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Your 6 Weirdest Insulation Questions Answered

Insulation is so important for our homes. It not only protects us from the outside elements by keeping us comfortable and warm, but it also keeps our energy bills down, and prevents other nasties like damp and mould. Insulating your home can be a daunting task, there’s so much to consider, and it can also be quite expensive. However, the long term benefits of insulation are worth it. 

Having said that, people often have quite a few questions about insulation and we’re going to take a look at some of the weirdest questions asked. Fancy seeing the answers to these questions? Read below to find out!

1. Can You Eat Insulation? 

This is a question we frequently receive. However, we think it is because people have accidentally inhaled the insulation fibres, rather than eating in on purpose. Having said that, insulation shouldn’t be eaten. For example, fiberglass insulation is made of glass fibres. If this is eaten, it can cause soreness of the throat and a sore stomach. Health related effects normally depend on the amount of insulation ingested or inhaled. If it’s small amounts then there isn’t a major risk. When installing insulation though, PPE should always be worn to prevent inhaling or ingesting insulation fibres.

2. Why Is Insulation Pink? 

It is often thought that the colour of insulation indicates the R-value or effectiveness. However, the reason insulation is pink is purely for aesthetic reasons and it doesn’t affect the quality, thermal efficiency or R-value of the insulation. Insulation isn’t naturally pink. Insulation can actually come in different colours, sometimes it is pink but it can also be green, orange, yellow, or even red. This is done by simply adding colouring to the material. Without the colouring, insulation is often simply clear. 

The reason that manufacturers started adding colour to their products was to stand out in the market. It was a strategy to increase sales and attract customers to the product. 

One thing to look out for on insulation is the R-value. When shopping, rolls of insulation often look the same, but the R-value indicates how thermally effective the insulation is depending on the climate you live in.

3. How Do I Make Insulation?

Many people often ask whether you can make insulation rather than buying it. Insulation can be expensive in the short-term, which is the main reason why people ask this. Cellulose insulation can actually be made with common household materials. You will need newspaper or cardboard and the right kind of chemicals to treat the material. However, the quality of the final product isn’t guaranteed and the time you spend making it might just outweigh the initial cost of proper insulation. Also, there are many factors that ensure insulation is of high quality to ensure it prevents dampness, is fire resistant, or is the correct thickness for your home and climate. 

Of course, you can further insulate your home yourself by adding thick carpets, draught-proofing, and curtains, but when it comes to insulating your property structure it’s best to opt for high-quality insulation materials. These include: 

4. What Is The Most Unusual Insulation Material?

In the US today, we are used to insulation materials such as cellulose and fiberglass. However, there are many other natural materials that have insulating properties. One material is the cork that you find in your wine bottle. Cork is excellent at preventing air from getting through and escaping, however, it’s not very common amongst homeowners today.

Outside of the US, communities who live in yurts also use unusual insulation methods. The felt that covers the yurt is usually made of wool collected from domesticated sheep, goats, or yaks. They also have many layers which is a great method for trapping air, which then reduces heat loss. 

Another unusual insulation method is mud and soil. Earth houses use soil and mud as a wonderful insulating blanket, as due to the high density of earth, the inside temperature changes very slowly. 

5. Is Insulation Dangerous?

Similar to the question about eating insulation, we often get asked if it's dangerous. The simple answer is, insulation is not inherently dangerous. However, if a large amount is ingested it can pose health risks. You might need to take care when installing certain materials, like loose fill insulation, because there’s more chance of the small, loose particles entering your mouth or nose and being breathed in. This is why it is important to use masks when handling any insulation material. 

Touching insulation can also irritate the skin, and it is important not to rub your eyes once you have handled it. Some common symptoms include itchy and red skin, this is because insulation is naturally quite a rough and coarse material. But, if you wear gloves and long sleeve tops and pants, this shouldn’t be an issue at all.

6. Can Plastic Be Used As Insulation?

Plastic actually has very good insulating properties. It doesn’t conduct heat and it keeps warm air inside and cold air out during the colder months, and vice versa in warmer months. However, there are a few risks to using plastic in buildings and properties, which is why we would advise against using it. The major hazard of using plastic as an insulator is that it is an extremely flammable material and if it does catch fire then there is a lot of smoke produced. 

Have More Questions About Insulation?

We hope you have found this post both interesting and useful. As we know, there are so many insulation options on the market. From choosing the right one to understanding what each material is for, many questions will arise. You can save a lot of time and effort simply asking an expert in the industry any questions you have. If you’re looking to insulate your home and have some questions, feel free to contact us and we will be in touch to offer our help!