Cellulose is an excellent insulation material but comes with one big problem: dust. If cellulose insulation dust bothers you, you can try a few remedies to breathe easy. What are they?
Dampening cellulose with water helps control the dust. However, removing the cellulose may be necessary if the dust is severe.
Does cellulose insulation in the attic cause dust in your living space? This article will explain how to control the problem. You’ll also learn about the best options if you remove the cellulose insulation, so keep reading!
Is Cellulose Insulation Dust Harmful?
Cellulose insulation dust isn’t harmful to human health. The material is made from recycled paper products, such as old newspapers. Although cellulose undergoes some chemical treatment for fire resistance and other properties, these additions aren’t toxic.
The biggest problem with insulation dust is that it can make life difficult for people with allergies or respiratory issues such as asthma.
The dust is also a nuisance because it could force you to clean the house more frequently than you may want.
Moreover, the dust can collect on your baseboard heaters and diminish their efficiency.
As a result, you may see your electricity bills rise without an increase in heating demand.
Is There a Solution to the Cellulose Insulation Dust Problem?
You can prevent insulation dust issue before it occurs.
That requires proper preparation before installation begins. If you already have a dust problem, you can try a few remedies to control it.
Cover Openings Before Installation To Contain Dust
If an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure, bring that principle to managing cellulose insulation dust.
Most insulation dust generates during installation. If you install the material in the attic, ensure that openings that could bring dust to the living space are covered.
Look for openings for electric and plumbing work and seal them. Also, seal cracks and crevices.
Moreover, ensure that the attic entryway stays closed during the installation.
Closing the potential leak spots reduces the dust that makes it to your living space.
Use Low-Dust Cellulose Insulation
Cellulose insulation material comes in several varieties. The low-dust type contains a little bit of oil to dampen dust.
As a result, less dust will be kicked up in the air when installing the oil-treated cellulose insulation.
Therefore, closing openings during installation and using the low-dust cellulose option can significantly reduce dust leaks.
Stabilize the Material With Water
Adding a small amount of water delivered at high pressure to cellulose during installation can help cut down on the dust.
The water activates the natural adhesive in the material to bind the fibers together, thus damping dust.
You can also moisten the already installed cellulose insulation to control the dust.
As cellulose can absorb and retain water for an extended period, use only some stabilizing water. A professional should know the proper ratio of cellulose to water for the best results.
If you’re adding water to stabilize the material in attic insulation, you should have a vented attic to allow the water to evaporate.
Cellulose insulation is best kept dry to avoid deterioration that could undermine its insulation and fire resistance capabilities.
While adding water may help reduce dust, it may only work with some types of cellulose.
If the cellulose package is labeled “dry install only,” water shouldn’t be added.
Let Out the Dust
As cellulose installation will inevitably produce dust, you should keep the windows and doors open for a few days to let out the dust.
Stay out during installation so the dust doesn’t collect on your body and transfers quickly to other places.
Check the Ductwork for Leaks and Seal Them
You may have an ongoing cellulose dust problem even after taking measures to prevent its flow during installation. In that case, you’ll need to inspect to see how the dust gets into the house.
Begin by inspecting the ductwork. If you’re using a forced air HVAC system, a leak in the ductwork can draw dust from the attic into the living area.
We have a great article here on air duct sealing (I think anyway).
Replace Cellulose With a Dust-Free Insulation Material
Suppose all these cellulose dust control remedies fail. You should try a different insulation material that doesn’t cause a dust problem.
The replacement insulation may be more expensive than cellulose. Still, it would let you breathe easy and enjoy the comfort of your home again. Moreover, you’d need to clean your house less frequently.
If cellulose insulation dust bothers you, the best insulation options to consider are:
- Sheep’s wool
- Recycled cotton
As removing cellulose insulation can also generate plenty of dust, you need to find a professional who can vacuum it out from the attic vents.
Cellulose insulation’s most significant disadvantage is dust. Although the dust isn’t a health risk, it can complicate life for people with allergies or asthma.
You can control cellulose dust by installing low-dust cellulose or adding water. Close attic openings and cracks to prevent dust leaks.
If the dust recurs, consider removing the cellulose and replacing it with a different insulation material.
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