Loose Fill insulation: Is It Worth It?

Loose fill insulation is a good insulation due to its varying characteristics. In this article we will cover the two main types of loose fill insulation and their respective advantages and disadvantages. 

Types of Loose Fill Insulation 

Loose fill insulation is made from small fibers, foam, and other small particles. Loose fill insulation fits into even the smallest cavities and conforms to different shapes and structures. Most loose fill insulation is made using fiberglass and cellulose. 

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is primarily made from molten glass and other recycled waste materials. Loose fill fiberglass has an R-value of 2.2-2.9 unlike the batts that have 2.9 – 3.8.

Benefits of Loose Fill Fiberglass Insulation 

  • Moisture Resistant: Fiberglass isn’t entirely waterproof but it doesn’t retain the water. Consequently, you need not worry about mold and mildew problems that are a result of moisture. 
  • Fireproof: One of the main reasons why fiberglass is used in most homes and commercial buildings is its ability to resist fire. 
  • Ideal for uneven spaces and cavities: Cutting batts to fit in crawl spaces or areas around the plumbing works is cumbersome. Loose fill makes the work easy because it conforms to the shapes of the spaces it’s blown into. 
  • Soundproofing properties: If you live in a noisy area, fiberglass can give you peace of mind by blocking away the noises. 
  • Affordable: Compared to other types of insulation, fiberglass is cheap. If you’re working on a tight budget, then this is your best bet. 

Cellulose

Cellulose is 85 percent recycled paper and 15 percent fire retardant such as boric acid. Loose fill cellulose has an R-value of 3.1 – 3.8 which is slightly higher than that of fiberglass. 

Benefits of Loose Fill Cellulose Insulation 

  • Thermal Resistance: With an R-value of 3.8 per inch, loose fill cellulose fits into any cavity and on any surface leaving no air spaces. Without any air infiltration, it means you can enjoy a comfortable home without any drafts. Besides, you’ll save on energy bills that would have otherwise been spent on air conditioning. 
  • Fire Resistant: During the manufacture of loose fill cellulose, fire retardant such as boric acid or ammonium sulphate is used. Cellulose has a fire safety rating making it ideal for your home or business premises. 
  • Mold: Notably, cellulose is moisture resistant which helps prevent accumulation of mold and mildew. 
  • Soundproof: Cellulose fills all air cavities preventing sound from traveling through. With cellulose, you can have a comfortable home free from external noises. 

The Best Place to Install Loose Fill

The best places to install loose fill insulation are those with irregular shapes such as attics, or areas around pipes and other plumbing works. 

Attics

Attics often take the oddest shapes and are at times fitted with pipes and plumbing works. Insulating the attic using batts or rolls can be challenging because you would have to cut the insulation to fit the odd shapes. 

How to Install Loose Fill Insulation in the Attic

A blower fitted with some long tubes, a nozzle, and a hopper is used to install loose fill insulation in an attic. You’re expected to feed the hopper with the insulation which is then fitted into place through the nozzle. 

Air Sealing the Attic 

Before you install loose fill insulation you must air seal the attic. This means that you need to seal all gaps that may allow in unconditioned air into the attic or allow conditioned air to leave the attic. 

The reason why it’s necessary to air seal the attic is because when air flows through the loose fill insulation, it loses its insulation capabilities. You can air seal the gaps using some expanding foam and caulk easily. 

Conclusion 

Loose fill insulation is a great choice especially for odd shaped spaces such as the attic and around pipes and ductworks. Common types of loose fill insulation include cellulose and fiberglass. When installing the insulation, you need to use a blower.