3

Apparently the blower weights 150 lbs and I'm not sure if I can get it up into the attic.

Or, perhaps, are the hoses long enough to reach all edges of a 1000 sq ft attic without requiring the blower to be inside the attic?

  • why are you asking here instead of asking at the rental place? – jsotola Mar 19 at 17:44
12

The blower doesn't go in the attic. The hose and the control cable do. If you took the blower up there you'd also have to carry the insulation up after it.

If you don't have enough hose, request an extension. Leave the blower in your truck or on your trailer unless you can't park near the door or window nearest the attic access point.

  • 1
    Ah, good to know. So the hoses on these things are pretty long? And a place like Home Depot will have extensions if need be? – Meyer Denney Mar 19 at 15:53
  • @MeyerDenney They will have extra hoses. Just know how far you will be going and what your game plan is before going to rent it – Eric F Mar 19 at 16:42
  • 2
    @MeyerDenney - yep, I rented one of those from HD a couple months back. Parked the unit outside the front door and snaked the hose up into the attic. My wife stood outside & fed the beast while I climbed up with the hose and spread it all around. – brhans Mar 19 at 17:01
9

OK for the most part these do not go in attics, but can. As long as you have a pretty good attic opening you can fit these in there and I have had to in two story homes - or deal with a mess. In no way am I advocating putting these in attics as a norm but I have done it a couple times with no issues. There were pros/cons - on each that I did it there were other trades working for me in the house and even if there were cons it reduced the risk of me messing something up.

These weigh around 100 pounds. A bigger example is pictured below. The Attic Cat is really the biggest one I have used and I have done this more times than I can remember. But this is for sure a DIY opportunity.

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Steps and tips:

  1. Mostly pros use these. No idea why since it is comically easy but this is the truth. Meaning you will find these available probably the most on Sundays. I can always go to big orange and find one/all there waiting to be used.
  2. You will get the machine - example above - and usually a large trashcan with a long hose inside. This is the biggest issue and thing you need to work out - how do I get machine, trashcan, and insulation back to house. Even with the largest truck or SUV you are not doing this in one load. Plan for making multiple trips or what I do is just go by and grab the insulation whenever the week before. (keep receipt to get possible rental free*)
  3. You will get out of the store faster if you get someone to get trashcan/hose for you first and meet you at checkout while you load insulation on a cart. Most stores you have to go to rental desk too for the machine. The rental desk for the most part just logs paperwork and just gives you something to show the checkout. Honestly I could walk out of almost any big box with a machine given I bought insulation and I doubt anyone would saying anything - why they usually keep hose separate. Another note on this - almost all rental machines I have seen are manufacturer specific. You can't always just grab X machine to blow out Y insulation. X machine requires X insulation for the most part. Why I say this is that the rental counter is usually 200 feet from the checkout. The checkout person probably does not know or care if you grabbed the wrong machine (machine should have been sitting right next to your insulation).
  4. Most stores offer free rental with a certain amount of insulation per product. Factor this in when you are doing the maths.
  5. This is really a two person job. One person should feed the machine and the other blows the insulation.
  6. Both should wear long-sleeves, masks and eye-wear. Attic person should have pants.
  7. The standard hose length at these places is 100 feet. I have done some big houses without coming close to the end of the hose. Stores do have extra hoses but not all manufacturers have hoses that can combine. Don't assume anything. Also if you are putting the machine outside and snaking through three rooms in a house before hitting the attic (I have seen it) then your experience will suffer.
  8. There is stop/start at the end of the hose - sometimes they work.
  9. Do not cover any kind of vents/gables whatever. You should taper to them if they are low.
  10. Whatever you think you are going to use, you will probably use more. Buy a lot extra. Easy to take back, sucks when you are 50 feet through an attic and need to go to the store.
  11. If taking machine in attic you should put it on a plywood sheet and we usually wrap it with a bungee so it doesn't roll. Again this isn't normal but I have done it and honestly if the person feeding can kind of stand and easy to get insulation in attic it is really faster (note I am saying I have done this but between my son and I we can lift this quite easily - this is not for everyone). The cleanup by the feeder takes almost as long as blowing the attic. Most people keep the feeder outside but that is a pain to clean too. On a windy day you have insulation pieces all over the yard and neighbors eyeballing you.
  12. The person blowing insulation shouldn't have to move a ton. You can extend the hose a good 10-15 feet out in front of you plus it should shoot out another 10 feet. Have to do the low pitch areas with extending hose and tilting it to shoot off right. Having someone that knows how to use the hose right and not just be all over the place can make for a much more satisfying insulation experience.
  • 1
    I would actually recommend against taking the unit into the attic. Last time I used one, the attic was filled with a cloud of cellulose dust. I would not want to subject any machinery, no matter how well sealed, to an environment like that. – Michael J. Mar 19 at 21:30
  • @MichaelJ. - valid and I am not recommending it but the machine is a rented machine given to the store 95% of the time by the manufacturer. I am positive the manufacturer factored that wear into it when it was made. Either way not my problem - like worrying about a rental blade when that is for sure factored into rental price of a saw. Just FYI the AtticCat brand is way way less intrusive to your surroundings and lungs (sure it is just as bad for you though). – DMoore Mar 19 at 21:35
  • A neat trick for keeping outside mess to a minimum is to run the blower inside a covered trailer, or inside a tent, or a gazebo/shelter with walls. You may even be able to run it inside the garage with the main door closed and a sheet over the internal doorway as a curtain. – Criggie Mar 19 at 23:41
  • For #10 (especially if you're buying from a big-box) the larger reason to overbuy and return is you typically get a volume discount. I added some batts to my attic a couple of years ago and the price dropped significantly once I hit their volume rate. If you underbuy you'll have to pay a lot more for those extra units (was about 20-30% if memory serves). – Machavity Mar 20 at 17:57
  • @Criggie - I have seen people do that. I am thinking it might make the feeding job a lot less desirable. The feeder job for the most part is cake and can be super boring actually. This would make it more interesting. Not sure many people have a spare trailer for this but if you do worth it on the cleanup time. – DMoore Mar 20 at 19:36
2

I don't think the one I rented was that heavy, but it was not something I would want to carry up a ladder, nor would it have fit through the 20" attic access.

Tips:

  • They are fast. I was able to pick up the unit, and with my stepson feeding the machine we did 1000 sq ft attic adding another foot of cellulose to the existing 6" of fiberglass in an afternoon.

  • Wear goggle type eye protection and a breathing filter espcially if you are using fiberglass, but even celluose is treated with borax as a fire/bug retardent, and probably shouldn't be breathed.

  • Before you start, put a cardboard or drywall skirt around the opening. Otherwise you get a face full of insulation every time you open the trap.

  • I used a couple of batts of fiberglass over the trap so that that area was insulated too.

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