The dangers of foil insulation in ceilings.

During a recent pre purchase building inspection in Melbourne, an inspector at Melbourne House Check was confronted with foil insulation in a ceiling space. Blanket foil insulation was laid in the roof space of houses as a result of an incentive program introduced by the Federal Government back in 2009 in order to combat the global financial crisis. Unfortunately it was a fundamentally flawed program, in which an inquiry found the government acted too slowly in making crucial changes after the death of the first installer, when it appeared there was time to stop the use of this reflective insulation.

The problem, it seemed was two-fold. Aluminum blanket insulation was being rolled out in ceiling spaces, whereby coming into direct contact with light fittings and live wires, and secondly, the use of metal staples used as fixings for securing the product, whereby these staples were penetrating live wires. When the problem of the use of metal staples to attach the foil emerged in October 2009, nothing was done to stop the practice, and unfortunately two men died as a consequence of using metal staples in order to fix the foil. The featured image shows a live electrical wire only centimeters away from direct contact with the blanket aluminum foil, where by the entire roof space may have become live.

Building inspector Brad Aylett-Sloan said “that while most building consultants are aware of the acute dangers, it is apparent that not all home owners are fully informed of the danger”. He said that “it is vital that people are made aware of the dangers involved in entering roof spaces that are lined with foil insulation, and that the consequence could be fatal. He said that “reflective foil insulation is a dangerous and unsuitable product to use as ceiling insulation and should not have been used”. The correct insulation of a house is complex.

You can learn more about the right way to insulate your home here. There have so far been 224 house fires that have been attributed to blanket foil insulation. If you live in a house that has had blanket foil insulation laid in the ceiling, it is recommended to have an electrician check immediately. If you are considering purchasing a house and wish to speak with Melbourne House Check regarding a building inspection in Melbourne, you can contact us here, or call on 1300 729 352.
You can view our Google+ post on this matter also.