Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What are the most common applications of cellulose?
A. Attics, basement ceilings, sidewalls, and crawl spaces are the most common applications. The ease with which cellulose can be installed makes it the perfect solution for retrofit attics. Cellulose loose fill can be blown in which makes it easy to install from one location to reach all areas. In the attic, cellulose compares more favorably than fiberglass because it has a greater R-value per inch. Cellulose can be used in uninsulated walls by drilling holes, blowing it in, and plugging up the holes.
Q. What is cellulose insulation?
A. Cellulose insulation is manufactured from material prepared from natural wood fibers and treated chemically so that it meets federal standards for flame resistance and the ability to resist corrosion. Generally, recycled newspapers are the raw material used in cellulose insulation.
Q. What are the benefits of using cellulose insulation?
A. Cellulose has many advantages:
- Thermal effectiveness is measured in R-values. The “R” stands for resistance to the flow of heat. The R-value of any material is the measure of how well it resists the flow of heat into a home in the summer or out of the home in the winter. The higher the R-value the more the material resists the flow of heat. Cellulose insulation has a higher R-value that that of fiberglass or rock wool. The nominal R-value per inch of cellulose is 3.6 compared to 2.2 for loose fiberglass and 2.9 for rock wool.
- Air Infiltration Resistance-Studies have shown that more than 30%of average home heating cost is to combat air infiltration through the walls. Natural cellulose fibers, blown in between walls, effectively seals all air gaps and creates a barrier against air convection. Conventional insulation batts cannot completely fill cavities. This allows air to circulate inside the walls, bringing cold air in direct contact with the interior wall. The inside wall is cooled which, in turn, cools household air near it. The cooled air then drops to the floor starting an uncomfortable air flow. Cellulose prevents this and results in lower heating costs and a comfortable draft free home.
- Free of health concerns-Unlike fiberglass, cellulose insulation does not contain glass fibers and there is no itching or scratching of the skin during installation. Fiberglass carries a federal government warning that it is possibly a carcinogenic. There are no such concerns with cellulose insulation. Cellulose is one of the few insulation materials that does not contain formaldehyde.
- Moisture Control-Unlike other material fibers, cellulose “breathes”. This means that the humidity in the air is absorbed by the cellulose during periods of high humidity. When the humidity drops, the cellulose fibers remit moisture just as readily. In the case of mineral fibers, water condenses on the fibers, displacing the air pockets (which are the insulating medium). In severe cases, water will run down the inside wall cavity. This can lead to rotting of attic floors and peeling paint on ceilings and walls. Inside walls, this moisture can cause structural damage.
Q. Does cellulose aid in noise control?
A. Absolutely! Cellulose is a very effective sound insulator and is often used in condominium developments between units for noise control. It also cuts down on noise between the floors of your home.
Q. Is cellulose insulation flammable?
A. Properly treated and installed, cellulose is a flame-resistant material that can safely be used in the home. Since 1978, cellulose insulation has been manufactured to comply with a new government safety standard. To meet the standard, cellulose insulation must pass two tests that determine its resistance to both flaming and smoldering combustion. A number of experiments conducted under the supervision of fire prevention experts have demonstrated that cellulose insulation, compared to all other types tested is a superior fire barrier and provides substantial additional time for the occupants of a burning dwelling to escape.