The Summer of our Disconnect
It all started the first week of June when a door to door salesmen knocked on ours. My husband opened it to "Did you know you can Insulate your house up to the new recommended code for very little investment, or maybe none at all?" Take advantage of the "stimulus package," rebates, and an insulation company not only knowing how to do the job, but how to get it done free.
By the time the young man had finished his spiel, we had an appointment for someone to come by and give us a bid. Within two weeks we had a crew from this company in our attic.
Part of the plan was for the gas company and/or the power company to send someone to take a look at the job, fill out the report, and then you file a Conservative Incentive Application and get the rebate through both energy companies.
It turned out to be not so easy. The inspector came, and left us with six out of the nine objectives under the word FAILED. On top of that there was a window of opportunity in which you can get the inspection done and your application approved. It had already taken five days for the inspector to provide us with our written evaluation and that clock was ticking away.
Every day we called the company. Every day we got promises for someone to call us back. FINALLY, someone called us back and made an appointment to come fix the mistakes. We waited patiently that morning and no one arrived. We called that afternoon and we were told, "No. You weren't on the schedule today." So we called every day until someone called and gave us another appointment. Once more no one showed up to work at our house. We called and called and called. Someone told us that the crew was on the west side of the state and no were near our valley so there must have been a mistake in the paperwork.
By this time we are thinking that we will be saying goodbye to close to a thousand dollars of unplanned expense on a budget already trimmed because neither of us were employed this summer. And we wondered how much more it will cost to fix the problems pointed out by the inspector. He said it needed to be corrected in order for us to not be in violation.
We keep calling. They promise to show up in three days, AND THEY DID. But, it was a crew that had no idea that they were sent to fix the problems from the previous visit. They thought it was a new job.
The young man that was the crew chief called his company headquarters and he was instructed to go to the local Home Depot and purchase the supplies to repair and correct the earlier mistakes. All was going to get fixed. YES!
I was sitting at my computer and I could hear them above me in the attic moving around when there was a sudden loud C --R-- A-- C-- K. I jumped, looked up, and behold! There was a huge crack in the ceiling above my head.
The crew chief took photos, apologized, and called his company headquarters. "Get a dry wall bid and then let us know," he said.
After the crew left our residence we called and got an appointment for the "inspector" to fit us in because that rebate window was on the verge of being locked. Someone was sent over the next day. We FAILED again.
"I'll fix them myself?" said my husband. "And then will you approve our Application?"
My husband purchased the materials and quickly built the "dam" to separate the loose insulation from the storage area over the garage. All of our boxes and things had been sprayed and it was a mess. He contacted a local insulation and roofing company to come take a look at the vents. We paid a roofer to reinforced and secure them. I was especially happy that we had hired that to be fixed, because on labor day weekend my husband tore a muscle in his leg and could barely walk, much less crawl up a ladder and navigate the sloping roof.
Here it is -- four months into this story -- and there is no "end" yet. Yes. We did claim our rebate! We also hope to recover the money for the dry-wall work on the ceiling above my head. There is doubt that we will see any of the additional expense that we invested by bringing the job up to code on our own and what we paid to the other firm to correct the lousy workmanship.
It was not a free lesson, but it was good lesson to learn. We really need to only hire locally and support those skilled craftsman from our own community.