How to Decrease Homeowner Callbacks

Home comfort and energy efficiency go hand in hand. Although each homeowner (and resident in a home) can have personal preferences on comfort and different temperature sensitivities, the general rule applies: When a home is efficient, its residents are comfortable.

Why does comfort matter to builders? Ask any builder and they know the answer. The more comfortable a home is, the fewer callbacks builders receive from homeowners. Callbacks can have a dramatic effect on a builder’s bottom line and the reputation that builder has in the community.

It’s understood that both comfort and efficiency are a result of quality construction. Even with that in mind, builders continue to manage comfort calls from homeowners. How can you reduce comfort calls? Consider these steps:

  • Understand building science. Many callbacks begin long before the home is occupied. A proper understanding of building science and the home as an energy system during the design phase should drive the design/build process. By getting things right on the front end, you can save time, money and headache on the back end.
  • Choose the right subcontractors. Just because you are committed to implementing strong building science practices doesn’t mean your subcontractors are. Without the right subcontractors, your goal might not be achieved. Take a look at your subs. Are they properly trained on building science? (DeVere Insulation is up to date on today’s building science.)
  • Insulate and air seal. The building envelope is the most important part of an energy-efficient home. A sound investment, air sealing and insulating will create a more comfortable interior for residents and decrease builder callbacks. When properly done, air sealing and insulating will last for the lifetime of the home. We recommend builders follow RESNET Grade One Installation practices.
  • Choose proper HVAC. When the home’s envelope is properly insulated and air sealed, a smaller HVAC system will suffice. In fact, an oversized HVAC system or improper ductwork can dramatically impact airflow and resident comfort. By simply reducing the amount of conditioned air needed through a tight building envelope, a homeowner can save money and be more comfortable. Pretty simple.
  • Ongoing evaluation. There are many pieces involved in the construction process. To ensure a home is maintaining a high level of energy efficiency, it’s important to perform blower door and other diagnostic tests throughout the construction process. Be sure your subcontractor team includes a qualified HERS rater who stays involved during the construction process.

Installing good quality insulation with proper techniques is the single best way to build a high-performing home. Proper installation and testing will result in a more efficient home, more comfortable homeowners and fewer callbacks.

Have questions about building science and insulation? Contact us. We’re happy to help.

Four Easy Steps to Better Insulation

Air Leaks
Example of poorly installed insulation.

Poor insulation occurs so often that residents in newly constructed homes, or those who occupy commercial spaces, pay higher than necessary energy bills. Lower bills mean happier customers – why not take the extra steps to ensure your customers are happy?

Here are four easy steps to keep your customers happy and ensure insulation is properly installed the first time:

Damaged insulation can be a result of something serious like fire or water damage, or something that was never even realized like weather or critter damage. Disrupted insulation is often caused by other subcontractors who may go into the attic to make upgrades or repairs. They move the insulation out of the way (i.e. blown-in fiberglass) and fail to put it back in place, or trample fiberglass which considerably reduces its R-value. Be diligent. If work is done or changes are made to insulated spaces, call your insulation team back to be sure the product is in proper condition.

Properly installed insulation is critical to ensure your customer gets the most from their investment. An insulation professional knows how to correctly install insulating products. One product most often improperly installed is fiberglass batts. Many people believe they are qualified to install them, but many batts are misaligned leaving gaps which reduces their effectiveness. Specific problems we see are batts that are torn, patted down, improperly cut to fit around openings/pipes, separated from the surface they are supposed to insulate (attic floor, for instance) or missing altogether. Hire a qualified insulation contractor to be sure your customer is getting the most out of their investment.

Most commonly seen in renovations or rehabs, many older homes don’t have insulation levels that meet today’s code. Recommended insulation levels for our region are as follows:
    Ceilings: R-49
    Walls: R-21
    Floors: R-30
    Basement Walls: R-13
When considering these standards we always recommend paying special attention to not just meeting codes, but also optimizing energy efficiency. Air sealing the building envelope can have a very short payback time through lower energy bills.

Similar to insufficient insulation, we run into cases where areas that should have been insulated were neglected or overlooked. Common trouble spots include knee walls, dropped soffits, chimney chases and sealing around attic access doors. Each exposed area is an opportunity for conditioned air to escape. When planning insulation for a new home or other space, be sure to take these areas into consideration.

Have questions about a current or upcoming project? We have the answers. Contact us today.

Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey was the strongest storm to make landfall in the Texas Coastal Bend area since Hurricane Carla in September 1961. The flooding resulting from Harvey’s flooding is one of the worst weather disasters in U.S. history. It’s estimated the storm damage will amount to billions of dollars.

Even though Hurricane Harvey is off the front page of daily news, there’s no doubt the impact of this storm is far from over. The real heavy lifting of recovery and reconstruction is underway, and will continue for quite some time.

With many connections to the Houston area, the founders of DeVere Insulation and its affiliated companies have been moved to assist. To this end, DeVere Insulation along with DeVere Insulation Home Performance, Delmarva Insulation, Delmarva Spray Foam, Foam InSEALators, Liberty Insulation, Southland Insulators and The Fifth Fuel have donated $28,000 to help with recovery efforts.

Bob and Carolyn DeVere along with Jerry and Nancy Palmer have selected two Texas charities to receive these funds – Samaritan’s Purse and Tomball Emergency Assistance Ministries. Each organization received $14,000 to aid in their mission of helping local families recover from this tragedy.

We are proud to support our local communities and support others during times of tragedy. If you are moved, we encourage you to donate to one of these Houston-based organizations to help with Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.