Blown-in Insulation Explained: Arizona Insulation 101
Adding blown-in insulation to attics and wall cavities can reduce your electric bill by 15-25% or more.
What is blown-in insulation? Blown-in insulation, also known as blow in insulation, is a method of blowing or spraying insulation to fill gaps in walls, floors, and attics using an electric blower machine. Different methods may be used based on the type of insulation being applied.
Blown-in insulation offers a non-invasive way to add insulation to an existing home or structure. Your other option is to rip off existing interior drywall, install rolled fiberglass insulation, and then reapply a new layer of drywall.
Could your home or business benefit from blown-in insulation?
If you are already planning a major renovation that involves removing drywall, this might not be a bad idea. On the other hand, if you simply want to add insulation to an existing structure with as little hassle as possible, blown-in insulation is a better option.
Blown-in insulation can offer reduced settling over time and increased performance per square inch. Plus, it reduces energy costs in the summer and winter by maintaining a solid barrier between the inside of your home and exterior elements.
Blown-In Insulation for Cavity Walls: How It’s Done
1. A small hole is drilled into the wall near the ceiling, and another hole is drilled near the floor. Additional holes may be drilled around 16-inches apart.
2. The blowing machine is used to force insulation materials into the wall through pre-cut holes. Insulation moves through the space and fills in all gaps. Insulation professionals can pinpoint general locations where blockages and wires are located within the wall, this allows them to generate workarounds to produce the best results possible.
3. Lastly, holes in walls are filled with plastic plugs which can be painted over for a seamless appearance.
Blown-In Insulation for Attics: How It’s Done
When installing blown-in insulation to attics, a professional moves all around the space to create an even layer of insulation. Installing blown-in insulation requires almost as much movement as rolling out batts. But, unlike batt insulation, blown-in insulation readily settles around barriers in the attic (more on that in a moment).
Additional measures taken to ensure the best results for attic insulation in Arizona:
Air leaks are sealed—including gaps near plumping pipes, holes around electrical wires, etc.
Add or repair existing vent chutes
Seal and insulate access to the attic to prevent air leaks and stop insulation from falling through the attic hatch.
Create reference lines based on blown-in insulation levels to ensure even coverage throughout the space.
The Benefits of Blown-in Fiberglass
Fiberglass is a type of insulation that can be applied using a blower machine. Fiberglass, as its name suggests, is made from a loose-fill fiberglass (glass fragments/and or sand). It is well suited for wall cavities and attics.
Most insulation faces serious consequence after exposure to moisture. It takes a long time for materials to dry out, leading to mold and other issues. Fiberglass insulation is excellent at resolving these issues. In fact, CertainTeed fiberglass insulation is made from “virgin fiberglass” that does not absorb moisture and is resistant to rot.
What about blown-in cellulose?
There are two different types of insulation used for blown-in insulation, fiberglass and cellulose. Each offer unique advantages and disadvantages with similar R-Value per inch. Fiberglass is created out of old glass or sand. Cellulose is made from recycled newspapers treated with fire-resistant chemicals.
Over time, cellulose tends to settle more than fiberglass, thus reducing its total R-Value. Settling must be accounted for during installation of cellulose insulation to determine appropriate R-Value.
What are the benefits of blown-in insulation vs. fiberglass batts?
Fiberglass batts are sheets of fiberglass installed piece-by-piece. Using a blower to add chopped fiberglass into open framing cavities tends to produce better results in terms of full coverage than applying batts. This is largely because sheets of insulation are not flexible to accommodate obstructions like electrical boxes, wiring, etc. Blown-in insulation moves all around and settles nicely around obstacles and odd-shaped cavities.
DIY Blown-in Insulation: Is it a good idea?
Blowing attic insulation is a dirty and sweaty job that could take as long as 2 days—even if you talk someone into helping you. It’s best to have 2 people; one to prep the space and the other to blow the insulation. Plus, to reap the full benefits requires proper equipment and experience.
Not to mention, there’s always room for error. Common mistakes made during DIY insulation installation:
Accidently stepping through the roof of a home (special precautions must be taken, such as using a piece of plywood as a platform to safely navigate between ceiling joists)
Failing to add adequate insulation near the edges of attic space
Improper or lack of sealing prior to adding insulation
Blown-in attic insulation might be more affordable than you think!
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