How Safe Is Your Home Insulation?

Home insulation is an important, but sometimes overlooked item that relates to the efficiency rating of heating and cooling your home. With rising energy costs and concerns for energy conservation, having the right home insulation is a major contributor to energy efficiency. While owners of new homes don’t usually have this concern, since most homebuilders use the latest energy efficient insulation. However, owners of older homes are concerned with updating or adding insulation. Homeowners should keep in mind that most home insulation has some safety issues that many consumers and installers in Rhode Island (RI) and other states in the U.S. are concerned with.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), any insulation that is made with Vermiculite from a mine in Libby, Montana could be polluted with asbestos. This material was used in insulation from year 1919 to 1990. Exposure to asbestos is known to cause cancer and it is however to be determined how much exposure is hazardous. The EPA has recommended not disturbing or removing any material containing asbestos unless absolutely necessary, and if so, any work must be done by a professionally trained crew in asbestos removal. Special suits, respirators and masks must be worn in order to remove asbestos polluted materials safely and effectively. There are also government regulations on the disposal of materials that are polluted with asbestos. For more information, you can visit the EPA’s website at

Fiberglass and other recent insulation materials used since the 1990 ban on Vermiculite are nevertheless considered hazardous. The fine fiberglass particles are a skin irritant and lung irritant if handled incorrectly or inhaled. There is a new trend of using foam insulation, typically using an injection course of action that covers gaps and seals fractures.

Homeowners that choose injection foam insulation are not only getting materials considered the safest material for home insulation, but there is no need to upset existing insulation. Also, when applying foam insulation, workers do not have to use heavy respirators or masks required when working with or installing other insulation materials. For those concerned about environmental issues, most spray foams do not contain HCFC’s that are unhealthy to the ozone inner. In addition to most foam insulation being non-toxic, using foam insulation includes the ability to fill all fractures and gaps that will not only prevent drafts, but help prevent insects and rodents from entering the home. Another additional assistance is that foam insulation adheres to nearly all surfaces and expands to fit along with existing insulation in the home.

When you decide to update or remove home insulation, it is best to have a specialized take a look and give you an calculate. This is one area where homeowners need to reconsider the “do-it-yourself” work. Disturbing existing insulation without knowing what it is made of is not a good idea and could expose you to hazardous materials. Relying on an expert to give you advice on updating your insulation and improving your energy efficiency is the best route to take. Considering using materials such as foam insulation and other non-toxic materials will ensure you and your family have a safe home in addition as an energy efficient home.

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