The weather and the environmental conditions have led to a rise in the number of homes with leaky exterior fiberboards, according to a study released Wednesday.
The National Fire Protection Association estimates that at least 3 million homes in the U.S. are vulnerable to leaky fiberboard insulation, a problem that has been exacerbated by the severe drought and the ongoing fire season.
In addition to homes with leaking fiberboards and leaky walls, more than 1 million homes are leaking roofs and roofing material, according the NFPA.
That makes the problem particularly concerning for older homes that may be more vulnerable to moisture damage.
“Fiberboard insulation is the most common type of insulation in older buildings and the most vulnerable to the elements,” said David DeSantis, director of the NFPSC’s Office of Environmental Protection.
“It is an inherently water-resilient material that is very durable and hard to damage.”
DeSantis said that older homes tend to be insulated in the form of fiberglass, a type of wood that is highly susceptible to moisture.
But the water and moisture in the fibers can lead to the loss of structural integrity.
“That’s why fiberboard is the mainstay of older homes,” he said.
“If you’ve got an older building, it’s going to be more susceptible to mold and chlorine,” said Dan Kuehn, president of the American Building Products Association, an industry trade group.
“We know that fiberboard isn’t the only type of insulating material.
It’s not going to protect all of your interior.”
DeNantis said the U-shape insulation found on many older homes could be susceptible to damage from moisture damage or from a fire.
The NFPA recommends that older buildings use a higher water-density rating, which requires a higher moisture content.
But if an older house doesn’t have a higher-density insulation rating, DeNantis advised homeowners to avoid using it.
“You should not be using it unless you know you can withstand the conditions,” he explained.
“If you can’t stand the moisture, or if you are exposed to extreme cold or ice, you should probably not use it.”
Some experts caution that older home construction is not a good idea for most people.
“A lot of people don’t want to live in an older home because they think they can withstand heat,” Kuehn said.
“And you know what?
It’s very hard to survive the elements.”
A survey of more than 4,000 people found that, in general, older people who lived in a home that did not have a high-density fiberboard rating were at higher risk for heat-related illnesses.
A majority of those surveyed said that the fiberboard’s durability and durability rating were the most important factors in their decision to live outdoors.
However, in some cases, older homeowners might not be able to resist the elements.
For example, people living in older homes who don’t have enough insulation may not be as sensitive to heat.
“We see people who are living in homes with very high insulation,” said Dr. Elizabeth Kuehan, director for environmental health and safety at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“They might not get sick as often as others.
But they might not feel that they can cope with the elements and they might be at risk.”