Having old, ineffective insulation in your home is a concern, but what about the health ramifications that come along with that? In much older homes, the insulation itself could cause some dangerous health issues.
RetroFoam of Michigan has helped tens of thousands of homeowners not only make their homes more comfortable but also healthier spaces. This is done by updating the insulation in the home, but also by getting the old, dirty insulation out of the attic, crawl space, and rim joist.
With all that experience, we know the health benefits of removing old insulation from your home.
Why Remove Old Insulation in the Home
From the development of hazardous mold to the use of asbestos in older homes, let’s take a look at how removing that old insulation is a good idea.
- Rodents and other pests nest in fiberglass or cellulose. Rodents are gross and they are making condominiums in your fiberglass or cellulose. They didn’t make little bathrooms in those condos they just go wherever they want. Squirrels, bats, mice, and raccoons go to the bathroom a lot, so your insulation is likely saturated in their excrement. The droppings themselves can carry dozens of diseases, but also contaminate the air around them, according to Colonial Pest Control, Inc. Getting this saturated insulation out of your home can help reduce the chances of getting sick with something serious like hantavirus, leptospirosis, or even the plague.
- Mold or other fungal growth. If your attic, crawl space, or rim joist has issues with moisture, so does your fiberglass or cellulose in those areas. Because traditional insulation retains moisture, mold is likely growing in the material and spreading to the structure of the home where it’s installed. Black mold exposure can cause chronic coughing, sneezing, irritations to the eyes, mucous membranes, nose, and throat, as well as rashes, chronic fatigue, and persistent headaches. Severe cases of prolonged exposure to black mold can be more dangerous, according to HGTV. Get that wet insulation out of the house and focus on fixing that moisture issue. Once you find the source of the moisture and fix it, then you can upgrade your insulation.
- Asbestos hazards. Asbestos hasn’t been used in insulation since before its official ban in most countries in the 1980s. While that’s the case, it can still be found in older homes across the U.S. Asbestos is a dangerous material that can lodge permanently in your lungs if inhaled, as well as mesothelioma (rare cancer that affects the membranes lining the chest or abdomen), asbestosis (scarring of the lungs), lung cancer, and the increased risk for cancers of the esophagus, kidneys, colon, gastrointestinal tract, and throat, according to Everyday Health. It’s important to note that the removal of asbestos must be done by a professional.
- Allergens get trapped in the insulation. Traditional insulation allows for air movement into the home and with that air comes allergens and pollutants. Mold spores, pollen, and dust can be especially dangerous to people who suffer from allergies and asthma. Create an air seal in your home and you’ll be keeping those outside allergens out where they belong.
We’re not trying to use scare tactics here, but all of these health hazards can be avoided by removing that old insulation and upgrading to a material that doesn’t face these same problems.
Creating a Healthy and Happy Home
Keeping that old insulation in your home isn’t doing you any favors and carries a lot of risks to your health.
Another thing to keep in mind is that cellulose and fiberglass will shift, settle, and sag over time, which also means these materials are less effective as insulation.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.