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Old 05-21-2012, 01:08 AM   #1
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Cold hard facts


I was challenged by some here to come up with the facts on some insulation. Namely Cellulose. It has its problems with settling like 20%. Like adding 300 pounds of chemicals to your home you might not need. Fire problems and the such so those who I am quite sure are in the Cellulose insulation businesses Who seamed to be threatened by my facts. And wanted me to come up with sources so I have. A few so here they are.
1 16 C.F.R. Part 460.
2 16 C.F.R. 460.20.
3 44 Fed. Reg. at 50,225 (August 27, 1979).
4 NAHB Research Center, Inc., NAIMA
Loose-Fill Settling Study, Study of the
Thickness Settling of Dry-Applied Attic
Open Blow Mineral Fiber Loose-Fill
Insulation'sin Site-Built Test Home Attics,
Fourth Year Report, August 2008.
5 Arizona ICAA Chapter Request, Insulation
Contractors Monthly, May 1995.
6 Bengt Svennerstedt, “Field Data on Settling
in Loose-Fill Thermal Insulation,” Insulation
Materials, Testing and Application (ASTM:
Philadelphia, PA, 1990), pp. 231, 236.
7 16 C.F.R. 460.12(b)(2).
8 Donald W. Belles and Associates, Inc.,
“Loose-Fill Cellulose Insulation – An Aging
Problem,” J. Applied Fire Science, Vol. 30,
295-303, 1993-94.
9 “Wet-Spray Cellulose – Questions About
Drying,” Energy Design Update, July 1989,
p.1; “Effect of Wet-Spray Cellulose on Walls,”
Energy Design Update, October 1989, p.3.
10 USG, Gypsum Construction Handbook,
2000 Centennial Edition, pp. 75, 353, 381;
USG, Gypsum Construction Handbook,
1992 Edition, pp. 28, 102.
11 16 C.F.R. Part 1209 and 16 C.F.R. Part
1404.
12 Donald W. Belles and Associates, Inc.,
“Loose-Fill Cellulose Insulation – An Aging
Problem,” J. Applied Fire Science, Vol. 30,
295-303, 1993-94; Mark McLees, “‘Going
Green’ May Make You ‘See Red,’”
Firehouse, June 2008.
13 California Bureau of Home Furnishings and
Thermal Insulation, Long-Term Aging
Studies on Loose-fill Cellulose Insulation:
Part IV, p. 7 (1991).
14 Letter to Dale Lewis from Lewis County
(Washington State) Public Utility District,
March 20, 1991.
15 Facts #30, Insulation and Fire Safety,
North American Insulation Manufacturers
Association, Pub. No. BI472, August 1997.
16 K. Sheppard, R.Weil, and A. Desjarlais,
“Corrosiveness of Residential Thermal
InsulationMaterials Under Simulated Service
Conditions,” InsulationMaterials, Testing and
Applications, D.L.McElroy and J.F. Kimpflen,
Eds. (ASTM: Philadelphia, PA, 1990), pp. 634-
654; K. Sheppard, R.Weil, and A. Desjarlais,
“Corrosiveness Testing of Thermal Insulation
Materials – A Simulated Field Exposure Study
Using a TestWall,” Report ORNL/Sub. 78-
7556/4, September 1988.
17 K. Sheppard, R. Weil, and A. Desjarlais,
“Corrosiveness of Residential Thermal
Insulation Materials Under Simulated Service
Conditions,” InsulationMaterials, Testing and
Applications, D.L.McElroy and J.F. Kimpflen,
Eds. (ASTM: Philadelphia, PA, 1990), pp. 634-
654; K. Sheppard, R.Weil, and A. Desjarlais,
“Corrosiveness Testing of Thermal Insulation
Materials – A Simulated Field Exposure Study
Using a TestWall,” Report ORNL/Sub. 78-
7556/4, September 1988.
18 NAHB Research Center, Inc., Field
Demonstration of Alternative Wall
Insulation Products, prepared for the US.
Environmental Protection Agency.
November 1997.
19 G.K. Yuill, Ph.D, A Field Study of the Effect
of Insulation Types on the Air Tightness
of Houses, Pennsylvania State University
Department of Architectural Engineering, 1996.
20 NAHB Research Center, Inc., Air
Infiltration of Wood Frame Walls,
prepared for The North American Insulation
Manufacturers Association. May 2009.
21 National Research Council of Canada Report,
Gypsum Board Walls: Transmission Loss
Data, March 1998, #761.
22 Arizona ICAA Chapter Request, Insulation
Contractors Monthly, May 1995; Letter to
TSCA Public Docket Office from the
Laborers’ Health and Safety Fund of North
America, September 23, 1991.
23 J.M.G. Davis, “The need for standardized
testing procedures for all products capable
of liberating respirable fibers; the example
of materials based on cellulose,” British
Journal of Industrial Medicine 1993: 50:
187-190, p. 189.
these are all the supporting data in why I chose not to use paper mulch.
I just gave the facts All insulation's have the plus and minus to them I am sure I can also dig up plenty of reasons why Not to use Fiberglass or rock or mineral wool too


Last edited by Nailbags; 05-21-2012 at 01:12 AM.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:18 AM   #2
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Cold hard facts


In the interest of full disclosure--please let us know what you do for a living, or who do you work for?

You're awfully biased against cellulose for someone who does not make their living off a competing product.

BTW, we use wood for walls... it burns, it supports mold growth, insects like to eat it... If I had a house made of stone and steel I might want to stay away from the cellulose... but my house structure is wood, the floors are wood, the sheathing is wood, the siding is wood, the roof underlayment is wood. All of these things share the negative properties of cellulose...

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Old 05-21-2012, 07:26 AM   #3
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Cold hard facts


Nailbags,

I am completely serious when I say I am all ears/eyes for any information on any system. I an not an insulation contractor but I do usually recommend cellulose (borate only stabilized) to my client for loose fill projects.

You information list is nearly impossible to get through but what I have has not really blown me away in any capacity.

First off, NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association) is an association that represents fiberglass and rockwool manufacturers. Trusting them for their "data"'s accuracy would be the equivalent for going to the Cigarette makers of America for heath data on smoking.

In regards to the studies you posted, I can't find any smoking gun.

Items 1,2,3 appear to be FTC regulations.

Item 4 is a NAIMA study so throw that out because it is worthless.

Item 5 links back to another NAIMA "study".

Item 6 shows nothing about cellulose other than it settles out about 10%. Nothing ground breaking there. It does show in this study the superior density of cellulose as compared to glass and slag insulations. Better density = more resistant to convective and air loss. Kind of shoot yourself in the foot for that one.

Item 7 is more regulatory stuff.

Item 8 is only a book that can be purchased but nothing in the preview mentions cellulose. They seemed concerned about flame spread in foam though.

Item 9 links to another NAIMA "study".

Item 10 is another book for purchase.

Item 11 is more regulatory stuff.

Item 12 is the same as Item 8.

Lucky item 13....

From your information: "Results of this study effort are inconclusive and variable and certainly cannot be used to condemn this material...Based on the data we receive from the State Fire Marshal's office and our own observations of fire safety performance we do not perceive cellulose as a hazard if properly manufactured and installed."
Ray L. Hillier
Insulation Program Manager
State of California
Bureau of Home Furnishings


All the information about reactivity and corrosivness has been discussed and is only and issue with the cheaper materials and Ammonium sulfate stabilized. I don't know of anyone that recommends or uses that stuff.
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Old 05-21-2012, 10:46 AM   #4
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Cold hard facts


I am just a guy who does a lot of investigation on thing that go it homes and also what I placed in my home.
All I have done is point out facts let people decide for themselves. Also I only find biased tests from the Cellulose side as well If people would provide non biased data on that so people can be educated to all that is out there. That is all I am doing I can point of the problems with fiberglass and rock wool and mineral wool too. This post was in reply to people asking for my data. Not my opinion on the matter. But if you want that here is what I think blowing wet paper mulch in to your home might not be a good thing adding 300 extra lbs of chemicals that you might not want in your home might be a bad thing. having a product listed by government agencies as a known combustible might not be good. If I need x amount blown in and in six year later and only Y amount is there or 20percent has settled I might be a little peeved. Is it a good R value Yes does it do what it claims yep does it meet the min safety standards set forth yes. is it cheep yep. if this is all you can afford use it. will it kill you no. Just look at things from all sides.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:00 AM   #5
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Cold hard facts


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Originally Posted by Windows on Wash View Post
Nailbags,



First off, NAIMA (North American Insulation Manufacturers Association) is an association that represents fiberglass and rockwool manufacturers. Trusting them for their "data"'s accuracy would be the equivalent for going to the Cigarette makers of America for heath data on smoking.


I can say the same for Cellulose as well. I would love to see more independent studies for all types of insulation out there so people can have a more educated understanding. I also feel in some things people say that fiberglass is 100 safe I say no because of the hazard of inhalation of the fibers I think that will be the next asbestos. Those batts used to have high amounts of toxic chemicals.
rock wool is made from blast furnace slag and boiler slag don't breath in those fibers or dust from it. See I can point out the bad too. it is all just weighted information what are you willing to put in your home? Or some one elses home?
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:02 AM   #6
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Cold hard facts


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Originally Posted by Nailbags View Post
I am just a guy who does a lot of investigation on thing that go it homes and also what I placed in my home.
All I have done is point out facts let people decide for themselves. Also I only find biased tests from the Cellulose side as well If people would provide non biased data on that so people can be educated to all that is out there. That is all I am doing I can point of the problems with fiberglass and rock wool and mineral wool too. This post was in reply to people asking for my data. Not my opinion on the matter. But if you want that here is what I think blowing wet paper mulch in to your home might not be a good thing adding 300 extra lbs of chemicals that you might not want in your home might be a bad thing. having a product listed by government agencies as a known combustible might not be good. If I need x amount blown in and in six year later and only Y amount is there or 20percent has settled I might be a little peeved. Is it a good R value Yes does it do what it claims yep does it meet the min safety standards set forth yes. is it cheep yep. if this is all you can afford use it. will it kill you no. Just look at things from all sides.
Now as to a former snarky comment about earning a living of from Cellulose. I don't. Have I used it yes. Have I seen the fire resistance at work, yes. In Ilion NY a house fire was credited from not destroying the building because of it.

Now as far as density is concerned, you are not well versed on the concept of high density blowing of the product. When blown at proper density, settling is minimal to none existent.

As far as the reality, cellulose is a good product that is recognized as a "green" product as it uses the waste stream for materials, except for the borate, again a material that is inert, to prevent it from being a fire hazard.


I think you are way out in left field with your views.
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Old 05-21-2012, 11:47 AM   #7
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Cold hard facts


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nailbags View Post
I am just a guy who does a lot of investigation on thing that go it homes and also what I placed in my home.
All I have done is point out facts let people decide for themselves. Also I only find biased tests from the Cellulose side as well If people would provide non biased data on that so people can be educated to all that is out there. That is all I am doing I can point of the problems with fiberglass and rock wool and mineral wool too. This post was in reply to people asking for my data. Not my opinion on the matter. But if you want that here is what I think blowing wet paper mulch in to your home might not be a good thing adding 300 extra lbs of chemicals that you might not want in your home might be a bad thing. having a product listed by government agencies as a known combustible might not be good. If I need x amount blown in and in six year later and only Y amount is there or 20percent has settled I might be a little peeved. Is it a good R value Yes does it do what it claims yep does it meet the min safety standards set forth yes. is it cheep yep. if this is all you can afford use it. will it kill you no. Just look at things from all sides.
Not to pick on you nailbags but I am going to piggy back on framer's comments.

You don't get near that much settling in high density (i.e. quality) cellulose and the R-Value is not degraded as a result of the small amount of settling.

Fiberglass, as it is used in most applications, allows for convection and completely de-rates the R-Value.

I am not sure where the idea of wet paper mulch comes from but it is only slightly more likely to absorb moisture than other insulation and certainly not to the point of any issues with high moisture content.

+1 to it being totally green and also not posing the same inhalation hazards that fiberglass does.

I don't want to belabor the point, but it is better than FG in every measurable aspect.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:15 PM   #8
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N
+1 to it being totally green and also not posing the same inhalation hazards that fiberglass does.

I don't want to belabor the point, but it is better than FG in every measurable aspect.
Fiber glass is totally green too made form the most abundant renewable resource on the planet. When the paper mulch could be used to remake newspaper or other paper products so as to not offset the harvesting of more timber products for pulp. See I can turn this around as well. and here is facts that I will give to both types see this is not a bash but education. I know some people hang their rep on one product. Properly installed fiber glass batts androlls are not affected by naturalconvection. In addition, in cold climate conditions, all fiber glass insulations experience improved thermal performance as the temperature in an attic drops. However, some lighter density loose-fill fiber glass products are affected in limited applications such as those found in extremely cold weather
environments. In those climates, denser loose-fill insulation designed for extreme temperatures should be installed.
Cellulose Insulation Natural convection will not affect the thermal performance of properly installed cellulose insulation due to the
way the fibers nest together.
See I am not bias I can show both sides. As for not having any health hazards Why wear a mask when installing it? If it so safe ever hear of white lung? It comes from breathing in fibers from pulp mills the same type of fibers found in cellulose insulation. And to be fare I would not say FG is safe to breath in as well. ugh!
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:15 PM   #9
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Neither f.g. nor cellulose should be used next to a chimney as fire-stopping: http://www.nationalfiber.com/docs/Te...Lights0410.pdf

In small scale tests, f.g. had about the same resistance as uninsulated walls compared to rock wool and cellulose with 50% more resistance: http://www.fivestarphc.com/pdf/Energ...lassversus.pdf

This one is bias, but I found the points on electrical boxes, Canada's banning faced f.g. and actual number of attic fires to be of value: http://www.cellulose.org/userdocs/Te...ectiveness.pdf

Who wouldn't want an extra 25 minutes after egress or watch most my belongings go up in smoke before the F.D. arrives: http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/insulation.html

I am only covering the fire aspect now or it can be very confusing.

Gary
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nailbags View Post
Properly installed fiber glass batts androlls are not affected by naturalconvection. In addition, in cold climate conditions, all fiber glass insulations experience improved thermal performance as the temperature in an attic drops. However, some lighter density loose-fill fiber glass products are affected in limited applications such as those found in extremely cold weather
environments. In those climates, denser loose-fill insulation designed for extreme temperatures should be installed.
All the data I have seen from non sponsored testing disagrees with what you have posted here.

I was not suggesting that cellulose should be installed without basic PPE, however, fiberglass still poses a much higher risk.

Folks working in paper mills are probably exposed to 100X what normal insulation installers will get.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:09 PM   #11
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Cold hard facts


yesterday doing a repair of sheet rock Opened the wall a bit more to patch the basketball size of hole in the wall and low and behold spray foam insulation and that has me wondering what type of problems that stuff poses? I know it can work really good but looking at the wall cavity it is sprayed and covers everything. Does this stuff melt catch fire? gas off phenols? I will do some looking in to that.
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Old 05-22-2012, 12:44 PM   #12
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yesterday doing a repair of sheet rock Opened the wall a bit more to patch the basketball size of hole in the wall and low and behold spray foam insulation and that has me wondering what type of problems that stuff poses? I know it can work really good but looking at the wall cavity it is sprayed and covers everything. Does this stuff melt catch fire? gas off phenols? I will do some looking in to that.
I am opposed to spray in foam as the mixing is done onsite, which can lead to problems down the road.

In my house foam from the 70's was used and it has pulled away from the studs, effectively leaving most of my house uninsulated.

The is a fire retardant foam on the market.
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Old 05-22-2012, 01:07 PM   #13
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Here is one study on R value and fiberglass insulation

http://eec.ucdavis.edu/ACEEE/1994-96/1996/VOL10/085.PDF
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Old 05-22-2012, 10:37 PM   #14
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I am opposed to spray in foam as the mixing is done onsite, which can lead to problems down the road.

In my house foam from the 70's was used and it has pulled away from the studs, effectively leaving most of my house uninsulated.

The is a fire retardant foam on the market.
+1

Spray foam has limited applications in my mind and 95% of the insulation scheduled out there can and should be done with traditional materials.
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Old 05-26-2012, 04:15 PM   #15
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Just to finish up on the f.g. and "fire" topic: Cellulose is usually acceptable for fire-stopping a balloon framed house (with no blocking between floors/attic). Fiberglass is also acceptable as fire-stopping there, as well as other places – eg. behind a framed basement wall at studs/plate to concrete as per code. Problem is – it holds air- hence the requirement when used around penetrations or obstructions; “compress it (to hold less air) and support it in place mechanically” so it doesn’t fall when exposed to flame (friction fit- melts at the edges- falls to floor). Cellulose chars, smolders and omits smaller-sized flames; though it won’t ignite into a big flame. On the other hand, f.g. feeds the trapped air to the fire (cell. contains the air). An attic is little different, J.M.’s “Spider” is equal to cellulose, if installed at a high density.

Low, medium and high-density choices are very important in fiberglass insulation. There was R-11 for 3-1/2” walls, think low-density- inherent with natural convective loops; http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...6/ai_n8582994/
R-13 is medium, and R-15- high-density = no convective loops.
2x6 walls should have R-21 (0.90 cu.ft.) or 22 rather than R-19 (made for 2x6 framed ceilings below an attic). Once you compress it to a 5-1/2” wall cavity = R-17, you lose before the drywall is even on.
R-19 = 0.55# per sq.ft. (low) density with convective loops: http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...ty-insulation/
I've listed other low-density batt insulations complete with convective loops here; The "biggest loser" in fiberglass insulation....

You mentioned low-density blow-in fiberglass attic insulation tested that had convective loops at very low temperature- the test described: http://www.homeenergy.org/show/article/year/1992/id/895
And guess what, they still sell it today! Most of your manufacturing companies carry/install it. As do insulation installers. Buyer beware….

Settlement of cellulose after installation is counteracted either by installing it at sufficiently high densities so it cannot settle, or by using moisture activated acrylic binders or "stabilizers." The settling of cellulose insulation is typically only a concern when installed in vertical cavities at low densities, which is an undesirable practice due to the air-sealing benefits of the dense-pack technique.
Dense-pack insulating techniques using cellulose insulation have significantly reduced envelope-related outdoor air infiltration, minimize convective heat loss, and decrease overall energy flows. Age and settling has little influence on the thermal performance of cellulose insulations as compared with some other commonly used fiber materials.

Attic Installation
Loose-fill cellulose insulation is either blown or poured into attic spaces. Similar to
wall installation, loose-fill densities for the attic are usually in the range of 1.3 to 1.5
pcf. Research results indicate that loose-fill cellulose prevents convective air currents
from compromising its thermal resistance (see Chapter 4, Convection, p 19).From: http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA321192

Figure 5, drop from R-3 to R-1 when there is a 35*F temperature difference between the room drywall and attic air; http://docserver.nrca.net/pdfs/technical/401.pdf


Gary

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