Did you know you can insulate your home with a lot of unexpected materials? Carpet, curtains, straw, wool, newspaper…there are lots of items that can be used to keep out the elements. Older houses in particular often utilize unusual objects.

With that said, I’m not advocating for homeowners to throw just anything into the attic or between the walls and floors of their homes. What you use will depend on your home’s unique needs, and if insulation materials are fireproof and have been appropriately treated (for issues such as decomposition). 

During a recent inspection in Langley on Whidbey Island. I came across an attic that was unprofessionally and unconventionally insulated with foam packaging materials. I considered this a safety issue because foam “peanuts”—and similar substances—have not been tested, rated or listed for use as insulation in residential structures. Therefore, they are not likely protected against ignition as required by building codes. Packing materials can be quite flammable and emit toxic fumes.  

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