What is fiberglass insulation?
Fiberglass is a tried and true method for insulating your home. Even though the technique of spinning glass particles together dates all the back to the Egyptian days, fiberglass as we know it originated in the 1930’s. A scientist discovered it by accident when an experiment went wrong resulting in a glass block being melted and blown into long glass strands.
He began developing and improving this process and by the 1950’s, had a partnership with Chevrolet to use his fiberglass in their car bodies.
Fiberglas is essentially small glass particles woven together. It usually comes in sheets with a backing on one side, but can come as loose particles to be blown into space as well.
Fiberglass works by trapping air and retarding the advance of moisture, heat, and cold. The effectiveness is based on the thickness of the fiberglass commonly referred to as r-value
Pros of using fiberglass insulation
Fiberglass is very efficient at stopping or retarding heat, cold and moisture. It can increase the energy efficiency of your home by as much as 40 percent.
Hazards and other cons of using fiberglass insulation
Not everyone agrees on all the hazards of fiberglass but there is a potential for health concern when installing, or working with fiberglass.
When disturbed, the small glass particles can become airborne and be breathed in. The glass particles can cause coughing or bloody noses. If they get deeper into the lungs other health concerns may arise.
If the glass particles come in contact with your skin it can cause itchiness and rashes.
Always use proper safety protocols when handling or working around insulation. Make sure to wear gloves, long pants, long sleeve shirts, goggles or other sealed safety eyewear, and a breathing filter with a particular filter on it.
Alternatives to fiberglass insulation
There are alternatives to using fiberglass that have become popular in recent years. One of the more common ones is cellulose. In reality, plant-based insulation has been around as long as there have been humans, but it gained popularity as a modern insulation in the 1970’s due to the oil crises.
It is usually made from recycled newspaper and treated with chemicals to keep it from being flammable. The most common method of chemical treatment is considered nontoxic and safe for humans to come into contact with.
Cellulose is also very good at blocking air flow, but fiberglass insulation is going to be your best choice as far as fire retardant goes.
As you can see fiberglass is a great option for improving your homes efficiency. It has been a main source of insulation since the 1950’s and continues to be relied upon by contractors and homeowners.