- Do you like precise work?
- Are you looking for on-the-job variety?
- Do you like working with your hands and with machines?
- Could you work on scaffolding in high places and indoors or out, in all kinds of weather?
If the answer to these questions is yes, then a career as a Heat and Frost Insulator could be right for you.
Heat and frost insulators apply insulation materials to plumbing, air-handling, heating, cooling and refrigeration systems; piping equipment and pressure vessels; and walls, floors and ceilings of buildings and other structures to prevent or reduce the passage of heat, cold, sound or fire.
They are employed by construction companies and insulation contractors, or they may be self-employed.
As a Heat and Frost Insulator, your duties may include the following:
- Applying and securing insulation
- Measuring and cutting insulating material using hand and power tools
- Installing vapour barriers
- Applying waterproofing cement over insulating materials to finish surfaces
- Removing asbestos or urea-formaldehyde insulation from buildings
- Reading and interpreting specifications to select the type of insulation required
The standard work week for heat and frost insulators is 40 hours (8 hours a day, 5 days a week). As with many careers in construction, there are peak periods that will require you to work overtime. The number of additional hours you work each week depends on the construction sector and region you work in, and will vary from one job to the next. If you work in maintenance, you may have to work in shifts.
As a Heat and Frost Insulator, you may work indoors or outdoors, usually with a team of other construction professionals. The job can be physically demanding – you may work on ladders or scaffolding and in confined areas.
As with all careers in the construction industry, safety is the top priority. Heat and frost insulators are trained to work safely and use equipment such as respirators, coveralls and safety goggles to protect against dust and fibreglass.
Training and Certification
Apprenticeship involves both classroom studies and on-the-job training under the supervision of a certified Heat and Frost Insulator, called a journeyperson.
As an apprentice, you earn while you learn and are paid by the hour while working on the job site. Wages start at about 50 per cent of a journeyperson’s hourly rate and increase during your apprenticeship until you reach the full rate.
Entering an apprenticeship program
Requirements for heat and frost insulator apprenticeship programs vary across Canada. In most provinces and territories, you must be at least 18 years old and have a Grade 12 education or equivalent to enter a heat and frost insulator apprenticeship program. You may find it helpful to have courses in math.
Some provinces and territories offer secondary school apprenticeship programs that allow high school students to work towards a career as a Heat and Frost Insulator.
Apprenticeship training programs for heat and frost insulators vary across Canada, but generally involve four 12-month periods, including at least 5,650 hours of on-the-job training, three eight-week blocks of technical training and a final certificate exam.
Related work experience or completion of a heat and frost insulator program at a college or technical institute can reduce the time required to complete your apprenticeship.
Certification is required in Quebec. It is available but voluntary in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. Where certification is not available, it may be possible to study as an apprentice through your local labour organization. Check out our Related links to find out who to contact. Even where certification is voluntary, it is still recommended. Certification tells employers and other workers that you are a skilled professional. It also helps you get jobs.
To be certified as a Heat and Frost Insulator, you usually need to complete a four-year apprenticeship program. Once you successfully complete the required on-the-job training, technical training and exams, you are awarded a journeyperson certificate.
You may be eligible for certification in some provinces and territories if you have more than four years of on-the-job experience and some high school, college or industry courses in insulating.
As a certified Heat and Frost Insulator you may write the Interprovincial Exam to qualify for the Interprovincial Standards’ Red Seal. With a Red Seal, you can work as a Heat and Frost Insulator anywhere in Canada.
To keep their skills current, Heat and Frost Insulators must keep up with new technologies by reading and by speaking with others in their field.
Anticipated In-Demand Regions