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The Insulation Prediction Becomes Reality. "Our Pillows Are Cold!"

The insulation prediction becomes reality.  "Our pillows are cold!"

Sometimes when home inspectors are dismissed things come back to bite the builder.

On this pre-drywall inspection there were dozens of places where insulation had gaps, holes, or was tucked so deeply between joists and studs that huge areas of cold would be the result.

The builder completely dismissed my report, saying that the insulation company is the final authority and they say this will have little effect on the house.

This location is the master bedroom closet. 

Do you see how far the insulation is from the edge of the stud?  And the hole? 

That will all have effect later.  And I predicted it on the report.

My client has been in the house only a short while.  He complained of rooms and areas that are very cold.

I'm pretty sure this is a thermal image of the area in the photo above.  There was more than one photo of the master closet, but this may be it.

Just walking into the closet I could feel the cold.  At this time the sun was shining on the roof above this closet!

He was told that tucking insulation into the wall studs help to hold it up and would have no effect on the insulation's value.

Ummm, okaaay.

One specific complaint was that the master bedroom was cold and that the pillows on the bed got really cold.  When asked my client said, "Our pillows are cold!"

Can you see why?

See how wide the studs appear?  That is because insulation was tucked behind them and huge convective loops have happened.

The builder told him that those lines are where the studs are and studs cannot be insulated.  And he can provide a stud finder to prove it!  Well, that's a big duh.  The camera is showing where the studs are!  But what about the areas around the studs?  This wall is on the cold side of the house, no sun at all, and the outdoor temperature at this time was between 25F and 30F.

We have a recipe for a cold wall!  And pillows.

There were 30 thermal images on this report.  Many more could have been put there, but redundancy is not too instructive.

My recommendation:  home inspectors are often made out to be the bad guys, but really, (really?), is the home inspector the problem here?  When a prediction becomes fact, and living in a house proves a report to be reality, is the inspector to be blamed?  The solution at this point?  I bet my client is in for a lot of arguing with the builder.  Oh, the insulation depth in the attic is shown to the right.  When I told my client the R-value is not the advertised and touted 38, the builder said I am wrong.  Really?

 

 

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 16 commentsJay Markanich • January 16 2016 05:49AM

Comments

Good morning Jay Markanich . [SIGH] I hate cold pillows. The builder should have known that . . .

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) over 2 years ago

You know the drill Michael - the inspector is wrong.  The thermal images are meaningless.  My R-value statement is incorrect.  You know the drill...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Jay that's a good point sometimes insulation does settle it leaves gaps were cold air can get into the house 

Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) over 2 years ago

Ahhhh, builders.... they do know best, after all, they are the creators!

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) over 2 years ago

That was installed loosely Joe.  But the same applies!

Fred - and I am the Borg - resistance if futile.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

You are the builders worst enemy.  I have always suggested that my buyers get a home inspection on new construction and the builders hate it.  

Posted by Belinda Spillman, Colorado Living! (Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado) over 2 years ago

It's funny why we inspectors are considered to be adversarial Belinda.  Right is right, and wrong is wrong.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Anyone who has purchased a new construction home, should know to have an inspection. There are always things missed when they build....they move very quickly. 

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 2 years ago

Too true, Karen.  It is amazing some of the things we run across.  But some things are common, like insulation anomalies.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Jay - Of course builders are not going to admit that anything is wrong. That would mean they would actually have to fix something. You did your job, and hopefully your clients will be able to convince the builders that they need to fix thing so their pillows are no longer cold.

Posted by Troy Erickson, Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor (Diverse Solutions Realty www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com) over 2 years ago

Jay, I always tell my buyers when buying a new and existing home to get a home inspection...

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker) over 2 years ago

Troy - at this point the fix is much harder!  It is so much easier to address this when there is no drywall! 

Rebecca - I agree!  We inspectors never know what we will find.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

Why builders have to be so difficult when it comes to buyers and pre-drywall inspections is beyond me.  You predicted it, it happened.  So much easier to fix before, rather than later.  

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 2 years ago

Chris Ann - in the pre-drywall I spoke about what would happen and what it would look like in a thermal image!  And behold...

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

13" would be R-38.  Looks more like R-30 to me.  On the up side, both sides of their pillows are cold, so no flipping required in the middle of the night.

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 2 years ago

When there are convective loops caused by holes and gaps the R-value is reduced by more than half Stephen.  And like in this house, whole walls can be cold.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 2 years ago

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