Blown-in insulation -- your opinion?


A

All Thumbs

Heard in on the news today: heating cost is going to rise by some 48%
this winter. Sounds like, if there's a time to beef up the insulation in
the house, this is it.

Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what
do you think of it?
 
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E

Edwin Pawlowski

All Thumbs said:
Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what do
you think of it?
I had it in my last two houses and it saved a bundle on energy cost. They
were flat roofed houses in the city. Of course, if you have enough already,
the gain is minimal.
 
T

Tim Fischer

All Thumbs said:
Heard in on the news today: heating cost is going to rise by some 48% this
winter. Sounds like, if there's a time to beef up the insulation in the
house, this is it.

Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what do
you think of it?
I'm thinking of getting an energy audit ($100), but interested in opinions
here:

I'm also looking at blowing in more insulation. Budget is tight this year
but am willing to do it if it pays off in a few years.

I'm in Minnesota, so it gets colde here. House built in 1980. Current
insulation is only as deep as the rafters (6-8"?) Not sure what it is --
some type of white stuff (blown in).

How much insulation should I have? My old house seemed to have a couple
feet or so. If I add more, do I have to make sure my soffit vents have
those "extender" things that go on the inside? That would make the job much
harder, as my roof has a pretty shallow pitch.

Other than that, is it as simple as blowing more in? How do you ensure even
coverage? Any cost estimates for about 1400 sq ft of attic, doing it myself
(at whatever depth you recommend)?

Any ideas about a payoff timeline?

Thanks!
-Tim
 
S

Stormin Mormon

Well, the plan is to fluff the ceiling in my trailer, but that's been
delayed to the 22nd.

I do have one practical experience. At my parents house, there is an
additon. A photo from way back shows a screened porch which is about 10 by
20 feet. There is a sofa along the one end, and the length is about twice
the width. Someone put in picture windows, and the addition is now part of
the heated indoors.

Every year since we moved in (1975) there have been HUGE icicles, on the
back gutters. I mean, as wide as the gutters, 20 feet or so, and down to the
ground. Every year, the water backs up the roof, and drips through. So, my
parents have put down piepans, bowls, etc. To keep the carpet from being
soaked.
And every year my Dad is on a ladder out back. Chipping channels in the
ice, so the water can drain out. With the ladder next to the picture
windows, and risking his life. Dad's a very capable fellow, but he's also
retired, and a grandfather.
Several years ago, I was talking with a former friend of mine, who had
been in the insulation business. He had the cellulose blower. We discussed
the matter, and Bob agreed to help me insulate the ceiling. It took me a
couple years to get permissison to do the job. Dad takes some time to think.
We calculated the footage, and I went to the store to get some bags of
cellulose. On the day of the job, we converged on the house. I got up on a
ladder, and took a circular saw to cut a hole in the side of the house. I
had bought two 12 by 12 vents, and so I cut a hole on each end.
Bob fed the machine, and I got to be the ladder man. I was busy cranking
the hose around in my best Play Fireman routine. After awhile, Bob came over
and said we had three bags in, how did it look.
I got down, and Bob got up on the ladder. He said it looked pretty good,
and we ought to quit there. I had a real brain flash (no it didn't hurt) and
replied that it took a couple years to get permission to do this much, and
no way Dad was going to let us do anything more if this doesn't work. We do
all six bags, adn get it over with.
Bob says OK, and went back to putting cellulose into the machine. I went
back to playing fireman with the hose.
Anyhow, the next time we had a big snow, Dad went out to look. He came
back in with a grin, and says I got to go out and look at this. We went out
to look, and I couldn't figure out what he wanted to show me. It was just
some snow on the roof. Well, that was the point. Flat, even, white snow. No
icicles.
That was several years ago. In the meantime, no climbing the ladder to
chip drain channels in the ice dam. No risking being on the ladder next to
the picture window. No cake pans lined up along the glass.
I'll admit this is only one roof, and only one man's story. But, as Dad
gets older, it is sure nice that he's not up on a ladder in the winter. Next
to the windows.
I cannot comment on any reduction in heating bill. It was only the add
on room, and wasn't a big portion of the house.

--

Christopher A. Young
Do good work.
It's longer in the short run
but shorter in the long run.
..
..


Heard in on the news today: heating cost is going to rise by some 48%
this winter. Sounds like, if there's a time to beef up the insulation in
the house, this is it.

Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what
do you think of it?
 
T

Ty

All Thumbs said:
Heard in on the news today: heating cost is going to rise by some 48%
this winter. Sounds like, if there's a time to beef up the insulation in
the house, this is it.

Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what
do you think of it?

Just be careful not to block your soffit vents.
 
T

TKM

All Thumbs said:
Heard in on the news today: heating cost is going to rise by some 48% this
winter. Sounds like, if there's a time to beef up the insulation in the
house, this is it.

Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what do
you think of it?
It was recommended by the builder of my 2-year old house. Most of the
ceiling stuff was blown in after the dry wall was up through small holes
that were then patched and finished. There's 6 inches between the roof and
ceiling and also 6 inches in the walls.

It works beautifully. The inside surfaces are warm in the winter, heating
bills are low and, as a bonus, the house is remarkably quiet (compared to
our old house which had fiberglass insulation).

HD is selling bags of cellulose in today's paper for less than $7.00/40 sq.
ft. Buy 20 bags and the blower rental is free.

Drawback: Cellulose is dusty and messy to install although it goes in
quickly. It should also be moistened a bit when it is blown to control
dust and settling. That can be tricky.

Keep in mind that while insulation is important, most home heat loss is
typically via infiltration and air movement. Seal those cracks, air leaks,
windows and doors too.

TKM
 
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G

Goedjn

Does anyone here have experience with blown-in insulation? If so, what do
I think you have to be really serious about sealing up all the
little holes and cracks into your living space first, or you'll
be living with a fine coating of grey dust forever after.

Other than that, it's great.
 
T

Tim Fischer

Goedjn said:
I think you have to be really serious about sealing up all the
little holes and cracks into your living space first, or you'll
be living with a fine coating of grey dust forever after.

Other than that, it's great.
Maybe with some types. The type I've had in our two homes isn't terribly
dusty -- just chunks of fiberglas or cellulose. My FIL's home has the "grey
dusty" type you speak of and that stuff is horribly messy.

-Tim
 
C

c_kubie

How do you blow it to the edges witout covering the vents?
Would it make more sence to staple down a boarder of rolled
instulation a blow in the rest?

Also, and good suggestions for around attic doors?
 
H

Harry K

TKM said:
It was recommended by the builder of my 2-year old house. Most of the
ceiling stuff was blown in after the dry wall was up through small holes
that were then patched and finished. There's 6 inches between the roof and
ceiling and also 6 inches in the walls.

It works beautifully. The inside surfaces are warm in the winter, heating
bills are low and, as a bonus, the house is remarkably quiet (compared to
our old house which had fiberglass insulation).

HD is selling bags of cellulose in today's paper for less than $7.00/40 sq.
ft. Buy 20 bags and the blower rental is free.

Drawback: Cellulose is dusty and messy to install although it goes in
quickly. It should also be moistened a bit when it is blown to control
dust and settling. That can be tricky.

Keep in mind that while insulation is important, most home heat loss is
typically via infiltration and air movement. Seal those cracks, air leaks,
windows and doors too.

TKM
Did my mothers house and had to do the walls from inside since it was a
stucco exterior. Messy? Very. Especially since I had my brother
feeding the machine. I was on the ladder holding the hose when
suddenly the room filled with insulation and dust. Looked and the hose
had blown off the outlet but my brilliant brother was still stuffing
away!

Harry K
 
S

scott21230

Get the blown in fiberglass. It's better than the recycled paper crap.
If it's only to the top of the rafters you need more. Probably a lot
more. I'd guess that if you added all you could now, the savings would
offest the higher fuel costs this winter.
 
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C

Chris Lewis

According to said:
Get the blown in fiberglass. It's better than the recycled paper crap.
Blown rock wool is considerably better than fiberglass in almost every
respect.
 
N

Nexus7

How do you blow it to the edges witout covering the vents?
Would it make more sence to staple down a boarder of rolled
instulation a blow in the rest?
You could roll and staple it down at the end. But the also sell
channels that staple to the rafters and leave a 1.5" clear space
running up from the vents. Pro-vent and Dura-vent are examples. If
they work with you roof configuration, you can staple them and blow
away.
 
A

All Thumbs

Tim said:
Explain, pls?

Fiberglas is just so much less messy and dusty...
What is rock wool? Does it have the same problems as asbestos (i.e.
being carcinogenic and causing lung disease)?
 
D

Dick

All Thumbs said:
What is rock wool? Does it have the same problems as asbestos (i.e.
being carcinogenic and causing lung disease)?
Rock wool is made from Volcanic Rock. Has superior insulating properties.

Both fiberglass and rock wool have dangers of cancer. Only if the fibers
are fine enough that they can reach the lungs. Probably not comparable to
the asbestos problem but still one should wear a respirator when handling
anything of that type.
 
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C

Chris Lewis

Rock wool is made from Volcanic Rock. Has superior insulating properties.
Actually, rock wool (at least Roxul brand) is has a spun mining slag component
I think.
Both fiberglass and rock wool have dangers of cancer. Only if the fibers
are fine enough that they can reach the lungs. Probably not comparable to
the asbestos problem but still one should wear a respirator when handling
anything of that type.
Compared to fiberglass, rock wool:

1) Slightly higher R value.
2) Fibers are larger and heavier, and not nearly as fine, meaning:
a) much less of a skin irritant (not as "picky"), you don't
get the itches nearly as bad.
b) much less "dusty" than fiberglass, doesn't "fly" nearly
as bad.
c) Not nearly as much a breathing or eye hazard during
installation. (you'll be tempted to not use any
if you're installing walls or underneath you)
d) There are research indication that cancer hazard is
more related to fiber size than chemical makeup per-se...
3) Denser, better sound deadening properties
4) Considerably better fire barrier properties

It's worst drawback is a consequence of its weight/density - it doesn't
pack down nearly as much in manufacture, so you need more bags. Still,
it's usually very close in price to fiberglass on a per-square-foot
basis.

We had rockwool blown into our house attic through an attic hatch inside
a closet. Essentially _zero_ dust in the house.

After using rockwool, both blown in and batts, I'll never go back
to fiberglass.
 
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G

Guest

Look into your local utility programs. In Mass., we used an "approved"
contractor and the state re-imbursed for 1/2 of the cost, up to $3000.
Included in the rebate were soffit vents, etc. and anything else related to
energy efficiency (not windows, though).

Our contractor used fiberglass puffs, blew them in through the siding and
you can't tell they were ever here. That, plus the addition of r-30 in the
attic, we got our money back after three winters, saving about $1,000. (Old
farmhouse, all kinds of air leakage issues beyond this.)
 

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