Is Fiberglass a Good Insulator, and Is It Worth it?
Insulating your attic or crawlspace is essential to making the interior of your home more comfortable. An insulated house is also more energy efficient, but what insulation should you use? Is fiberglass a good insulator, or should you consider other options? Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about fiberglass insulation benefits.
How is Fiberglass Insulation Made?
Fiberglass insulation is created from plastic that is reinforced with tiny glass fibers. The batts are made by dropping molten glass through a spinning bowl known as a fiberizer. The molten glass is forced through thousands of tiny holes to create fine glass strands.
Gas and compressed air pull at the fibers to stretch them thinner. The molten glass fibers are sprayed with a pink-colored binding agent as they are created, which gives fiberglass its distinctive color.
The binder and still sticky glass combination drop through a hole onto a conveyor belt where it forms a thick, sticky mat. Steel plates along the conveyor belt compress the mat before it enters an oven that sets the glue. The next stage involves a series of circular saws and blades that cut the fiberglass mat into separate batts for easy transportation.
Fiberglass insulation is commonly installed as glass batts, which are affordable and easy to install. However, using batts means there could be gaps in the insulation that will slightly reduce its efficiency.
Loose-fill is another type of fiberglass insulation that is blown in through a large hose. You need specialized equipment and trained staff for this type of fiberglass insulation, but it creates a more uniform layer across the floor of your attic that eliminates gaps.
How Does Fiberglass Insulation Work?
Fiberglass insulation insulates your home by trapping heat in pockets of air. Insulation also prevents warmth inside the house from transferring outside, so it can keep you cool in the summer and reduce your heating bill in the winter.
What is the R-Value of Fiberglass Insulation?
An R-value is a measure of how well an insulating material can resist the transfer of heat. Higher numbers are better. The R-value provides a good guide as to what type of insulation you need for your area. For example, a house in Michigan will need insulation with a higher R-value than one in sunny California.
Fiberglass makes it straightforward to achieve a higher r-value when you need it because you can simply add extra layers.
Fiberglass Insulation Pros and Cons
As with most types of insulation, fiberglass will be the best choice in some circumstances, while not so great in others. Knowing the pros and cons will help you make the best decision for your home.
Fiberglass Insulation Benefits
Fiberglass insulation has been used since the 1930s because it provides excellent value for money. It’s easy to install, and while there are risks for untrained professionals, installing fiberglass insulation yourself is a possibility. We recommend you have your insulation professionally installed, as mistakes can cost you more than you save by doing it yourself.
It’s suitable for most attics and crawl spaces with stud and joist spacing with relatively few obstructions. The batts are easy to cut to shape, but this means more risk of gaps for heat transfer.
You can create a quieter home with fiberglass batt insulation, which is an excellent sound barrier when it’s installed in walls, ceilings, and around ductwork in your attic.
The environmental impact of the different types of insulation is of concern to most people. Fortunately, fiberglass is an eco-friendly choice because most insulation manufacturers use at least 40 to 60% recycled materials in their products. It also lasts a long time and is fire resistant.
A properly insulated home can save you more on energy bills than the initial cost of installation over time. Professionally installed fiberglass insulation is cost-effective because it can reduce your heating and cooling bills by up to 60%.
Fiberglass Insulation Cons
Rats and mice can eat fiberglass insulation, and it can serve as a food source when nothing else is available. They also use loose pieces of fiberglass to create their nests. When you choose fiberglass insulation, call the experts in rodent control in San Jose to clear out unwanted pests and put rodent control measures in place to avoid any more problems.
Moisture can be an issue. If your roof has a small leak, unsealed fiberglass batts can retain moisture. You will need to install a vapor barrier to protect your attic or crawlspace from moisture if you use unsealed batts.
Because fiberglass isn’t efficient at repelling moisture, it can lead to mold and mildew problems down the line. We recommend you clean your attic at least every 6 months to check for any developing problems.
You may have heard rumors that fiberglass insulation can settle, which may reduce its R-value. While this is technically true, it will be many years before it becomes an issue. Quality fiberglass insulation will last the lifetime of the home, with many companies offering warranties that cover many decades of use. Older homes should have their insulation checked and replaced if necessary.
There is a risk of small, airborne fiberglass particles entering the lungs. Professional installers will always wear protective gear to prevent this from happening.
Compared to other types of insulation, fiberglass is not airtight. For example, if you are looking to improve the HVAC ductwork in your attic, spray foam insulation will deliver better results than wrapping it with batts.
Is Fiberglass Insulation Worth It?
In short, fiberglass insulation has been around for a long time and continues to be the go-to solution for affordable insulation that’s easy to install. It’s not a good fit for every circumstance. However, when it’s right for your needs, fiberglass delivers a lot of advantages for the price.
If you would like to know more about fiberglass installation and how it can improve the conditions in your home, call Attics Pro, Inc. today. We offer fast turnarounds, professional installation, and expert advice on all things to do with attics and crawlspaces, including attic cleaning and rodent control in San Jose, CA.