If you find yourself here, most likely you are searching for some more in-depth information about blown-in insulation. Welcome! We’re here to help! There are many different types of insulation you can use to secure your home from the extreme elements of the seasons, while also finding the custom fit for your particular space and needs. Blown-in cellulose insulation is the most commonly used insulation in residential homes. Its affordability, eco-friendly materials, and sound and mold-proof capabilities are just some of the many reasons that it is so widely used. Blown-in insulation, whichever type you do choose, comes with certain costs. Blown-in insulation costs depend on the size of the space, insulation type, and thickness required based on your geographic location. Our specialists are skilled in deciphering what is best for each home and would love to help you do the same for your home. Remember, though, before you have any insulation installed in your home, insulation removal will be necessary, should it be wet, moldy, or falling apart. Well-maintained insulation should last anywhere between 10-20 years depending on the type and upkeep. You are not merely installing a temporary fix on your home. Rather, installing blown-in insulation is an investment for your home’s longevity and your peace of mind.
But what type of insulation is right for your home? While our specialists will be more than happy to discuss with you all the different types, R-values, and capabilities, we encourage you to investigate yourself, as well. Here, we’re going to discuss blown-in cellulose insulation. Blown-in cellulose insulation is a very popular type of insulation used in residential homes and its benefits are great. Let’s dive in!
Blown-In Cellulose Insulation: What is It?
Blown-in cellulose insulation consists of recycled newspapers or other cardboard products. It is thick and dense, due to the nature of the material, and is bulky and clumpy like mattress feathers. This texture is specifically beneficial to fit in enclosed spaces and can be blown in tight spaces and around objects. Its ability to fit into walls and around ducts and wires is essential when installing in the walls and attics of homes. As blown-in cellulose insulation is made of recycled paper, it is very eco-friendly and an option that you can feel good about using in your home.
How to Blow Insulation into the Home
There are two different types of cellulose insulation. The most popular type installed in the home is loose-fill cellulose insulation. It is a dry form. The other is blown onto the walls, very much like spray foam. This type of insulation is wet and when sprayed onto the wall, it sticks.
In homes where the walls are finished, installers will drill into the wall to fit the blower nozzle inside. Cellulose insulation is blown into the attics parallel between the joists. It can be installed between the joists that have no insulation whatsoever or layered on top of the pre-existing batt fiberglass insulation.
The process for installing dry loose-fill cellulose insulation is as follows:
- An insulation blower is packed with bales of loose-fill cellulose insulation. Inside the blower are rotating teeth of that hopper that fluff up the cellulose insulation.
- The cellulose insulation is blown into the space through long tubes via an application nozzle attached to the blower.
- Once installed, the cellulose is left to settle on its own. It is not packed in nor is any pressure applied. It simply is blown to fit in between the cavities of the space and left to settle.
- The holes created to blow in the insulation are then patched and painted over.
Advantages of Blown-In Cellulose Insulation
Blown-in cellulose insulation has some very specific properties that provide certain benefits in comparison to the other types offered:
- Loose-fill cellulose insulation can be blown in hard-to-reach places and move around wires and cables in attics and tight-fitting wall spaces.
- Blown-in cellulose insulation has an R-value of 3.5 per inch. Compared to fiberglass insulation, which has an R-value of 2.2-2.7 per inch. Blown-in cellulose insulation is a more affordable option, as it covers a thicker space with the same amount of product.
- Blown-in cellulose insulation can be installed even in homes with walls that are already finished. As explained previously, a hole can be cut into the wall and the insulation can be blown in. A more invasive alternative is also to pull down the drywall and then install fiberglass batt insulation. This, obviously, is a more time-consuming and expensive option.
- Blown-in cellulose insulation is treated with borates during its creation process. Borate helps fight off insects and other vermin.
Things to Note About Blown-In Cellulose Insulation
While there are many advantages to blown-in cellulose insulation, it is important to note a few setbacks that might affect your decision.
- Blown-in cellulose insulation has the excellent feature of being able to settle in on its own. It doesn’t need to be packed down or have pressure applied. However, within walls, this can potentially become problematic, as over time, the insulation can settle and form pockets. These pockets can morph into “thermal bridges,” allowing heat or cold to be transported into the home. However, in attics, this issue is not as concerning or frequent. This is because even if settling does occur, attics can be overfilled with blown-in cellulose insulation to compensate. Further, once blown-in cellulose insulation settles in the attic, no pockets can form.
- In enclosed areas, the cellulose insulation will suck up any moisture that remains. However, this can cause a problem, as the moisture can take some time to dry out. Remaining moisture can have a significant impact on the R-value of the insulation. If not properly cared for, this can lead to mold and mildew growth. Rigid insulation boards or even sprayed-in foam insulation resists moisture much better.
One of the added benefits of cellulose insulation is the fact that it is considered a green product. However, there are some that question the legitimacy of this, as while the majority of cellulose insulation is green, a small percentage is chemically treated.
Blown-in cellulose insulation is made up of 85% of recycled paper and cardboard materials. However, the remaining 15% is chemically treated, including the borate treatment, which helps fight off insects and vermin.
Fiberglass insulation is also eco-conscious, with many companies using recycled materials to melt down and spin into fiberglass. Owens-Corning, one of the largest insulation manufacturers, reports that they use between 53-73% of recycled materials to create their fiberglass insulation.
Is It Fire Safe?
This is a great question, as obviously, we do not want the walls of our homes to be surrounded by flammable materials. While blown-in cellulose insulation is comprised of recycled paper and cardboard materials (ie. flammable), during the chemical treatment process, the insulation is treated with borates. Borates are a Class I fire retardant.
To demonstrate its fire retardant capabilities, a penny was placed on a bed of cellulose insulation in a person’s hand. Using a blowtorch, the testers heated the penny until it became warped. During this heating process, the cellulose insulation remained intact and undisturbed. Moreso, the person holding the cellulose felt no heat whatsoever. Isn’t that wild?
Blown-In Cellulose Insulation: Is It Right for You?
Blown-in insulation is one of the many types of insulating material that you can use to secure your home. But is it right for you? Our specialists would be more than happy to come to take a look and create a custom-fit solution for your space. Blown-in insulation cost depends on many different factors, such as the size of your space, insulation type and materials used, and your geographic location. Insulation removal might be necessary first, however, should your current home have any falling, moldy, or wet insulation. Once that is removed and taken care of, we can begin installing new, sturdy materials. Luckily with our experts to help, we will have your home fixed up in no time, providing a long-term solution to protect your home and drastically reduce your energy bills. Give us a call today!