There is no denying that the most popular home insulation solution is using spray foam insulation. Spray foam is known to strengthen homes, is airtight, and has a long lifespan. Manufacturers are working hard to produce quality spray foam insulation products safe for the environment and human beings. However, there are dangers associated with spray foam insulation. And according to experts in spray foam insulation at Stellrr Insulation & Spray Foam, homeowners need to know more about the cons of spray foam insulation to make an informed purchasing decision. So, this article will explore more about the dangers of spray foam insulation and the solutions available. Below are the dangers associated with spray foam insulation:
Exposure To Toxic Chemicals
The most serious danger paused by spray foam insulation is exposure to toxic chemicals. Spray foam mainly consists of polyurethane, a chemical made of two other liquid chemicals. The first liquid chemical contains amine catalysts, polyol, and flame-resistant chemicals. The second contains isocyanates.
The mixture of these two liquid chemicals releases toxic fumes that can lead to a host of health issues if one isn’t careful. Below is a list of the health risks associated with the individual components of the main two liquid chemicals in spray foam.
- Isocyanate: Exposure to this chemical cause occupational asthma and skin rashes.
- Amine catalysts: Exposure can lead to respiratory issues, skin irritation, and blurry eyesight.
- Flame-resistant chemicals: Exposure to the main components of these chemicals can lead to chronic poisoning or endocrine disruption.
Exposure to these toxic chemicals usually happens during the application of spray foam insulation. Spray foam insulators and homeowners are at a high risk of breathing in the toxic fumes produced by the chemicals. However, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, other possible exposure routes exist. They include;
- Dust: As the foam hardens, your spray foam insulation contractor may have to trim the foam to give it a cleaner look. The trimming will produce dust that might release unreacted isocyanates and other toxic fumes.
- Exposure to fire and heat: When exposed to fire, spray foam releases amine catalysts, hydrogen cyanide, isocyanates, and other toxic fumes. Exposure to heat from any heat generating process such as sanding or welding leads to the degradation of the spray foam’s raw materials resulting in the release of toxic fumes like nitrogen oxide, isocyanates, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide.
Solutions To The Danger Of Spray Foam Insulation
By now, you’re probably wondering if spray foam is so toxic, then why is it approved for use in our homes? The answer is simple. There are plenty of ways to ensure homeowners and spray foam insulation contractors aren’t exposed to the toxic chemicals. These solutions are discussed below.
Spray Foam Insulation Contractors Should Always Wear Protective Clothing
Exposure chances are high when installing the insulator. Therefore, it’s recommended that spray foam insulators wear protective clothing to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals. The protective clothing should include eye and face protection, reliable air supply, and chemical-resistant gloves.
During application, homeowners are encouraged to leave their premises. And if homeowners absolutely need to access their homes during spray foam insulation, they also have to wear protective clothing.
Allow Enough Time For The Spray Foam To Cure.
During spray foam application, two processes have to take place. First, polyurethane foam has to harden. Secondly, the two main liquid chemicals have to react to produce polyurethane foam (cure). Spray foam requires only a few minutes to harden. However, it requires hours to cure. You must know how long it takes for the spray foam you’re using in your home to cure.
For spray form chemicals to react completely, manufacturers recommend that you wait for about 8 hours for one component foam and 24hours for the two-component foam to cure completely to avoid exposure to the toxic fumes released by unreacted spray foam chemicals.
Hire An Experienced And Professional Spray Foam Insulation Contractor
Recently, there has been a rise in many DIY home improvement hacks. Therefore, plenty of home improvement DIYers handles their spray foam insulation installation. However, spray foam installation isn’t a home improvement project that beginners should handle.
Before applying spray foam, one must mix the two main liquid chemicals in the right ratios. If the chemicals aren’t mixed properly, they’ll not react fully, resulting in the release of toxic fumes. For this reason, you should leave the application to professionals who have the experience and expertise to handle the chemicals.
When applied properly, spray foam insulation is safe. It’s only during the application process that spray foam poses any serious danger to the homeowner and insulator. However, with the right equipment and knowledge, maintaining safety becomes easier. If you’d like further information on spray foam installation, visit this website.