Spray Foam Installation Safety FAQs
Q: Why must I leave my home for 24 hours after spray foam is installed?
A: Spray polyurethane foam, commonly referred to as just spray foam, needs time to set and cure after being applied. During the spraying and setting period, the product releases chemicals into the air that could be harmful if breathed. The chemicals leave the home naturally, but professional installers will advise that you and your pets vacate the home for at least 24 hours to be safe. Afterward, some people may notice that odours persist for a short time, which is natural, should not be harmful, and should subside. If you notice a smell, it is always best to discuss with the installer.
Q: What is the difference between professional installed spray foam and DIY spray foam you can purchase from a home improvement store?
A: Spray foam insulation for your home’s walls and ceilings should be installed by licensed professionals who are trained in how best to apply the product safely, protecting themselves, others, and the home. Licensed installers purchase the spray foam from major manufacturers and distributors and must follow their guidelines and safety protocol relating to application, attire, and clean up.
DIY spray foam insulation, or Froth-Pak spray foam, is a product meant for professional use but, can be purchased at local home improvement stores. The product has a quicker curing time but still releases chemicals into the air during application. Without proper safety equipment and training, installing this product in your home could be risky.
Manufactures produce safety data sheets for all spray foam products. This documentation discusses the product and how to use it safely, which you should consult for more information regarding the products used in your home.
Q: How much will spray foam really save me in energy?
A: The amount of energy that spray foam will save depends on numerous factors, including the type of spray foam used, current insulation levels and building materials used, the home’s air tightness, what part of the home it is applied, the amount of spray foam installed, and the home’s size and condition. Closed cell spray foam is a denser material than open cell spray foam and helps better retain heat. Closed cell is typically used in below-grade areas like basements, while open cell is used in above-grade walls and ceilings. Spray foam installed in your basement can help save as much as 30% of your home’s energy. If installed in your main walls, it could save as much as 35%. If used in your ceiling, it could save you around 25% of your energy.
Q: Should I worry about my future health with this product?
A: The health risks of spray foam are all related to its application, which is why only professionals with appropriate personal protective equipment should be present for its installation and in the home for the first 24 hours after installation. Spray foam must be installed at a rate that allows the product to properly cure and release any harmful chemicals immediately. The home should be well ventilated during that period to help speed-up this process. You do not need to worry about spray foam impacting your health as long as you and the installer follow these well-defined industry protocols.
Q: Is spray foam accepted by insurance companies?
A: Licensed, professionally-trained installers use safe, long-lasting materials and processes that meet or exceed the National Building Code of Canada. If you have concerns about how upgrades might affect your home insurance policy, you are encouraged to contact your insurance provider.
Q: Where can I find a certified installer?
A: Efficiency Nova Scotia has a trusted professional network of local service providers making it easy for you to find a certified technician for all your energy efficiency upgrades and retrofits. Efficiency Trade Network (ETN) members are professionals in a variety of areas, including contractors, insulation installers, heating system installers, electricians and more. Learn more about our ETN here and visit the directory for a full list of members.