Energy Blog

Is Fiberglass Insulation Safe, Or Should I Use An Alternative?

July 14, 2018

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Could your homes cooling efficiency use a boost? Depending on how old your home is you may need to update your insulation. When insulating your home you have several popular options to choose from, but one of the longest and most widely used options is fiberglass insulation.



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 1930s. 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 1950s, 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 home’s efficiency. It has been a main source of insulation since the 1950s and continues to be relied upon by contractors and homeowners.

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Reeves Insulation has been in business, in the Batesville area, for over 30 years offering insulation, replacement windows, air sealing, and weatherization. Owner, Marvin Reeves started in the general contracting industry and his background has transferred over to Insulation and Home Energy Conservation, providing homeowners and businesses energy efficiency services to lower energy bills. Our business is family owned and operated and our goal is to provide you the best job at an affordable cost.