Insulation day.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

So I've mentioned we bought from one of those flippers, right?  Yeah, the gifts keep on giving.  I thought he was bad; I'm rethinking now -- he's the worst.

After we had Dr. Energy Saver out to take a look, and he used his spiffy thermal imaging camera gizmo, it was quite clear that we had no insulation, zero, none, zilch in our second floor ceiling.  Who does that, not bother to put at least something up there?  Sheesh.  What an a**hole, am I right?

We had this dilemma before when we lived in Logan Square.  But that time, we opted to go the DIY route.  Our friend Jason even volunteered to come help us as he had done it before he said.  What could be so hard, we thought.

Ok, it's not hard really.  A confluence of this, that, the other thing made it a huge marital strain day and I've probably blocked half of it out my memory.  We had never been as upset with each other before that day, nor since.  It...it was bad.

We rented the blower machine from Menards.  All fine and good except when it got dropped off, it wasn't working.  Mike called them and they didn't want to bring another, but after um, I'm not quite sure what he said, they came back and switched them out.  The thing was monstrous and monstrously heavy; we needed it up on our second floor back deck so Mike made the Menards guys hoist it up there.  Yikes.

So yeah, at this point, Mike was in a grumpy mood, shall we say.  Then we each had our own ideas on how to accomplish the task at hand.  That didn't help matters.  At all.  Frustration ensued.  Everyone was angry with everyone else.

I was outside filling the hopper, Mike and Jason inside filling walls and ceiling.  But the hopper level wasn't going down much so I kept popping in and they were just kinda sorta ya know, not much on the effort there, so I got really upset.

In the end, we got some stuff in but nowhere near what needed to be done in the ceiling.  If I had pushed for that, we might have all killed each other.  Needless to say I suppose, we packed it in for the day.  And needless to say too, when the idea of blow-in insulation was discussed for this new place, you better believe the DIY option was not on the table.

We went with Illinois Insulators and wow, are we glad we did.  Their quote was in line with area pricing, I liked the sales guy and it's a rare thing for me to like a sales person, everything he said made it clear to me that they knew how to handle our quirky multi-level ceiling situation, everything was all very professional, and the deal-sealer:  they patch the hole they make.  Be sure to ask -- not everyone does which I thought was incredibly weird.

I wasn't in attendance on insulation day as I'm hard at work on Sirens season two, but Mike was and I made him take photos and notes for me.

Two guys arrived right on time and got to work.  They cut a two foot-ish square-ish hole in the ceiling in the hallway.  Considering every room is a different ceiling height on the second floor, I'm pretty amazed and thoroughly impressed that they didn't have to cut more.


I have trained Mike well, I must say.  And he knows me very well.  He popped up that ladder and took some photos inside, bless his sweet heart.  He knows I would have gotten up there and done that.

What he saw....well, let's just say the problem with not getting any heat or a/c on the second floor has been figured out.

Um....w...t....f....is going on here?  Why is it...?  Huh?  Who does this?!?!
This is my favorite photo, with the flexible duct snaking all over god's green earth and smushed in the joists.  Um.....My brain about exploded when I saw this picture.

Mike said the situation is mighty bad up there, worse in person.  Yeah.  Comforting, right?  Honestly, between you, me, and the walls, I sense an email going out to a lawyer sometime soon.  Construction defect, I'm going to hang my hat on.  Mike said too it looks like the framers did their thing and then suddenly everyone was like, oh, crap, wait, we have to put some duct work up there.

What confuses me further, aside from the shoddiest work I may have ever seen in my entire life, is that somehow this all passed the city building department HVAC inspection.  It says so right on the city's website.  Uh huh.  A-yup.  How.....??  I'm not even sure if flexible duct like this is up to Chicago code either.  Oy me.




Hoping that's Mike's flash and not a ginormous hole in something, shedding light from outside in.
Just some extra photos for you so you can see what's going on in our second floor ceiling from that one open spot.  Lovely.  What wonders to behold in other areas?  I'm terrified.

Dr. Energy Saver quoted using some fancy Aeroseal stuff but now, yeah, clearly that's not going to help at all in any way possible whatsoever on any planet.

Anyway, back to the insulation story at hand.....

The guys kindly put a big tarp down to protect our super crappy carpet.


After two hours, the job was complete.  Two hours?  I was blown away.  Ah ha, a pun, blown away....Right, ok.  That is some super speedy insulation blowing though.


And to continue the pun, I was blown away that they were able to get the cellulose into each room's ceiling solely going through that one single hole.  Seems impossible to me, but those guys are the professionals.

In the end, they patched up the hole.  Albeit, not the best patching job in the world but hey, considering I wouldn't have been able to get to patching it myself for months, I truly appreciate it.  At least now all I have to do is fix it and paint.


And also in the end, the final bill was to the exact penny of the quote.  Nice.  A+ there, Illinois Insulators!

My favorite-ist favorite part though?  I came home from work that day and there was a marked difference in temperature upstairs from before -- it was moderate and in line with the first floor.  Brilliant.  Oh I was so thrilled.  Even today, a warmer day than Thursday, it's not hot up there as it might normally have been.

Insulation is important, folks.  Now I guess we'll see how to tackle the unreal gargantuan duct work issue.  Sigh......

*Update.... I didn't know Mike had gotten a quickie snapshot of the finished cellulose near the ceiling opening, so here it is:


Neat!

I did remember today to look into rebates from our utility companies for this work and as it turns out, we would have had to have used one of their participating companies.  If a rebate is important to you, do your research ahead of time.  I thought I had, but clearly, I did not.  I asked Illinois Insulators and our sales guy said in order to participate in the program, for them and the customer, the costs are much higher; they prefer to not participate and pass along the savings by offering a lower price.

Anyway, we're still thrilled with how the temperature is steady and moderate upstairs now and very very very very glad we did this work.

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