Fiberglass insulation has been used in the US as early as 1930. Its basic function is to reduce the inflow and outflow of heat. Using it for home, guards you against damages due to fire as it is fire-resistant. It has two types, viz., 'loose-fill' and 'blanket', out of which the 'blanket' is more popular form of rigid fiberglass insulation. In the process of insulation, the effectiveness is determined by the R value, also known as the thermal resistance. A higher value of R signifies effective insulation.
You should have work gloves, measuring tapes, portable lighting, staplers, utility knives, dust masks, safety glasses, before you undertake this task. Once you have all these things, you can follow the simple steps mentioned below.
- Select an insulation of the appropriate thickness to achieve the R-value you want and the one which will fit in the available area. You can get the information regarding R-value from Department of Energy's website.
- Do not open the fiberglass insulation material from its packaging until you are good to go.
- Place the insulation in such a way that it fits nicely around the studs, joists, rafters, etc. If some gaps are left, the R-value of the obstruction will decrease. Check that the material used is such that it helps resist the movement of moisture vapor. The use of vapor retarder varies from place to place, as in hotter parts of the country, it may not be required at all.
- Do check any open areas you might have left, because even if a hole is left, the insulation will not be that effective.
- Once you are done with it, survey all the areas again to check if any chopping or filling of cracks is required.
The commonly used sizes are 4'×4' and 4'×8'. The standard length is around 8' or 9'. Also for their ease-of-use, people buy blocks which are cut into the required shape and size. The slopes that are available are ½", ¼", and 1/8". The average cost varies between $1200 to $1500 for normal and remote area installation respectively.
As mentioned before, there are a lot of benefits, but there are also some drawbacks, and the most important being its inability to stop heat transfer through radiation. Apart from this, it also has some health concerns which make some people prefer cellulose insulation.
While fiberglass insulation is one of the most affordable ways to insulate your home, working with this material has some potential risks. Let us see some of the dangers in fiberglass insulation.
- Direct contact with the insulation wool can cause tiny cuts and inflammation of the skin.
- This type of insulation may also impact the respiratory system and cause problems in breathing. The body parts which are most likely to be affected are nose, throat, and lungs. While all these conditions are temporary, any long term impact is unheard of.
- Fiberglass has been listed as a potential substance that can cause cancer by the National Toxicology Program's 11th report. However, there is no definite proof as of now.
- If its particles are temporarily swallowed, then it can cause stomach irritation.
Despite some of the concerns, it still remains one of the preferred way of insulating homes across the US.