Should I ask insulation company about HRV?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Mississauga
8/9/2014 at 1:06:03 PM

My Contractor has a spray foam company coming to spray foam my basement. For spray foam Mike Holmes uses Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV).

Should I ask about the HRV?

Is this required by all spray foam companies?

What else should I be concerned with?

I am pretty sure it will open cell and my contractor says the company is environmentally friendly (whatever that means).

I left him an email for the details, but in the meantime I wanted to know if anyone else has any thoughts?



User Icon
Date/Time8/9/2014 at 2:21:04 PM


Mike Holmes is a ventilator himself, not more them that good marketer and nothing else. If He was good as he is at marketing he would know that there was concern raised about spray foam insulation. It may cause cancer if in inclosed area. There was no comments raised from manufactures of this product and if I had option not to use this material, my answer is NO. Same goes for your contractor, he should of know about it.

User Icon
Date/Time8/9/2014 at 2:28:45 PM

Heat recovery Ventilation is designed to bring in fresh air from outside, filter it and move fresh air into your home. He is spray foaming the basement so an HRV is of no use at all.

Your primary concern is the gases given off by the spray foam insulation and is it harmful? Has your contractor informed you of the M.S.D.S. (material safety data sheet) on the product he is installing. If not you can check online. The other factor may be your Hot Water Tank Locking out due to fumes in basement, this is common with painting or gases your tank cannot recognize. Also has he informed you based on the above mentioned that you may need to leave home?

In Conclusion I think you are going to be O.K. Remember to ask these questions of your contractor and I believe you will have peace of mind.



User Icon
Date/Time8/9/2014 at 10:08:48 PM

First off an HRV has nothing to do with spray foam insulation. It is designed to bring in fresh air into the house. It is really only needed in newer homes that are air sealed very well (most are not). In older homes it isn't really needed and would just waste money and energy, as there is enough air leakage in the walls to bring in a fresh supply of air.

For your spray foam, you should have closed cell, not open cell. The open cell is not rated as a vapour barrier, has less R value per inch, and is much cheaper ( that's why it's used). You have to check with the manufacturer of the insulation (not the installer) as to the requirements of installation. Some require you to be out of the house for a day or two, untill it's finished off gasing. A good installer would tell you of any requirments before hand. "Enviromentally freindly" is just marketing and has no minimum legal standards that need to be met.

User Icon
Dewy in Mississauga
Date/Time8/13/2014 at 1:56:02 PM

Thanks Steve, for pointing out potential health risk. The company that did the spray does 400 basements a year. Thanks Jeff, and yes they turned off the furnace. Thanks James, as well. They used Closed Cell.

I am very happy with this decision to do this.

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get Free Estimates

Post your project and compare offers from top-rated pros.