Sunday, October 17, 2010

The First Snowfall of the Year

We have been putting off insulation in our attic since we moved in. We knew, upon inspection, that the R-13, four inches of insulation would not get us through the Chicago winter. Or... we could survive but be leaking our money right through our attic by heating nonstop. We opted for the insulation route and decided that we could do it ourselves. We researched this company called Owens Corning that made Fiberglas insulation you can purchase and blow into your attic through a machine and tube. We watched the video, purchased 6-7 bags of insulation and stuffed them into the Accord on multiple occasions so we'd have the 30 bags we wanted. We weren't just going to insulate a little. Oh no. The Wilsons go-big-or-go-home and therefore needed the maximum R-60. We wanted that baby to have 20 fluffy inches above our heads at night. So that's just what we made happen.

We visited Home Depot on multiple occasions prior to our big Saturday event to buy those bags and every time we were greeted by their "experts" who asked us if we were sure if 30 bags was what we wanted. Oh yes. Oh yes. One guy even asked, "What, is your house 10,000 square feet?" Nope. Just about 2,700. Haha.

On the day of our insulation, October 10 (my birthday), we set out to Home Depot at 8 a.m. Ray had just finished working on the attic boxes. He built wood boxes around the bathroom vents and recessed lighting so the insulation would not be placed on top and accidentally creep in when we shot the loose Fiberglas all over. We showed up and rented the machine, a truck to haul it, and 17 of of the 30 bags (13 were at home already) we needed to complete the job.

Our biggest obstacle: the weather. We chose to wait until fall for insulation because we thought it would be cooler. Lesson #1 learned: don't trust Chicago weather. It is never normal and always surprising. The week prior was in the lower to mid 60's. The week after (this weekend), also in the 60's. Nope. Not insulation weekend = 88 degrees! You can imagine in a hot attic wearing protective gear from head to toe, it would be 100+ degrees. Bummer. But, we're fighters. We were determined to finish this job, and finish it fast.

 Here is Ray with the truck full of goodies from Home Depot.
Here is the insulation we had in our garage waiting to be used (13 bags) in addition to the ones in the truck (17).
Ray removing the massively heavy machine base from the truck. Being pregnant means I lift nothing and can be of almost no use. Shrug.
Ray prepared all of the bags for me by cutting them in half, just as the directions called for. Use the Xacto knife to slice in half and then break. For 30 bags, we yielded 60 halves that individually had to be stuffed into the AttiCat machine (that was my job as Ray stood in the sweltering attic and sprayed the Fiberglas from the hose).
Breaking the "brick" apart. Each one expands 16x the current amount inside the package.
Organizing our stacks of 60 halves...
Here's the beast of a machine that I stuffed each halve into. There was a knife on the left that would slice the bag open as I stuffed it inside the machine. I was also covered, head-to-toe in protective gear so that the Fiberglas would not come in contact with my skin. Not fun in the sun, dressed for winter, in 88 degree weather. Oh yeah, and pregnant. I guess the only thing worse could have been being inside the attic. My poor husband.
Look at that fluffiness! You're looking at about $900 worth of Fiberglas insulation that will hopefully save us some cash and keep us cozy in the winter. We also get a tax break of 30% for completing the project before December 31. But let's be honest... tax break or not, we would've done this just for our personal interest. My first Chicago winter is coming and from what I've been told by everysingleperson, we're going to need this. It took us about 2-2.5 hours to blow all of the insulation into the attic-- all 60 halves. Doing the math... that's about 1 bag every 2 to 2.5 minutes.
Ah, R-60 is glorious.
So maybe it was an 88-degree (or 100+ in the attic) snowfall of a different kind, but it was much needed. We're so happy to have this behind us (or above us... haha) now.

Bring it on, Chicago.