Removing Cellulose Insulation DIY Video

See how to remove old dirty blown in cellulose insulation from an attic using a vacuum.

In this DIY video, I’ll show you how to use a vacuum to remove old cellulose insulation from your attic without getting your house all dusty or clogging your vacuum.

  • See how to remove old blown in insulation.
  • How to vacuum attic corners without getting stuck by nails.
  • See how we prevent clogs in the vacuum.
  • How to remove roofing debris, wood, nails, garbage, & rodents like rats or mice from your attic.
Using a big vacuum to collect all the old insulation

Cellulose insulation came into use during the 1950s. Cellulose became popular during the 1970s when oil and gas prices went way up. Cellulose is mostly recycled paper like newspaper. Cellulose insulation is sprayed with flame retardant such as boric acid or amonium nitrate to prevent burning and prevent bugs from nesting in the insulation.

Why would you would want to clean your attic and remove old cellulose insulation?

Over the years your attic becomes dirty and dusty from air flowing in from the outside. Gaps and holes in your ceiling can cause dirty air from your attic to enter your home. Especially when a door is opened and the pressure changes.

Your attic is something you rarely think about yet it is right over your head when you’re sleeping, eating, or just relaxing watching TV. Removing the old dirty insulation, air sealing all the gaps in your ceiling and installing new clean and green fiberglass insulation is a great way to improve your homes air quality and comfort while reducing your energy bill and carbon footprint.

Start with a 19 horsepower vacuum and a 200 square foot collection bag. Place the vacuum and the bag outside the house so you don’t aerate the dirty air from the vacuum back into your house. Cover the floor and walls leading to the attic with plastic and run the vacuum hose up into the attic.

Protect the corners of your hose from the vacuum hose. Wrapping a Tyvex suit or large clean white cloth around the hose where ever the hose may rub against the house is advised. This will keep your walls and trim from getting rub marks from the vacuum hose.

Vacuum the insulation slowly because cellulose is dense and may clog the vacuum hoses. If you get a clog, stop vacuuming and find the blockage. Unhook the hose, remove the blockage and reattach the hose. You’ll want to tape the hose back up so you don’t lose pressure.

After each collection bag is filled you’ll want to stop vacuuming, tie off the bag, and hook up a new collection bag. Each bag will hold about 200 square feet of cellulose attic insulation.

It’s a good idea to have someone outside watching the bag while you vacuum your attic. That way they can shut off the vacuum machine when the bag is full and you don’t have to come out of the attic.

The large 19 horsepower vacuum is my favorite way to vacuum up contaminated insulation, rodent droppings from rats, squirrels, mice, opossums, and raccoons. The vacuum is great at removing rodent nests, rodent carcasses, and all the bugs like fleas and mites these rodents bring.

When you’re done vacuuming your attic simply haul all the large collection bags to the dump or a garbage transfer station that accepts old insulation. That’s how you vacuum up old cellulose insulation, rodent droppings, rodent nests, and rodent carcasses from your attic.