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Blown-In Fiberglass Insulation – Use With Caution

There is a family in Florida that was exposed to friable fiberglass that has caused a serious health problem for the family. The wife recently had a baby and was concerned about an itching on the skin feeling that she and the other members of the family were having. The family of five experienced a variety of eye, ear, skin, and respiratory problems. She was also complaining about a lot of white dust particles all over her furniture and personal possessions.

Six months prior to this time, the family had a licensed Insulation Contractor blow in additional insulation on top of their existing Builder installed Batting Insulation. They wanted to save money on their electric bill and thought this was the right way to go. Even the Power Company got into the act by giving them an incentive award to increase the R Value of the insulation of the home. Sounds great doesn’t it. Well this is only the beginning of a nightmare for this family.

We were called in to do an Indoor Air Quality Investigation and discovered that they had the old style recessed lighting in the ceilings. There were approximately 20 of these fixtures. The problem with the old style lighting was: there were four slits on the attic side which allowed the heat of the lights to dissipate. These slits were 3/8″ X 2″ long. This equates to approximately a 2″+ hole in the ceiling at each location. Multiply this by 20 lights and you get a 40″ hole in the ceiling total. Wow, that’s a big hole in the ceiling. These holes prevented the lights from overheating and causing a fire. This is a great concept for a fire hazard, but a bad concept for Indoor Air Quality and Blown-In Insulation. The one requirement with these old style lights was you could not cover them with Insulation Batting. We found multiple recessed lights with Blown-In Insulation covering them and inside the lights also.

After doing several air and tape samples, sending them to a lab, the results came back positive for fiberglass in the air and surfaces of areas tested. The first thing we requested the client do was to remove and install the new sealed recessed lighting in the house. They hired a licensed Electrical Contractor, removed all the fixtures and solved the air intrusion problem from the attic. That was only the beginning of the fix, then they had to HEPA Vacuum and clean everything in the home to remove the friable fiberglass particles on the surfaces.

How would you like to live this nightmare for over one year due to the incompetence of one contractor who did not think the job through?

This is only one example of what is going on in our building industry because of poor planning on the part of the contractor. Remember, you get what you pay for; the low bid isn’t always the right person for the job.

If you decide to add insulation to your attic, check with the Insulation Manufacturer and see what their requirements are before hiring anyone to do the job. Have your attic checked out first to see if there are any holes leading into the attic that can allow air intrusion into your home. If you do this, you will not be faced with this type of problem.

Next on the list, have the duct work checked for any type of leakage and sealed. Check all your electrical fixtures in the ceiling and seal them. Make sure the person who does the repairs is competent and knows what they are doing or it will affect you in the long term.

Caution: Follow all local Building Code requirements. Give them a call and talk to them.

If you have any questions, call us at (954) 531-6476.

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