Blowing Insulation into the Attic
Is your upstairs noticeably colder than your downstairs? Have you looked around in your attic lately? You might not have enough insulation. The inspection of our home had shown that there was virtually no insulation in the attic. We got estimates to have someone blow the insulation in for us. We quickly decided that we couldn't afford the $1500 estimates we were given. So we did it ourselves.
The night before we tackled this project my husband went and picked up the machine and the bags of insulation. This way we could get started first thing in the morning. We thought we needed 25 bags. Home Depot had an offer that you could get the machine rental free if you bought 20 bags or more of insulation.
We put the machine on the front porch (you definitely do not want it inside) and ran the tubing up the stairs and into the attic. My oldest son (who is 8) and I started breaking apart the insulation immediately into two big garbage cans. One bag would fit into each can. It was fairly easy to break apart, although after a while it did become hard on the hands because of the repetitive motion. After we had a good bit started I turned the machine on, my husband was in the attic with the end of the tube.
It was my job to run the machine and load it. Easier said than done as the machine quickly devoured all we had broken apart. It quickly became a race to keep up with what the machine needed. Once we had enough broken up in a garbage can I would hoist the can up and balance it on the edge of the machine while I continued to break apart the stuff and push it into the machine.
We had to stop the machine twice to get caught up and finally resorted to getting our garden claw out and that worked wonders. Anything sharp that you can jam down into the insulation will work, but with the garden claw you jam it down and then turn it and it does a very good job of breaking it up. This worked so well that by the end we were having to wait on the machine to catch up with us. Why didn't we think of this sooner?
My husband had the easier part, he maneuvered the tubing around the attic and aimed where he wanted it until it was deep enough. The hard part about this job was balancing on the 2 x 4's. We added approxiamately nine inches of insulation total. In the end, we only used 20 bags of the insulation. The grand total was $170.17. If you include the time it took to get the machine and return it, figuring out how to run it, actually doing it and cleaning up, we spent a total of 7 hours (only 3 of that running the machine). That is a savings of over $1300, which is almost $200 per hour we saved by doing it ourselves.
And was it worth it? Absolutely! We can tell a huge difference in the temperature of the upstairs, it is the same as the downstairs now. You really can't beat the savings of doing it yourself either. It will help on our energy bills and we will get a tax deduction at tax return time. While it wasn't a fun job, and rather dirty, it is very satisfying to know that we did a good job and it will really help us out in the long run.