Saturday, October 09, 2010

Infrared (Thermal) Imaging Detects Missing/Defective Insulation

It's that time of the year again. It's getting colder outside and Infrared imaging can now detect those insulation defects that the summer months didn't allow for a Delta T (difference in temperature). Most homeowners do not realize that a difference in temperature (cold on the exterior and warm on the interior or vise-versa in the Summer months with air conditioning) must be established in order for an IR camera to detect faults in their homes. It's now getting to the point where exterior temperatures are lowering and the heat is being turned up. That gives me the perfect setting to detect those insulation voids in your walls and ceilings.

Check out the IR images I have captured in the past...

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This ceiling appears to be fine, but infrared detects missing insulation
insulation missing


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This wall appears fine, but my infrared camera detects settled insulation
insulation settled


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Thermal imaging detects cold air infiltrating the most outer portion of this wall
wall infrared


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Visually... you see an open window, but infrared detects major heat loss
window is open


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Infrared detects all sorts of inefficiencies throughout this finished attic cathedral ceiling
ceiling thermal


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This upper wall appears fine, but thermal imaging detects missing insulation
insulation gap


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You see a wall that appears fine, but infrared detects Termite activity
infrared detects termites


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It's impossible to fully inspect radiant heating coils without my infrared camera
infrared detects radiant floor coils


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This attic access looks fine, but infrared reveals inadequate insulation
attic access missing insulation


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Look great visually, but thermally, I detect inadequate insulation
missing insulation


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Exterior wall appears to fine, but infrared detects efficiency issues
insulation voids


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This is an exterior wall with no insulation issues. The structural member locations are clearly visible (with infrared) from colder studs conducting onto the interior drywall.
insulated wall cavities


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During the colder months, a perfectly insulated wall will contain cold structural members (see image above). In this home, the studs are warmer than the cavities. This is clearly indicative of "no insulation" in these wall cavities.
wall missing insulation


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This is another home with the same situation...empty wall cavities. This uninsulated wall is equal to leaving your windows and doors wide open.
infrared detects missing insulation


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The attic cavity above this particular ceiling was not accessible. Access openings were not installed for my inspection. That didn't stop me from investigating further. My infrared camera has no problem detecting a shoddy installation of insulation. The heat loss here would be significant.
ceiling insulation missing


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This lower ceiling surface looks great visually, but my thermal imaging camera detects an excessive void at the wall and ceiling cavities.
skylight ceiling uninsulated


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This newly constructed home had insulation missing in several wall cavities
wall insulation voids


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These outer ceiling cavities are allowing excessive cold air to enter living area
uninsulated ceiling cavities


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This wall looks fine until my infrared camera detects settled insulation
settled wall insulation


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My thermal imaging camera detects more settled insulation
wall insulation settled


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Infrared detects cold air infiltrating at lower left window framing and all outer floor cavities
window wall uninsulated


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A client inquired about ice damming on their roof. You can clearly see the voids at the rear portion of these two skylights. This void allowed interior heat to escape and melt the snow on top of the roof (above this area) and cause major ice damming.
ceiling skylight not insulated
skylight wall not insulated


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The soffit around this particular skylight contains recessed lighting that does not allow insulation contact (Non-IC lighting) per manufacturer. An upgrade to more expensive recessed light fixtures (allowing insulation contact - IC lighting) are no option, in order to properly insulate these type of ceiling cavities and prevent ice damming on the exterior roof edge.
skylight insulation voids
gaps in ceiling insulation


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The stud cavities around this window were obviously not insulated.
window wall not insulated


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Cathedral ceiling cavities are impossible to inspect visually, but thermal imaging has no limitations. My infrared camera detects missing insulation throughout one side of the gable. The heating bill in this home will be costly until it's insulated.
cathedral uninsulated


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The cellulose insulation in these wall cavities has settled quite a bit
settled cellulose insulation


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More settled cellulose insulation. Infrared also detects heat piping inside this wall at the top right of IR image.


cellulose insulation settled

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My infrared camera detects shoddy installation of cellulose insulation in concealed wall cavities above this main door.
wall insulation not complete

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Thermal imaging detects insulation voids under this glued-down plywood in an attic
attic_insulation_void

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Infrared scan detects shoddy insulation application in outer ceiling cavities
ceiling_insulation_void

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This wall set-up looks great, until my infrared camera detects uninsulated wall cavities behind the flat screen television
wall_insulation_void

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Thermal imaging detects many insulation voids throughout this upper wall
wall_insulation_missing

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Thermally scanning an attic detects heat loss from the living area below
attic

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The builder disclosed that every wall (in this rehabilitated home) were fully insulated. But...not according to my infrared camera.
wall insulation not complete


There is no perfectly insulated home out there. I will always detect imperfections in a building. I've even detected openings in foam insulation. As tight as you would think foam insulation might be, it's not a perfect insulator, as I will discuss in my next Blog.

If you're interested in scheduling an Infrared scan and you reside in eastern Massachusetts or South Eastern New Hampshire, please contact me at 978-683-4984 to schedule your Infrared (Thermal) Imaging scan of your home.


Massachusetts Infrared (Thermal) Imaging




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Massachusetts Home Inspections