Part XII: The Big Day or Actually Blowing in the Insulation

Series: Installing Blown-in InsulationPermalink

Save money by adding blown-in insulation to your attic.

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! After months of work in preparation, it’s the big day for actually blowing the insulation into the attic. Now is the time to buy the insulation, rent the blower, and slog through a long and hot day of loose fill fiberglass insulation installation!

No Truck, No Van, How I Transported Thirty-One Packages of Insulation Home Permalink

Real Gospodina and I do not own a truck or a van, so we had to figure out an alternative way to get the insulation home from the big box store. I considered asking a favor from friends with trucks, but in the end decided not to bother them.

That left a couple of options, either rent a truck from the big box store or rent a cargo van from U-Haul. The latter option was not only less expensive, but allowed for a greater carrying capacity. This was important due to the fact that I had a difficult time visualizing the actual volume of insulation that I needed to bring home.

What Thirty-One Bags of Loose Fill Fiberglass Looks Like Permalink

If you’re like me and you have a tough time imagining what many packages of blown-in fiberglass insulation looks like, here is a photo to help.

The Blower, An Introduction Permalink

Another great unknown, in spite of reading several DIY blog posts about blowing-in insulation, was the dimensions and weight of the blower and more importantly would it fit in the trunk of my car? Some stores have this information on their websites, otherwise you can often find the details on the manufacturer’s website, so long as you know the make and model of the blower.

In my case the blower would definitely not fit into either of our cars, so I had to ask my father’s help to transport it in his station wagon. We also brought home two plastic trash bins that each held a 50’ length of 2” hose, which pretty much took up the remaining space in the vehicle. It was also very helpful to have a second person to lift the blower since it weighed 220 lbs!

It Takes Three Baby, Make a Dream Come True Permalink

The two most important pieces of advice that I have are to block out an entire day for the work and to enlist two people to help you. At best you won’t encounter any impediments, but it’s still prudent to make sure that you have ample time and help to get the job done.

We started working at 10:00 AM and didn’t finish until just before 9:00 PM. We didn’t get into an actual rhythm until noon since we clogged the hose and hopper right off the bat and then struggled to unclog everything. Clearing out nearly one hundred feet of hose takes time and adds to the mess that you’ll invariably make of whatever room you’re working in.

It took trial and error to know the right volume of insulation to feed into the hopper. This ate up valuable time and since this was a Sunday we really had to hustle to return the blower to the store. We especially did not want to return the blower early the next day because have day jobs and we also didn’t want to pay for the extra rental hours.

Three people are ideal so that one person can distribute the insulation in the attic while the other two feed the hopper. If you’re using fiberglass then it’s compressed and should weigh between 30 – 35 lbs a bag. After some trial and error we settled on one person cutting open the bag with a box cutter and lifting it, while the other person broke it apart and fed the pieces into the hopper.

A third person is also very helpful for troubleshooting issues, such as a broken hose or clogged hopper, or to fetch water and grab a carry-out lunch (and possibly dinner) to minimize downtime. For us this project was arduous and boring, so a third person (thanks Dad!) was essential for getting the work done without losing our minds or tempers.

Unfortunately we were so busy that we didn’t take any photos of the work as we were doing it. We also made a big mess, so perhaps the photos wouldn’t have turned out well anyhow, with all the fiberglass floating in the air. One last piece of advice is to dress appropriately and have a pair of walkie-talkies to make communication easier between attic and hopper.

That’s It, We’re Done Permalink

If you haven’t read all the preceding posts, please do! You’ll find helpful information about the process of installing blown-in insulation and you’ll be able to learn from our experience, both the good and the bad.

Be sure to read through the first post where I run through the costs and benefits for our household. This will give you a better sense for whether or not the effort and expenditure is worth it.

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