Rich Roshak No Comments

Infrared thermography, recessed light fixtures and energy loss

Recessed lights have traditionally been costly contributors to heat loss. These fixtures allow conditioned air to leak into unconditioned spaces, such as attic spaces. The large rough openings needed to install recessed cans, the numerous perforations in the housing assemblies and trims, and the fact that manufacturers require a minimum 3″ gap between insulation and fixture made them extremely susceptible to air leakage. This air leakage increases substantially when the light bulb heats the air in the light fixture causing a chimney effect. Enough air leakage over a period can cause moisture problems and possible mold growth.

Sometime around 2002 all recessed light fixtures were required to have thermal protectors (these fixtures are called Insulation Contact). However, these fixtures were still manufactured with holes and perforations resulting in air leakage.

The image indicates bright areas around light fixtures are due to missing insulation and air leakage.

To address air leakage the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC), as of 2009, required that any recessed-can fixture installed in an insulated ceiling/attic must meet the air tightness standards and be labeled for insulation contact. The most recent requirements state recessed light fixtures installed in the building thermal envelope/attic space shall be airtight, IC rated, and sealed to the drywall.

By employing thermal imaging, we can determine the extent of energy loss around recessed light fixtures. Thermal imaging can also determine if moisture is present due to condensation.

Rich Roshak No Comments

Home Inspectors Offering Infrared Scans

With the cost of infrared cameras becoming less expensive, more and more home inspectors are purchasing infrared cameras and offer free infrared scans during a home inspection.

It’s the flashy new technology to get prospective buyers to use their service. What you get is nothing other than a home inspection with may be a few infrared pictures added to the inspection report, which tells you nothing about the home you are about to purchase.

We are now hearing from the field that these inspectors are calling out problems that do not exist when reviewed by a licensed professional.

At Jersey First, when requested by the client, we perform a full infrared scan of the entire home room by room. We provide a separate report identifying any exceptions (problems) in the home with a digital photo and infrared photo, where the problem is, what type of problem and what the repair is.

Training and the lack of it, is what’s driving the problem. To properly understand what you see on the screen of the infrared camera you need to have training in infrared thermograph and training in the specific areas in which you will be working (energy scans, moisture penetration etc.).

To understand infrared thermography, you must be a Level 1, 2 or 3 certified infrared thermographer in accordance with the American Society for Nondestructive Testing.

Most if not all these home inspectors offering infrared scans have attended an 8- or 16-hour course and receive a certification that you attended the course.

To be a Level 1, 2 or 3 Certified Infrared Thermographer requires 32 hours of classroom training and passing of a 3-hour test with an 80% or higher, for each level.

Jersey First Inspection Services recommends the following credentials if you are hiring a home inspector to perform an infrared scan of the home you are purchasing minimum Level 2 Certified Infrared Thermographer, Training and Certified in Energy Evaluations, minimum of three years performing Infrared Scans.

Rich Roshak No Comments

Why is one room colder than the rest of the house?

With the cold weather upon us again, people often ask, “Why is one room colder (or hotter) than the rest of the house?” You know the feeling, you’re in the living room under two blankets watching the latest episode of “The Voice.”  Then, you go to bed and find yourself in shorts and a t-shirt. So, what’s the reason for this temperature difference? Air leakage or missing or insufficient insulation may be the reason why the temperature in your home temperature varies from room to room.

Air leaks or drafts

Air leakage near window is shown in blue

Air leakage near window is shown in blue

Excessive air leaks (most commonly referred to as drafts) are one of the main reasons why the rooms in your home are colder or hotter than others. They also raise your energy bill. During the winter, cold air enters the home as your heated air leaves, creating drafts. Whether your home is 100 years old, just renovated, or newly constructed, drafts can be found near electrical outlets, switch plates, door and window frames, baseboards, and recessed lighting. Air leaks hide in your interior wall cavities, attic, basement, crawl space or chimney and can carry moisture into framing cavities. This leads to condensation and is a leading cause of mold and rot in your home.

Missing or improperly installed insulation

Missing insulation in the ceiling is shown in blue

Missing insulation in ceiling is shown in blue

It is not uncommon to find missing or improperly installed insulation in homes.  Batt insulation, generally made of fiberglass, is usually installed in attic spaces and exterior wall cavities.  However, Batt insulation is rarely installed properly–leaving gaps and voids around outlets, switches, ductwork, and piping (causing pipes to freeze). These gaps allow air movement resulting in drafts at windows, doors, outlets, switches and recessed lighting, and cold spots in walls and ceilings. That might be the reason why you were under all those blankets in your living room! Building standards and insulation manufacturers require that fiberglass batt insulation completely fill the wall stud cavities with no voids or gaps. Attic insulation should cover the top plate of exteriors walls,  be divided to fix around wires, and should fill the air space in corners. By utilizing today’s technology, we can detect the reason for varying temperatures in your home.

Detecting varying temperatures

Using infrared thermography (an infrared camera), we can determine what is causing the varying temperature issues in your home. Infrared thermography is a non-contact/non-destructive method of identifying air leaks, missing insulation or improperly installed insulation in residential and commercial structures. Due to the differences in temperature between interior and exterior, winter is an excellent time to scan walls and ceilings. We can pinpoint the exact location of the issue and provide you with a detailed report so that your contractor can make the appropriate repairs. Contact us today. We can help you find the source of your varying temperature issues, help you make your home more energy efficient, and keep you warm all winter long.