As homeowners, we are always seeking ways to increase our houses’ energy efficiency and comfort.
We are always open to new ideas. Insulation is a vital component of this, but it is equally important to give careful consideration to the security of the materials that are utilized in the process of insulating our homes.
However, there have been some worries raised concerning the potential effects that it could have on one’s health.
Polyurethane Foam Background
Insulation spray foam is a polyurethane foam applied to surfaces as a liquid before it expands to form a solid insulation barrier. This type of polyurethane foam is known as spray foam insulation.
Spray foam insulation has several advantages, one of which is that it creates a wall that is both smooth and airtight, which can assist in cutting down on heat loss and air leakage.
It is also an excellent soundproofing material and can help lessen the noise generated from the outside environment.
However, some questions have been raised regarding the safety of spray foam insulation, namely in reference to the chemicals utilized in the manufacturing process.
Insulation Material and Their Health Affects
The effect that insulating materials have on the quality of the air inside a building is often taken into consideration when assessing their level of safety.
Some types of insulation, such as fiberglass, are reasonably risk-free for usage inside, and others, like asbestos, have been outlawed because of their significant dangers to human health.
Insulation that is made of spray foam lies somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
Spray Foam Insulation Chemicals
The chemicals utilized in the manufacturing process of spray foam insulation are one of the most significant causes for concern regarding this type of insulation.
Isocyanates and polyols, known to emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are frequently combined to make up spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulation is known to be a source of VOC emissions.
When swallowed in high enough concentrations, these compounds can be dangerous; this is especially true during the installation process when the foam is being placed and expands.
On the other hand, after the foam has been allowed to cure and dry, it is typically considered acceptable for use inside.
Open-Cell Spray Foam Health Considerations
Open-cell and closed-cell spray foam insulation are the two most common varieties of this type of insulation. Open-cell spray foam insulation has a lower density and a more malleable consistency than closed-cell spray foam.
In addition to these benefits, it is more cost-effective and offers improved soundproofing.
However, open-cell spray foam insulation is more susceptible to moisture than closed-cell spray foam insulation, which can result in the formation of mold as well as other issues associated with moisture.
Closed-Cell Spray Foam Health Considerations
Spray foam insulation with closed cells is more expensive and heavier than open-cell spray foam insulation. In addition, it is a more efficient insulator, offering a more robust barrier against the passage of air and moisture.
Compared to open-cell spray foam insulation, closed-cell spray foam insulation is typically seen as less hazardous to one’s health.
This is because closed-cell foam is less permeable to moisture than open-cell foam, which lowers the potential for mold growth and other difficulties associated with humidity.
It also has a lower potential for releasing volatile organic compounds during and after installation. However, ensuring adequate ventilation during the installation process is still very important to reduce the chance of exposure to potentially hazardous substances.
The Overall Takeaway
In general, the safety of insulation materials is determined by many different aspects, such as the materials used, the technique used to install the insulation, and the circumstances employed with the insulation.
Even though there are questions regarding the safety of spray foam insulation, particularly during the installation process, it is usually considered safe for use indoors once it has cured and dried.
Installation procedures that are done correctly, especially those of ventilation and moisture control, can help reduce the likelihood of exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals.
Our Final Thoughts
Homeowners interested in enhancing their houses’ energy efficiency and comfort may find spray foam insulation an excellent option. However, it is necessary to take into account the potential health concerns that are related to the chemicals that are utilized in the manufacturing process.
Although it is widely agreed that closed-cell spray foam insulation is a safer option than open-cell foam, it is still necessary to follow the correct installation procedures for any insulating material to ensure its safety and efficacy.
You will be able to reap the benefits of spray foam insulation without putting your well-being or that of those around you in jeopardy if you employ the services of an experienced insulation contractor and adhere to industry standards when installing the material.
Interested in spray foam insulation for your home or business? Contact us today!