HOW TO PROVIDE WALKWAY IN ATTIC WITH BLOWN-IN INSULATION
TO ACCESS AIR CONDITIONER AND FOR EXTERMINATION PURPOSES


QUESTION FROM SANDRA OF SALT POINT, NEW YORK:

We are considering sealing our attic and adding loose fill (blown in fiberglass) insulation to the floor. The attic walls and flooring are unfinished. We have AC equipment and ductwork in the attic so it needs to be accessed a few times a year at most. I am curious about a few things and have not been able to find good information on the following questions:

 1. with all that loose fill on the floor, how do you create a safe walkway to the equipment without disturbing, compacting or otherwise redistributing the insulation? 
2. What if you need to exterminate at some point? would all of that loose fill cause a hazzard? 

Many thanks
 Sandra 



Additional Question:  Many thanks for your prompt response to my questions.  I really appreciate your insight and your answers make a lot of sense to me.  I was thinking of a plywood walkway but could not figure how that would work.  One last thing, would you also have to create some sort of a dam or lip along the sides of the plywood to prevent the nearby loose fill from spilling over or becoming redistributed?  

We were actually thinking of the fiberglass because insects are generally repelled by it....appreciate the confirmation. 

Thanks again !!!
Kind regards, 
Sandra 

ANSWER FROM THE INSULATION DOCTOR:

Hello Sandra,
 
1.  We normally recommend that you place plywood over the top of the rafters creating a walkway to the A/C and in that area only lay in one or two layers of unfaced fiberglass blanket on top of the plywood walkway and around the AC unit itself.  Therefore, if you need access you can simply lift the insulation to the side, walk on the plywood and service the AC.    (When installing the plywood walkway do not attempt to nail it to the floor joists.  You will need to install it by screwing it in.  Nailing it may cause the joists to move thus cracking your plaster or drywall.)

The blown-in insulation can be blown right over the ductwork.
 
2.  I would recommend fiberglass blown-in insulation (rather than cellulose) because it is not conducive to insects.  You could also LIGHTLY spray for insects over fiberglass if needed.

Continuing Answer:  If you can make the walkway 2' wide it most likely would not be necessary.  However, if you need to make it narrower I would recommend standing some unfaced blanket insulation on end along the edges of the walkway to hold the loose-fill back.

We are happy to help!

Bruce Jones
The Insulation Doctor