Insulation regulates heat flow, making the extreme winter and summer months bearable. It also makes your home more energy-efficient. However, insulation may lose its effectiveness over time and need to be updated. Read on to learn about safety measures you should keep in mind before upgrading your attic insulation.
Types of Insulation
Understanding the nature of various types of insulation helps you protect yourself against their toxic contents.
- Fiberglass Insulation comprises both glass fibers and woven silicon. If care is not taken, fiberglass can irritate the eyes, skin and the upper respiratory tract. Some forms of fiberglass have also been deemed as possibly carcinogenic when inhaled.
- Cellulose Insulation is the most environmentally friendly insulation made of recycled paper and cardboard. Although cellulose is the cheapest, it is also very dusty and can aggravate allergies and respiratory conditions like asthma. It should not be exposed to moisture because it is susceptible to mold.
- Mineral Wool Insulation is made of man-made fibers from either synthetic or natural minerals like basalt, fiberglass, and slag. Mineral wool insulation may contain asbestos.
- Vermiculite Insulation is a natural mineral resembling mica which expands upon heating to form a light, fireproof and odorless material, perfect for use in home insulation materials. However, it was reported that vermiculite, which sold under the name Zonolite Attic Insulation, was contaminated with asbestos and therefore not fit for use. When inhaled, asbestos can cause health complications including lung cancer.
Safety Tips to Keep in Mind
To ensure safety when replacing your insulation, the following safety measures must be taken.
- Wear Appropriate Clothing — this includes clothes that provide full coverage, like long-sleeved shirts and sweaters, trousers and gloves. They protect your skin against irritation from materials like fiberglass.
- Use Protective Equipment — cellulose is highly dusty while fiberglass irritates the eyes and is carcinogenic when inhaled. Use protective equipment like goggles for the eyes, and a nose mask or respirator to avoid inhaling harmful dust and air.
- Reduce Dust Generation — when handling insulation materials, try as much as possible to generate the least amount of dust. Keep insulation material in its package when not in use, and use equipment that cause the least disturbance.
- Ventilation — always direct air to the exterior and ensure ventilation is not blocked. This is especially essential for fiberglass insulation as well as cellulose, whose dust particles can be detrimental when inhaled.
- Tread Carefully — avoid stepping on layers of insulation because the ceiling beneath can easily collapse under your weight. Step on the joists and beams as they are sturdier or carry a walk board.
- Drink Plenty of Fluids — an attic is a hot place and you can quickly be overwhelmed by the high temperatures especially if it is poorly ventilated. Drink lots of water for protection against heat.
- Carry A Flashlight — even if there is light, a flashlight will help you see the dark corners of the attic where lighting cannot reach.
- Hire Professionals — or removal of insulation like vermiculite and mineral wool which may contain asbestos, it is best to hire a professional remediation company. Due to the highly toxic nature of the materials, seek professional help.
- Leave Vermiculite Insulation Alone — if your attic insulation is made of vermiculite, don’t disturb it to prevent asbestos from going airborne. You don’t have to remove it if you don’t use your attic often. In case of renovation, contact an asbestos removal specialist to get rid of the insulation.
- Beware of Fire Hazards — to avoid electrical fires, ensure to switch off the power before installing attic insulation. Also, maintain adequate clearance from downlights and electrical fixtures like fans.
Reasons to Hire a Professional
Updating attic insulation yourself may seem cheaper than hiring experts. However, it may end up costing you more if you lack the skill and knowledge to do it right. Here’s why you should hire a professional.
- Professionals have the required training and experience in installing all types of insulation. They know what to do to ensure your home is well protected.
- They have access to superior equipment for insulation replacement, sophisticated protection gear and safety measures to avert unwanted incidents.
- Due to their networks, professionals can access high-quality insulation materials in bulk at lower costs.
- Most insulation materials pose health risks, with some like vermiculite being lethal due asbestos. It is only right to contact a professional remediation company to remove it before getting your attic insulation updated.
- It is recommended to remove old insulation during upgrades, something your insulation company can do for you. However, you don’t have to unless it is damaged or contains molds or asbestos. Hire expert removal services for insulation containing asbestos.
Contact Wyoming Roofing for professional and reliable attic insulation services in North East Wyoming.