Let's get Insulated

If  you live in an old house, you probably know that cold air some how finds its way through any crack or cranny possible. Old houses (especially larger ones), are just not insulated the way newer homes tend to be. Although our house is very small (or minimal, as we say), we find energy bills to be surprisingly high in during the colder and warmer months. We have also found that one side of our house stays fairly temperate, while the other side (the side with our bedroom on it) is always either freezing or rain forest hot.

So....backtracking just a bit....when we re-tiled our beloved tile shower (remember, the shower of problems  from a while back?), we discovered that there was absolutely no insulation on one side of the house. When our fabulous tile guy came in for the shower overhaul, he noticed this issue through the opening he had to make in the bathroom ceiling.

To make a long story very short...we decided that we had to insulate our house (which we have just now gotten around to doing). Not only were we freezing in the winter time and sweating in the summer time, but we were spending money cooling and heating a house that was not holding up its end of the bargain. After some careful research, we (ok, Chris) found that this little insulation problem could be easily fixed in a one afternoon DIY session. Lowe's we go.....

Chris  found a great deal on "green insulation," which as far as I understand, basically means a bunch of recycled paper crap that has been chopped up and compressed into a big block.

< See exhibit A-recycled paper insulation crap.

He also rented an insulation blower. Now...when I say insulation blower, I mean a huge metal thing with a big hose that makes lots of noise. See exhibit B, below:

Now, Chris had drafted a very well thought out plan outlining how we were going to blow the insulation throughout the attic of the house, forever solving our heating and cooling problems for a very reasonable financial investment. I, being the supportive wife that I am, agreed to this venture, blessing it whole-heartedly and moving along on my merry way.

Until I got drafted to help.

Once we got the blower situation and all the insulation in place, we realized that this was most certainly a two person job. I, being that same loving supportive wife that I was in the paragraph above, hesitantly agreed to help in the insulation placement escapade. Chris carefully explained how the blower worked and when to replace the recycled paper crap, how to carefully feed the blocks of recycled paper crap through the blower, etc.  He climbed into the attic, with the insulation hose in tow and once situated, gave me the green light to turn the machine on.

What you see here is a photo of the rented blower, the mound of recycled paper crap and my adoring husband. What you do not see is my Taliban-inspired get up, complete with face and head covering, as I was sure the paper crap particles would fly into the air, suffocating me and leaving me dead on the porch, covered in gray recycled crap powder. (note: I was a little overly-cautious. There was a significant amount of dust...but nothing warranting the safety precautions I had in place).

Once the machine was turned on, it began slowly moving recycled crap matter up the hose. I could see some material moving, but not very much. I had expected the machine to pull the material quickly, and that I would have to work to get the next block of insulation unwrapped and broken up to feed it through. For whatever reason, however, this did not happen. After about 10 minutes, I felt my cell phone vibrate with a call from Chris (from the attic, mind you). The blower was so loud that we had planned to communicate from attic to porch, via cell phone. I turned off the machine to hear him, only to find that no insulation had been coming out of the hose on his end.

So there we were, me in my Taliban-insulating costume and Chris trapped in the attic with a non-working insulation hose and dozens of blocks of recycled paper insulation crap to spread throughout the house. The machine was not working. It was a failure. What were we to do?

Hire it done. That's what we were to do.

We took the darn blower back to Lowe's, along with the blocks of paper recycled reclaimed green insulation crap and got our money back. Apparently, the machine we got a hold of was just a lemon. This process should have worked and should have been successful. The good news for us, however, is that we found a company that was able to come out and insulate the attic for about the same cost as it would have been to complete the job ourselves. Moral to the story: some things just aren't worth getting trapped in the attic with a stopped up insulation hose and a wife stuck on the porch in a Taliban-outfit and a thin layer of gray dust in her hair.

Insulation is a great thing. We are already noticing a difference in our climate de casa (that was supposed to read: climate of our house, in Spanish.) and we are looking forward to seeing our next power bill. If you do ever decide to insulate your own home, make sure you get a good machine. Also make sure you have help and face masks for all parties involved.

the end.

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