Author Topic: Blown-in Insulation DIY?  (Read 7419 times)

sabertooth3

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Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« on: July 01, 2016, 03:48:15 PM »
Has anyone blown in their own insulation, either new or over existing insulation? Got a home energy audit and they want about $3,000 total for insulating my attic and crawl space (about 1,300 sqft total). Is this DIY-able for just me and my spouse, or do I need to fork over the $$?

Jack

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2016, 04:02:51 PM »
I've been looking into doing it too, and from what I've read it's reasonable to DIY. The middle of summer is not a good time for it, though!

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2016, 04:20:23 PM »
DIY'able, but for bigger jobs or one were the machine is further from the job site you'll want two people (one to feed the machine and one to man the hose).

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2016, 04:34:23 PM »
YES!  You can totally do this and it is absolutely worth it.  We rented the blow-in machine that chopped up the bales (used the pink panther OC brand stuff).  I fed the machine down below while DH went through the attic (about 2500 sq feet).  We are in a big rancher so the distance the hose ran was quite far but it was no problem. Got all of it from Home Depot.   

If memory serves we spent maybe $750 in DIY costs and got most of that back immediately between a rebate from our local utility and then through a federal tax benefit for energy improvements.  Those direct benefits made this project nearly free at the time and now it saves hugely on our energy costs. 

Side note, the utility gave us a hassle when we submitted Home Depot receipts instead of a contractor's bill when seeking the rebate, I guess it is rare enough to DIY that they didn't know what to do with that.  I told them they were welcome to come inspect my attic to prove we actually installed the stuff, and further there was nothing in the fine print anywhere saying DIY was not allowed.  Check your local utility paperwork for that kind of nonsense, hopefully no issue.   

john6221

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2016, 05:11:43 PM »
You gots to air seal first. That is a much more challenging task. But DIY-able.

nereo

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2016, 05:15:17 PM »
Has anyone blown in their own insulation, either new or over existing insulation? Got a home energy audit and they want about $3,000 total for insulating my attic and crawl space (about 1,300 sqft total). Is this DIY-able for just me and my spouse, or do I need to fork over the $$?

In case you haven't seen MMM"s blog post on exactly this topic:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/01/beating-the-stock-market-with-diy-insulation/
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Metric Mouse

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2016, 12:17:54 AM »
Totally doable. Just did my garage this summer. Took a few hours of prep because I have storage space up there I didn't want filled in, but otherwise was super simple. Did take a person to feed and a person to man the hose. About as simple a project as you can get - point the hose until the fluffy stuff coming out of it reaches the depth you desire. Point the hose some where else. Repeat.
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ohsnap

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2016, 07:34:57 AM »
...

Side note, the utility gave us a hassle when we submitted Home Depot receipts instead of a contractor's bill when seeking the rebate, I guess it is rare enough to DIY that they didn't know what to do with that.  I told them they were welcome to come inspect my attic to prove we actually installed the stuff, and further there was nothing in the fine print anywhere saying DIY was not allowed.  Check your local utility paperwork for that kind of nonsense, hopefully no issue.   

We had the same problem when we replaced a toilet with a more efficient one.  They wanted a plumber receipt.  The rebate was $125, and I would have had to pay a plumber $100 to install the toilet!  Not gonna happen when my hubby can do the job in 20 minutes.  We did end up getting the rebate.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2016, 07:40:47 AM »
Chiming in for more information on rebates sans contractors.  Here in IL, it seems like you *have* to have it done by a contractor :(

The Fake Cheap

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2016, 10:46:45 AM »
Totally doable.  I did this with the blower and insulation from Home Depot, I think the machine rental might have even been free with the purchase of so many bags.   It worked great even with the blower being located on the main floor garage and the hose running up one flight of steps, and then up into the attic and then all the way across the attic. maybe about 120ft in total.  I blew the new insulation in over the old existing bats.  I took the R rating in the attic from like 20 to 50+. It was quite easy to do, clean up was a bit of a pain around the blower area, but I would recommend doing this to anyone who is even only slightly handy.

Like someone else said above, make sure the attic is properly air sealed and has proper ventilation before you do this.  I also did the attic ventilation myself, this was also very easy, but very time consuming since it involved crawling into tight spaces. 

I cant speak about the crawl space process.

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #10 on: July 09, 2016, 09:59:03 PM »
Has anyone blown in their own insulation, either new or over existing insulation? Got a home energy audit and they want about $3,000 total for insulating my attic and crawl space (about 1,300 sqft total). Is this DIY-able for just me and my spouse, or do I need to fork over the $$?

Before you buy decide if you want cellulose or fiberglass insulation.
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Mongoose

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2016, 11:03:05 AM »
DH and I did this. It totally sucked while doing it but I think that most of the problem was that the free purchase of insulation machine hadn't been maintained so we could only use it on the fastest speed and had to have the insulation broken up by hand anyway. DH did the hose end of the job and definitely had the easy part.

It was totally worth it though and I would do it again...just with a less rusty blower.

ETA: We wore appropriately rated respiratory protection for doing it.  And hosed each other off before going in the house. The dust actually is horrific.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2016, 12:11:49 PM by Mongoose »

totoro

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2016, 11:07:01 AM »
You should likely research the health issues related to blown-in insulation first.  We did it and I would not do it again.  The dust it creates may be carcinogenic and lasts a long time.

Highbeam

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2016, 04:04:19 PM »
I blew R-50 cellulose 15" deep in my shop building. All from home depot. I actually bought out two stores worth of insulation to get this done. The wife fed the machine while I placed the product in the attic. Very dusty. Use an actual respirator with cartridges and those chemistry style safety goggles for both the blower and the machine loader. Easy, cheap, and worth it. Don't forget the headlamp and precut measuring stick to measure depth as you go. Oh and you can't talk to the loader and the hose keeps blowing so arrange a break after every so many bags.

Now the crawlspace is really a PITA. I hired that out. It is done with fiberglass batts which must be cut and then installed with wire to hold them up against the floor above. You're on your back in a dirty place, working with fiberglass overhead dripping shards of glass into your eyes, lungs, hair, and sticking to you. Ick. Way too tough. You also have to shuttle the batts to the installation location compared to blowing it down a hose so lots of traveling under floor in a stooped or crawl position.

Mel70

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2016, 12:03:57 PM »
I've been considering replacing the insulation in my house. It's very old. Do you need to vacuum everything before you apply the new material? Any considerations for removing the existing fiberglass insulation?

Metric Mouse

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2016, 07:19:16 PM »
I've been considering replacing the insulation in my house. It's very old. Do you need to vacuum everything before you apply the new material? Any considerations for removing the existing fiberglass insulation?

Usually it's just blown in ontop of whatever is in there. Does your house even have insulation in the walls? Some old houses might not.  I would only remove it if I found wet or moldy spots.
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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2016, 10:22:28 AM »
Did ours too.. We did half the house with blown in and half with fiberglass batts. I think the machine was not available when we had to do the fiberglass part.

Doing it agian I would go with the blown in as you get a better job because there are not little gaps that you inevitably get with the batts. One thing to watch out for is to not blow the insulation such that you cover over the attic vents in the eaves. Other than that it was a simple job.

For the crawl space, we use Corning pink insulation but used the stuff that comes in long visqueen (poly plastic bag) tubing. This stops the fiberglass dripping on you.. you still have to tie it up somehow, not the most fun job to do.

TomTX

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #17 on: October 15, 2016, 09:18:38 AM »
Has anyone blown in their own insulation, either new or over existing insulation? Got a home energy audit and they want about $3,000 total for insulating my attic and crawl space (about 1,300 sqft total). Is this DIY-able for just me and my spouse, or do I need to fork over the $$?

Before you buy decide if you want cellulose or fiberglass insulation.

The correct answer is cellulose.  Fiberglass is way too easy to overloft, allowing convective heat transfer (ie, airflow) and also the performance drops off a lot faster at cold temperatures.
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TomTX

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2016, 09:20:18 AM »
You gots to air seal first. That is a much more challenging task. But DIY-able.

Absolutely. Air sealing is key. It can be a bit finicky, but you just need some tubes of caulk and cans of foam.

AFTER you air seal, then you buy 20-25 bales of cellulose from the big box store to get the machine rental free, and make sure they give you the "good" one they have, as well as the extra long hose.
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guitar_stitch

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2016, 06:36:45 AM »
You should likely research the health issues related to blown-in insulation first.  We did it and I would not do it again.  The dust it creates may be carcinogenic and lasts a long time.

Fear!  Scary!  Panic!

1) If you did it right, the you have sealed the living space off from the attic space.  Ergo, dust remains in the attic.
2) When blowing Insulation, a respirator and goggles are a must.

You're on your back in a dirty place, working with fiberglass overhead dripping shards of glass into your eyes, lungs, hair, and sticking to you. Ick. Way too tough. You also have to shuttle the batts to the installation location compared to blowing it down a hose so lots of traveling under floor in a stooped or crawl position.

Eyes - Goggles
Lungs - Respirator
Hair - Proper jump suit for working in hazardous space.

If you lack the proper tools to do the job, yes, it will suck.  Sometimes it's worth the investment in the right supplies to do the job.

totoro

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2016, 06:26:39 PM »
Maybe we had it done wrong.  Not sure, but I am sure I don't have a tendency to fear monger needlessly and I am sure I have first-hand experience.  We didn't have an attic - it was done between floors in the house, which is a recommended use of this product.  Also the machine was exterior to the house the entire time.  I would not do it again.  There was dust and the materials themselves are treated with a fire retardant which is potentially carcinogenic.   If you have folks with asthma or allergies in your house you might want to check into what I'm saying even if you are not concerned about carcinogens as the dust is an irritant.  Ours would not be the only family that experienced dust or a reaction to the product. 

http://www.g-pmc.com/g-pmc-registrars-declines-to-certify-cellulose-insulation-contractors-and-manufacturers/

France has proposed a ban on the use of some of the retardants and Europe has banned borax in the insulation for some time:

https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/999a106c-6baf-48c7-8764-0c55576a2517


TomTX

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #21 on: October 17, 2016, 08:07:09 PM »
Maybe we had it done wrong.  Not sure, but I am sure I don't have a tendency to fear monger needlessly and I am sure I have first-hand experience.  We didn't have an attic - it was done between floors in the house, which is a recommended use of this product.  Also the machine was exterior to the house the entire time.  I would not do it again.  There was dust and the materials themselves are treated with a fire retardant which is potentially carcinogenic.   If you have folks with asthma or allergies in your house you might want to check into what I'm saying even if you are not concerned about carcinogens as the dust is an irritant.  Ours would not be the only family that experienced dust or a reaction to the product. 

http://www.g-pmc.com/g-pmc-registrars-declines-to-certify-cellulose-insulation-contractors-and-manufacturers/

France has proposed a ban on the use of some of the retardants and Europe has banned borax in the insulation for some time:

https://echa.europa.eu/documents/10162/999a106c-6baf-48c7-8764-0c55576a2517

Appears to be a combination of FUD spreading and outright lies on that site. I don't know why an ISO certifier is even getting involved - it's totally outside their area of expertise.

Not a carcinogen.

https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+328

Fiberglass is MUCH more irritating than cellulose. I've worked with both.

If you had a dust issue, that's an installation problem. You should have sealed everything with caulk and/or foam first. Just like that FUD side said you have to do with fiberglass as well (though with phrasing to make it seem all awesome and safe - someone has a real agenda there)

Borax is pretty darn low on the toxicity scale. Sure, you shouldn't eat it by the spoonful. Neither should you eat baking soda by the spoonful.
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totoro

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #22 on: October 17, 2016, 09:36:17 PM »
Yep, maybe installed incorrectly but Borax is not the only thing in blown-in insulation and Borax is an irritant and some develop allergies.  There is also ammonium sulfate and whatever else is in the recycled cellulose.  Plus cellulose itself has issues as identified in the Oxford Journal :

"In the in vivo tests cellulose fibres produced harmful effects, including tumours." http://annhyg.oxfordjournals.org/content/46/suppl_1/81.full.pdf

Maybe if you seal your attic properly you'll be fine but between floors there are a lot of cracks and soundproofing between floors is still a recommended use.  And even if you seal there are off-gassing issues identified in the French studies. 

I agree fiberglass also has issues.  http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/green-building-curmudgeon/it-time-stop-insulating

Maybe the ISO certifier is incorrect and out to lunch, seems a bit suspect, but the other report is not from the ISO folks.  It is from the European Chemicals Agency, and they did a 171 page report on the chemical issues with cellulose insulation. https://echa.europa.eu/about-us/who-we-are/mission

"In France, the Directorate of Housing, Urban Planning and Landscape (DUHP) was informed by the European Cellulose Insulation Manufacturers Association (ECIMA) and the French Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB) that a growing number of householders were complaining about an ammonia smell following the installation of cellulose insulation for sound or thermal insulation in their homes. In 2012, ECIMA had recorded 115 reports and had conducted in situ measurements indicating ammonia concentrations in air of up to 5 ppm...

 In addition, there are few human data on the toxicity of cellulose fibres. Occupational exposure can induce effects on the eyes and
mucous membranes of the airways. It would therefore be worthwhile conducting a risk assessment for these fibres. One patient refused to have the insulation replaced by insulation containing boron salts, given his knowledge of the reasons that led to its withdrawal. There is therefore a fundamental problem with the nature of the insulation products to be used, to which patients and especially professionals are exposed for many years."

The insulation industry itself admits there has been inadequate testing: http://www2.owenscorning.com/literature/pdfs/BI502.pdf

"An inadequately tested or analyzed product should not be deemed safe or free from health risks simply because its manufacturer has refused or failed to test its product. Indeed, failure of a product to be adequately tested by its manufacturer should be a critical factor in determining that a product should NOT be considered for use. Dr. J.M.G. Davis of the Institute of Occupational Medicine Ltd. reaffirms this concept in the following statement: “It is disappointing to find that…some fibre products are being manufactured and promoted as safe when this really means they are untested. A current example of this concerns the increasing use of materials based on cellulose fibres.” Davis’ statement is equally applicable to all other types of insulation. JMG Davis, “The need for standardized testing procedures for all products capable of liberating respirable fibers: the example of materials based on cellulose,” British Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1993: 50: 187-190. Fifteen years after this admonishment, cellulose insulation manufacturers have still not adequately tested their products."

I have nothing to sell to you, nor do I have some antivax weird agenda.  In real life I'm a lawyer and pretty skeptical.  I will say that when  we sold our house a year after the installation I was glad to move despite the ideal location.  My one son and I developed asthma, which later resolved in our new house which did not have blown-in cellulose insulation.  YMMV and this is anecdotal and could be coincidental but I, for one, would never ever buy a house with blown-in cellulose insulation based on this unscientific experience.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2016, 09:39:00 PM by totoro »

Fishindude

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2016, 07:32:14 AM »
It's a nasty job, dragging a hose around in a hot attic with all of that dust getting in every orifice.
If there is any way you can open up a gable end to get some air in beforehand, that would help a bunch, do it during cool temps, and make sure to have proper clothing & PPE.

I'd hire it out, personally.

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2016, 12:34:44 PM »
Blowing fiberglass or cellulose is not as bad as you might imagine. BUT BEFORE YOU DO get a quote from a known, respected installer. They often get a better price on materials and baffles and they are pro's. I found that I could have it done for almost the same price as doing it myself and they did a better job than I could have done- something to be said about the quality of work by someone who does it daily.
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Molzy

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2016, 01:41:27 PM »
We DIYed the air sealing and hired out the blown in insulation because our utility company would pay 60% if we hired it out, making it comparable to DIY. If we had to do it over again, we'd hire out the air sealing too (I think they wanted around $400). It was miserable (though we did do it in January when it was -19 out, so that didn't help). Honestly not something I'd do again (ourselves), but our house is a lot less drafty!

Metric Mouse

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2016, 08:33:22 PM »
It's a nasty job, dragging a hose around in a hot attic with all of that dust getting in every orifice.
If there is any way you can open up a gable end to get some air in beforehand, that would help a bunch, do it during cool temps, and make sure to have proper clothing & PPE.

I'd hire it out, personally.

I had no such experience.  The machine I rented pumped out product at an agreeable pace, I performed the task when the weather was cool, and wore proper clothing.  Prepping the space (I did a lot of special prepwork which would not apply to most people) was more annoying and difficult than aiming a hose for a couple of hours.
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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2016, 09:50:55 PM »
Always wanted to try to blow in new insulation into my attic. Read some quick things about the eaves vent not being blocked ect.


MMM did post about it on the blog
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2014/05/01/beating-the-stock-market-with-diy-insulation/


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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2016, 08:21:53 PM »
Blowing fiberglass or cellulose is not as bad as you might imagine. BUT BEFORE YOU DO get a quote from a known, respected installer. They often get a better price on materials and baffles and they are pro's. I found that I could have it done for almost the same price as doing it myself and they did a better job than I could have done- something to be said about the quality of work by someone who does it daily.

I have learned that this is the way to go on one-time things like this. Trying to DIY this with no skills is being penny smart, pound foolish IMO. There are some things worth paying for unless you know what you're doing beforehand.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2016, 09:27:43 PM »
Blowing fiberglass or cellulose is not as bad as you might imagine. BUT BEFORE YOU DO get a quote from a known, respected installer. They often get a better price on materials and baffles and they are pro's. I found that I could have it done for almost the same price as doing it myself and they did a better job than I could have done- something to be said about the quality of work by someone who does it daily.

I have learned that this is the way to go on one-time things like this. Trying to DIY this with no skills is being penny smart, pound foolish IMO. There are some things worth paying for unless you know what you're doing beforehand.

How does one learn to do things if they only hire out jobs they've never done?
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newelljack

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #30 on: October 22, 2016, 12:00:23 AM »

How does one learn to do things if they only hire out jobs they've never done?

I agree. But blowing insulation may only be a one-time thing and you would need to weigh the cost of the learning curve. More common things like changing oil or installing a faucet would be more suitable to learn. Just saying. Or maybe I am just very un-handy and would rather not pay for someone to fix my mistakes and do the job over.

has anyone mentioned protecting the soffit vents so the insulation doesn't block them?

TomTX

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #31 on: October 22, 2016, 04:05:44 PM »

How does one learn to do things if they only hire out jobs they've never done?

I agree. But blowing insulation may only be a one-time thing and you would need to weigh the cost of the learning curve. More common things like changing oil or installing a faucet would be more suitable to learn. Just saying. Or maybe I am just very un-handy and would rather not pay for someone to fix my mistakes and do the job over.

has anyone mentioned protecting the soffit vents so the insulation doesn't block them?

If you mess up, go outside with the leaf blower and blow up into each of the soffit vents. :D
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Metric Mouse

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #32 on: October 23, 2016, 12:40:32 AM »

How does one learn to do things if they only hire out jobs they've never done?

I agree. But blowing insulation may only be a one-time thing and you would need to weigh the cost of the learning curve. More common things like changing oil or installing a faucet would be more suitable to learn. Just saying. Or maybe I am just very un-handy and would rather not pay for someone to fix my mistakes and do the job over.

has anyone mentioned protecting the soffit vents so the insulation doesn't block them?

If you mess up, go outside with the leaf blower and blow up into each of the soffit vents. :D

Great idea! Probably still sucks to put the foam vents in after the fact though.
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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2016, 12:58:27 PM »
Easy job with 2 people.  One person blows insulation...the other loads the hopper.

Before you start, install rafter vents / baffles if you have vented soffit.  Also, make some marks with a marker on your trusses for depth reference.  Make sure you wear eye protection and a mask.

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2016, 01:09:09 PM »
Another less glamorous though less technical option is to roll additional fiberglass insulation. I went this route since I have a small vehicle and I knew that my wife would not want to help. Each time I drove by the hardware store I would stop in and pickup 4 rolls of R-30. Since I didn't have a machine to return, I could tackle the job in bite-sized chunks.

My attic contained the original (40 year old) insulation that had been trampled by the previous owner and was missing in some locations. I did my best to straighten it out and cut in some new insulation in areas that were lacking. I also used a can of foam to seal around the ceiling light fixture openings. I then rolled over the entire attic with the new insulation. Thanks to the depth of the original insulation, the new layer rolled smoothly over the floor joists and formed a very tight quilt of insulation. After one year, I have seen a measurable reduction in electricity usage, especially in winter as our heat pump does not have to cycle on as often.

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #35 on: November 02, 2016, 02:14:09 PM »
We were lazy and paid a company $1800 in November 2015.  Our roof is really low sloped (2 in 12) and we have a ranch style house with a large area in the middle of cathedral ceiling. The baffle vents were laid in when the soffits were replaced but the only skinny guy on the crew had to extend them.  In fact only one of the crew could fit up there.
We would have just added over the existing insulation but suspected there had been a bad mouse infestation before we bought.  For peace of mind we paid $3400 to remove the mouse-mummies and possibly any bad insulation from 1970's when they were less concerned about asbestos.   Unfortunately the removal crew drove their truck into the brick pillar at the gate and that repair cost them 2500.00.  My husband crawled around with the spray foam and laid vapour barrier over the six lights.   And inspected the wiring for chewing and aluminum wire.  I am sure the house smelled better after and I know exactly what is in the insulation. 
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MrSal

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2016, 01:44:37 PM »
With natural gas prices so low ... I dont know if this warrants an update on our insulation.

Our house is a ranch house... 1100 sqf ... our NG is at 50-60 cents per therm.

The biggest bill we may have in winter is 100 therms usage in january or so ... with a bill around 60-80 USD

Currently we have fiberglass at maybe 10 inches if that much I am to assume our R value in the attic is around R20 R25 maybe ... putting r60 of cellulose would cost me 800+ USD of cellulose since these are 12 USD per pack at Lowes and cant seem to find cheaper.

According to some BTU calculations, our payback was more in the 20 year range than anything shorter... not sure if it warrants the cost and the pain in the ass DIY labor ...

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2016, 02:23:30 PM »
^ That's a pretty marginal ROI.   However, you house should feel more comfortable, so there's that too. 

MrSal

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #38 on: November 06, 2016, 03:14:40 PM »
^ That's a pretty marginal ROI.   However, you house should feel more comfortable, so there's that too.

with sweaters it already feels more comfortable.

What i do notice, is radiant heat/radiators with water heated with NG is much better... everywhere we go that have this system instead of our forced air NG furnace... we keep our house at 68 ... however when we go to somebody elses, their 64F with radiant heat feels so much hotter!

I think once our system goes out ill go the radiant heat method instead.

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #39 on: November 08, 2016, 07:52:15 AM »
With natural gas prices so low ... I dont know if this warrants an update on our insulation.

Our house is a ranch house... 1100 sqf ... our NG is at 50-60 cents per therm.

The biggest bill we may have in winter is 100 therms usage in january or so ... with a bill around 60-80 USD

Currently we have fiberglass at maybe 10 inches if that much I am to assume our R value in the attic is around R20 R25 maybe ... putting r60 of cellulose would cost me 800+ USD of cellulose since these are 12 USD per pack at Lowes and cant seem to find cheaper.

According to some BTU calculations, our payback was more in the 20 year range than anything shorter... not sure if it warrants the cost and the pain in the ass DIY labor ...

You will probably get the best "bang for your buck" with a few inches of cellulose.

Fiberglass tends to allow more convective heat transfer (air flow) particularly if it was overlofted (common for installers, as they get paid to meet a certain depth) - capping it with cellulose stops that convective transfer, and will help the overlofting.

Of course, spending $10 on a tube of caulk and can of foam, then sealing every perforation is the best bang for your buck. Probably $15 for some proper ducting mastic to get those leaks as well.
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MrSal

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2016, 11:40:59 AM »
With natural gas prices so low ... I dont know if this warrants an update on our insulation.

Our house is a ranch house... 1100 sqf ... our NG is at 50-60 cents per therm.

The biggest bill we may have in winter is 100 therms usage in january or so ... with a bill around 60-80 USD

Currently we have fiberglass at maybe 10 inches if that much I am to assume our R value in the attic is around R20 R25 maybe ... putting r60 of cellulose would cost me 800+ USD of cellulose since these are 12 USD per pack at Lowes and cant seem to find cheaper.

According to some BTU calculations, our payback was more in the 20 year range than anything shorter... not sure if it warrants the cost and the pain in the ass DIY labor ...

You will probably get the best "bang for your buck" with a few inches of cellulose.

Fiberglass tends to allow more convective heat transfer (air flow) particularly if it was overlofted (common for installers, as they get paid to meet a certain depth) - capping it with cellulose stops that convective transfer, and will help the overlofting.

Of course, spending $10 on a tube of caulk and can of foam, then sealing every perforation is the best bang for your buck. Probably $15 for some proper ducting mastic to get those leaks as well.

Dont need anything for ducts since we have no ducts in the attice... our duct system goes through the basement.

What is your advice with sealing? I was thinking of removing the current insulation and put some kind XPS foam in it and the sealing and put the current fiberglass on top and then maybe add to it.

I figure that would be a good approach (other than the tedious labour i assume)

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Re: Blown-in Insulation DIY?
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2016, 12:03:23 PM »
What is your advice with sealing? I was thinking of removing the current insulation and put some kind XPS foam in it and the sealing and put the current fiberglass on top and then maybe add to it.

I figure that would be a good approach (other than the tedious labour i assume)
Just seal all the penetrations (usually electrical) with expanding foam.  XPS is better when you need higher insulation in a thinner spot, like a stud bay in an exterior 2x4 wall.  In an attic, you don't have that limitation--you can pile the loose-fill insulation as deep as you want.