How to Hire the Right Insulation Contractors

Andy Lindus
Written by Andy Lindus
Updated November 12, 2016
spray foam insulation in roof
It’s wise to educate yourself on insulation types, from fiberglass to spray foam, so you can confidently interview insulation contractors about your project. (Photo by Frank Espich)

Just as there are various insulation types, there are various types of installers. Here's what to look for.

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If you’ve been researching the merits of cellulose vs. spray foam insulation, then you know there are many insulation types. There also are many types of insulation contractors. Selecting the right one can not only lower your heating and cooling bills, but can even prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

Energy bills that skyrocket and drafts around the house are simple to detect. However, finding a contractor that’s a good fit for the project, can be a challenge. Online reviews, such as those available on Angie’s List, are an excellent place to start gathering information. Once you’ve done that, it’s wise to educate yourself on insulation  and the aspects of your project, so you can confidently interview potential contractors.

worker installing insulation in attic
Consider it a red flag if an insulation contractor briefly pops their head in the attic and simply suggests several more inches of insulation without performing any diagnostic testing. (Photo of courtesy of Lindus Construction/Midwest LeafGuard)

Finding a reputable insulation contractor

Every home has what’s known as a building envelope or enclosure. This is the physical separation between indoors and outdoors. Components include the foundation, windows, flooring, roofs, skylights and insulation. You want to hire a contractor who understands how the various parts of your home’s envelope work together. Look for an experienced service provider who routinely completes insulation projects. Reputable contractors should be able to easily explain how the insulation and ventilation they’re proposing will work in tandem to create a balanced building envelope. In fact, the contractor should be the one initiating this discussion. Beware of insulation contractors who briefly glance in the attic, and simply suggest several more inches of insulation, without performing any diagnostic testing. 

Energy audit tools locate your home’s weaknesses

You may be familiar with the blower door test if you’ve ever had an energy audit of your home. Doing a blower door test before starting on your project will give your contractor information to make your home more comfortable.  During the test, a forceful fan is mounted in the frame of one your exterior doors. The fan works to remove air from your home, lowering the internal pressure. This allows a trained contractor to identify where outside air may be leaking into your home. After your project, blower door testing can confirm that your home now has the right amount of insulation

Avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning

A contractor’s failure to view your home as an entire system can lead to serious problems. For example, some homes have a noticeable stack effect. This is when air travels from your basement to your attic and down the exterior walls (or vice versa). If a contractor seals the area too tightly and you have a naturally vented water heater, carbon monoxide levels within your home can rapidly reach dangerous levels. 

Proper ventilation is crucial. During a roofing, window, or siding project, if a contractor obscures a ventilation pipe, this can change how dangerous combustive gases exit the home. Furnaces should have safeguards in place. But if they malfunction or have an open recall on a part, the perfect conditions for carbon monoxide poisoning may exist. Take the time to select an experienced insulation contractor who will look at the big picture and help your home and its systems work together to keep you safe and comfortable in any season

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As of November 11, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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