Insulation plays a major role in reducing energy loss in a residential structures. Improperly installed insulation can substanuely reduce the R-value, resulting in higher utility bills and possible moisture problems.
Insulation faced batts in walls and ceilings are typically installed using two methods (stapling to face of studs or inset stapling to the side of studs). Inset stapling (most widely used method) compresses insulation and leaves spaces/channels between the drywall and the insulation which allows air to move up through the channels, resulting in a continuous loop of rising and falling air, which again compromises the effectiveness of the insulation system. This compression reduces the R-value (R-13 can be reduced to R-10 or less).
Bright areas are due to gaps between insulation and drywall as a result of inset stapling of insulation. The homeowner had pictures of insulation prior to installation of drywall which confirmed this condition.
Infrared thermography can provide images on the location of the voids/gaps, but also about the extent of the problem. The infrared images show where the home is losing thermal energy, the images can also help identify other problems at the same time, by providing information about missing insulation and air leakage.
Missing insulation can cause uneven heating or cooling of rooms, ice dams, increases utility bills, frozen/leaking/burst pipes, moisture buildup in walls and ceiling cavities and possible mold/mildew growth.
Air leakage is the passage of air through a building envelope, wall, window, joint, etc. Excessive air movement significantly reduces the thermal integrity and performance of the envelope and is, therefore,a major contributor to energy consumption in a building.
In addition to energy loss caused by excessive air leakage, it can cause condensation to form within and on walls. This can create many problems; reduce insulation R-value, permanently damage insulation, and seriously degrade materials. Moisture accumulation in building materials can lead to the formation of mold that may require extensive remediation.
Homeowners with any interest in increasing the comfort of their homes, decreasing their bills, and reducing their energy consumption should certainly consider having an infrared scan of their home.
AmeriSpec Inspection Services
Rich Roshak is a Certified Thermographer, Licensed building inspector and Licensed Home inspector and has been serving home and building owners in New Jersey for fifteen years.