Serving All of Rhode Island

& Southern Massachusetts

Raising the Bar on Insulation Standards


Q. What is cellulose?

A. Cellulose insulation is made from recycled wood fiber, primarily newspaper. 100

pounds of cellulose insulation contains 80 to 85 pounds of recycled newsprint. The

remainder is made of Borax and Boric acid, both non toxic fire retardants. And irritants

to insects and small rodents.


Q. How do I know if my house is insulated?

A. There are many ways. Most likely when other houses in the neighborhood have

snow on their roofs and yours is already melted that's a sign of heat loss through your

attic usually meaning you have no insulation in your attic. High heating bills, drafts, cold

walls even when heat is on, boilers constantly kicking on and off shows heat loss

instead of a consistent temperature, and condensation on walls. There are many signs,

but most homes prior to 1950 are not insulated. The best way to know for sure is to

remove a piece of siding and drill a hole through the side wall. Sometimes attics are

insulated because someone had access to them, that does not mean the walls are insulated.


Q. What are the advantages to an insulated house?

A. A properly insulated house can save you up to 50% on your heating bills, save you

on electric because your boiler wont kick on and off as much. Also in the summer air

condition does not have to be on as high, you will be using less electric. Most dust in a

house comes from wall cavities that are not insulated. Dust settlement in walls occurs

over a period of times and drafts and breezes go through these walls they carry this

dust into your living area. A house that is not insulated will probably catch fire and burn

down 5-10 times faster than a house that is insulated because fire needs oxygen to

breathe. An insulated wall has little or no oxygen which would dramatically slow the

spread of a fire in a house which could be the difference between life and death.

Uninsulated walls are open cavities for insects and small rodents to nest in, they may

even come from your basement travel up the walls and nest in your attic. Boric acid in

cellulose irritates these insects and rodents blocking off passages for them to travel in.

Insulated walls also means a quieter home, you won't hear traffic or sounds or wind

blowing as much as you would if your wall weren't insulated. Cellulose is an excellent

source for sound reduction.


Q. How long does it take to insulate a house?

A. A house that is 1,000 sq.ft to 2,000 sq.ft would take 1 day with 3 men. 2,000 sq.ft to

4,000 sq.ft, 2-3 days with 3 men.


Q. How much can I expect to save?

A. A house that has no insulation in the attic or sidewalls a homeowner can expect to

save 35 to 50 % on their fuel bills. Some houses have insulation in there attics but not

there sidewalls because someone may had access to the attic, but all attics should

have 12 inches of cellulose to get the maximum amount of savings. Adding insulation to

an attic or sidewalls a homeowner can still expect a savings between 15% to 25%.


Q. Can my house be insulated if I already have insulation in my attic or walls?

A. Yes, Insulation in walls primarily fiber glass batting sometimes loses its density or

you could say R- factor over many years. What we call dense packing walls in the

insulation industry is a process in which a hose is fed into the wall cavity were insulation already exists. Then cellulose is blown from bottom to top as the hose is pulled out of

the hole of the wall cavity. Now the wall is packed and the homeowner has maximum

amount of R-factor that can be achieved. Attics sometimes already have fiberglass

batting or other insulation in them, but even if there is 12 inches of baits in an attic there

is a stud between each piece of insulation blowing cellulose over and between these

spaces assures there will be no heat lost and forms a blanket to completely seal off the

attic for future savings on heating bills.


Q. How can I benefit from blown in cellulose?

A. Cellulose fills walls and ceilings and stops air filtration better. The fibers of cellulose

are much finer than fiber glass. When cellulose is blown or dense-packed into walls and

ceilings it takes on almost liquid like properties that let it flow into cavities and around

obstructions like pipes, electrical boxes and completely fills walls and seal every crack

and seam. No other material duplicates this action, liquid applied foam plastics do, but

they cost much more than cellulose. In new construction cellulose insulation can be

installed in walls using a wet spray process, but if not completely dried before sheet

rock goes on to the walls there is concern for mold or mildew to appear in the walls.

Dense pack dry techniques are very affective in sealing homes against air filtration.


Cellulose makes homes safer. Many residential structures contain large amounts of

wood. Cellulose insulation is the only wood based building material that is always

treated with fire retardant. We only use cellulose that has been treated with non-toxic

Borax and Boric acid and is U. L. Listed. This makes cellulose insulation one of the

safest building materials used in home construction. If a fire occurs, the dense structure

of cellulose and its fire retardants slow its spread through the building by blocking

flames and hot gases and the availability of oxygen in insulated walls and ceilings.

Scientists at the National Research Council in Canada report that cellulose in the wall

cavity provided an increase in the fire resistance performance of 22% to 55%. Air and

fire roar right through fiberglass. This is due to the most flammable tar used on the

paper barrier and the low density of fiberglass baits which doesn't block air movement.

The NRCC showed that the fire resistance of an assembly with glass fiber insulation was

slightly lower than that of a non-insulated assembly. Several fire demonstrations have

been conducted in which cellulose insulated structures have remained virtually intact

while uninsulated and mineral fiber insulated structures burned to ground.


Cellulose helps in pest control. The Borax and Boric acid in cellulose is irritant to

insects and small rodents.


Cellulose is a naturally recycled product. Made from ground up newspaper borax

and boric acid and oil injections for dust control cellulose certainty contributes to a

cleaner environment. It does not "save trees' but it makes maximum use of trees we

already harvested.


Q. What is R-Value?

A. R-Value is the resistance to heat and cold.

Frequently Asked Questions

At Rhode Island Insulation, our experienced insulation professionals specialize in residential and commercial insulation. Ensure you have all the information you need about our insulation services beforehand by reading the following questions.

Get your free estimate today! Call us at:


Our family owned and operated team has been in insulation business for the past 14 years!

Q. Fiber glass VRS Cellulose is?

A. Blown Loose Insulation Comparison -

  • Class I Cellulose

  • R value 3.7 per inch

  • No skin irritations

  • No health problems

  • Short fibers - Less chance of getting caught up inside walls

  • Evaporates moisture quickly

  • More fire retardant - No melting, no burning

  • Sound proofs

  • No settling with 2 hole injection -Walls

  • Less settling- Attics

  • Blown Fiberglass

  • R value 2.2 per inch

  • Yes, skin irritations and some health problems

  • Long fibers - More chances of getting caught up inside walls

  • Evaporates moisture over a longer period

  • Less fire retardant - Melts

  • Less soundproofing capabilities

  • Possible wall voids

  • More settling in attics

*Tests and studies done across the country have proven that Class I Cellulose is superior to Blown Fiberglass in all the above mentioned areas for insulating old homes.

Q. Does cellulose settle?

A. When properly installed cellulose will not settle. The technology today is far greater

than it was 20-25 years ago. The blowers on an insulation machine are much more

powerful and diverse with air variations that control pressure and allows material to flow

with better force and control. Whether it be a 2 hole process or dense packing

techniques is why it is important to choose a professional insulation installer so you can

achieve the quality you deserve.


Q. How does an older home get insulated?

A. Older homes usually get insulated by removing a row of siding above and below the

windows and holes are drilled approximately every 10 inches apart, a wire is used to

probe the walls to see where studs are this process is done side to side and top and

bottom to make sure no bays in the walls are missed. If there are fire stops in the walls,

more holes may be needed to assure your home is properly insulated. Houses that are

bricked usually have a wall studded from the inside where the house would be done

from drilling small 1 inch holes on the inside walls. After the holes are drilled a hose is

then placed into the wall where cellulose is blown in through an insulation machine the

holes are than plugged with lnsul Plugs a Styrofoam plug that securely seals the hole.

The siding is then put back the way it was before the installer arrived. Attics are

insulated through a scuttle hole usually found in a closet. Or an installer will enter

through the roof which is accessible through a 10x10 hole he has cut for the installation

of a roof vent that is ventilation.


Q. Can a house be insulated with knob and tube wiring?

A. In "Retrofitrs We'd Rather Forget" {Jan/Feb '96), you made reference to insulating

over knob-and-tube wiring as being a fire hazard. This statement is incorrect.

Legislation was enacted in Washington State to allow insulating over knob-and-tube

wiring per Bonneville Power Administration (SPA) specifications. This resulted because

there were no documented cases of a fire being caused by knob-and-tube wiring,

whether insulation covered it or not. Because the two conductors of knob- and-tube

wiring circuits are spaced some distance apart, it is nearly impossible to short out. Even

when covered with flammable materials such as wood shavings, the only way you could

get a short was if the insulating materials were wet, then they won't burn, so you

couldn't start a fire anyway.

Overheating the wire would be the only method of ignition for knob-and-tube.

Nonmetallic I sheathed cable {NMC) such as Romex. On the other hand, can short as

well as be overheated, increasing the potential for fire. NMC has started fires, and we

insulate over it.

As an extra safety measure, it is a good idea to use Type S fuses or breakers sized

properly for the wire size, the same as you would for NMC. An inspection by the

Washington State Electrical Inspector and the installation of proper fusing (or breakers}

is a requirement when insulating over knob and tube wiring in Washington and where

allowed in other northwest states that follow BPA specifications.


Q. Does cellulose resist rodents and insects?

A. The chemicals used to fire retard cellulose insulation resist rodents and insects.


Q. Is cellulose insulation flammable?

A. Cellulose is a flame resistant material that can be used safely in the home. Since

September 7, 1978 cellulose insulation has been manufactured to comply with new

government safety standard. To meet the standard, cellulose must pass two tests that

determine its resistance to both flame and smoldering combustion. A number of

experiments conducted over supervision of fire prevention experts have demonstrated

that cellulose insulation, compared to all other types tested is a superior fire barrier and

provides substantial additional time for occupants of a burning dwelling to escape.

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