spray foam insulation, is it safe? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 12-01-2009, 05:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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help!

we live in an OLD home, built in 1905. it's sitting on a crawl space. currently, the only insulation underneath is the panels of rolled insulation, but it is taking on moisture and falling.

we have had an energy audit, and the company is recommending a spray foam insulation (in combination w/ putting down plastic on the floor of the crawlspace), to be applied to the "ceiling" of the crawlspace.

MY CONCERN: this spray foam IS chemicals. the company says they are using the best, least toxic product they can find, and that off-gassing is only a few days. online i've read that some people have had to move out b/c of fumes that last months.

so, i'm very worried that this is our only viable option (we NEED some insulation there, and what we have now is only inviting mold), but it is not good at all.

any experience/wisdom/ideas?

thank you!

me+him for 15 yrs, welcomed our little one march 25th, 2010.

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#2 of 6 Old 12-01-2009, 05:56 PM
 
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We had it done in sept. We stayed out for the day and I didn't notice any smell. I am really impressed with it so far

with love, bailey...
macey 5.18.08
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#3 of 6 Old 12-02-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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I have done the spray foam application on my own house, it is a great insulation product. You should not expect any odor, of course this is not a 100% way to detect chemicals. I think fixing mold problems is pretty important, as there are serious and immediate health effects. If you are concerned about the foam, ventilate the house afterward for a couple of days. (in non-freezing weather of course)
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#4 of 6 Old 12-02-2009, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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it's great to hear this from women i know would be concerned about it.

anyone else?

just found out that the company we're working with does use the soy-based product, but it's still mostly an epoxy-type combination of petroleum materials.

also, they told us they can set up the positive pressure door blower (that they use during the audit) while they install the foam. this would be great too i think.

we don't have mold now, but the roll insulation actually invites it. we are also having the crawlspace floor lined w/ plastic, adding vents (cheaper option than a full wrap and installation of a dehumidifier down there). ugh, hate all this petroleum stuff. maybe in the future there will be an option for products like this made from hemp oil derivatives!

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#5 of 6 Old 12-03-2009, 02:34 PM
 
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Peace + Hope:

I think positive pressure from the blower door, combined with having the vent holes cut before the foam is installed, would be a good way to go.

I found this link yesterday, and interesting discussion by some people in the industry:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...oam-insulation

When Anonymous comments on his "uber-green building project", keep in mind that the spray foam may not be the cause of his problem. If a house is built very "tight" and without active ventilation (heat recovery ventilation, run continuously) then you end up with out gassing from every building material and new piece of furniture trapped inside the house... as well as moisture from drying building materials, maybe even cooking fumes.

Assuming your energy auditor is BPI-certified, they will run the blower door after the crawl space work and make sure your house conforms to the appropriate building tightness limit.
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#6 of 6 Old 12-06-2009, 07:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
Peace + Hope:

I think positive pressure from the blower door, combined with having the vent holes cut before the foam is installed, would be a good way to go.

I found this link yesterday, and interesting discussion by some people in the industry:

http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/...oam-insulation

When Anonymous comments on his "uber-green building project", keep in mind that the spray foam may not be the cause of his problem. If a house is built very "tight" and without active ventilation (heat recovery ventilation, run continuously) then you end up with out gassing from every building material and new piece of furniture trapped inside the house... as well as moisture from drying building materials, maybe even cooking fumes.

Assuming your energy auditor is BPI-certified, they will run the blower door after the crawl space work and make sure your house conforms to the appropriate building tightness limit.
thanks, sleeplessmommy, that link is a gold mine - lots to read! the uber-green guy also specifies closed-cell, which DOES continue to off-gas because it shrinks and changes even after curing. i'm very concerned about over-sealing our house, but we have talked about that with this company. i don't know about the BPI certification. one poster mentions that the insulation is a product that is mixed on-site. i had seen this elsewhere, and if there are any problems in the "mix," that could be very bad .

totally going to read more about this EPA working group and their recommendations. i'm feeling like doing this in cold weather, with no chance of having windows open is bad too.

ugh, what to do. i won't even paint with anything but a low-VOC (plant-based) paint during this pregnancy - thinking about even the possibility of exposing myself and my baby to all these chemicals makes me sick.

me+him for 15 yrs, welcomed our little one march 25th, 2010.

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