Insulation workers are responsible for installing buffer and insulation material which will help keep buildings energy efficient, or reduce noise. This includes installing buffer around hot water pipes and hot water heaters to make sure less heat is lost through radiation, installing drywall insulation material or installing specialized ceiling panels and other materials to help reduce transmission of noise.
Insulation workers can specialize in a few different fields. Mechanical insulation workers help fit machinery with insulation material. This can include cutting and fitting material to fit around steam pipes to help maintain proper operating temperature. Floor, ceiling and wall insulation workers do much the same tasks but specifically for floors, ceilings and walls to help either reduce noise or prevent fluctuations in temperature. Insulation in buildings keeps the insides cool during summer when the air conditioner is on, and warm in the winter when its cold outside.
Insulation workers earn an average of $15.24 per hour. Insulation workers can either work as individual employees or can belong to a professional labor union. Labor union employees generally make more than non-labor union employees. In general, contractors do not offer medical coverage, retirement options, PTO or sick leave.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Insulation workers are responsible for cutting, fitting and installing insulating material in buildings to increase energy efficiency or to help reduce noise transmission. Insulation material helps keep the inside of buildings cool and comfortable during the summer months as well as warm during the winter months. In addition well packed insulating material helps keep noise from one room from being heard loudly in another. This allows for more increased privacy. This is helpful for busy offices, or homes with noisy kids and parents who need rest.
Insulation workers can specialize within their field. Mechanical insulation workers work specifically with machinery. They can cut, measure and fit insulation materials around hot water heaters or steam pipes to prevent heat loss through radiation, helping reduce energy bills in the long run. They also may fit insulation materials to certain parts of machinery to help them function at their optimal rate.
Floor, Ceiling and Wall insulation workers cut and measure insulation to fit in hidden areas of the house. Insulation can be found beneath the floor boards in between levels of a multi-story house, behind the drywall or in the attic. Insulation material essentially acts as a blanket to help maintain the internal temperature and reduce cooling or heating costs.
Insulation workers often work at construction or industrial sites. They may work within existing structures to install updates, or they may work at new construction. In general the sites are often noisy and potentially dangerous. Safety precautions must be taken in order to prevent injury to self and other workers. Insulation materials often contain irritants or other noxious fumes and must be handled with appropriate precautions.
Often times insulation workers will be assigned to the task of renovating old buildings. This will often first require the removal of old insulation materials. Old insulation materials often contain poisonous or noxious chemicals such as asbestos which have been known to cause cancer in humans. To prevent this, insulation workers are usually fitted with protective masks and use gloves and other protective materials. However, regardless of precautions, contact with asbestos still proves risky.
Demand for insulation workers is expected to increase over the next ten years as more individuals seek to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and offices.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
Most employees will prefer workers who have at least a High School Diploma, GED or equivalent. Candidates with prior experience reading blueprints, and in shop mechanics are greatly preferred. Trade schools and community colleges often offer basic shop courses which will be advantageous.
Insulation workers must be trained and knowledgeable in operating various hand tools such as trowels, brushes, knives, scissors and saws to cut and fit insulation material. They may also be required to operate power saws and table saws, as well as to know how to weld pipe joints together.
Most new hires will receive one on one training from an existing company employee. Often times companies will require employees to have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record.
The Environmental Protection Agency has a mandatory Insulation Worker certification program for insulation workers wishing to specialize in asbestos removal that all candidates must complete before beginning work.
Other optional certification programs are offered through various employers and other professional associations.
The National Insulation Association provides a certificate program which will allow insulation workers to become certified in performing appraisals to give customer and client estimates on the energy advantages of upgrading insulation.
In addition, there are several professional labor unions which Insulation Workers can petition to join. These unions will help negotiate work contracts, as well as other benefits such as health care coverage, life insurance and retirement options.
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