ALEXANDRIA, Va. — With the recent devastation from Hurricane Sandy in the northeastern United States, homeowners may have questions on what to do about wet or damaged fiberglass or rock and slag wool insulation. The North American Insulation Manufacturers Association (NAIMA) offers its recommendations.

NAIMA, along with the American Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), advises homeowners to remove and replace fiberglass insulation that has been wetted from rising flood waters, since the water may be contaminated. Fiberglass or rock and slag batt insulations are unique in that, if they are wetted from a clean water source such as a potable water pipe, they can be removed, dried out, and reused. All loose-fill insulations of any kind that are wetted should be removed and replaced, since they can lose their insulating properties, or R-value, when wet. And, some loose-fill insulations such as cellulose, that are treated with chemical fire retardants, can also lose their ability to resist fire after being wetted.

When homeowners are rebuilding, NAIMA recommends installing insulation to the proper R-value. In most areas of the country, the Department of Energy and NAIMA advise installing an R-49 in the attic. In the extreme southern portions of the country, an R-38 is appropriate. For more on the proper levels of insulation in a certain area, and for information on wall, basement, and crawlspace insulation recommendations, visit

Homeowners installing insulation may also quality for a tax credit or rebate. Again, NAIMA’s website,, provides homeowners with information on federal, state, and local tax incentives and rebates for energy efficiency upgrades.

Publication date: 11/5/2012