If you find that it’s hard to keep your home warm in the winter or cool in the summer, it may be time to think about upgrading your insulation. Today, most homes are made to accept either traditional fiberglass insulation or blown-in cellulose insulation. While fiberglass insulation may be the kind you’re the most familiar with, blown-in cellulose insulation is becoming more popular amongst homeowners. The reason is because it offers different benefits without a large increase in cost. Read on for 6 ways blown-in cellulose and fiberglass insulation are different.
1.) How it is made
Blown-in cellulose insulation is made from a variety of chemicals mixed with shredded newspaper. The chemicals help reduce the flammability of the insulation without diminishing the insulating properties of the paper. The gaps between the shredded pieces help create a heat-blocking barrier without adding unnecessary weight. This makes it ideal for floors, ceilings and other areas that need to be insulated, but not weighed down.
In contrast, fiberglass insulation is made by passing bits of molted glass through tiny holes using a high-speed stream. That draws the glass into long, thin pieces known as fiberglass. The fibers are then collected together to create fiberglass insulation.
The R value of blown-in cellulose insulation and fiberglass insulation is the same, but the difference is the thickness. Generally, blown-in insulation is 2 to 3 inches thinner than fiberglass insulation of the same R value. While both products work well to protect your home, when space is a factor, you can get more insulating power from blown-in insulation.
3.) Fire protection
Blown-in cellulose insulation is treated with a variety of chemicals to reduce its flammability. That means a lower chance of insulation being the ignitor in the event of a home fire. It also helps slow the fire from spreading, giving inhabitants more time to get out and emergency responders more time to fight the blaze.
Fiberglass insulation is inert, ages well and is difficult to ignite. However, once ignited, it can burn fast and hot while emitting toxic gasses. It is recommended to keep the insulation away from lights, chimneys, exhaust flus and other fire hazards.
To install blown-in insulation you’ll need specialized equipment, such as a blower. It flows around obstructions and penetrates oddly shaped areas, so you won’t need complete access to a space to insulate it. Since it’s mixed with chemicals, the insulation requires between 72 hours and 1 year to dry completely. Fiberglass insulation has zero drying time, but the installer must have complete access to the area being insulated to use it effectively.
5.) Air infiltration
Blown-in cellulose insulation is significantly denser than fiberglass insulation. When installed correctly, it is 38 percent tighter than fiberglass insulation and requires 26 percent less energy. Blown-in insulation can provide up to a 24.5 percent reduction of air infiltration compared to fiberglass insulation of the same R value. Remember that when it comes to air infiltration, sheathing and drywall are better barriers than any type of insulation.
When using cellulose insulation, you must use a vapor barrier. Because of the chemical additions, it is somewhat moisture resistant, but the vapor barrier is necessary for proper drying after installation. Fiberglass insulation allows water vapor to pass through the fibers, but water leakage through the wall causes the insulation to absorb the moisture, leading to sagging and gaping that will allow heat to escape unhindered.
If you’re interested in increasing the insulation in your home, consider high-quality blown-in cellulose insulation installed by a professional contractor. Click on the button below to quote a quote and take the first step in creating a more comfortable living space.