Since installing new insulation or updating existing insulation is a major undertaking, it’s normal to wonder how long blown-in cellulose insulation will last.
Under optimal conditions, blown-in cellulose insulation will last anywhere from 20 to 30 years. The lifetime of air blown-in cellulose is affected by a variety of factors, which is why it should be professionally mounted from the beginning.
On This Article:
Factors Affecting Life Span of Blown in Cellulose Insulation
Having decades of experience in the insulation market our team of experts will give you the right knowledge to overcome potential problems that sometimes will happen to your cellulose insulation.
Existing Air Leaks
Long before the material is evenly fed into the machine, the process of properly installing blown-in cellulose insulation begins. Cellulose is effective at regulating heat transfer via conduction, but not so much at regulating heat transfer via direct air leaks. Installing the cellulose before sealing all of the air leaks means that the air will continue to flow. Once the insulation is in place, these air leaks are extremely difficult to detect. In terms of energy efficiency, this situation limits the effectiveness of the insulation.
This isn’t a problem as long as the air leaks are identified ahead of time and properly sealed. Our technicians have the expertise to complete this step successfully, which can be difficult to do without the proper training and experience. One of the many reasons we discourage do-it-yourself installation is this.
The material blown in cellulose is a fluffy material that settles over time. In fact, cellulose has the highest rate of settling rates, ranging from 13 to 20% after installation. This settling continues for weeks, months, and years after installation, and if not addressed properly during the insulation, it can cause serious energy efficiency issues.
Fortunately, this is a simple problem that can be solved by simply adding more insulation than is required to account for settling. Despite its high settling rate, cellulose provides a higher R-value per inch of thickness than alternatives. This settling is simply not a sufficient reason to avoid installing cellulose.
Because cellulose blown in insulation is primarily made of recycled newsprint, it is more vulnerable to moisture damage. A significant leak in the attic can seriously impair the material’s ability to do its job.
This insulation, on the other hand, has excellent fire and water resistance, so unless there is a major leak, you should not be concerned about moisture damage. Even so, you should inspect your roof and attic for moisture problems on a regular basis, especially after a storm or other severe weather.
Our technicians do everything possible to ensure that the attic is sufficiently water and moisture proof prior to installation, and they may make additional recommendations depending on the state of the attic.
Does Cellulose Insulation Settle Over Time?
Because of its breathability and greener alternatives to traditional fiberglass insulation, cellulose insulation is one of the best types. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled paper products that have been treated to repel pests and even protect against fires, so it’s no surprise that this insulation type is becoming the most popular for attic insulation. One criticism leveled at this type of insulation is its proclivity to settle over time, rendering its insulation properties ineffective.
Not all cellulose insulation settles within attics, and a large part of the reason for this has to do with how the insulation was installed in the first place.
If your cellulose insulation has settled, you’ve probably discovered that it’s because your home’s energy output has increased. The process of choosing to have the insulation blown in is primarily what causes cellulose insulation. Because the insulation is exposed to the air, settling is unavoidable, resulting in gaps in the areas that need to be insulated.
To avoid this potential issue, request that the cellulose insulation covering your attic floor be blown in at a much thicker thickness than is typically used. This will give the insulation enough thickness to prevent air leaks. When blown-in insulation is exposed to light, it can easily begin to settle and even scatter over time. If you believe your cellulose insulation has begun to settle, you should consult with an attic insulation specialist to see if this is the case. A specialist will be able to determine whether the problem can be fixed or if the insulation must be removed and reapplied to an acceptable thickness.
Is Blown in Cellulose Insulation Good?
Cellulose insulation is always a good option when deciding what type of insulation to use in your attic. This type of insulation is more pliable and performs significantly better in terms of maintaining an acceptable R-value in your overall attic insulation performance. Keeping this in mind, having this type of insulation blown in may not be the best option depending on how well it is blown in. When applied at a thick enough width, blown-in cellulose insulation can last for years; this material is also less susceptible to mold and mildew.
If you want your cellulose insulation blown in, always consult with a professional service to ensure that the material is blown in at a density that will prevent settling over time, which can be a problem with cellulose insulation.
To ensure that your insulation is properly applied, always purchase enough cellulose insulation to provide a second coating on top of the first.
This insulation type will provide better overall insulation performance than other insulation types, but preventing material settling is critical during the application process.
Is Cellulose Insulation Harmful?
Aside from its proclivity to settle, cellulose insulation contains very little that qualifies it as harmful. This insulation type provides incredibly long-lasting performance with less harmful insulation properties as it ages. Having said that, there are a couple of drawbacks to cellulose insulation that should be considered. To begin, it is critical to keep cellulose insulation completely dry at all times. When this material becomes wet, it is extremely difficult to dry. Furthermore, constant moisture will waterlog the cellulose, causing it to settle over time.
If cellulose insulation becomes wet, it can pose health risks. The chemicals used on cellulose insulation are used to keep pests and rodents from nesting with the material, as well as to keep fires from engulfing the material and spreading.When these chemicals become saturated with water, they can release ammonium sulfate into the home’s air, causing breathing problems as well as general malaise and ill-health. A professional cellulose insulation installer is trained to inspect the attic for moisture leaks.
Before having your cellulose insulation installed, make sure it is odorless. If there is a strong odor, this indicates that the chemicals were oversaturated. Also, make certain that your cellulose insulation is installed far enough away from any light sources that could cause the material to catch fire. A clear indication that there is a problem with your newly installed cellulose insulation is the presence of odors that smell strongly of chemicals; this is most likely a sign that the cellulose insulation has been moistened.
Why You Should Have Blown In Cellulose Insulation Installed Professionally
Watching professionals install blown-in cellulose may appear to be a simple task, and it often is. Many obvious and subtle considerations may escape the layperson, such as heat transfer through walls, types of lights in the attic space, whether or not the chimney is properly insulated (if it passes through the attic), and many more. The installation is the easiest part. If you want to get the most energy efficiency and longevity out of your insulation, an expert’s wealth of knowledge, experience, and equipment is irreplaceable.
We will ensure that the installation is done correctly from the start and that you can begin to recoup your investment in energy savings as soon as possible. Contact us by phone at (416) 860-6664 or by email at [email protected].