Whether you are using a brand new insulation machine or a used one, it is sure to have its moments. No machine works perfectly, and equipment often finds the most inconvenient times to break down. You might find yourself rushing to finish a job—only to be stalled by a leaking seal or a clogged hose with insulation blowing back into the hoppers.
Your problem might be serious enough that you need to call in the experts, but there is also a very good chance that you can troubleshoot it on your own. With a little know-how, you can often tweak the machine and getting it working once again without having to wait for a replacement or a professional repair.
Your natural inclination may be to start fiddling with the settings of your insulation machine, but proceed cautiously. Before you adjust the settings, it is important to review the operation manual that comes with the machine. Each insulation machine has a table that provides the starting points of the machine settings, including the RPM, air pressure, gear setting, gate opening, arc length, hose diameter, and more. You will need to adjust the different settings depending on the nature of the job you are doing – the kind of coverage, the type of material, etc. Before doing so, though, make sure that you are educated on their proper use.
In the insulation industry, coverage refers to the square feet per bag of installation at a particular thickness – the R-value. If you do not attain a target R-value for a particular project with the estimated bags of insulation materials, your machine is probably not functioning properly.
The common reasons behind improper coverage are:
- Incorrect machine settings – Double check the machine settings before you start working. If you are blowing a different type of insulation material than you used at the last job, note that the settings will need to be adjusted.
- Incorrect square footage – At times, there is a mistake on the estimated square footage for a job. Check the job ticket before starting work to avoid this inconsistency.
- Hose problems – Do not underestimate the importance of the hose. The hose must be at least 3 inches in diameter and at least 150 feet in length, with corrugated internal ridges. Other types of hoses will not be able to deliver appropriate force.
- Poor machine maintenance – If your machine hasn’t been maintained consistently, you may encounter problems. Seals must be regularly replaced so they do not blow back into the hopper. As a general rule, seals should be replaced every 10 weeks. You should also check the tension belts and chains. The machine should be lubricated regularly, and you should adhere to maintenance regulations recommended by the manufacturer.
- Improper materials storage – Insulation materials must be stored properly indoors under correct temperature and humidity. Improperly stored materials may not provide correct coverage.
Tick through these options to see if the problem is one that you can address on your own. Perhaps you’ll still need help from the experts, but there’s a good chance that you may be able to get your machine working on your own, saving both time and money.