Conditions are often rainy and humid in Chicago. While moisture has benefits, such as helping plants grow, high humidity does have side effects: the water can get inside your home and damage your insulation. Has this happened to you? Here’s what to do when your insulation gets wet.
Determine What Type of Insulation Is Wet
Various types of insulation respond to moisture differently. Some aren’t damaged at all, while others must be dried out to prevent mold growth. Use the information here to act quickly once you realize your insulation is wet.
Wet Spray Foam Insulation
You know your home has spray foam insulation if wall and floor cavities are filled with hard white foam. Though spray foam doubles as a moisture barrier and creates an air-tight seal, the leak is still problematic because water can damage the wood surrounding the insulation. Find the hole and seal it to protect your home’s porous structures from moisture damage.
Wet Fiberglass Insulation
Do you see pink batts or loose-fill insulation in wall and floor cavities? If so, your home is insulated with fiberglass. This material is made of tiny strands of glass, so it doesn’t absorb water. However, when moisture fills the air pockets between the fibers, the insulation loses its ability to slow the transfer of heat. After all, water is a conductor, so wet fiberglass insulation is about as effective as no insulation at all.
To help fiberglass insulation dry out, place a dehumidifier or fan in the area. If possible, remove the affected batts and transfer them to a warm place to dry. Once dry, return the insulation to the wall or floor cavity where it came from. Inspect the fiberglass again in the next few weeks, and if it starts to smell funny, this means it was contaminated with dirty water. You should replace it to avoid affecting your indoor air quality.
As always, we do not recommend doing these tasks on your own. Call on your trusted insulation experts at ThermaSeal / Lakeside Insulation to get the job done properly and safely.
Wet Cellulose Insulation
You have cellulose insulation if you see loose, gray fibers in wall and floor cavities. Cellulose is made primarily of recycled newspaper, making it a plant-based product that can be difficult to restore after getting wet.
If the portion of wet cellulose insulation is small enough, you might be able to remove it, let it dry for a few days and then put it back. However, if the leak was more extensive, a more substantial portion of insulation may have gotten wet. Mold can begin growing within just a few days, so total removal and replacement may be necessary.
Keep Your Insulation Dry
After drying out or replacing your insulation, you probably feel relieved to have the incident over with. To ensure you never experience wet insulation again, follow these tips:
- Check your roof often for leaks, which can damage attic insulation.
- Inspect your siding for holes, which can allow moisture in and damage exterior wall insulation.
- Seal your foundation and basement walls to prevent moisture intrusion that could damage crawl space and basement insulation.
Call on the Insulation Experts in Chicago
When your insulation gets wet, you need to act fast! Let ThermaSeal / Lakeside Insulation help you salvage as much insulation as possible. We’ll reinstall the amount we can and replace any moldy portions with new insulation to keep your home comfortable, clean and energy efficient in all seasons.
If you live in the Chicago metro area, please contact us to learn more or to schedule the insulation services you need!