Installing Insulation Safely

Installing or upgrading fiberglass attic insulation is an inexpensive way to improve the energy efficiency of your home. A simple do-it-yourself project, installing attic insulation safely is well within the skill-set of the average homeowner.

As with most home projects, planning and careful execution are the keys to a safe project. Be sure to consult the manufacturer's installation guidelines before installing insulation.

Dress For Success When Installing Insulation
The fibers used to create insulation can be irritating to the skin. Fiberglass is particularly troublesome and you should be careful to keep exposed skin to a minimum.

  • Wear appropriate clothing. A hat, long-sleeved shirt and long pants will all help to keep you covered when working with insulation.
  • Use rubber gloves. Rubber gloves will keep fibers from sticking to your hands. Rubber gloves will also be easier to clean when the job is done. Consider taping up the gap between your shirtsleeves and gloves with duct tape.
  • Cover your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear safety goggles (not glasses) to keep fibers out of your eyes. Use a breathing mask that is rated for fiberglass, not just dust.
  • Consider a hard hat. If exposed roofing nails are present, a hard hat will protect your head.

Work Smart, Stay Safe
When installing attic insulation, cover exposed joists with planks or plywood to provide a work surface. Standing on joists is a good way to put your foot through the ceiling with one misstep.

If you have recessed lighting fixtures, keep insulation at least 3 inches away from the fixtures to avoid creating a fire hazard.

When installing insulation in wall cavities, make sure to account for all wiring and fixtures. If possible, cut electrical power in the area where you're working. Be sure to avoid stapling or nailing through wiring when installing insulation.

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