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Warm Up to the Facts on Cellulose Insulation.

Lower Your Energy Bills – Save Money

The #1 recommendation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Building Technology to help consumers reduce energy costs is to add insulation. Fact: most homes in the United States are poorly insulated. Fact: older homes are particularly vulnerable to poorly insulated homes, leading to higher heating and air-conditioning bills. Fact: with adequate insulation, less energy is required to heat and cool the home, and bills can be reduced by as much as 30%. Fact: CTHandiMan can quickly and cost-effectively install cellulose insulation in your home.

Cellulose insulation has shown to be up to 40% more effective as a thermal insulator than conventional insulation. At below-freezing temperatures, cellulose insulation maintains its effectiveness, has a higher R-value, and provides an air barrier that blocks convective heat transfer and air infiltration.

Insulation Services, Installation, Replacement and Repair in Connecticut (CT) & Massachusetts (MA)

An Introduction to Cellulose Insulation

Would it surprise you to learn that cellulose is the most common building material in the world? It shouldn’t, because wood is cellulose, and you’ll find more wood used in construction than any other material. You might be tempted to think of cellulose insulation as paper, or even ground-up paper, but in fact it’s not. While clean, recycled paper and cardboards form the basis of cellulose insulation, National Fiber processes it back to a fibrous state, bearing no resemblance to the original paper. (The same can’t be said for all makers of cellulose insulation, however.)

A Little History

Cellulose insulation has been around a long time. Thomas Jefferson used a form of cellulose to insulate his estate, Monticello – where construction began in 1769! What we think of today as cellulose insulation has been in wide use since the 1920’s, growing dramatically after WWII. The energy crisis of the 1970’s and 1980’s led to even greater use of cellulose – and the reputation of cellulose as an insulation that would settle in your walls. That’s no longer the case, and it hasn’t been for a long time, thanks to dramatic improvements in manufacturing and installation techniques.

National Fiber’s Cel-Pak is, like most things, a much better product than you could buy in the 1970’s. First, it’s completely fiberized, which allows for interlocking of the cellulose fibers. Then there’s the equipment and techniques used to install it – both radically improved from the ‘good old days’.

Today, Cel-Pak is ‘dense-packed’ in walls at a density of 3.2 – 3.5 lbs of material per cubic foot of space, or more than twice its settled density. This does a couple of things. First, the installation process ensures that cavities are completely filled – no gaps, no voids, no pockets or spaces.

Second, using 3.5 lbs. of material per cubic foot ensures that the material is under slight pressure in the wall cavity. It simply can’t settle, because there is no room for it to settle. (Those displays you see at trade shows showing cellulose blowing around in a box? They’re designed to trick you, using far less material than is installed in the field, so don’t be fooled.)

The Bottom Line

Insulation Services, Installation, Replacement and Repair in Connecticut (CT) & Massachusetts (MA)Cellulose has improved in quality and sophistication over time, and it now provides exceptional resistance to fire, moisture, mold, and vermin. No other insulation can claim these benefits and also provide the superior thermal and sound insulation that comes naturally to cellulose.







Facts About R-Value
Some quick facts about R-value are:

  • One type of insulation maybe thicker or thinner, but if the R-value is the same they should insulate equally.
  • R value performance testing is done in a 70 F environment with no air movement. Ironically enough, when you need insulation the most you’re generally not in these ideal temperatures or conditions. This can result in the rated house insulation R-value being higher than the actual effective R-value.
  • The average recommended R-value of insulating material for basement insulation in North America is R-12.
  • The R-value in house insulation is substantially lowered when there’s any air or water/moisture leaks.
  • The standard R-value for house insulation varies based on climate and temperature
  • 1 inch of insulation is = to 30 inches of concrete.

There are different types of house insulation materials, each having a different R-value.
Some of the best insulation materials are:

  • House Insulation R-value of Blown-In Cellulose Insulation is 3.70 per inch
  • House Insulation R-value of Fiberglass Insulation is 3.14 per inch

Blown-In Cellulose vs Fiberglass Insulation in Performance

The R-value between blown-in cellulose insulation and fiberglass insulation are the same but the thickness varies. On average, blown-in cellulose insulation is 2-3 inches thinner than fiberglass insulation when both have the same R-value. Both blown-in cellulose insulation and fiberglass insulation perform well to insulate your home. However, regardless of which insulation you choose, the performance of the insulation varies greatly on the quality of workmanship. This is generally true more so for cellulose insulation than fiberglass insulation. in addition cellulose insulation could cause some corrosion on metal that it touches but can also insulate the entire cavity of the wall and flow around wall studs while fiberglass insulation may not cause corrosion but it cannot flow around wall stubs as it has to be placed there. However, this is generally not done.

Blown-In Cellulose Home Insulation and Fires

Blown-in cellulose insulation is treated for fire retardancy. If a fire occurs, the blown in cellulose insulation, combined with its fire retardants, can slow the fire from spreading and can create a “2-hour firewall”. Scientists at the National Research Council of Canada Reported that blown-in cellulose insulation increases fire resistance by 22%-55%. When blown-in cellulose insulation does burn, it generally doesn’t emit toxic chemicals.

Fiberglass Home Insulation and Fires

Fiberglass insulation is inert, ages well and is extremely difficult to ignite. However, once fiberglass insulation has been ignited, it may burn fast, hot and could emit toxic gases. Also, fiberglass insulation should be kept away from, light fixtures, chimneys or exhaust flu’s to reduce heat build-up and potential fire hazards.

Blown-In Cellulose Insulation Installation

When installing cellulose insulation you will need special cellulose insulation equipment such as a cellulose insulation blower. Blown-in cellulose insulation easily flows around obstructions and penetrates odd shaped cavities and it easily conforms around wires, electrical boxes and pipes. However, cellulose insulation is mixed with water and can take anywhere from 72 hours to over 1 year to completely dry. The drying time depends on the installation mix, moisture retarder, temperature and climate when the drywall is installed.

Fiberglass Insulation    

Some fiberglass insulation facts on installation are: it has to be installed carefully, small fibers can cut your skin meaning you must wear protective equipment. Having to cut the fiberglass insulation to fit around wires, electrical boxes and pipes can be difficult and time consuming. Fiberglass batts are currently the standard insulation attributed to savings in residential and commercial buildings throughout the U.S.

Blown-In Cellulose vs. Fiberglass Insulation Air Infiltration

Blown-in cellulose insulation is 2-3 times denser than fiberglass insulation. Studies comparing blown-in cellulose insulation vs fiberglass insulation show that cellulose insulation was 38% tighter and required 26% less energy. A Princeton University study shows, a group of homes with blown-in cellulose insulation in the walls had an average of 24.5% reduction of air infiltration compared to fiberglass insulation, with only the walls insulated. A similar study, the Leominster MA Housing Project for the Elderly found that, a building with blown-in cellulose insulation compared to a building with R-13 fiberglass batt insulation in the walls and R-38 fiberglass batt insulation in the ceiling, had 40% lower leakage. However, when it comes to air infiltration, sheathing and drywall are better air barriers than any cavity insulation. Air infiltration barriers such as high-density polyethylene membranes are installed for this specific purpose.

Read More About the Dangers of Fiberglass