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Attic Insulation

Question: We live in a colonial that was built in the 1940s. The house is cold in the winter and of course a fortune to heat. Our inspector told us the place could use more insulation in the attic floor and I am finally looking into it. I worry about exposing my children (and me) to something dangerous. First question is the type of insulation. I know most people get fiberglass but I have also looked at recycled paper (I forget the name) and some sort of foam insulation. My brother just renovated a home they bought and she's an environmental lawyer and swears by the recycled paper stuff. I looked at it online and it's not been around very long and whatever they use to make it flame retardant is also not something you want in your lungs. My related problem is that our air conditioning ducts are cut out of the ceiling - aka the attic floor. I just have this visual of blowing insulation up into the floor and having it come out right into my kids' noses (of course the ducts are right over their beds). What kind of person could I get to come look at the ducts and make sure the insulation doesn't leak into them? I feel like I need some hand holding on this but don't know whom to call - e.g. the insulation people seem to be the wrong people to ask.

Answer: The type of insulation you use is somewhat relative to the insulation already there and how much more R factor you are trying to obtain, how easy it is to get into the attic and the overall logistics.

Don't worry about the insulation coming through the ceiling air ducts, the piping should be sealed and not allow insulation to enter.

Additional information on insulating an attic.