up and down, making the job quicker. Start at the top of the cavity and work your way down. This eliminates gaps at the top of the cavity. Around obstructions be sure to take time and cut fiberglass batt to fit the irregular size of the cavity. There are various obstructions and wall cavities attics and floors that will require the Installer to split insulation. Such obstructions include electrical wires alarm system wires, plumbing, and other service lines.
In tall cavities you often have to use two separate batts of insulation. In that case it’s fine to butt the ends together. Ensure the batt ends are butted tightly and that there are no gaps. Obstructions can range from odd cavity sizes to outlet boxes to horizontal blocking. The important thing is for the installer to take his time and cut the insulation to fit so that there are no gaps or voids.
When insulating walls you may find odd sized cavities, wiring, gas lines and other obstructions. Begin by measuring the width of the cavity and cutting the batt to fit. Cutting the batt about a half an inch wider and longer than the cavity will help it stay in place. Once you become more experiences in batt installation, you’ll be able to visually compare the batt to the cavity, but for most installers measuring and cutting against a straightedge may be needed.
As you cut insulation, you’ll begin creating small pieces of scrap. Place those on top of the bag the insulation originally came in. This makes cleanup easier and ensures that all of the scrap is readily accessible for installation and small cavities. Once you’re finished with the bulk of the installation, double-check your work, pull the insulation outward to fill the cavity, and use any scrap pieces to fill any small gaps.
To recap. ensuring you have the right insulation on the job to meet code, the right tools for the job to make installation efficient and easy, and stage your work for time efficiency. Make sure the insulation fills the cavities top to bottom, front to back, and side to side – and make sure it is in contact with the air barrier. Your home is now ready for pre drywall insulation inspection covered in the final walkthrough in video 3.
In the insulation business, great teamwork starts with the fundamentals. Every member of your team from newly hired installers to the office staff should understand how insulation works and how to install it safely.
That’s why Service Partners now offers the Contractors’ Club Performance Academy, an online training series exclusively for Contractors’ Club members. The Performance Academy series, created in conjunction with Advanced Energy is an easy and affordable way to teach your employees best practices in fiberglass batt insulation, blown fiberglass insulation, and air sealing.
With clear diagrams, self-paced learning, bilingual voiceovers, and online testing training your team has never been easier. And it’s just fifty dollars per person for the introductory series. It’s the most affordable training option around. In about one hour an inexperienced installer can get his apprentice certification laying the foundation for a master certification for those who are already BPI certified.
The Performance Academy series provides the required continuing credits. Best of all you’ll know that every member of your team will be able to speak confidently to customers about insulation benefits and best practices. Try it for yourself sign up today on our site. Not a member of the Contractors Club? Membership is free and includes great benefits and valuable discounts.
Interested in learning about Service Partners? Watch out company video or read below to see learn what our employees, and our customers have to say about us.
30 years ago all you needed to be an insulation contractor was a staple gun in a ladder. Today’s installers need the latest insulation products and installation and safety accessories, and they need it delivered fast. Service Partners is the leading nationwide distributor of quality insulation from brands like CertainTeed, JohnsManville, Knopf, Owens Corning, BASF, and Dow.
We have 75 locations nationwide and we work hard to deliver next day service. Because when we do our job fast you can get your job done faster.
We asked our team to give us their perspective on the company culture and mission of Service Partners and how that impacts the relationships we share with our customers. Here are some of the highlights.
“We are a bunch of strategically placed little businesses all over the country. So at the end of the day we you know we want to be the one stop shop for insulation contractors.” – Tim Bichlmeier, Sales Manager
“We cover everything from below grade foundation products, waterproofing products, all the way up to the roofline.” – Debra Constance, District Sales Manager.
“The other products may vary from accessories to insulation ceiling tile, roofing, gutters. I think the product mix is what makes us very successful.” – Roy Machado, Sales Manager
“It’s a people company. Yes we sell products, yes we move things around warehouses, but in the end it’s about relationships and it has been from the get-go.“ – Corey Doise, Controller
“I take what the relationships say that Service Partners has with its vendors. I take those relationships out to my customer base and potential customers. – Ken Martin, Outside Sales Rep
“I really think what you develop on a relationship basis is what brings people back to you.” – Leslie Ray, Inside Sales
“Relationships are real important for me because we help them grow and when they grow we grow. That’s what it’s about”. – Debra Constance, District Sales Manager.
“We have a lot of long-term, even 20-year relationships with some customers. We share what’s going on with their families, we share what’s going on with their business, and how we can help them grow their business.” – Wendy Kessler, Customer Care
“Whether our people are in the field or whether it’s a customer who calls in, we’re to offer the best service toward them. I just like being a smiling face there. I enjoy going to work every day.” Lisa Shipman, Telecom Administrator
“We’re the real deal. We don’t just say we service our customers, we do it every day.” – Roy Machado, Sales Manager
“Every morning at seven o’clock when that truck opens its doors Service Partners comes through for us, and they have exactly what you ordered. The name says it all – service. They’re there when they say they’re going be there. Good quality products, good people.” – Robert Vance, Customer
“You know it’s just at work that we both need each other and they’re there to back me up. That means a lot.” – Mike Layman, Customer
“Good people doing business with good people. That just seems to be my mantra and I believe that’s Service Partners’ mantra.” – Debra Constance, District Sales Manager.
“This is not just a job for me. I’m able to go out and bond with people that are really special and I appreciate that every day when I come to work.” – Roy Machado, Sales Manager
“We’re not just here just to make money, but we’re also here to be a help to our community, and to do what we can to make things better for someone else.“ -Lisa Shipman, Telecom Administrator
“I can’t wait to see what Service Partners has to offer in the future – for the company, the employees the customer.” – Leslie Ray, Inside Sales
“Pretty amazing how much friendships you have throughout the company and until you sit down and think about it your like – wow that’s pretty cool.” – Tim Bichlmeier, Sales Manager
“Are you honest in how you deal on a day-to-day basis individually and professionally? Yes. Do I see that at Service Partners all the time? Yes. It’s when you can go home at night and smile about the day, smile about the interactions you’ve had with a customer or a supplier that’s good.” Simon Kavanagh – Senior Vice President
Windows can provide a great view, but more than that, if they’re placed in the right locations, then they can also save you money on your utility bill and keep you more comfortable at home or work. It’s called day lighting and it takes a simple concept to a new level. Day lighting combines lots of things – everything from the type of window, window placement and interior design to control how sunlight comes in. They all work to maximize benefits from natural sunlight.
Windows that face south are best in the U.S. They let in the most light in the winter months but little direct sun during the summer keeping the inside cooler. North-facing windows are also good for day lighting they let an even natural light with little glare and little summer heat. Windows that face east and west don’t work nearly as well for day lighting they do provide lots of light in the morning and afternoon but it often comes with lots of glare and excess heat during the summer months.
Office buildings would benefit from skylights that team up with windows to bring in as much natural light as possible. This would reflect and enhance the daylight so that it fills the room. This would reduce the need for overhead lights, and make the office more energy efficient.
To account for glare an office building can place hoods outside around the windows. These hoods also cut down on summer heat keeping the office cooler and more comfortable. On the inside, louvers or tinting reduce glare and also direct light to reflective surfaces inside allowing plenty of natural light to come into work areas. One big help to day lighting is the window technologies available today. Windows are now way more energy-efficient. They insulate while still letting the light in.
Offices may also consider installing electrochromic windows, which change with the brightness of the sunlight outside. As the Sun tracks across the sky it darkens to keep excess heat out. It’s like giant polarized sunglasses.
Day lighting can have a positive effect studies have shown that with good day lighting at the office productivity goes up and absenteeism goes down, and that’s good for the bottom line. Natural lighting and heating means you use less electricity and lower your utility bill, and the more natural lighting the more money you can save.
Recently Google bought Nest, a digital thermostat company for 3 billion dollars. Nest thermostats are much more than a digital thermostat that can be connected to the web and controlled by your smart phone. They are also self learning thermostats that will change their behavior based on your personal schedule. Nest takes the programmer thermostat to a whole new level for homeowners. However, these devices aren’t cheap costing roughly $250 a piece. You don’t have to spend $250 for a digital thermostat for your customer’s home but a nice programmer thermostat will do just as good of job in helping make a home more energy efficient.
Google buying Nest signals that major companies, including technology companies, are willing to bet big on the home energy market and are looking to integrate technology to help homes become more energy efficient. Continuously be on the lookout for new technology similar to Nest Thermostats that make their way to market as they can help you integrate technology into your customer’s home giving you an edge over your competition.
Tonight President Obama will give his State of the Union address. If you are particularly interested in the energy points being made during the speech follow the Department of Energy on twitter as they will be live tweeting all the major energy segments.
Department of Energy Twitter handle: Twitter.com/Energy
If you have a specific question for the DOE feel free to tweet @energy using #SOTU.
Many of us are still feeling the effects of the extreme cold weather that has continuously ripped through the United States the last couple of weeks. Many homeowners forget that these extreme cold temperatures can have a lasting impact on pipes. As water freezes in pipes, it can lead to built up pressure eventually causing the pipe to burst. A good way to help prevent water pipes from bursting during cold temperatures is to insulate them.Pipe insulation is easy to install and can go along way to helping prevent unwanted leaks under your house or in your basement.