This pallet of insulation was delivered before the New Year, and had been sitting in our garage…
Yep! We blew!
We intended to do the insulation before the New Year, but Slav has been busy with his work. In top of that, we were just swimming in small tasks in preparation for the blow. Sealing the gaps, taping the pipes, closing the missing portion on ceiling drywall, laying down Ethernet cables for future use, you name it. Most recently, we installed rafter vents as preparation for adding more insulation. It was an incredible tiring and dusty job, but we were so excited to finish it so our insulation could finally go where it should be!
We were so pumped to blow!
We got up early Saturday morning and headed to Home Depot. We ordered our insulation from their website, so even through the product was delivered directly to our door, the store honored the purchase and rent us the cellulose blower for free.
The blower came with 75 feet of hose, which was just enough for reaching the end of our attic.
The process was pretty straightforward and the instruction was posted right on the machine. An on-and-off switch turns on a set of rotating paddles, breaking insulation apart and mixing it with air. The speed of blower can be controlled by a slider on the side, which dictates how much air is pumped into the machine. One person feeds chucks of insulation into the machine from the top, and the other person holding the end of the hose to direct where to pump.
In our case, I fed the insulation and Slav went into the attic. It did take some practice to get used to this machine. First, our machine did not come with a slider, which means we were always blowing on the maximum speed. Since there is no on-and-off switch on the end of the hose, I tried to feed the machine different amount and in different speed while staying on the phone with Slav to get feedback on how things worked on his end.
I did research a bit on the blowing process, and everyone says that it is desirable to break the cellulose into very small bit, since big chucks tends to clog the machine. But in our case, I did not find it matters much, The machine comes with a 3 x 3 grid on top, and as long as the insulation chuck was small enough to fall into the machine, it got broken down by the strong moving paddles nicely.
What mattered the most, in our experience, is the amount of the insulation one feeds each time. I started feeding 1/3 bag a time, which is about 10 pounds. It almost fills the machine, but the blower spilled out insulation like toothpaste. It did not work at all for us. We figured that too much insulation blocked air into the machine, so I started feeding much smaller chucks and it worked much better – the blower started to shoot fine insulation constantly and evenly, as it intended to.
Another problem we had at first, was unwanted spills. Due to the missing slider, insulation kept spilling out from the open slot, so I taped it over. The hose also came off a few times, resulted in a big mess in the garage:
Slav came out of the attic and use a rubber cord to hold the hose in place. We were back in business!
A couple bags insulation in, we had worked out all the wrinkles and the process started picking up the pace. I fed small chucks of insulation constantly, and Slav directed the hose while slowly backing out.
I opened six bags at a time, which should fill 4 rafters. It was very helpful to stay on the phone all the time so we could ensure that we had a good coverage.
The 36 bags quickly disappeared. In a couple hours, we had only 4 bags left and majority of the attic was covered with 11″ additional insulation (R41):
Beautiful, isn’t it?
This is what we had before, only 5 inches of loose fiberglass (R13):
And this was what we have at that point, 16″ all around:
We have tried to blow into the garage wall without much success. So we decided to add the rest four bags into the attic, because why not. Slav went back into the end of the attic to address some uneven spots.
We soon ended up with this:
16″ near the rafter vents and 18″ in the middle.
It gives us R54~R60 insulation value. The effect was immediate – our furnace hardly came on the last two nights and house became much quieter.
The garage is clean again. We could not say that about ourselves though…
We are keeping close eye on the thermostat, and will give you guys an update on how much it saves at the end of this month. Our little ranch feels really fancy now!
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