Claim: You can vacuum fiberglass batts with an insulation removal vacuum

Fiberglass batt and vaccum

A shapshot of a video showing that a fiberglass batt must be shredded/torn to pieces in order to vacuum.

A common question that comes our way is, “Can your insulation vacuum remove fiberglass batts?” We get this question because of spurious claims by some and a couple of videos on social media.

First, the video. One video, which is either removed or difficult to find now, showed a person using a 6″ hose, sucking up insulation batt. While it seemed impressive, a close watch of the video showed the remover slicing up the batt into small chunks to remove the fiberglass. The video was brief and did not show the time it takes to remove the batt this way. Certainly, if you slice and dice the batt, small enough, you can remove fiberglass batts with any insulation removal vacuum. The picture above is from another video showing the handful of fiberglass being sent into the vacuum.

Second, in another video clip, a person feeds 3″ thick fiberglass into a 6″ hose. Certainly, that fiberglass will be sucked into a vacuum, no matter the manufacturer. Small chunks of fiberglass are very capable of being vacuumed.

Third, some claim that their vacuum can remove fiberglass batt because they have a 8″ hose. We are not about naming names, but the claim is absurd. A 23″ wide, 6″ thick batt is too large to vacuum through an 8″ opening. Common sense would recognize that, even a minimal sized (6″ x 15″) batt would not fit even a generous 8″ opening.

Fourth, since vacuums can remove fiberglass batt (with the above stated limitations), we need to ask “Why?” Here are two reasons which makes the claim that vacuums can remove fiberglass batt, absurd.

  • If you are vacuuming into a standard vacuum bag, the fiberglass batt will quickly fill the expensive bags. A few batts and your vacuum bag will be filled.
  • The time doesn’t make sense. Of course, if you have pieces of fiberglass in the attic, certainly use the vacuum. However, if you are trying to vacuum size-able batts, the time it takes to breakdown and extract that batt is exceedingly long. The best, and fastest, practice is to just grab the batts, roll them up and throw them into large, cheap garbage bags. You will SAVE a considerable amount of time and money. It only takes about 1 1/2 hours to rollup the fiberglass batts (1,000 sq ft attic) and toss them into garbage bags. Tearing the batts apart will take you close to 8 hours to do the same.

So, what do we make of this? You certain can vacuum fiberglass batt that is 50 years old. By then, it has degraded to the point where it is virtually dust. For attics with intact fiberglass batts, the simplest and fastest way to remove the batts is by using a garden rake and garbage bags.

This is where the old adage fits, “If it sounds too good to be true, it isn’t.”