Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Insulation Installation

Since the weather turned slightly cooler (here in California it never actually gets cold), Amy and I have noticed our new house does not stay very warm.  Our dinosaur of a furnace does not work very well, and there are only two vents in the entire house (one at each end of the hallway). The heat will turn on, but then the blower won't turn off unless we unplug the furnace.  This means that we pretty much only turn the heat on twice per day: when we get up in the morning until we leave for work, and when we get home from work until we go to bed.  We brought our space heater with us from Utah so we use it during the night to keep our bedroom warm.

With the tax credit expiring December 31, 2010, we decided to have new double pane windows installed to see if it would help keep our house warmer (and provide a little extra security since none of our windows had working locks).  We had that done in November, but it seemed to do little to keep the house warm.  Next, I decided we needed more insulation in our attic.  I bought about 12 rolls of insulation and laid them out over the older blown-in insulation, trying not to choke on the fiberglass in the process.  I hoped that adding new weatherstripping to the exterior doors would be the final key, but although it helped a little, our house remained chilly.

Finally I decided our exterior walls must not be insulated, especially since they are cold to the touch in the evenings.  I checked around with our neighbors who said that none of these 50's homes had any wall insulation when they were built, and our house definitely has not been updated since then.  So, Amy and I decided to have insulation blown into each cavity of the exterior walls of our home.

I was a little worried about how much it might cost, since it involves having a two-man crew punch 1 1/2 inch holes every 18 inches in each wall and then pumping loose insulation into the holes to fill the cavities between the studs.  But a friend of mine from church recommended an insulation contractor, who came out and offered to do the job for $860.  While that price seemed totally worth it to Amy and I, we were doubly sold on the idea when the contractor informed us that PG&E (local utility company) would send us a check for $0.50 for every square foot of wall insulated (amounting to $420).  This meant that we could have our entire house insulated for only $440!

So, this past Saturday while I was off on a service project with the scouts, Amy supervised the insulation installation at our house.  Here are some photos she took of the process.

One and a half inch holes punched every eighteen inches:

This is the room we plan to finish first, since it will be the baby's room (once he/she arrives).

Holes in every room!

This is what the blown-in insulation looks like.  It is not fiberglass, but is a natural fiber.  It's also pretty messy.

Holes throughout our living room and kitchen.

They finished off by inserting foam plugs into every hole.

To permanently fix the holes, I am filling each with spray foam, which I'll then slice off to make it even with the wall.  We'll then retexture all the walls (we'd already planned to do this, which made the decision to have insulation blown in through holes in our walls easier to make).

We've already noticed a huge difference and our house finally feels a lot warmer.  We'll follow up with another post once we've got the walls all retextured.  Hopefully within the next two weeks!


  1. That is so cool that you can get insulation blown into your walls. This was almost as exciting as reading iphone news, really.

  2. You guys are such grown-ups.

    I love Biggest Loser.

  3. Oh my gosh, what a mess! But I guess it is all part of the master plan and sounds like it will be totally worth it. Hope you two are staying nice and warm!

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. We love that spray foam, too. It's so weird. I think Stephan's addicted to it. He always says he's just going to fill a hole or two and before I know it, he's spraying it into everything.

    We have the new double pane windows and I think they make a huge difference. Our house is uninsulated so that's our next step. We looked into that same insulation but we're going to hold off for another winter. Let me know how it works over the course of winter.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Your turn...