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Types of Insulation

Cellulose

Cellulose insulation is made from paper fibers, typically with recycled paper as its main ingredient. Its manufacturing process requires less energy than its counterparts’ and does not release any pollutants into the air, making it a sustainable option for home insulation. The only chemical added to cellulose insulation is boric acid, a naturally-occuring chemical commonly found in beauty products and soaps. The boric acid helps deter insects and rodents while also acting as a fire retardant, protecting the otherwise flammable paper.

By blowing cellulose into attics, it is possible to fill tight spaces fiberglass batts would not reach. Once installed, the cellulose is more effective at insulating heat than fiberglass and can last just as long if undisturbed — anywhere between 40 and 50 years.

Pros:

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • More effective
  • Great for soundproofing
  • Deters rodents and insects
  • More fire safe
  • Resistant to mold
  • More sustainable

Cons:

  • Less resistant to heavy moisture
  • Slightly more expensive than fiberglass

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is made from thin glass fibers and is the most common home insulation material in the United States. While it is practical and easy to install, it is also less effective than cellulose and could pose health risks to those who handle it. Additionally, manufacturing fiberglass also requires significantly more energy and releases pollutants into the air, making it the less environmentally friendly option out of the two.

While fiberglass is less effective as an insulator, there is a reason why it’s so popular — it is inexpensive and the batts are easy to install. Just make sure you work with a professional to minimize the health risks posed by handling the material.

Pros:

  • Slightly cheaper than blown cellulose
  • Easy to install
  • More resistant to heavy moisture
  • Resistant to mold

Cons:

  • Less effective
  • Harmful if inhaled
  • May serve as a nest for animals
  • Less fire safe
  • Less sustainable

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