Thursday, October 22, 2009

Completion of the barrier(!) and adventures in insulation

So as we come to this point in the winter of 2008-2009, I have realized that my attic has a newly found problem.
Problem: Insufficient depth of insulation for current building codes
Solution: Simply add insulation!

At first, I began by buying a couple of rolls of fiberglass insulation. However, after the very time-consuming process of removing the blown-in insulation from an area, measuring the space, cutting the insulation roll, placing the cut piece, then covering that with the old blown-in insulation, I realized I might not complete both the insulation job and the radiant barrier job during the nice, attic-work-friendly cold weather. The installation of the insulation, if you will, was taking too long.

New Problem: Installation of insulation pieces taking too long
New Solution: Rent an insulation blower and blow in more insulation. However, due to the sheer volume of insulation that I planned to add, this needed to wait until I was pretty well done with everything else in the attic.

I completed the installation of the barrier at long last in January 2009. There was much rejoicing in Energy Efficiency Land after that relatively inexpensive but long-lasting project. The total cost of the amount of barrier foil that I ended up using was under $200.00, but the amount of labor was a goodly number of (uncounted) hours over the course of a couple of winters.
After rewarding myself with a few weeks of break from breathing the attic air, in late February I decided to go ahead and try to blow in the new insulation.
The process seemed simple enough:
  1. Estimate the total volume of insulation I would need. I could do this by multiplying the attic floor area by the depth of insulation that I wanted to add. This would only be an estimate, but blowing in insulation is far from an exact science. The bags of insulation at the store should tell me their total volume.
  2. Rent a blower at the hardware store where I would buy the insulation
  3. Arrange the borrowing of a neighbor's pickup truck to carry the blower and the insulation
  4. Arrange the time of another helpful neighbor to feed the insulation into the blower in the garage, while I waved the hose around the attic to distribute it appropriately.
But how well would this go? How long would it take? What new things would I learn?
As usual, read on to find out!

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