As many of our Dayton area clients combat high energy bills and uncomfortable homes, wall insulation and air sealing is rapidly becoming a popular repair. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today. Often wall insulation was commonly omitted for many homes in the Dayton area built through the 1950’s and into the early 60’s. Significant cost savings, tax rebates, and reduction of energy use is often realized through these repairs, however, sometimes these repairs can go awry through substandard workmanship and improper applications. Insulation contractors appear to be actively pursuing the market of older homes. While most contractors are reputable, honest, hard-working people, there remain a few who perform less than stellar work or have employees whose attention to detail is quite lacking. When this occurs, it becomes quite apparent through unchanged utility bills and still uncomfortable homes that something is wrong.
Prior to the use of infrared thermal imaging, the only way to confirm that insulation exists or was installed was through destructive investigations. This included opening finished walls and/or removing electrical cover plates or trim boards to try and visibly verify. Now technology exists to quickly tackle this feat. Infrared thermal imaging is a quick and non-invasive method of determining existing insulation, R values, and completeness of installations. Under the skilled hands of a trained thermographer, homeowners can quickly discover details about a homes building envelope. Through measuring surface temperatures and converting them into a visual image, infrared thermal imaging can visually show homeowners issues such as missing or settled insulation, air infiltration, and heat loss. All of which contribute significantly to high energy bills and uncomfortable homes.
Ideally, homeowners should have an unbiased evaluation of their home performed prior to consulting with weatherization or insulation contractors. An unbiased survey can help determine where insulation is missing, marginal, or settled as well as discover air infiltration locations throughout the home. With the information in hand, homeowners can then make an informed decision regarding the addition of insulation and air sealing as a feasible or justified repair. Once repairs are performed, a second survey is recommended for quality control purposes. Simply relying on the contractor’s word is often not enough as some unfortunate homeowners have already discovered. The image above was recorded after repairs by the contractor had been performed. The homeowners were still experiencing high heating costs and uncomfortable rooms. A quick survey of their home revealed their suspicions to be true. The darker areas or voids seen in the walls are entirely missing insulation or have very little insulation installed. This image was repeated through out the home as a room by room analysis of the exterior walls was performed. A call to the contractor with the visible images in hand quickly resulted in an agreement to make things right without excuses.
As with any aspect of our lives incompetence, fraud, deceit, and quite often simple mistakes or oversights also exist in the realm of the weatherization industry. An unbiased infrared thermal survey can help reduce this risk while also assisting homeowners to make an informed decision to prioritize repair efforts and budgets.
I am often asked what kind of inspection services I perform in and around Dayton Ohio. As I’m quickly going over the list, I mention new construction inspections. I am usually stopped here by the listener and asked “New construction??? Why would a brand new house need an inspection??? I can’t see where anything would…Read More
Insulation and air infiltration aren’t always to blame for uncomfortable rooms and high energy bills. Furnace and air conditioning systems can be a primary culprit as was the case in this home (image right). A phenomenon known as stratification was occurring where a 10 degree F difference between the floor and ceiling is present. The…Read More
As many of our Dayton area clients combat high energy bills and uncomfortable homes, wall insulation and air sealing is rapidly becoming a popular repair. Many older homes have less insulation than homes built today. Often wall insulation was commonly omitted for many homes in the Dayton area built through the 1950’s and into the…Read More
Recently a colleague of mine lost a commercial bid to perform a rather large infrared study of building envelopes for a multiple building hotel complex. His proposed fee for the task and reporting was in line, if not a tad low of typical industry fees for this type work. The building managers and maintenance department had realized…Read More
A few days ago (now several years) I had the distinct pleasure of enjoying a breakfast of sorts with my (then) nine year old son. Almost two weeks prior, the school sent an invitation home with the students inviting dads to enjoy coffee and donuts with their school children at the school for an hour…Read More
I’m not talking about the hurtful betrayal from an otherwise presumed friend.But I am talking about the quick installation method of wiring an electric receptacle that many “production” contractors employ. It’s a method of installing a receptacle quickly and efficiently, and saves contractors time when wiring a home. After all, time is money! Most 15…Read More
How to make a structural masonry home more energy efficient Rarely a week goes by that I don’t receive a phone call from a client who lives in a true masonry constructed home. As with any home, the most common complaints are uncomfortable rooms and high energy bills. Often the owners are simply seeking advice and asking…Read More
I was recently hired by a client who had entered into a contract for purchase of an existing home. I was to perform the whole house inspection for them. As usual, I arrived slightly earlier than my pre-approved scheduled appointment and noticed that the current owner was still home. It’s not common and actually a…Read More
The local electric utility company often refers their customers to me for assistance in determining the reason (or reasons) for their high utility bills. The questions I ask during the initial contact often reveal some important clues which typically revolve around their climate control systems. Overwhelmingly, Dayton area homeowners who contact me disclose that their…Read More