Blown in Insulation

What blow-in insulation is best for an older home for exterior walls?
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This is Turtle.
I'm not a insulation wizard of any kind , but I will say this. Don't use Cellelose or ground up Newspaper type insulation. Use anything but this but if you do . Your house will become a dust maginet and dust will be a big problem.
TURTLE
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I agree with Turtle more often than not-- but I have to disagree with him on this one. You will probably get some dust on installation day-- but after that I've never noticed any cellulose dust & I've lived in cellulosed old houses for probably 25 years.
Advantages of cellulose are ease of installation. [the only blown in stuff I'd say a homeowner should tackle] and low initial cost. [Wild guess is 1/4 the cost of DIY foam, but it is certain to vary by region-- call a few contractors/suppliers]
There are foaming agents that have slightly higher R values and will give some sort of vapor protection--- but after the last go-around with foam insulation I would never trust it in my house. The old stuff was great for a few years. Then when the installer & often the manufacturer went out of business it would be noticed that it was slowly evaporating. Result was it was filling the house with formaldehyde gas & creating an air space for wind and cold to penetrate your sidewalls. [It is also fairly expensive compared to cellulose] The promises for the current generation of foam sound just like the ones for the 1970s foam. Read about the problems with that stuff in 1980s & 90s trade magazines.
Maybe the 2000s generation of foam is better. Personally I wouldn't want to be the one to find out it wasn't.
Jim
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-snip-

-snip-
And I'd add--"ability to work with the wall cavity later" and 'stability' - Cellulose can be removed easily with a shop vac through a slightly larger hole than you put there to install it. Makes running wires & pipes later much easier. It is also, if properly installed, the least likely to have voids appear years down the road-- or to suddenly become a gaseous nuisance that has to be removed. Also the least likely to become a harbor for insects and vermin. [the drying agent that is added to the cellulose also irritates insects and mammals-- including humans if you are covered in it, so take precautions while installing- and use plenty of corn huskers lotion on your exposed parts.
Jim
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OK what the heck is corn husker's lotion?
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Corn Husker's Lotion is a very good and rather inexpensive hand lotion.
Hound Dog
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wrote:

cost.
This is Turtle.
I have 18" of it in my attic and everysince i put it there my central unit filter plugs up every week with grey fibers . Before that I could go a month or more on a filter. It has been a night mare everysince I put it there from Low's store and rented their blower. I wished that trash was gone from here. I have a estimate to suck it out for $700.00 and concidering removing it.
TURTLE
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I've had miserable success using my neighbors large Shop-Vac to suck the blown-in insulation out of my attic/walls. The vacuum (w/ 4" hose) works well, But I can only suck up 2' x 3' x 4"-6" section before the vacuum is packed full. I'm toying with somehow modifying the vac to sit on a 33 gal trashcan and multiple lengths of hose....
I'd entertain other suggestions...
Rick
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It will work. ShopVac makes an industrial unit that is designed to fit on a 55 gallon metal drum. All you need is a good seal on the mount to the drum lid.
To go a step further, you can mount it on a box with a front door to allow quick emptying. Ed
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-snip-

Loose in the attic is probably the most likely way to cause dust though I've never been plagued by it.
If it's been bugging you for more than a few weeks, then I'd suspect some little spot where it is getting into your ductwork. We always wrapped ductwork in that pink stuff & plugged all the little holes we could find that led to places we couldn't see.
If you end up removing it, just suck it out with a shop vac. It comes out easier than it goes in.
Jim
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What ever happened to vapour barriers? I think that insulation getting into the house suggests a sloppy installation - the insulation should be entirely outside an airtight barrier.
Cellulose isn't the problem - blowing it into an attic without any preparation is.
Mike
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This is, of course, entirely true. But gaps in vapour barriers is a fact of life and have to be accounted for.
If you have a good installation, and don't run your air-handling in the attic, then it'll be fine.
If the vapour barrier sucks (or is non-existant as in many older homes), then you're in deeper water.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

unit
month
from
here.
This is Turtle.
Jim this is not funny any more about the dust caused by this stuff. i've had it in my house about 3 or 4 years and it still plugs the filter every 2 weeks or less with a gray fiber. I put about 24" of it in my attic then and now i have about 14 to 16 inches still there. Jim I'm not joking here at all. It is a night mare.
i have checked up on a machine to suck it out with and runs about $1,000.00 for a good one. The insulation man who does this stuff has one and suck the paper type out for the same amount as putting it in $700.00. i do referrial business to him and he will take the paper stuff out and put the spund fiber glass in it's place for the same $700.00. Now he is a little high but he does everything . goes 50 miles one way and picks up the insulation, as much as you want from 4" to 4 foot , pay supplier so much a bag [ cheaper than lows or Home Depot ] , Works from eve vents and never comes in the house, Covers the attic fan with plastic, lays plastic between rafters for vapor barrier, and gives full detail of bags needed and let's you choose the type insulation you want. If you want it done right the first time , i guess you got to pay for it. I installed this trash i have now , myself and my hvac crew but never again will it be newspaper type from Lowes.
Now the dust getting the duct system. No i have replaced all my Ductwork, Plitum, Evaperator coil , New ceiling boxes, Rebuilt / air tight return air box and area, and furnace. I had this in mine when replacing the ductwork.
I have been thinking of adding this blowing in of insulation to my HVAC business for the machine that suck it out will blow it in too. I could invest a $1k in a tool to pay me back for doing my own job. I can just do regular customers [ if they ask ] and it would be a good add on service to help my hvac business. I could say if you let us do your hvac work on the houses or commercial job mostly. i will insulate it for nothing but you buy the insulation. Now do a few none regular customers for hire to get my $1K back , then just go regular customer route. Now when i say i will do the insulation work for nothing. i'm talking about a commercial job we are doing for maybe $45K to $65K HVAC job and a little extra work on insulation is nothing to get a boost on me getting the contracts.
TURTLE
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As a different data point: most cellulose insulation is quite dusty, but _some_ of them aren't nearly as bad as others. While it may seem to be stable, the stuff is generally so light it will move around at the slightest disturbance. Which implies you need as good sealing as possible.
There are cellulose types that spray on and "stick" somewhat like the old spray on asbestos products - they go on wet, and consolidate when they dry to something moderately solid. They're much better for dust. But I don't think you can use these for blow-in.
Most blown-in cellulose types are prone to settling, and installation technique is critical.
Most blown-in cellulose types are prone to massive settling if they get the slightest bit damp.
If you have the slighest concern about these, I'd recommend using blown-in rock wool. Doesn't settle, doesn't get soggy, and the dust being much heavier is not nearly as prone to "flying". Slightly better R value than fiberglass (which will settle/sog/fly more than rock wool).
But rockwool being somewhat rarer, you may have some difficulty finding an experienced enough contractor. This is probably _not_ DIY. But you could probably minimize cost by doing the hole drilling and patching yourself.
Foam is much more expensive.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It's not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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GAC wrote:

Dense-Pack celulose is as good as anything else... One thing to check for: my house has a horizontal member at about 4' up blocking each cavity. When they blew in the celulose, (from the top of the walls) it filled from that point up. leaving empty wall cavity for the bottom 4 feet.
--Goedjn
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