Superior attic insulation literally takes top billing for providing an energy-efficient, comfortable and healthy home. Loose-fill cellulose and fiberglass are top insulation choices in our region, so it’s important to understand the benefits and deficiencies of each, as pertaining to your situation and home.
Cellulose loose-fill insulation
Cellulose insulation is manufactured from pulverized newsprint. Cellulose insulation is commonly installed in attics and wall cavities of homes using a pneumatic blowing machine.
- Benefits: Cellulose insulation has good heat-resistance and sound-absorption properties. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency labels it as being effective against termites, cockroaches and earwigs. It does not contain harmful compounds, such as ammonium sulfate, asbestos, fiberglass and formaldehyde, found in other types of insulation.
- Deficiencies: Cellulose insulation is flammable, so it’s treated with fire-retardant borates. The borates tend to corrode wiring and pipes. They may also contribute to respiratory issues for infants, elderly and allergy sufferers. Cellulose insulation installed higher than R-30 may cause sagging in drywall ceilings. Recommended R-value in northwest Arkansas is R-30 to R-60, making cellulose insulation an unattractive choice for new installs.
Fiberglass loose-fill insulation
Like cellulose insulation, fiberglass loose-fill insulation is blown in using a blowing machine, and easily conforms to different shapes and sizes of home structures.
- Benefits: Fiberglass loose-fill insulation does not settle over time, which means it retains its full R-value for the life of the home. It is lighter than cellulose insulation, and may be installed to the recommended R-60 value (for new construction) without damaging drywall ceilings. Fiberglass loose fill is fire-resistant.
- Deficiencies: Airborne fiberglass “dust” easily enters the respiratory system, causes itchy eyes and irritates exposed skin. A respirator, goggles, gloves, long pants and a long-sleeve shirt should be worn during installation, or anytime household occupants venture into the attic.
Superior installation by your HVAC professional will achieve the best results for your insulation installation project. Proper distance from light fixtures and the flue or chimney is required to prevent fires, and soffit vents shouldn’t be obscured.
For more information about insulation choices for your home-efficiency upgrade or new construction, please contact us at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal in northwest Arkansas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Northwest Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about insulation and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock