Question

How should I insulate my duct work?

Asked by Shauna
Napa, CA

As a chemically sensitive person, I am concerned about what to use for duct insulation and also how to adhere it (my furnace guy uses a spray glue which I am sure will be a problem). Also, is there a sealer that can be used that I won't react to? Thanks so much

Answer

Nothing scares a contractor more than hearing that the client has multiple chemical sensitivities.

  • Any product that contains an adhesive is a potential problem for the sensitive consumer.
  • Insulation products also offer a variety of sensitivity issues plus many products that may be acceptable might be prohibited by local code.

Another issue of concern is the location of the ductwork within the thermal envelope.

  • Fiberglass duct board is least likely to cause a reaction with chemically sensitive clients.
  • It can be held in place without glues by using UL-approved foil tape.

Since the tape has a chemical adhesive you will need to check to make sure you don't react. Ask the contractor for a small sample of insulation.

  • If it is a fiberglass product make sure it is formaldehyde-free.
  • Place a small piece of insulation on the night table next to your bed if you don't have an overnight reaction you should follow up with the tape to make sure you don't react to its adhesive.
  • If you react to the tape (but not the insulation) you can actually use wire to wrap and hold the insulation in place.

You have to jump through a few more hoops but in doing so you can make sure that you have a healthy product installed without expecting the contractor to make the determination that it won't be a problem for you.

Tagged In: heating cooling, ductwork

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