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House on fireHome insulation has a number of benefits. It keeps your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer and insulates against sound, which blocks out noise from the outside. Insulating your home also seems simple to do, but this is deceptive. If you aren't careful, you may create a fire hazard.

The Essence of the Problem

The reason why improperly installed insulation is a fire hazard is because it traps heat from heat-producing objects such as chimneys and stove pipes. When this heat has nowhere to go, the temperature of the nearby building materials and structures get so hot that they can catch fire.

Chimneys and stove pipes aren't the only heat-producing objects however. Electrical motors, transformers and certain types of ceiling lights can turn into fire hazards if they are covered up in insulation. Lights that are flush with the ceiling, called recessed lights or downlights, have their wiring and transformers in the roof space above. Care must be taken to allow enough clearance space when installing insulation around them.

Because of the simplicity of installing insulation batts, homeowners will sometimes do the installation themselves and may unknowingly place them on top of downlights. Many home fires have been started precisely because of this mistake. Fires that start in the roof cavity and attic are especially dangerous because they aren't immediately noticed until their spread has become extensive.

Anything that produces heat, even if it doesn't seem like much, should never be covered by insulation. This means all motors, heat-producing appliances of any kind and electrical equipment.

A Hazard Unique to Spray Foam Insulation

With many spray foam insulation types, the expansion of the foam is the result of an exothermic reaction that produces heat. If the foam is applied too rapidly in very thick layers, the foam can smolder and even start burning. This is caused by the foam insulation trapping the heat that it produces. Slow application in thinner layers allow sufficient time for the exothermic heat to dissipate.

The Safest Method of Installing Insulation

Let the professionals do the installation for you. Make sure they are a reputable and accredited insulation contractor. Do an online check for any fires caused by or complaints made against the contractor that you are considering. Paying a professional is well worth the investment and helps prevent home fires.

Properly installed insulation is just one facet of keeping your home safe through diligent home maintenance. Staying on top of maintenance and repairs prevents bigger problems and insurance claims down the road. It's a win-win: you avoid major repairs and save money on your home insurance premiums.

Keep your home safe. Call Key City Insurance at (435) 656-8100 for more information on Salt Lake City home insurance.
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