UFFI: Should You Be Worried? Everything You Need To Know About UFFI

By: Christine Tetstall

UFFI: Should You Be Worried? Everything You Need To Know About UFFI

Tags: Home Buying, Toronto Homes, First Time Home Buyer, Bully Offer, Realtors, Home Buyers, Construction

Is UFFI something to worry about when purchasing or selling a home?


UFFI, or urea-formaldehyde foam insulation, is a kind of insulation that was commonly used in the 1970s to make houses more energy efficient. In fact, from 1975 to 1978, the Canadian government implemented financial incentives for enhanced insulation levels in homes, making UFFI extremely popular. The program, known as the Canadian Home Insulation Program (CHIP), encouraged homeowners to retrofit the insulation by injecting UFFI into places that were challenging for other types of insulation to reach. For example, UFFI was pumped behind walls, around electrical outlets, in attics, and around plumbing and ductwork. There was some conjecture that UFFI emitted gasses during the curing process which caused a health risk to homeowners. In response to this speculation, the Canadian government banned the use of UFFI. 

Are UFFI emissions hazardous?

According to Health Canada, formaldehyde is present in nearly all homes but is typically below-suggested levels. Formaldehyde levels are generally highest in new home construction and other renovations as many other products use formaldehyde other than UFFI. For example, pressed wood products such as particleboard, hardwood, and plywood paneling use formaldehyde in the glue, and there is formaldehyde in paints, adhesives, varnishes, and floor finishes. Wallpaper, cardboard, and other paper products as well as vehicle exhaust also emit formaldehyde, even new carpet does. As Health Canada explains, the formaldehyde released by UFFI is highest when it is first installed, and decreases over time. UFFI therefore that was installed in the 1970s would have almost no effect on the formaldehyde levels found in a home today. It is more likely that the formaldehyde levels are from other products present in the home. 


Why does the Agreement of Purchase and Sale have a preprinted clause about UFFI?

The UFFI clause was created because there was a lot of concern for home buyers regarding the potential health risks, so it was intended to give buyers reassurance when making a purchase. If sellers have personal knowledge that UFFI is present in the house, it is therefore important for them to disclose it to buyers. As RECO (The Real Estate Council of Ontario) explains, it is a matter of disclosure, where sellers can give warranties within the scope of their knowledge, and the buyers can then make an informed decision when purchasing the property. 

Written by:

Christine Tetstall

Real Estate Agent

Sutton Group Associate Realty Inc.

416 966 0300
358 Davenport Road, Toronto, ON


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