Are you thinking about your next home improvement project? Why not consider one that will make your home extra comfortable, more energy-efficient and better for the environment? Insulation is an often underrated home improvement project, but it certainly should not be. There are countless benefits to insulation, with each type of insulation offering its own advantages. Blanket insulation, foam insulation, rigid insulation and loose-fill insulation are some of the most popular types of insulation. This article, however, is your one-stop guide to everything you need to know about the benefits of loose-fill insulation and whether or not it is right for your home and needs.
What is Insulation
Before we get into understanding the benefits of loose fill insulation, let us look at what exactly insulation does. Insulation works to inhibit the transfer of heat. In the winter, it prevents cold air from the outdoors penetrating the interior of your home, keeping it warmer inside. During the summer, insulation helps trap cool, conditioned air inside the home while resisting heat from the outdoors. Effective insulation is one of the biggest contributors to the energy efficiency of your home.
The Benefits of Insulation
While keeping your home more comfortable year round while also reducing your energy bills (up to $1,182 per year, according to Energy.gov) are two of the greatest benefits of insulation, there are actually countless advantages to insulation, including:
- Preventing excess moisture and condensation build up in your home
- Reducing the amount of emissions and pollutants your home emits
- An added safety precaution for you, your family and your home
- Reducing the noise levels that escape and infiltrate your home
- Increases the value of your home; buyers love energy efficient homes
- Providing fire protection in firestop systems, grease, and air ducts, and in electrical and communications conduits and cables.
What is Loose Fill Insulation?
Loose fill insulation is one of the most common types of insulation, and the most versatile. Loose fill insulation is commonly made from cellulose, rockwool, and/or fiberglass. It is an incredibly pliable type of insulation and can be used in many different ways, such as in existing walls or new wall cavities, unfinished attic floors and other hard-to-reach places. The true benefit of loose fill insulation is its flexible nature, making it an excellent material to fit around unevenly shaped areas or other obstructions (like pipes and electrical fixtures).
Cellulose Vs Fiberglass Loose Fill Insulation
Cellulose and fiberglass insulation are the two most common types of insulation and every home improvement contractor has a different opinion on which is best. At WoW, we strongly recommend borate only stabilized cellulose. There are several reasons why:
- Unmatched performance: the thermal resistance (R-value) is much higher compared to that of loose fiberglass filled insulation.
- Cellulose is environmentally friendly.
- Borates are an effective insecticide and pest deterrent for your home.
- Cellulose poses less of an inhalation hazard in comparison to fiberglass.
- Unlike other cellulose insulation, borate stabilized cellulose does not have VOC (volatile organic compound) content and does not give off gas like Ammonium Sulfate stabilized cellulose or Formaldehyde containing fiberglass.
The only real disadvantage to using borate celluloses? It is more expensive than fiberglass.
While some home improvement contractors recommend fiberglass over cellulose loose fill insulation, we think it is an attempt to reduce construction costs rather than deliver a high quality product for homeowners. Here is why we never recommend fiberglass loose fill insulation:
- It is subject to convective air movement, which results in a major degradation of the cumulative R-Value (basically, making it not as effective in colder months).
- Fiberglass is not an effective insecticide or pest preventative.
- Fiberglass is a skin and lung irritant.
Is Loose Fill Insulation Beneficial for Homes in Maryland and Virginia?
You cannot go wrong when choosing loose fill insulation for your home in Maryland and Virginia. Some people think because Maryland and Virginia both experience a mild climate that insulation is not necessary. However, there are plenty of benefits to insulation besides keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Insulation can reduce your energy usage and utility bills. It offers greater resale value if you sell, and it improves the durability of your home by reducing the humidity and the amount of mold that accumulates. Properly installed cellulose insulation, along with targeted air sealing, can greatly increase the comfort of your home while reducing energy bills for all homes across Maryland and Virginia.