After 10 years of testing in older buildings throughout the upper Midwest, RetroFoam, a new super-insulation technology, is available to homeowners in Maine. In older, existing homes, not only does it offer the advantages of foam insulation without the hassle and expense of remodeling, it also provides significant safety features for families in the event of fire. “In my years of experience with building construction, teaching fire science and fighting fires,” says Jack Dean, retired fire chief now living in the Lakes Region, “I’ve never seen a product like this that offers so many fire safety advantages.”
Traditional fiber insulations often accelerate flame spread as well as produce deadly vapors. RetroFoam is a remarkable fire Class I material; its contribution to flame spread is zero while giving off nothing but carbon dioxide and water vapor. This also contrasts with spray foam insulations, which current building codes require be treated with a fireproof coating to minimize flame spread and release of toxic gases.
“Many people do not realize the way most fire deaths occur.” Dean explains. “Deadly fires are often quite small, and happen at night. They can be in a corner of the house far from the bedrooms. But the air spaces in the wall cavities distribute the smoke throughout the house. People die of smoke inhalation in their sleep without even waking up.” Dean is a big backer of RetroFoam. “With wall cavities filled with this RetroFoam product, smoke moves through the house only slowly. I’m recommending it to my friends and family.” Eric Hallee, Vice President of Chase Custom Homes adds, “In researching the differences between RetroFoam and [other] products, it’s apparent that RetroFoam will fast become a leader in the renovation market. The environmental benefits have real meaning to the consumer. RetroFoam installation doesn’t [produce] harmful vapors. It is very impressive that installers do not need protective gear.”
Home Snuggers, Inc., the quaintly named re-insulation contractor in Windham has been awarded RetroFoam installation and distribution rights for Maine. “We’re very pleased to be associated with RetroFoam and its leading edge in sustainability and green technology,” says Mark Walker, Home Snuggers’ General Manager. “Our focus is solely on retrofitting existing homes and buildings throughout southern Maine. Years into the future, as far down the road as anyone can see, energy costs are not going down. We plan to be there with healthy, affordable products, and the integrity of a good neighbor in the community.”
Scientific testing ranks RetroFoam highest in R-Value per inch of anything for existing homes. It’s also reduces outside noise dramatically. Installation usually takes one day. And it’s injected from the outside so there’s no messy cleanup. Dan Edwards of Bridgton had their home “snugged“ in November. “We’ve noticed a difference in our heat use already,” said Edwards. “We’ll probably use at least one less tank this year. And the house is quieter – a plus here on Rt. 302.”
Deborah King of Cape Elizabeth spoke of one cold, sunny morning, “I walked into the office and exclaimed, ‘It is so hot in here. You have to turn the heat down.’ Apparently the RetroFoam is working. The heat wasn’t even on.” According to Walker, although Home Snuggers schedule is quite full in the fall, they do have some openings for new customers in June and July. But, it would seem, that won’t be for long.