El Dorado Hills - Homes & News - DeeDee Riley Realtor: Why Heat Goes Whoosh From The House

Why Heat Goes Whoosh From The House

It's elementary physics, my dear Watson, elementary.

Heat seeks cold.  Everyone thinks that heat rises.  Well, it does!  If it's seeking cold.  If the cold is down, heat sinks! 

As a Boy Scout, along the C&O canal, near the Antietam Battlefield, there is a large cave.  It goes way in and eventually way down.  It is full of bats!  I have been all through it.  Inside we could always tell which way the opening was, even way inside, because we could feel the July heat from that direction!  As a 14 year old I marveled at that, not understanding the physics of it all.

This is what whooshing heat looks like from inside the room.

That is a small alcove behind the bureau in a very cold bedroom.

The studs are clearly defined in the walls and ceiling.

The purple areas are the colder spots - about 48F.

This is an exterior wall, with brick siding.  The insulation behind the drywall has clearly settled, pulled away or was never placed there when the house was built 15 years ago.  The warm/cold lines are very uniform.  I think there is no insulation there.

And that will influence a room!

Sometimes aspects of the ceiling were not insulated properly, or it was removed to do a repair and not replaced well.  Or at all!

And when that happens, this is what it looks like from the attic side.

The ambient temperature in the attic is 14F.  So it is cold out.

You are looking at the flat drywall of a ceiling directly over an elderly woman's bed.  She is cold at night.  No wonder!  This is uninsulated drywall!  Her room has insulation gaps everywhere - walls, ceilings, and the clothes closet was nearly devoid of insulation!  It was 41F in that closet!

That drywall is 71F.  The ambient temperature of the room below is 60F and the hallway outside is 76F.  They have the heat turned up to try to warm Mom's room.

This is heat going whoosh from the room.

Where is the heat going?  TOWARD COLD!  And anywhere it can.

My recommendation:  the R-value of drywall is not much - about .45 for 1.2" drywall!  Don't count on it to keep your house warm in winter or cool in summer!  Insulation is the cheapest and most effective form of energy savings you can do, well, perhaps after caulking around windows and doors!  If you have hot and cold rooms, have someone check it!  Consider adding to it if you need!  It's elementary...

 

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 20 commentsJay Markanich • February 11 2011 09:02AM

Comments

Good Morning Jay, an excellent recommendation for home owners. 

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA (Dan Edward Phillips, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, CA) almost 8 years ago

I made that recommendation to the Hansons (in Wisconsin) early in the winter, Dan, and I think they did it. 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay ~  Bookmarking this to share with Clients -- great information and easy to understand.

Posted by Tish Lloyd, Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) almost 8 years ago

Jay,

Very interesting! In fact, just last night here in MN I was lamenting about our Dec. heating bill being $320. Ouch!

Posted by John Durham, MS, MS, ASP, ARS (Durham Executive Group - RE/MAX/Results) almost 8 years ago

Glad you can share it Tish!  I hope they are ALL understandable!

John - that sounds cheap to me, for Minnesoooota.

Val - wahoo!  Now that is one way to calculate the mortgage qualifications!  You sure it's not PITIH?  That sounds more like the word pity...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Thanks for the info Jay;  I'm still learning,  who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks?

Posted by Kenneth Cole, NYS Licensed Real Estate Salesperson (Weichert Realtors Appleseed Group, 2043 Richmond Ave. S.I.N.Y. 10314. office phone 718-698-9797, Appleseedhomes.com -) almost 8 years ago

But you can, Ken, you can!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Very good stuff to know.  I only think heat went up.  Now I know it follows cold.  And that explains why one high up room in my home can't ever be warm.  It's over the cold garage and the room is poorly insulated. 

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 8 years ago

As is our room over the garage Chris Ann!  I even had cellulose blown in from underneath and it helped a little, but not a lot.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay - Your camera makes it difficult to hide the areas of infiltration. Great tool that can really help homeowners save money while living more comfortably.

Posted by John Mulkey, Housing Guru (TheHousingGuru.com) almost 8 years ago

Jay, So what's the recommendation for the best way to address the sagged insulation in the ways?

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 8 years ago

John - still not sure if the savings will ever break even!  But for now Mom will surely be more comfortable, as will the rest of the house.  This family got the insulation done that next week!

Bliz - where it's sagged or missing literally holes can be cut and cellulose can be blown in to fill the cavities.  The holes are not large and can be easily covered and repainted.  It's worth it.  Tomorrow I will have a post about the difference between fiberglass and cellulose insulation.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Very interesting, Jay!  That tool you have to detect the hot and cold areas are amazing.  I didn't realize that the heat would ever go down.  I have a 2 story house and the upstairs is always warmer!  Thanks for sharing!

Posted by DeeDee Riley, Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas (Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA) almost 8 years ago

Jay, a really good post filled with plenty of good information in a very easy to understand format. I’m currently in the process of teaching my youngest boy how to do home inspections; you’re a great teaching aid.

Posted by Suesan Jenifer Therriault, "Inspecting every purchase as if it were my own". (JTHIS-Professional Home Inspection Team) almost 8 years ago

Jay, did you say this is a 15-year old house in Northern Virginia where it gets down to 14 degrees, and there's no insulation or at best it didn't stay up between the walls?  How can that be?  Wouldn't they have to pass inspection with the insulation installed properly? 

Posted by Menlo Park Real Estate and Homes for Sale, WendeByTheBay.com - 650.504.0219 - SF Peninsula (Wende Schoof) almost 8 years ago

DeeDee - your upstairs is warmer because the heat has somewhere to go - and it is seeking cold!  Of course, the word "cold" is relative.

That's very nice to say Sue.  I hope you are well.

Wende - until the advent of IR cameras we did not realize just how much insulation can slip over time.  I have seen balloon walls where the insulation has slipped down about 1/3!  Only one county around here inspects the insulation prior to drywall.

Insulation slips because it does not get stapled.  Each winter it gets so cold a dewpoint develops with a literal line of ice inside the insulation.  That condensation gets heavy and unless held in place by staples the insulation will slip with the weight.  Gravity works.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

Jay your last comment there # 17 about the dewpoint  brings to mind the requirement for vapour barrier installation in conjunction with insulation. Having one without the other leads to problems. 

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) almost 8 years ago

@ Robert, That all depends on climate. What works in Canada may be detrimental in VA.

Jay, So common to find these type of problems. You may remember my recent post showing similar insulation problems.

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) almost 8 years ago

I love informative posts, Jay; really good stuff, thanks!

Posted by Virginia Gardner, Realtor, Charlottesville, Serving Central Virginia (Roy Wheeler Realty Co.) almost 8 years ago

Robert - here there is a vapor retarder (not barrier) in the form of a waxy paper on the inside of the insulation.

I know Jim - thought of you while writing it!  But I write these for my own blogs, which go elsewhere too!  Your previous one was better than mine, but this one has a different twist!

Virginia - you are very welcome and thanks again for your nice comments!  Stop in again!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 8 years ago

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