Insulate a Finished Wall with Loose Fill Insulation Part 1 Insulate a Finished Wall with Loose Fill Insulation Part 1

What You'll Need
Loose Fill Insulation
Insulation Blower
Utility Knife
Dry Wall Patch Kit
Safety Gloves
Safety Glasses

This is a 2-part series on how-to install loose fill insulation in your walls. In this first part the focus will be on the supplies needed for the loose fill insulation, as well as the tips for working with the insulation. The second article in this 2-part series will discuss blowing the insulation in your walls and patching the area where the insulation blower was inserted. (To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)

Installing loose fill insulation is an alternative to most insulation materials used in construction projects, such as blanket insulation and fiberglass batting. The insulation process for loose fill insulation differs from the installation of other types of insulation, mainly because the insulation is forced into the wall by use of a blower.

Step 1: Purchase the Materials for the Installation

Your home and the area where you live in your part of the country will determine the best type of insulation that you should use. Blown insulation gives you an insulating r-value or insulation factor of about 4 (cellulose loose fill insulation). The correct insulation in your walls can reduce the amount of heat and energy transfer that takes place in your home.

Your local energy company can perform an energy audit to identify where heat loss occurs. Once you complete the audit you can install insulation with as high an r-value as required for your area. Using cellulose loose fill insulation gives you the highest r-value of all types of loose fill insulation. The energy audit will evaluate the amount of energy loss that you have and will help you determine the best loose fill material.

You need to rent a blower for the insulation. This can be found at a home improvement center tool rental center or at a rental center that is sponsored by your local community. Either of these places can provide you with the machine needed to blow the insulation into the wall, as well as detailed instructions on how to properly use the machine and keep safe during its operation.

Step 2: Preparing to Work with the Loose Fill Insulation

Loose fill insulation can be as easy to work with as other types of insulation. There are some precautions to take when working with loose fill insulation. You are not as exposed to loose fibers when blowing loose fill insulation (unless you use fiberglass loose fill), but you should nonetheless consider the use of a breathing apparatus or mask when installing the insulation. This will reduce the amount of miscellaneous material or fibers that you may come in contact with, as well as lower your risk of developing a breathing disorder or cancer, such as mesothelioma.

In addition to wearing a breathing mask or apparatus, consider using gloves and wearing protective eyewear whenever operating the blower.

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