Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Heating Our House: Blowing Insulation in Our Attic

I know this isn't a very seasonal topic for some of us.  When the temps reach the upper 70's, the first thing you think about isn't usually insulation.  That said, I want to get this out there and promise I'll have a much more seasonal post coming up next.

Heating Our House: The Problems
Heating Our House: The Inspection and Results
Heating Our House: Wood Stove or Outdoor Furnace?
Heating Our House: The Decision

Well.  We finally got around to our last big insulating project the other weekend when Jamey's parent's were here (Thank you, Dad!).  Our attic had only about 5 inches of blown insulation in it which equals an R-value of about 15.  New homes require and R-value of 39 (in our area).  Hmm.  We were {obviously} a little lacking.

With the project finished, our new R-value is about 40 ( about 12 inches thick).  Jamey and his dad also blew insulation into our kitchen's attic (the only one-story portion of the house).

At our local Lowe's store, if you buy a certain number of bales of loose insulation, they let you borrow (yes, for free) the machine complete with hose that you use to blow it in.  For our job(s), we used 35 bales. Below, Jamey is taking off one of the attic vents to feed the hose through.  He had to crawl up through the little attic access hole in Sam's room to get himself up in there.  The gaping hole in the house just below him in the picture is the hole he created to be able to blow insulation into the kitchen's attic (what he's standing on in the picture).

 in action

It was a dusty mess but, thankfully, this insulation is made from recycled newspaper, so there are no irritants in it.  Jamey used a respirator since he was the one up in the attic spraying, but did not use eye protection because with his glasses it would have been hard to see (our attic is dark to begin with).  His eyes were a little irritated afterwards, but nothing like how fiberglass insulation would have made them.  He also wore a headlamp so he could see better.

The whole project took about 2  hours from start to finish not counting the added time you'll want to consider if you accidentally step through the attic floor and into your bedroom.  It's okay, Jamey.  It happens to the best of us:-).  Other than having to deal with that little mishap the project was relatively easy and is only a two-person job- one person to keep feeding the insulation into the hopper which blows it up the hose and one person to hold the hose and shoot the insulation around in the attic.

This project will not only keep us warmer in the winter, but also keep our house COOLER in the summer as well.  In old farmhouses without AC, you KNOW how important this is if you live in one.

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  1. I think that is really neat. I had no idea you could insulate a house with paper. Good job Jamey!

  2. He really fell through the floor? poor fella,but its a good thing you getter her done. You will be all set for next winter

    1. Oh, Judy. Thankfully, it was just his foot that punched through. He would be mortified if anyone thought he fell through entirely, although I'm sure it happens!

  3. Poor Jamey - but well done getting the insulation in. This is very timely, actually, as we are about to embark on the same project in a week or two, for much the same reasons. And it will be me in the attic, so the tip about the headlamp was great (I was wondering how I was going to manage the flashlight and the hose).

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