Can My Insulation Really Do That?!

Insulation plays an important role in reducing heat loss or heat gain in your home by providing a barrier between the interior and the exterior. Whether its summer or winter, home insulation should work to keep the interior temperature consistent without your air conditioner or furnace working overtime.

Although insulation is meant to keep your indoor temperatures favorable and energy bills minimal, failure to understand how insulation works can make you feel worried about how it can affect you. Ignoring the condition of your insulation can cause a myriad of health and home issues. So, here are some other things you should be aware of when it comes to insulation.

1. Insulation Can Burn

Your insulation can actually burn when your house catches fire. Although most insulation materials are designed to be fully fireproof, a number of issues can cause your insulation to burn. For example, fiberglass insulation is made of plastic polymers and glass, making it naturally fireproof. Insulation materials such as mineral wool are also highly fireproof and shouldn’t worry you much. However, some insulation materials are backed with paper or foil that can quickly catch fire. Cellulose is highly flammable and has a higher risk of combustion.

2. Insulation Can Settle

Another question that bothers many homeowners is whether insulation can settle. Yes, most insulation materials settle at some point. Blown-in fiberglass, for example, is usually blown into the attic through a high-pressure hose. The process is completely different when it comes to blanket insulation that is laid down in wide sections of the attic. Typically, blown-in insulation is aerated and will settle and lose thickness over time. This doesn’t hold true with batts insulation. However, it doesn’t mean blown-in insulation is bad for your home. It is ideal for small, difficult to reach areas of the attic and allows for precise installations.

With proper installation, your insulation specialist will account for settling by considering the optimal R-value and allowing enough depth. Additionally, you can today choose blown-in fiberglass insulations which don’t settle. For example, Owen Corning’s Expanding Blown-In PINK Fiberglas™ Insulation is known to resist settling.

3. Insulation Can Cause a Rash

You should always take the necessary precautions when handling insulation materials since they can have some health implications. Some common health effects of touching fiberglass insulation include skin irritation, and the effects can vary widely depending on the type of exposure. Fibers can cause skin, eye, and upper respiratory tract irritation.

Handling fiberglass insulation can also cause skin irritations that can manifest as minor itching or serious rashes. Typically, the microscopic, needle-like fiberglass spindles can prick your skin and cause a myriad of effects. To stay safe from such skin rashes, always wear disposable gloves and protective sleeves when handling insulation materials.

4. Insulation Can Cause Cancer

Because of asbestos insulation, It’s widely assumed that other insulations can also cause cancer. Fortunately, newer types of insulation materials are generally safe and shouldn’t give you worries.

5. Insulation Can Get Wet

Although insulation materials are meant to stay nice and dry, they can get wet due to a leaking roof or broken plumbing pipes. Air infiltration through doors, windows, and gaps in your siding can also cause your insulation to get wet. Whenever you notice wet insulation, your primary focus should be to identify the source of moisture and fix it – then dry out your insulation as quickly as possible. However, cellulose fiber insulation can be difficult to aerate and should be entirely replaced when it gets wet.

6. Insulation Can Get Moldy

Mold growth is inevitable in humid climates, but can insulation get moldy? While it depends on the type of insulation installed in your home, all types of insulation can get moldy when it stays damp for too long. High levels of humidity coupled with high attic temperatures will create a favorable environment for mold growth. Additionally, certain types of insulation such as cellulose are made from organic materials and will promote mold growth.

Proper attic insulation is the ideal way to retain cool air in summer and reduce heat loss in winter. You should always pay close attention to your insulation to ensure optimal performance. If you notice any of the above issues with your insulation, contact Midwest Roofing Siding & Windows in the Twin Cities. Our skilled insulation specialists will inspect your insulation and recommend the best course of action. Get in touch with us today for a free estimate!

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