What is Fiberglass Insulation?
Fiberglass – which consists of extremely fine glass fibers – is an insulation material that is found in most homes. It is commonly used in two different types of insulation – blanket which is batts and rolls, and loose fill. It is also available as rigid boards and duct insulation.
Currently manufacturers produce medium- and high-density fiberglass batt insulation products that have a slightly higher R-Value than standard batts, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Fiberglass can be placed in unfinished walls, floors and ceilings. It is fitted between studs, joists, and beams.
How Fiberglass Insulation Works
Fiberglass as an insulator slows the spread of heat, cold, and sound in structures. The material does this by trapping pockets of air, keeping rooms warm in the winter and cooler in the summer, according to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors(InterNACHI).
What is R-Value?
R-Value is the capacity of an insulating material’s resistance to heat flow. Basically, that means the higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power of the material. While R-Value is something that is good to know, it’s not the revered determiner for all things insulation.
Reducing insulation to a number doesn’t tell the whole story, since heat flows in and out through radiation and convection. Heat loss through convection, or air flow, can account for nearly 40 percent of total energy loss in the home. This is an issue if you are only using R-Value to choose your insulation.
What is Fiberglass Insulation Made of?
Fiberglass insulation is made of plastic reinforced by tiny glass fibers. This composition gives the plastic additional strength while improving its insulation capacity.
Pros and Cons of Fiberglass Insulation
Fiberglass insulation has its own set of benefits and problems that you should consider before buying the material for your home.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- Suited for standard stud and joist spacing that is relatively free from obstructions.
- Can be a DIY insulation project.
- Small particles that come into contact with skin can lodge in pores, causing itchiness, rashes and irritation.
- Still allows for air flow, which is a major source of high energy bills and uncomfortable room.
- When inhaled, particles can cause coughing, nosebleeds, and other respiratory ailments.
- When it is disturbed, fiberglass insulation releases particulates into the air which may be inhaled by those installing or removing it.
- If a person must disturb the fiberglass insulation, they should wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, pants, and goggles.
- Fiberglass can trap allergens, dust, and moisture which can lead to mold growth.