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Shredded Styrofoam Insulation in attic- how to remove



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 2nd 04, 09:04 PM
Seamus
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Shredded Styrofoam Insulation in attic- how to remove

Hello,

In what seems very unusal to me, my home has shredded styrofoam in the
attic as insulation.

I've verified its styrofoam- there are some large chunks, and all of
it weighs, acts and burns like sytrofoam.

I'm not happy to have it there- it strikes me as a possible fire
hazzard, especially with possible poison gas emisions in a fire.

I would like to replace this insulation with something more modern,
efficient and safe. As of now, I'm leaning towards rolled out
fiberglass insulation because thats what I have worked with- if
someone could point me to a thread or site with a discussion on the
relative merits of different types, that would be helpfull.

I am planning on installing several skylights, so that might affect
the type of insulation to get.

But first, I have to get the styrofoam out. I suspect a shop-vac
would work well for this. However, its difficult to pull a shop-vac
around a cramped attic, and the size of the bucket is a limitation.

Is it possible to rent something that is essentially a large shop-vac
with a really long hose, and can have its output put into a set of
large trash bins/bags?

Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

-- Seamus
Ads
  #2  
Old December 2nd 04, 09:34 PM
Edwin Pawlowski
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Seamus" wrote in message
om...
Hello,

In what seems very unusal to me, my home has shredded styrofoam in the
attic as insulation.

I've verified its styrofoam- there are some large chunks, and all of
it weighs, acts and burns like sytrofoam.


Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.


Let's get some clarification first. The word Styrofoam is often mis-used
for any sort of foam plastics. Step one is the burning. Take a piece of it
outside and put a match to it. It should burn while you hold the match, but
when you take it away, the foam should STOP burning in seconds. If so, this
is the proper modified material used for insulation. If it continues to
burn, it means some asshole too the cheap way out and used some packaging
material that is not intended for insulation.

If it is blue, it is Dow's Styrofoam brand material, Pink is Owens Corning,
yellow is Georgia Pacific, white bead foam (expandable polystyrene) can be
many different brands. (Could be NOVA, BASF, Huntsman or others processed
locally) Any of these material can be safely used for insulation. It does
not give off poisonous fumes, but it will give of a lot of soot, water,
carbon dioxide. Building grades will only burn if other materials provide
the flame as it is treated so as not to burn on its own.

Shredded foam is often used to fill voids in the concrete blocks for
insulation. This is only the modified grades of material. Regular foam
should not be used for insulation as it will burn. If it is the real deal,
you have no worries. If the previous owner used old packing material to
save money, it should be removed and properly insulated with the proper
material.
Ed



  #3  
Old December 3rd 04, 12:40 AM
Greg O
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Seamus" wrote in message
om...

But first, I have to get the styrofoam out. I suspect a shop-vac
would work well for this. However, its difficult to pull a shop-vac
around a cramped attic, and the size of the bucket is a limitation.

Is it possible to rent something that is essentially a large shop-vac
with a really long hose, and can have its output put into a set of
large trash bins/bags?

Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

-- Seamus


As for removal, call around to the commercial insulators in your area, most
remove as well as install. It may not be worth your time and effort to do it
yourself!
I need to add some insulation to my attic. I want to go with blown in
fiberglass. I can get get a insulation contrator it blown in for less money
than I can buy it!
Greg


  #4  
Old December 3rd 04, 02:29 AM
SQLit
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Seamus" wrote in message
om...
Hello,

In what seems very unusal to me, my home has shredded styrofoam in the
attic as insulation.

I've verified its styrofoam- there are some large chunks, and all of
it weighs, acts and burns like sytrofoam.

I'm not happy to have it there- it strikes me as a possible fire
hazzard, especially with possible poison gas emisions in a fire.

I would like to replace this insulation with something more modern,
efficient and safe. As of now, I'm leaning towards rolled out
fiberglass insulation because thats what I have worked with- if
someone could point me to a thread or site with a discussion on the
relative merits of different types, that would be helpfull.

I am planning on installing several skylights, so that might affect
the type of insulation to get.

But first, I have to get the styrofoam out. I suspect a shop-vac
would work well for this. However, its difficult to pull a shop-vac
around a cramped attic, and the size of the bucket is a limitation.

Is it possible to rent something that is essentially a large shop-vac
with a really long hose, and can have its output put into a set of
large trash bins/bags?

Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

-- Seamus

How long have you owned the home? Sounds like something that should have
been declared in the sale of the home.


  #5  
Old December 3rd 04, 03:18 AM
Jmagerl
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

If its as light as styrofoam, how about a Toro electric leaf vac. its got
the big bag

"Seamus" wrote in message
om...
Hello,

In what seems very unusal to me, my home has shredded styrofoam in the
attic as insulation.

I've verified its styrofoam- there are some large chunks, and all of
it weighs, acts and burns like sytrofoam.

I'm not happy to have it there- it strikes me as a possible fire
hazzard, especially with possible poison gas emisions in a fire.

I would like to replace this insulation with something more modern,
efficient and safe. As of now, I'm leaning towards rolled out
fiberglass insulation because thats what I have worked with- if
someone could point me to a thread or site with a discussion on the
relative merits of different types, that would be helpfull.

I am planning on installing several skylights, so that might affect
the type of insulation to get.

But first, I have to get the styrofoam out. I suspect a shop-vac
would work well for this. However, its difficult to pull a shop-vac
around a cramped attic, and the size of the bucket is a limitation.

Is it possible to rent something that is essentially a large shop-vac
with a really long hose, and can have its output put into a set of
large trash bins/bags?

Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

-- Seamus



  #6  
Old December 3rd 04, 11:57 PM
dicko
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

On Thu, 02 Dec 2004 22:33:47 -0600, wrote:

On Thu, 2 Dec 2004 18:40:18 -0600, "Greg O"
wrote:


"Seamus" wrote in message
.com...

But first, I have to get the styrofoam out. I suspect a shop-vac
would work well for this. However, its difficult to pull a shop-vac
around a cramped attic, and the size of the bucket is a limitation.

Is it possible to rent something that is essentially a large shop-vac
with a really long hose, and can have its output put into a set of
large trash bins/bags?

Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.

Thanks,

-- Seamus


As for removal, call around to the commercial insulators in your area, most
remove as well as install. It may not be worth your time and effort to do it
yourself!
I need to add some insulation to my attic. I want to go with blown in
fiberglass. I can get get a insulation contrator it blown in for less money
than I can buy it!
Greg


This might sound like a joke, but I am serious. Try to find some
local Ebay "power seller" to take it off your hands. They can use it
for packaging. I dont want to even try to imagine how much is in an
attic. I bet it would fill several dumpsters, and just to rent a
dumpster is several hundred dollars per week. Like others said,
unless it really does burn, leave it. Somehow I have a feeling that
removal and disposal could cost more than the new insulation, even if
you do it yourself, because of the disposal costs.

Mark


Several years ago, there was a fire in a local house here where the
elderly owner was somewhat eccentric. He had been taking styrofoam
plastic packing peanuts, whenever he'd receive a package, and throw
them in his attic for insulation.

The fire chief made a comment, something to the effect that he'd never
ever in his career as a fireman, seen a house that went up in flames
as fast as that house did. It was totally destroyed.

So, yes, I think I would find a way to remove it all.

dickm
  #7  
Old December 4th 04, 12:22 AM
Edwin Pawlowski
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"dicko" wrote in message
Several years ago, there was a fire in a local house here where the
elderly owner was somewhat eccentric. He had been taking styrofoam
plastic packing peanuts, whenever he'd receive a package, and throw
them in his attic for insulation.

The fire chief made a comment, something to the effect that he'd never
ever in his career as a fireman, seen a house that went up in flames
as fast as that house did. It was totally destroyed.

So, yes, I think I would find a way to remove it all.

dickm


If it is that type of material, yes, is should be removed. If, OTOH, it is
the modified material that meeets building codes and has a flame retardant,
it is safe.


  #8  
Old December 4th 04, 02:29 AM
Seamus
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

"Edwin Pawlowski" wrote in message news:RTLrd.4543$8v3.3549@trndny08...

Let's get some clarification first. The word Styrofoam is often mis-used
for any sort of foam plastics. Step one is the burning. Take a piece of it
outside and put a match to it. It should burn while you hold the match, but
when you take it away, the foam should STOP burning in seconds. If so, this
is the proper modified material used for insulation. If it continues to
burn, it means some asshole too the cheap way out and used some packaging
material that is not intended for insulation.

If it is blue, it is Dow's Styrofoam brand material, Pink is Owens Corning,
yellow is Georgia Pacific, white bead foam (expandable polystyrene) can be
many different brands. (Could be NOVA, BASF, Huntsman or others processed
locally) Any of these material can be safely used for insulation. It does
not give off poisonous fumes, but it will give of a lot of soot, water,
carbon dioxide. Building grades will only burn if other materials provide
the flame as it is treated so as not to burn on its own.

Shredded foam is often used to fill voids in the concrete blocks for
insulation. This is only the modified grades of material. Regular foam
should not be used for insulation as it will burn. If it is the real deal,
you have no worries. If the previous owner used old packing material to
save money, it should be removed and properly insulated with the proper
material.
Ed


Thanks all!

I will verify it again tonight- the foam (perhaps it is not styrofoam)
is fairly white, most of it is fairly fine, almost like sand (shredded
was a bad description). The big chunks are in sheets, if I recall.

When I burned it before, it would smoke and smell, but I didn't have a
big enough piece to see if it would sustain a flame on its own for a
while.

I will get some more down this weekend and try to burn it more, and
perhaps take a few photos to link to.

If it turns out to only briefly smolder and will only burn when
something else is igniting it, I will plan to put down some other
insulation on top of it (probably post skylight installation). Either
way, I will sleep easier

Thanks again for the informative follow-ups. I'll plan to reply with
the results I find.

--D
  #9  
Old December 5th 04, 04:37 PM
Gideon
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Can we safely assume that any foam product intended for exterior
home use is safe to toss in the attic? I've been using scraps of the
types of foam sheeting that is applied to the exterior of a house just
below the siding. I've also stripped off the foam backing from the
waste pieces of CraneBoard® vinyl siding. I've always assumed
that exterior foam must also be fire resistent and safe to toss in
the attic. Correct?


================================


Edwin Pawlowski wrote in message ...

"Seamus" wrote in message
om...
Hello,

In what seems very unusal to me, my home has shredded styrofoam in the
attic as insulation.

I've verified its styrofoam- there are some large chunks, and all of
it weighs, acts and burns like sytrofoam.


Is there a better way to approach this? Are my fears of poison gas in
a fire actually unwaranted (e.g. should I just put more insulation on
top of the sytrofoam?).

Any pointers would be very much appreciated.


Let's get some clarification first. The word Styrofoam is often mis-used
for any sort of foam plastics. Step one is the burning. Take a piece of it
outside and put a match to it. It should burn while you hold the match, but
when you take it away, the foam should STOP burning in seconds. If so, this
is the proper modified material used for insulation. If it continues to
burn, it means some asshole too the cheap way out and used some packaging
material that is not intended for insulation.

If it is blue, it is Dow's Styrofoam brand material, Pink is Owens Corning,
yellow is Georgia Pacific, white bead foam (expandable polystyrene) can be
many different brands. (Could be NOVA, BASF, Huntsman or others processed
locally) Any of these material can be safely used for insulation. It does
not give off poisonous fumes, but it will give of a lot of soot, water,
carbon dioxide. Building grades will only burn if other materials provide
the flame as it is treated so as not to burn on its own.

Shredded foam is often used to fill voids in the concrete blocks for
insulation. This is only the modified grades of material. Regular foam
should not be used for insulation as it will burn. If it is the real deal,
you have no worries. If the previous owner used old packing material to
save money, it should be removed and properly insulated with the proper
material.
Ed









  #10  
Old December 5th 04, 04:56 PM
Edwin Pawlowski
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default


"Gideon" wrote in message
...
Can we safely assume that any foam product intended for exterior
home use is safe to toss in the attic? I've been using scraps of the
types of foam sheeting that is applied to the exterior of a house just
below the siding. I've also stripped off the foam backing from the
waste pieces of CraneBoard® vinyl siding. I've always assumed
that exterior foam must also be fire resistent and safe to toss in
the attic. Correct?


Correct. You can do a simple burn test. The foam should stop burning when
the flame is taken away.


 




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