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It’s not as hard as it sounds

Posted by admin on Apr 22nd, 2008
Apr 22

We bought our house about 15 months ago in the West Van Nuys (now Lake Balboa) area. When we were looking for houses it was one of those situations where we *knew* this was the house for us when we went on the first walk through. To make a long story short, the inspector came out, found a few minor things here and there – it’s a 1952 house so there’s going to be things – and made a comment that the attic has a lot of space and could probably be converted into a storage area or even another room. We have since determined, for multiple reasons, that the inspector was not the best one we probably could have invested in. For starters, you can’t build a room in your attic as is, period. The ceiling joists need to be converted into floor joists which means a roof removal, and structural changes, and…. Sorry, I’m getting side tracked. The round about point is that the inspector didn’t tell us that we had, at best, 3″ of insulation in our attic and, at worst, no insulation for up to a 10 foot square area. I would have liked to know that.

Last summer we had a hard time keeping up with the heat. It would get as high as 115-120 degrees at times and would take several hours to cool down at night. Needless to say we had our AC on for 10-12 hours a day – our highest electric bill was $585 last summer, which was quite astonishing. I’m not certain what caused me to go up into the attic the first time, but what ever it was I’m glad it happened. We have recessed lights that are IC rated (i.e. can be in direct contact with insulation) that didn’t have ANY insulation around them at all, and a bathroom ceiling that was completely devoid of a stitch of insulation. How did anyone survive in this house in the height of summer?

Since the moment I first ventured up into the attic, it has long been on my list of todo’s to insulate. It’s our norm to make it to a hardware store at least once a weekend for any one of our home projects. On one of those such visits to Lowe’s I found that they sell the Eco-friendly blown in insulation and the blowers to go along with that, all ready for the do-it-yourself-er. The insulation is “85% recycled” and has some strange stuff in it – like newspaper shreds, plastic bag particles, and other such filler material. It’s a two person project but it is one we knew we needed to tackle. Three hours and $250 later and we now have a fully insulated attic with 9-10″ of blown in enviro-friendly insulation. It was a little hot, messy, dusty, and dirty, but a lot easier than I thought it would be and well worth it in the long run.

I think I said it on an earlier post, but I can’t wait to see my next electric bill. I’ve got a little less than a month left. Between the gable fan, the programmable thermostat, and the insulation we should see a huge improvement over last summer. Next we will need to replace our single pane windows – but that will probably have to wait until next winter.

Here’s a picture of my helpers. They loaded the insulation hopper while I was up in the attic.

The troopers who fed the hungry insulation blower