A fresh perspective on fresh air

Ok, if you’re still not convinced on fresh air, let’s look at this a different way. First, you’ve heard from experts or read articles and likely know what the regulations are regarding sprayers being required to have fresh air when spraying indoors… BUT, the financial reasons for doing it are just as compelling! However, too often the thought of dragging around the extra equipment is cumbersome resulting in you and/or your crew abandoning the idea altogether.

Here’s what we already know about respiratory protection, and maybe this is a refresher to others:

  • APR stands for Air Purifying Respirator (Filter Cartridges), and they protect against VOCs and particulates.
  • SAR stands for Supplied Air Respirator (Fresh Air Supply), and is a requirement for indoor applicators, and those within a particular radius depending on ventilation controls.
  • Insulation contractors should have a Respiratory Protection Plan in place. This is a requirement but could also help reduce insurance rates. OSHA has a sample RPP on their website you can use to include your company name.
  • Next, all employees wearing tight fitting respirators must have medical evaluations, and qualitative fit tests completed and documented on a periodic basis. Qualitative fit test kits can be purchased and performed by the company. One example is the Honeywell Irritant Smoke kit which can be purchased from IDI.
  • Fit test procedures can be found at https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/regulations/standardnumber/1910/1910.134AppA

Common sense, right? Now that we have the fundamentals covered, let’s explore a new approach! Believe it or not, there’s research to support the idea of fresh air saving your company money. Let’s start with a look at the cost per worker using a tightfitting full-face piece with cartridges.


Item Avg Cost Ea Usage per Year Annual Cost
Full Face Respirator (Low $110, High $175) $142 3 $426
Head Sock $1.50 260 $390
OVP100 Cartridges, Pair $24 260 $6,240
Company Cost for Medical Eval/Fit Test $100 1 $100
Fit Test Kit $200 1 $200
*1 Worker (spray foam applicator), 260 work days, 8 hr days




At a clip of over $7K per year to operate one worker in a cartridge respirator, what if there was an alternative to save you money to invest in other areas of your business, while staying compliant with safety regulations? Let’s consider the following, which is the initial year 1 investment into a low pressure, 1-worker system using hood respirators.

Low Pressure SAR

Item Avg Cost Ea Usage per Year Annual Cost
LP Pump (100′ Hose, 1 Hood, 1 Breathing Tube) $1,750 1 $1,750
Hood Respirator $30 11 $330
Breathing Tube $80.00 1 $80
Service Kit $200 1 $200
*1 Worker (spray foam applicator), 260 work days, 8 hr days




This is a year one savings of almost $5K, and that’s with the initial purchase of the low pressure pump system. To dive deeper, consider the next chart to see what kind of savings are earned over the next year, considering that the year 1 and year 2 tight fitting facepiece costs are the same.

Low Pressure SAR (yr 2)

Item Avg Cost Ea Usage per Year Annual Cost
Hood Respirator $30 12 $360
Breathing Tube $80 1 $80
Service Kit $200.00 1 $200




2 Year Cost Comparison:

Tight Fitting Cartridge per worker over a 2 year span $14,712
Low Pressure SAR System over a 2 year span $3,000




A difference of almost $12k… now that is some savings!

Outside of respiratory protection, an important piece to consider is taking all necessary safety precautions when installing spray foam insulation. That means getting proper training such as making sure you, and your crew are CPI certified.

Not only does it give your business a leg up against competition, but it also gives potential clients confidence in their decision to hire you. Something you may not consider is it can also keep you getting the material you need to run your business. We are seeing more and more manufacturers AND distributors being more restrictive on who they are selling spray foam too. Having a CPI certification will help ensure you won’t have issues getting foam, and also prevent unqualified individuals from incorrectly applying foam. You can get CPI certified and trained on all safety and business aspects of installing spray foam through one of IDI’s 3-Day National Insulation & Spray Foam training classes.

Have a question on respiratory protection or what SAR makes sense for you, reach out to us today. We would be happy to assist you and look forward to earning your business every day.


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