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Natural Wool Insulation recommendations  RSS feed

 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 265
Location: SW Michigan
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I am ripping out the walls of my small rehab house. 485 sq ft of love. There is not a scrap of insulation. I am not surprised. It once was an old barn or shed. Typical during the depression or the war. People made do with what was on hand. A woman raised 5 children in it once long ago. Just wall board and studs.

Anyway, I am looking into WOOL insulation. You know, the kind sheep make. There are a few companies out there. Any luck people? Any ideas? Blow in or batts? Anyone using the stuff? I am very open minded.

Thanks.

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Varina Lakewood
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
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No recommendations, but that's awesome.
Wool is an Excellent insulator, and fire-retardant too. Good luck with your project.
 
John Polk
steward
Posts: 8019
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Fire retardant? I am not familiar with the exact conditions required, but baled wool, if allowed to get wet, can burst into flames due to spontaneous combustion. Perhaps this is because the baled wool is compressed?

 
Peter DeJay
Posts: 104
Location: Southern Oregon
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Wool seems like an awesome insulation, both for its thermal properties as well as its tough-to-beat sustainable/natural aspect. It seems like it fetches a premium price as well though, but if you can swing it I would say go for it.

I've never heard of it in a blown-in form though. It gets confusing because the fiberglas option of blown-in is often referred to as mineral wool, but it is not the same wool of which we speak. One other thing to consider is blown-in cellulose insulation. Cellulose it recycled paper product, and the beauty of blowing it in is it does an excellent job of filling in odd voids behind electrical outlets, pipes, and any irregular protrusion in the wall cavity. Having a more thorough dispersal of insulation results in a more insulated house.

Another option would be spray in foam, which does a good job of filling in irregularities as well. I'm not a particular fan of foam myself and would probably opt for wool batts or blown cellulose before choosing foam, but it is an option.
 
Varina Lakewood
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
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John Polk wrote:Fire retardant? I am not familiar with the exact conditions required, but baled wool, if allowed to get wet, can burst into flames due to spontaneous combustion. Perhaps this is because the baled wool is compressed?


Didn't know that. But probably. Baled hay can do that too. I think it might have to get damp to do it, though. Possibly a function of beginning stage rot producing enough heat to create sparks or flame? That would make a lot of sense.
But, yes, I was researching wool recently, and I saw that several places. One site even explained out why it is fire-retardant. (No, I don't remember why, but there is a scientific reason.)
 
John Polk
steward
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Yeah. I used to live on an island where one of the principal sources of revenue was wool.
After shearing, each rancher transported their wool to the (uncovered) docks. As typical in the region, it rained for a week.

When the ship came in to load it for export, the Chief Mate stuck a thermometer probe into each bale to test it.
The wool was so hot, that they refused to accept the cargo, and sailed off empty. An entire years worth of production had been lost by each of the local ranches.
 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 265
Location: SW Michigan
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Yea, the blow in wool is just that, wool. There is the cellulose and other stuff. There is a company in Oregon that makes a blow in sheep wool. It looks good. I am leaning to batts. The blow in may be recycled fiber and that is what i am trying to avoid. To avoid sick house problems. Virgin wool is an other matter. It is clean. All is made in USA and by the farmer/owners. That rocks too. The wool, as in any compost, will heat up in a wet mess. This is decay. Normal air damp is an other matter. Like the walls made of wood. Air humidity should not affect wool either. But is a wet pile it is nature at work disposing of any organic matter.

We had a barn full of hay just burst into flames as a kid. It happens. You need a lot of hay mass to do that.

I will order my first batts this week on payday.

 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1095
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Be aware that wool is highly flammable. I had this same idea but then read this. I tried burning some. Wow! It burns very well.

Don't confuse natural wool with 'rock wool' or 'mineral wool' that they used to insulate homes with.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 265
Location: SW Michigan
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Yea, untreated wool is great fire starter. So is blow in cellulose. It has to be treated with a fire retardant. Often a boron or natural retardant (the wool). I grew up in a house (the old farm I am squatting at, thanks mom and dad, my ex can burn in hell) we found some of the walls full of newspaper. Not real shreaded, just the papers. Some went back to the 1880s. We think that was when it was redone from a log cabin. For those days that was very forward thinking.

I feel the fire issue is very real, but I will be installing my electric and it will be above code and done the right way. Regardless, the wool is treated, that is law of the land.

Thanks friends, keep comments coming. Feel free to keep sending me info. Thanks.
 
Sam Ewbank
Posts: 6
Location: SW MI USA
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Daniel, are you still working on your project?
What material did you decide to go with?
I am interested to find out if you used natural wool (sheep?) insulation and what you thought of the results.

Thanks for your time

Sam
 
Daniel Morse
Posts: 265
Location: SW Michigan
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The house is at a standstill. Since robbers gutted it and stole all my materials I have let it set. I will be doing more with it soon. I will keep everyone posted.
 
Sam Ewbank
Posts: 6
Location: SW MI USA
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That sucks- javascript:emoticon('');

Hope things work out

Sam
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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