What I'm Seeing Now


Not Every Little Breeze Seems To Whisper Louise...

This is a 15 year old house.  My clients have lived there from day one.  They wanted an inspection, and in particular a thermal image inspection.  There are hot and cold spots.

One complaint the woman has is that when she sits at the dining room table, a mere 6' from that window, she feels a breeze on her feet.  She asked me if she is crazy.  "How is it possible to feel a breeze on my feet?"  Well, THAT is a good question.

The dining room has a bay window.  There is a center picture window, and two side double-hung sash windows.

In the thermal images to the right, cool air is represented as purple, blue and lavender.  The right image is the of right side of the bay window, and the left is of the left side.  Imagine them together.

The homeowners have done the best things they can to try to make this bay window energy efficient. 

There are double-cell blinds on all three windows, very insulative.  Notice the warmest temperature in the images is the picture window, protected by those blinds.  There are drapes over both of the sash windows.  The drapes go to the floor.  The windows are double pane of course, and as good as they could buy 15 years ago.  Double-pane windows are efficient as far as the glass goes.  Air leakage typically occurs around the window that moves where it rests in the sash.

There are some things clearly visible here, and they are instructive.  The center picture window has little insulation around it, visible as the purple stripe on the sill.  The blinds and drapes are doing very well.  The wall is basically insulated but not great.  And the floor is cold!  The purple you see is around 41F.  And look at how the cold air is crawling (breeze?) along the floor - this is exceptionally visible!

Here is another problem!

Look at the insulation under the bay window!  Very haphazardly placed batt fiberglass. Batt fiberglass is not the best insulator, but certainly common when the house was built.

Notice how the sides of the bay as it extends beyond the rim joist of the house are not insulated!

That will create more cold conditions!

As cold air flows around and through the windows, is captured by the drapes and sent to the floor, it immediately mixes with warmer air causing it to move.  Where does it move?


Hence the breeze on the homeowner's feet during the meal!

Oh, and her name is not Louise...

My recommendation:  when you feel hot or cold areas, breezes or moving air, have a thermal image examination to pinpoint exactly where the problem is and what is causing it.  And improve insulation as needed!



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 28 commentsJay Markanich • March 30 2011 08:45AM
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