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Spray foam insulation scam warning

Posted on: 26 April 2023

Trading Standards is warning householders who are seeking to improve the insulation in their home to ensure that the treatment is suitable for their property before agreeing to any work.

With high fuel costs and concerns about carbon emissions, it’s understandable that many consumers are seeking to improve the insulation of their homes.

But this demand, and some of the treatments on offer, has generated complaints regarding the sales methods of some traders and the suitability of some treatments.

Heart of the South West Trading Standards is advising consumers to check the suitability of any offered treatment for their homes, and always get a range of quotes before agreeing to any work.

There have been reports of sub-standard work with spray foam insulation installations in particular, leading to condensation and damp, and adherence problems.

The technique uses expanding foam, sprayed between rafters and sometimes to the underside of roofing felt, slates or tiles.

Customers are often cold called and subject to hard sale techniques to persuade them to agree to this insulation. Guarantees are often offered which are only as good as the longevity of the company providing them.

While spray foam insulation can be an effective way to improve energy efficiency, it is important to ensure that it is applied by trained professionals and is suitable for the property concerned. Adequate ventilation in lofts and roof spaces is required.

Spray foam can lead to problems when the homeowner wants to sell, re-mortgage or release equity from their property so before any work is done it’s important to check with your mortgage provider.

Some lenders may not provide a mortgage or an equity release and if you sell your property some surveyors will advise that it is removed.

Traditional glass fibre insulation in lofts is still the most widely used insulation in new houses, is accepted by Local Authority building regulations and provided a roof is properly ventilated will cause no issues. There have been no studies to show glass fibre quilts cause mould.

Steve Gardiner, Heart of the South West Trading Standards Legal Process Manager, said:

“Always be cautious if you are cold called, receive an unsolicited phone call, or see a post on a social media platform.

“Do your own research to find an installer and don’t be swayed by glossy flyers, high-pressure sales or professional-looking websites.

“Check for membership of reputable trade associations or trader accreditation schemes like Trading Standards ‘Buy with Confidence’ scheme and before agreeing to any work ask to see professional qualifications, public liability insurance and if applicable waste-carriers licence and ensure that they will provide a suitable warranty and third-party accreditation documentation. Keep these records safe for the future.

“Shop around for a range of quotes and consider a range of insulation systems.”

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has produced a consumer guide for spray foam.