What Happens When Fiberglass Insulation Gets Wet

Fiberglass insulation is one of the most common types of insulation used in private homes. This type of insulation is easy to install and is very cost-effective. Many people can even install insulation themselves as a weekend project.

When fiberglass insulation gets wet, however, this presents a significant problem for the homeowner. Wet fiberglass insulation does not work as it should and can lead to additional problems. Fiberglass insulation will lose its thermal resistance when it gets wet. If the insulation has the chance to dry then the loss of thermal resistance is only temporary.

How Fiberglass Insulation Works

Fiberglass insulation is designed to fill the empty spaces in your eaves so that heat does not penetrate the home in summer or escape the home during winter. The thick batting provides a buffer between the home and the outside. Insulation can be used in walls as well to help control temperatures within the home.

When the insulation becomes wet, it becomes dense in some areas from the water and thinner in other areas because the water has displaced the fiberglass fibers. The efficiency of the insulation drops by 40 percent or more, causing heating and cooling bills to increase instantly.

If the insulation has become wet and cannot completely dry within 48 hours, it must be replaced. The insulation is no longer beneficial to the house and may even cause additional damage.

Damage Caused By Wet Fiberglass Insulation

Wet insulation that is touching the wood frame of your home or roof can cause the wood to begin rotting. In humid conditions, wood rot can begin within a few days of being in constant contact with a wet surface. Wood rot could lead to extensive and expensive repairs to your roof and home.

Insulation that is wet that is touching the drywall can cause the drywall to rot from the backside. Drywall can begin to deteriorate almost instantly when there is something damp or wet pressed against its surface. The damage will happen faster from the back because the drywall is not protected by paint or other coverings.

One of the worst problems that could occur if you leave your wet insulation in place too long is the development of mold and mildew. Mold can be a health hazard and, if left untreated, can rapidly spread to all areas of your home. If mold is allowed to grow, you face the potential for respiratory illnesses. Depending on the extent of the mold growth, you may have to have professional mold removal services sanitize your home.

Common Causes of Wet Fiberglass Insulation

The most obvious cause of wet insulation is from a leaking roof. If you discover a leak in your roof, you would automatically check and replace the insulation on the inside. If your roof leak has caused water to enter inside your home near a wall that has been insulated, you may also need to replace the insulation in the wall to protect the wall from damage and mold growth.

Broken or leaking pipes may also cause the insulation to rot. Many people insulate around their pipes for added protection. If the pipes leak or sweat, the insulation around them can become wet and rot. Replacing the insulation around your pipes once a year is always recommended.

Areas, where wiring and pipes enter into your home, may also allow moisture to enter the insulation. It is recommended that you periodically check the insulation around these areas to make sure that they remain dry.

Replacing Fiberglass Insulation

Replacing wet insulation should be a top priority so that you can protect your home from further damage and mold growth. It may also be essential to dry out the area where the insulation was located once the insulation has been removed.

Using dehumidifiers and professional drying systems may be required to ensure that wood rot does not set in or that mold growth is inhibited. Once you remove the fiberglass insulation, set up the drying systems before replacing the insulation.

Make sure that you use protective clothing, hand covering, and eyewear when working with fiberglass. It is also essential to wear a mask because breathing in fiberglass particles can cause damage to your airways. Check with your local authorities to determine if you need to dispose of the insulation differently than regular trash.

If you are unsure about removing and replacing fiberglass insulation, or you want to make sure that the area has been adequately dried before insulation, you may want to call a professional service to have this task completed.

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