Spray Foam Insulation - Open Cell and Closed Cell Insulation  
 
For Electric & Natural Gas Customers

Spray polyurethane foam, used for insulating and stopping drafts, can be purchased in a spray can at your local home improvement store for those small jobs around windows, doors and hard-to-reach places. For larger jobs, check with a qualified professional for insulating walls, ceilings and other large projects. A qualified insulator uses equipment to mix and spray the components with a special mixing gun. There are a number of practical applications for this type of insulation, and knowing the conditions of the space being insulated will help you determine which of the two types of polyurethane foam insulation to choose, open cell or closed cell. While spray foam is better than any other type of insulation to reduce air infiltration into a living space, there are some things you need to know before making your choice. For more information on insulation go to the Department of Energy's website.

Basically either type of polyurethane insulation can be used anywhere as long as the environment where being applied is taken into consideration. For example, if it is going to be used where a certain amount of moisture may enter, then open cell foam may be best. Because of the open cell structure, it allows for the moisture to dry out which is especially important if it is applied to timber. Closed cell foam should definitely be used if you want to form a barrier to keep water out.

For more information on the effects of polyurethane, go to the Green Building Advisor, Calculating the Global Warming Impact of Insulation. Because the global warming potential of these damaging blowing agents is 1,430 times more potent than carbon dioxide, many green builders avoid the use of closed cell spray foam. Some insulation contractors install a thin layer of closed cell spray foam in conjunction with fiberglass batts. For more information, contact your local home improvement store or local spray foam contractor for details for your specific need.

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