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Anyone have experience blowing attic insulation with a HD rental machine?

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  • Jun 12th, 2009 12:54 am
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Anyone have experience blowing attic insulation with a HD rental machine?

If I add 6 inches of insulation to my attic I can get $750 of ecoEnergy rebates.

I got quotes from a couple of companies who offered to do it for $1050 (obviously aware I would be getting $750 of govt rebates).

I went to Home Depot and I could buy the same cellulose insulation for $300 and get a rental insulation blower for free for 24 hours. The guy at HD said it is pretty straight-forward. Takes 2 people, one to fill the blower and one to do the spraying.

Anybody done this themselves?
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Jun 8, 2005
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No because bloody HD in Regina is charging over $14 for the insulation plus rental fee's and it was actually cheaper to have some guy blow it in for me. I can't wait for Lowe's to come here and actualy have a bit of competition.
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Ok, so I don't need to hear from everybody who doesn't have experience with it, just those who do.

And I wish the suppliers here were charging less Home Depot for DIY! That doesn't mean HD is a rip-off. That would be awesome to have someone else do it for less than I could.
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Sep 16, 2007
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Ottawarse
I haven't done it myself, but i had people do it to my attic with the same machine... one guy cuts the bag open and feeds the machine, the other one holds the giant hose and blows the stuff into the attic.

Only thing is, you gotta be quick... and you gotta be comfortable walking around the attic... some of the hoses have a remote stop, some don't ... so unless your friend is telepathic... you might end up with a big mess.

Be forewarned -- this stuff is MESSY. The hoses ALWAYS have tons of micro-perforations, and the fibers fly all over the house. You need to cover EVERYTHING (especially since the attic hatch is usually in a closet). Turn off your furnace/AC, and leave the house for several hours after you finish blowing. Then thoroughly vaccum everything.
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Easy to do, one guy cut the bales , feed the machine the other person is in the attic blowing it evenly accros the whole attic. stick a big light up there so you can see ,and be sure to wear a mask as it will be very dusty your lungs will fill up quick .
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We did it with the Home Depot rental machine.

As stated, have the person in the attic completely covered in coveralls, and have both people wearing masks (the feeder and sprayer). Because my garage is attached we did it in the garage opening, but if you don't, I would see if you can get a long enough hose to have the machine sit outside (and have the hose through the window). It is definitely going to have fibers through the air.

The blowing part is simple, there was no remote on/off switch at the hose, it just comes out as the blower blows it. I found that it took a couple bags to get the amount of air needed (a plate you slide up and down), but once you had it set properly it goes by very quickly.

We had two people to load the hopper, and break up the insulation as we dumped it in (so that the hose didn't get clogged), and it went really well.


Overall, much easier than I thought it would be, but you definitely need two people, and a third to help with loading the hopper/communicating with the blower/the little things makes it even better.
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Jun 8, 2005
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Actually I do have experience :razz:

I haven't heard anyone mention putting up baffles to prevent soffit vents from being blocked shut, or to prevent stuff from falling out when opening hatches etc. You should also have some batts on hand to cover the backside of hatches/entries to the attic.

Make sure your attic is still functional by not blocking up your vents!
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TrevorK wrote: We did it with the Home Depot rental machine.

As stated, have the person in the attic completely covered in coveralls, and have both people wearing masks (the feeder and sprayer). Because my garage is attached we did it in the garage opening, but if you don't, I would see if you can get a long enough hose to have the machine sit outside (and have the hose through the window). It is definitely going to have fibers through the air.

The blowing part is simple, there was no remote on/off switch at the hose, it just comes out as the blower blows it. I found that it took a couple bags to get the amount of air needed (a plate you slide up and down), but once you had it set properly it goes by very quickly.

We had two people to load the hopper, and break up the insulation as we dumped it in (so that the hose didn't get clogged), and it went really well.

Overall, much easier than I thought it would be, but you definitely need two people, and a third to help with loading the hopper/communicating with the blower/the little things makes it even better.
Thanks for the info and feedback.
Jaremy T wrote: Actually I do have experience :razz:

I haven't heard anyone mention putting up baffles to prevent soffit vents from being blocked shut, or to prevent stuff from falling out when opening hatches etc. You should also have some batts on hand to cover the backside of hatches/entries to the attic.

Make sure your attic is still functional by not blocking up your vents!
Thanks for noting this (and your good-natured "razz").


Since the quotes for a couple hours of work are $700 over what the insulation costs at Home Depot (they can undoubtedly get it cheaper) I am pretty sure the quotes are priced based on how much they think they can charge me over the ecoEnergy grants. As in: if we charge $1050 (for about 460 cubic feet of insulation) the homeowner will get $750 back so his out of pocket cost is only $300.

Turns out if I do it myself for $350 and a bit of time, I'll get $750 in ecoEnergy grants back and net $400 of cash!
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Aug 8, 2003
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Ontario
I didn't know about this rebate so I'm glad I happened upon this thread,
Where do I apply for the rebate??? Probably just do this myself.

Thanks
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I did this last fall and it was pretty easy, albeit dusty/messy. I sealed off the room that the attic hatch was in and turned the furnace fan off for the day, that helped prevent any dust from infiltrating the house. 2 ppl was enough to get it done easily in 1.5 hours. Beware the machine is very heavy.
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TheZodiac wrote: I didn't know about this rebate so I'm glad I happened upon this thread,
Where do I apply for the rebate??? Probably just do this myself.
Thanks
It is part of the ecoEnergy rebates. All the info is here:
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/residential/pers ... cfm?attr=4

Note that you have to have an energy audit at a net cost of $300 and your rebate depends on how much you have and how much you add
curls00 wrote: I did this last fall and it was pretty easy, albeit dusty/messy. I sealed off the room that the attic hatch was in and turned the furnace fan off for the day, that helped prevent any dust from infiltrating the house. 2 ppl was enough to get it done easily in 1.5 hours. Beware the machine is very heavy.
Thanks for the info and reassurance that it isn't hard. I appreciate the post.
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Another thing that just occurred to me but is really worth mentioning, is to go up into the attic with a large/fat permanent marker, a thin dowel or rod with a desired depth marked on it, and a flashlight/work light. Go around everywhere in the attic marking your "target" depth on all available framing, so that when you are on the clock with the rental machine, you won't have to worry about checking depths, etc. You'll just have to blow enough in each area to roughly hit the lines/marks you made on the framing. Ensure your dip-stick/rod is touching the top-side of the ceiling drywall and not resting on top of the ceiling joists, or you'll be blowing in a lot more insulation than you likely took home in the bails. ;)
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JWL wrote: If I add 6 inches of insulation to my attic I can get $750 of ecoEnergy rebates.

I got quotes from a couple of companies who offered to do it for $1050 (obviously aware I would be getting $750 of govt rebates).

I went to Home Depot and I could buy the same cellulose insulation for $300 and get a rental insulation blower for free for 24 hours. The guy at HD said it is pretty straight-forward. Takes 2 people, one to fill the blower and one to do the spraying.

Anybody done this themselves?
I contacted this company GNI (Great Northern Insulation). They gave me great price for my attic fiberglass blowing insulation $715 back in April. Going from R32 to R52 (946 SF) with 10 vents and all the works. Call this guy, he is excellent and nice. Not sure if he covers your area. The company and Peter is highly recommended. This would save your the time and risk of doing yourself.

Peter Brenner
Great Northern Insulation
Cell: 416-319-9559
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Jaremy T wrote: Actually I do have experience :razz:

I haven't heard anyone mention putting up baffles to prevent soffit vents from being blocked shut, or to prevent stuff from falling out when opening hatches etc. You should also have some batts on hand to cover the backside of hatches/entries to the attic.

Make sure your attic is still functional by not blocking up your vents!
I'm thinking of doing this too. Do those baffles need to be in every space between the trusses? I think it's like $15 for 10 baffles at HD IIRC.
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Jun 8, 2005
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mcplar wrote: I'm thinking of doing this too. Do those baffles need to be in every space between the trusses? I think it's like $15 for 10 baffles at HD IIRC.
It depends on the type of contruction you have. You should put up a baffle wherever there is a vent.

Some newer contruction has a continous vent all the way around, whereas a lot of homes had soffit added later but isn't %100 functional.

The point is to not block your vents as this hurts the functionality of your attic and could expose your insulation to moisture which can lead to mould.
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I'm planning on redoing the roof at the same time and putting a ridge vent in when I do the roof. So I'm thinking each of the spaces would be a good thing. There are is also a gable vent on each gable end.
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Jul 4, 2004
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A thing about blown insulation and attic venting is that over the course of time the insulation will move around and you may notice some areas with a little more than others. This is what happened to me. So what I did this year is used bats of fiberglass pink on top and the problem was solved.

The other nice thing about putting bats of fiberglass pink on top is that it acts like a blanket covering pockets that you might miss or can't properly cover. It was a pain in the ass to carry up to the attic but well worth it in the end.
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Frankie3s wrote: The other nice thing about putting bats of fiberglass pink on top is that it acts like a blanket covering pockets that you might miss or can't properly cover. It was a pain in the ass to carry up to the attic but well worth it in the end.
Actually, this is one of the reasons that blown in insulation is better than batted - the blown in insulation can get into every nook and cranny, as well as create a layer perfectly tied in with the one below. The batted insulation can't compare in this regard.
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TrevorK wrote: Actually, this is one of the reasons that blown in insulation is better than batted - the blown in insulation can get into every nook and cranny, as well as create a layer perfectly tied in with the one below. The batted insulation can't compare in this regard.
In my case because of the ventilation in the attic, too much insulation had moved from the south end to the north leaving a very noticeable difference. Blown insulation is easier to handle/install. Bat insulation can be installed as tight as you want it to be and you never have to worry about movement.

If you already have blown insulation, you can quite easily install bats on top of it after leveling it out (be careful not to compress or you will reduce the effectiveness of the blown insulation). It did take me a couple of days to do (bringing the bats home, getting it up to the attic and then finally installing it) but it was 100% absolutely worth it to have the sea of pink on top.
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