Mary had a little lamb, and it’s fleece…ended up in an attic?

Mary had a little lamb, and it’s fleece…ended up in an attic?

From Top To Bottom (see what we did there?) a home is
filled with insulation—in ceilings, behind walls, and beneath floors insulation
is used in many ways throughout the house. The obvious reason, as the name implies,
is to provide insulation and regulate temperatures, but some other benefits of insulation
include minimizing sounds and conserving energy.

If your home is older, it may contain hazardous forms of insulation,
and you may wish to consider replacing it. Asbestos is one of the worst, and
unfortunately more common, insulations found in use—it has been linked to mesothelioma,
lung cancer, and other health problems. Older homes may also have insulation
like vermiculite and urea formaldehyde foam, all of which are also harmful.

If you own an older home and think it’s time to upgrade your
insulation you will want to test for asbestos first—if testing shows that your insulation
is positive for asbestos, you will need to hire a professional to remove it safely.

Aside from health hazards, old insulation is simply not as
efficient at keeping your home comfortable. A homeowner has several options for
insulation available, but sheep’s wool offers a unique option for insulating
your home!

1. It’s natural—basically!


Common insulation materials used today are Fiberglass and
rockwool, aka “mineral wool.” These two materials are man-made, spun from either
molten glass or minerals like basalt or diabase. There materials are labeled as
“safe” by research institutions like the National Toxicology Program and the
International Agency for Research on Cancer, however, they do contain fibers that
can become airborne during insulation and could become inhaled. They are also known
to contain formaldehyde, which is known to cause cancer.

Sheep’s wool comes from, well, sheep. It is often made from wool
that is considered to coarse for other applications such as textiles and
clothing. While in it’s raw form it is obviously natural , it to has some additives
used to reduce flammability and repel insects—Boric acid and ammonium sulfates—both
of which are considered poisonous if ingested and can cause irritation to the
skin, eyes, nose, and throat.

Always use caution and wear the protective gear when
installing insualtion.

2. Wool has a high R-value.


A big benefit of sheep’s wool is that is has a very high
R-value. R-value measures a material’s resistance to conductive heat flow—the
higher a material’s R-value, the more effective it is as insulation. Because sheep’s
wool is thick and dense, it is an excellent insulator. Sheep’s wool insulation boasts
an impressive R-13 to R-19 value, equal to or greater than most of its
fiberglass, cellulose, and rockwool options.

3. It is very durable.


Sheep’s wool insulation is extremely durable because of it’s
elasticity—it will keep a home’s temperature comfortable for decades. Wool
fibers act like coiled springs, elongating when extended and retracting when released;
this spring like ability makes wool highly resistant to breakage and tearing.
Sheep’s wool also has a protective skin that acts as a shield against abrasion.

4. Great for regulating humidity.


The fibers in sheep’s wool insulation are water-repellent on
the outside, but water-tolerant inside. If wool becomes moist, it can retain up
to a third of its weight. On the exterior, the wool will be dry to the touch and
continue to insulate—this is great during periods of high humidity. Because it
is semi-permeable,, wool regulates temperature well—absorbing moisture from the
atmosphere of greater humidity and releasing it to the drier atmosphere. Sheep’s
wool creates a balanced environment.

5. It’s resistant to fire and mold.

Because of the moisture in each fiber, sheep’s wool is
naturally fire resistant. Also, sheep’s wool has a  high nitrogen content, which means it is
considered a self-extinguishing material that won’t support flames
below temperatures of 1,040 degrees Fahrenheit. (as we mentioned earlier, most
sheep’s wool insulation products are also treated with additives to further
reduce their flammability.) Finally, the  keratin in wool also helps it naturally resist
mold growth.

6. Great for keeping unwanted noise at bay.


Sheep’s wool insulation acts as a great sound barrier,
keeping unwanted noise pollution out of your home—with a noise reduction
coefficient of 0.90 to 1.15, it is extremely effective at this. The helical molecular
makeup of sheep’s wool reduces airborne sound, surface noise, and sound
transmission. Its viscoelastic properties can also help the fiber convert sound
energy to heat.