Insulation Is Critical, But Do You Know Risks Of Phenolic Foam?


Homeowners in San Jose, Hayward, and the surrounding Bay Area know their HVAC system isn’t the only thing that contributes to comfort – fans, energy-efficient windows, insulation, and other things also work to make your home cool during summer months and warm during the winter season. Proper insulation in the walls, attic, and other areas of your home is essential for keeping your home comfortable, but what about the type or material used in insulation? If you currently have phenolic foam, you may want to continue reading.

While this type of foam is effective for keeping conditioned air inside and outdoor air out, there are several risks associated with it. Phenolic foam insulation poses several hazards to the environment including deterioration, rust formation due to moisture between a steel roof and the metallic layer of the insulation, shrinkage, and more.

Most homeowners in the Bay Area aren’t aware of the environmental and health effects of using phenolic foam insulation, as it isn’t obvious, given the fact that you can’t physically see the insulation. This type of insulation may contribute to air pollution and poor indoor air quality inside your home, since, over time, gases may infiltrate your indoor air due to the substantial amounts of natural gas and petroleum that are burned in the course of the manufacturing and refining processes. Additionally, this type of insulation can contribute to structural weaknesses in your home because of the potential to cause corrosion in the steel deck of the roof.

While phenolic foam insulation is a foamed-in-place type that does provide exceptional density, homeowners should be aware of the drawbacks of using this type of insulation in your home.

Today’s modern heating and air conditioning systems are far more efficient than those in the past, and even help control humidity. Given the fact that the ducts in your HVAC system are what deliver conditioned air, it’s also important to think about the type of insulation you use to insulate them, or what type currently exists, if you purchased a home that has been lived in previously. When it comes to foam insulation, the use of phenolic foam is very common; however, there are other materials including fiberglass, cellulose, and mineral wools, that are alternatives.

At Ortiz Heating and Air Conditioning, our top priority is your comfort; however, we also like to inform our customers of the potential hazards of other factors that contribute to the comfort of your home. Be sure you’re aware of any risks associated with your insulation, or any other materials you use to help control comfort in your Bay Area home! Have questions? Give us a call today.