What is the Safest Insulation for Your Home, Ranked?
Safest Insulation for HomesYou know your California home needs insulation, but now comes the tricky decision – do you use fiberglass, spray foam, or cellulose insulation? Many individuals who would like to construct nontoxic homes or healthy buildings struggle when choosing nontoxic insulation. You should know that most of the energy used in your home is for cooling and heating. However, cold and hot air escapes easily and quickly when insulation is sub-standard. While there are many types of insulation products on the market, only a couple of options are feasible if you are looking for non-toxic insulation. So, why is healthy insulation so important for your home? Moreover, what is the healthy insulation option for your home? Let’s find out.
What is Healthy Insulation?
Healthy insulation is safe home insulation and refers to insulation materials, such as sheep’s wool or fiberglass, which are safe for the environment and human health. Healthy insulation materials don’t contain harmful pollutants or chemicals, like Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) or formaldehyde, which can off-gas and adversely affect indoor air quality in your home.
A few examples of healthy insulation materials include cotton, wool, cellulose, and recycled denim. Here are some traits of healthy insulation:
- Hydrophobic (Either repels or doesn’t mix with water)
- No off-gassing/volatile organic compounds
- Natural fire resistance
- Sustainable sourcing
- Simple and quick installation
- Low embodied energy (Doesn’t take considerable energy and resources to create the product)
- Low to moderate cost
What is the Safest Insulation for a House?
People all over the world are striving to find greener, more sustainable, and healthier insulation options. As a result, new and better products are popping up all the time. So, what is the safest insulation for your home? Well, the answer depends on many factors. Technically, keep in mind that insulation options for your home with no off-gassing and no pollutants and additives are the purest.
However, the natural odors in some organic insulation options may not agree with everyone. Neither will the availability or cost. There are many types of insulation, such as fiberglass insulation, available for homes, and the safety of each type depends on multiple factors and variables, such as the materials used, potential health risks, and installation methods.
Here is a general ranking of some of the most commonly used insulation materials based on their safety.
1. Cellulose Insulation
Cellulose is one of the oldest insulation materials used for not just the attic but other parts of the home, such as walls. Cellulose can be a loose-fill or blown-in material and is mainly made of recycled paper or denim. It is made from recycled paper and treated with nontoxic fire retardants.
As a result, cellulose insulation is one of the safest options for your California home. Cellulose is also eco-friendly, offers excellent sound insulation, and effectively lowers heat transfer. Cellulose is fairly inexpensive when compared to other insulation materials.
2. Sheep’s Wool
This is another excellent choice if you are looking for healthy insulation. Not only is sheep’s wool safe and fire retardant, but the material can also keep your house warm and comfy the same way it helps sheep survive harsh or frigid temperatures.
In the last few years, scientists have determined how to apply the beneficial insulating properties of this material to home construction and insulation. Sheep’s wool is also the only naturally occurring and reliable insulating material that keeps you warm and comfortable and protects you from cold, heat, and moisture.
3. Fiberglass Insulation
Made from spun glass fibers, fiberglass insulation is another popular choice. Fiberglass insulation has been used in homes and residential properties for a century and has become a reliable and safer alternative to asbestos insulation.
Fiberglass is relatively safe when properly installed. However, sometimes, it may cause skin and lung irritation if handled improperly during installation.
This insulation option has a negative carbon footprint. This is because the finished product is usually made from the external bark of oak trees. ThermaCork material is renewable, natural, recyclable, and biodegradable, making it an ideal choice. Also, it cancels noise and does not contain toxins.
ThermaCork is a fully natural product that supports and promotes cork forests. These forests host a wide variety of animals and plants and support local economies. They also help reverse planetary damage by efficiently absorbing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and preventing soil desertification.
5. Mineral Wool Insulation
Also known as slag wool or rock wool, mineral wool insulation is fire-resistant and offers good sound insulation. Mineral wool is similar in appearance to fiberglass insulation. This is because it consists of spun fibers. However, the fibers are made from natural stone, like basalt.
This stone is melted at a high temperature. After that, it is “spun” by strong and high-pressure blasts of air into “wool.” And then, the wool is coated with either a resin-based or mineral oil coating in order to bind it together and compress it. However, mineral wool can sometimes cause skin and respiratory irritation during installation.
6. Spray Foam Insulation
If you are looking for a safe and healthy insulation option for your home or attic, spray foam insulation is worth considering. This insulation material is made from polyurethane and is sprayed directly into the walls or ceilings. Also, open-cell spray foam insulation is a reliable air barrier material. It creates an effective seal against air movement. The material can expand up to a hundred times its original size and can fill every nook and cranny in your attic.
The main ingredients used to make this insulation are water-blown and organic chemicals derived from petroleum extracts, which makes it environmentally safe. Although spray foam insulation provides excellent insulation and can help lower your energy costs, it can also emit toxic fumes during installation and might cause skin irritation.
Overall, cellulose insulation is the safest nontoxic option for home insulation, followed by sheep’s wool and fiberglass. However, remember that proper installation and handling of any insulation material is vital to ensure safety.
Choosing the Best Insulation Material for Your Home Insulation
The choice is yours when selecting the best insulation types for your existing home. And to see what option is affordable and makes the most sense for your home and family, you must consider the benefits and downsides of each insulation material and the goals you’re looking to accomplish.
When considering the safest insulation or alternatives to standard XPS boards, you should work with your insulation contractor to figure out how well a healthy or eco-friendly insulation material will work with your specific home design. Things you should consider are:
- How an insulation material responds to moisture
- Whether it meets fire safety laws and regulations
- Whether the R-value meets the criteria for any green building qualification, you want to pursue
If you are constructing an eco-friendly home in California and are curious about green or environmentally friendly insulation options, you can choose from many options. Each material has its own merits and benefits for different environments or home designs. It is best to talk to your insulation company, or the contractor designing your prefabricated home.
If you’re looking for attic or home insulation installation services in Thousand Oaks, Conejo Valley Insulation can inspect your home and attic and make the appropriate recommendation. Contact Conejo Valley Insulation at (805) 499-0448 to schedule an inspection today and make your home eco-friendly with the safest insulation products.