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52Caddy 02-02-2010 05:49 PM

Removing old attic blown in insulation and
lots of bugs, and probably some mouse crap.

Anyway, what's the best way to remove all the old blown in insulation from my attic? I need to fix the venting and plug up all the cracks. The P.O. thought it would be a good idea to push a bunch of batt insulation between the rafters out at the edge of the attic. I guess he thought there was just too much heat going out in the winter. Might explain the ice dams...
So, anything better than bagging it up and dropping it down? Do insulating companies that blow it in have a way to vacuum out the old first?

daveb1 02-02-2010 05:58 PM

Bagging it is the cheapest although dirtiest way of doing it.Be sure to wear a proper mask as there is always the possibility of HANTAVIRUS when working around mouse droppings.

ihatemold 02-03-2010 12:50 AM

Vaccuuming works but it'll clog the filters frequently. It's easier to just scoop it up with a shovel and put it in bags. Save the shopvac for the hard to reach places.

Wear a decent mask and gloves. Good luck!

user1007 02-03-2010 04:45 AM

The sad thing is you might be getting more R-Value out of the blown in insulation than you will with batts. You might check with your building supply place, not a box store to see what your options are. They will be willing to special order and a box store will not. Batts will have more stability so you can extend them all the way to the edges. Just be careful not to block your attic vents. If you have an attic fan, cover it for the winter too.

You mentioned lots of insects and pests. You might call in an exterminator to address that when you have the framing opened up and accessible again (and then stay out for a few days until it is safe to be up there again)? I have added the following in some situations similar to yours. It can render soil sterile for a long time so never use it where run-off to plant life could be an issue. Boron is a natural mineral that is essentially harmless to pets and humans. Still one of the best and cheapest things for getting rid of crawling insects like cockroaches long term.

And ditto on a mask or better yet an aspirator. The cellulose probably won't hurt you but as mentioned, the mouse droppings can carry some nasty viruses and things that can raise havoc with your respiratory system. They can be fatal to the old and the young so separate your clothing until you can wash it too.

I do not know the answer to your question about a super vacuum but it sounds like somebody must make such a thing and/or offer a service using one. Maybe rube goldberg some tubing to a high capacity yard vac? Rather than waste the time and rental fees for equipment, just shoveling and bagging it will go pretty fast though. At least it is not heavy!

bjbatlanta 02-04-2010 02:35 PM

Some insulation companies have equipment capable of removal also. I'd call around....

Paulie 02-04-2010 04:09 PM

Like the previous posts said, shovel and bag then vac up the hard to reach area's and around electric outlets. I think it was also mentioned, make sure you have space for the soffit to breathe.

52Caddy 02-04-2010 04:56 PM

Thanks for the info guys!

Mike in Arkansas 02-04-2010 06:40 PM

I always wondered if a leaf vacuum would work for removing insulation. I realize it would make a real cloud of dust but maybe using some flexible drain line or something the insulation could be directed outside through a soffit or?????? By leaf vacuum I mean the portable leaf blowers that can be reversed.

Wildie 02-04-2010 08:15 PM

I have a GATOR leaf blower/vacuum. It has a way of switching from blowing to vacuuming.
It has a collection bag for the leaves, clips on the back!
When, the bag is full, I shake the leaves out, into a garbage bag!
I see no reason why this wouldn't work with your insulation.

semockr 03-21-2010 06:06 PM

Attic insulation removal
Trying to scoop this stuff up is not an option and the shopvac gets clogged after 10sec. Shopvac has a mulcher attachment that might work but collecting the insulation then becomes the problem. I tryed a leaf mulcher vac but the bag fills too fast and is hard to empty. Im looking for a 2in extension hose to pipe it into a trash bag or out a soffit as someone suggested but containing the particulates at the collection point is problematic. Its easy to blow it in but getting it out is another matter.

bsperr 03-25-2010 07:07 PM

Looks like Sunbelt rents an insulation removal vacuum. It's a little pricey, but it's probably the best tool for the job.

semockr 03-27-2010 11:06 PM

I went to Sunbelt rentals today and purchased a collection bag that is used with the vacuum, its 4'x6' and not made to be emptyed but I might be able to cut it open to empty it and sew it up for reuse. The vac weighs in at 285# and might need a truck to transport so I dont think it will work for me. I did some further experimentation with my leaf vac and it might work. I said earlier that manually scooping up the insulation is not an option but I spent the day doing just that with a coal shovel and 45gal trash can from home depot. The leaf vac is still need to pick up the tailings however.

semockr 03-27-2010 11:19 PM

I would like to reuse the blown insulation and am looking for some sort of container to repackage it in that will allow it to fit into the 16" wide space between rafters but not be loose and blow around. This would save the expense of buying rolls of fiberglas which I would rather not handle and in the form of a container it can be used as a dam around the attic eaves so the soffits work better in developing convection up to the ridge vent behind the radiant barrier I had installed on the attic roof.

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