Myths About Cellulose Insulation 

 cellulose insulation myths

Cellulose insulation is a type of insulation that is typically made from recycled paper products. The material that is primarily used in cellulose insulation is newsprint, also known as recycled newspaper. Cellulose insulation has a very high recycled material content of around 82% to 85%. Cellulose insulation is designed to be packed tightly into building cavities, so during production the paper is reduced to small pieces and then fiberized. There are quite a few misconceptions and myths surrounding cellulose insulation, so you might have some questions. 

Does cellulose insulation attract mold/fungal growth and attract/harbor pests? 

Cellulose insulation is known for being made of paper, but it is a bit more complicated than that. Cellulose insulation consists of post and non-post consumer recycled paper, as well as Borate, aka boric acid, which is a plentiful mineral mined from the earth. 

Boric acid is primarily used as a fire retardant, but it is also known for having antifungal properties. Fungal growth and mold will only be an issue if there are serious leaks where the insulation is and something for the fungus to flourish upon, like another food source or water. If you don’t have any leaks, you should be safe from mold/fungal growth on cellulose insulation. Another common misconception people have is that cellulose attracts pests, but this is just a myth, as it is well documented that this isn’t true. 

Is cellulose toxic to humans? 

Some people may be apprehensive about cellulose if they believe that it is toxic to humans, but that is not true. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classifies cellulose as a nuisance dust. Cellulose does emit a lot of dust during installation, so during installation, proper dust precautions should always be implemented, including dust containment and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should always be worn by the installers. However, once the insulation has been properly installed, no special precautions are required when in the presence of cellulose. 

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Does cellulose insulation settle and lose effectiveness over time? 

Cellulose insulation does settle over time, however the settling of the insulation is actually calculated by the manufacturer and is accounted for when the insulation is applied. 

Can cellulose insulation be installed over existing blown fiberglass insulation? 

If you already have blown-in fiberglass insulation, you may have heard the common myth that cellulose cannot be installed over existing blown fiberglass. In reality, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The Oak Ridge Institute in Tennessee has documented that installing even a few inches of cellulose insulation over older fiberglass insulation can be very effective, and even revitalize the fiberglass insulation. 

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Is cellulose insulation heavy? Will cellulose insulation make my ceiling collapse? 

Even when the cellulose insulation is installed 13 inches deep with an R-value of R-49, cellulose insulation only weighs 1.8-2.2 pounds per square foot. Cellulose insulation is completely safe to have in your attic, as millions of homes throughout the United States have cellulose inside their attics. 

Ceiling collapse is only a concern with cellulose insulation when the ceiling itself was improperly installed, or pre-existing damage is present. This is why it is very important to check conditions of drywall in the attic, and look for any bulging of the ceilings. 

Does cellulose insulation increase the fire hazard in your home? 

Some people believe that because cellulose is made out of paper, it will increase the fire hazard in their home. However, the opposite is actually true. Cellulose insulation installed in your attic and walls provides superior resistance to fire, and takes an extra 15-20 minutes to burn. The high density of cellulose reduces air infiltration, as it is a very effective air barrier as opposed to fiberglass insulation, which traps air. 

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Does cellulose insulation lose effectiveness as the outside temperature drops? 

Cellulose insulation actually gains effectiveness as temperatures drop. At 40 degrees Fahrenheit, the R-Value is 18. At -18 degrees Fahrenheit, the R-Value has increased to 20.3. However, this does NOT mean that as outside temperatures increase, the R-Value of cellulose insulation goes down. The R-Value of cellulose insulation will remain steady as temperatures increase. 

Where can I get cellulose insulation installed in Stafford, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, Alexandria or Arlington? 

Summit Environmental Solutions offers FREE estimates in the Stafford, Fredericksburg, Fairfax, Alexandria, Arlington and other Northern Virginia areas. We can send one of our expert technicians out to inspect the area and give you an estimate for the insulation solution that will best fit your needs. Call us today at (844) 253-8080 or fill out a contact form

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