What’s the Difference Between Dense-Packed and Loose-Fill Insulation?

April 4, 2015

Dense or loose? Which do you prefer? Dare we even ask – in mixed company? Ah, but we at Capitol Machine – the experts in all things insulation- and cellulose-related – don’t mean it in the Victorian sense; after all, who wants to be dense or loose? We meaneth it in thy insulation installationeth sense, so you may lay aside your shame, for the time being. Despite our red faces (from the sun, not from embarrassment, mind you), we intend on answering the question. Loose Fill Insulation

Capitol Machine: Loose-Fill Insulation is Blown into Walls

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, loose-fill insulation is made up of small particles of fiber, foam and other strange materials. When the particles are mixed together and blown into wall or attic spaces, they conform to the space’s confines without altering the structure or finish.

Contractors like loose-fill insulation for its ability to fit into difficult areas, such as retrofits. Materials in loose-fill insulation include cellulose, fiberglass and mineral wool, the federal agency states. Cellulose is composed primarily of recycled newspapers. Fiberglass is made up of 20 to 30 percent recycled glass. Mineral wool comes from 75 percent post-industrial recycled content. Loose-fill is the same as blown-in insulation – a procedure in which we at Capitol Machine specialize. Running Machines

Capitol Machine: Let’s Get Physical

Here’s where this article gets tricky – literally. According to industry leaders, loose-fill cellulose becomes dense-pack installation by sheer wind force. Dense-pack installation becomes firm and compact and can’t settle – which makes for potential problems if not handled correctly. The material prevents air flow and can be blown into closed cavities. Both methods mean that contractors don’t have to gut walls and other structures first.

The only drawback is the need to find significant access points to blow in insulation. While that’s a relatively minor challenge as opposed to tearing down walls, the proper and precise use of our high-powered machines overcomes those few insignificant disadvantages. This involves running our machines at their proper throttle speeds. Read our How To Get More Coverage and Power from Your Insulation Blowing Machine that explains how to maximize coverage for our insulation blowing machines.

A common misconception – especially among improperly or inadequately trained installers – is that turning up the RPMs makes for faster work. It certainly does not. Machines running at RPMs higher than 3,000 will lead to overkill. It’s the same phenomenon as the hungry little kid gobbling up too much ice cream in one bite. High speeds only produce choke points (or upset stomachs), and you can hardly do the Heimlich on a clogged wall.

Cellulose cannot be packed into a wall or space faster than the air flow. When speeds are set too high, density levels behind walls, voids and spaces become sporadic – some too dense, some too loose.

We at Capitol Machine hope you found this information useful and will lead to a better understanding of the differences. Good training and instruction for your workers can make everyone happier. Looking for some powerhouse equipment that’ll get the job done right? Contact us. We’d like to hear from you. Share some of your ideas with us in the comment section or on any of our social channels.