Blown-in insulation, also known as loose-fill insulation, is ideal for attic insulation. Without insulation, many homes would be uncomfortable, draft-filled shelters. This padding is what separates us from summer’s harsh heat and winter’s fierce cold, and saves homeowners hundreds of dollars on electricity and heating costs. Unfortunately, many find the homes they purchased lack proper insulation, and the expense of having it done can be daunting. However, with blow-in insulation, you can save both yourself and your wallet from discomfort.
What is Blown-In Insulation?
Contrary to rolled or bat insulation, more commonly used in easily accessible areas like warehouses, blown-in insulation is a method in which insulation products are applied to smaller spaces – like attics, floors, and wall cavities – without much cutting into the home’s structure. Because of its improved performance and quick setting, it is the insulation market’s top competitor. Applying techniques vary depending on the product used.
Benefits of Getting Blown-In Attic Insulation
There are quite a few benefits of blown-in insulation:
- Energy Saver: During the summer and winter months, your electric/ gas bill rises and can become very costly. With blown-in insulation, less heat will escape or enter your home, thereby saving you money on air conditioning and heating expenses. You will be comfortable in your home and in your wallet.
- Blocks Sound: Whenever the television is too loud, you are having an animated conversation with friends and family, or your teenagers want to have a house party, it can be inconvenient and uncomfortable for the neighbors to hear or bring unwanted attention. While its main purpose is not to muffle sound, blown-in insulation can help prevent noise from exiting (or entering) your household.
- Environmentally Friendly: Because it contains recycled material, blown-in insulation is beneficial to the environment as well as your wallet.
- Quick and Efficient: Because it does not require as many invasive procedures as other insulations, blown-in insulation can be installed quickly and efficiently.
Types of Blow-In Insulation
There are three primary blown-in insulation types: cellulose, fiberglass, and spray-in foam. Each of these insulation products has its pros and cons depending on the area it is applied and the time of year.
- Loose-Fill Fiberglass: Installed using a blowing machine, loose-fill fiberglass is glass that has been spun or blown into fibers and is most suitable for applying in attics, ceilings, or walls. It has an R-value of 2.2-2.7 per inch and is resistant to fungus, mildew, and moisture. However, because it may lose up to half of its effectiveness in cold temperatures, it is not recommended as winter padding.
- Loose-Fill Cellulose: Around since the 1920s, blow-in cellulose consists primarily of corrugated cardboard and recycled newsprint. There are three types that are used in residential applications: loose fill, wall cavity spray, and stabilized. It has an R-value of 3.2-3.8 per inch and though it is effective at all temperatures, loose-fill cellulose’s fire retardant treatment makes it optimum for high summer temperatures. However, it is not recommended for attic applications or ceilings with less than 5/8-inch drywall.
- Spray-In Foam: Spray-in (or spray-on) polyurethane foam extends to fill voids and empty spaces after its application, thereby reducing air infiltration. Often, professionals mix the foam after their arrival at the home. It is one of the most popular insulators used in ceilings, attics, floors, and walls and, depending on the product used, can provide the highest R-value (3.6 per inch) of the three blown-in insulator materials.
It is important to consider the recommended R-value for your region before insulating your home. For example, the recommended R-value for Georgia (which is in zone 3) is R30-R60 for uninsulated attics, R25-R38 for existing 3-4-inches of insulation, and R19-R25 for floors, according to charts from the U.S. Department of Energy.