What I'm Seeing Now

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As Much As Thirty Percent Of Energy Loss Happens Here

As much as thirty percent of energy loss happens here.

Remember, heat seeks cold.  Heat looks for cold!  Heat then moves toward cold!

In a finished house, assuming everything is in place (including insulation) the energy loss (meaning thermal movement - heat toward cold) breaks down more or less like this:

> 30% of loss happens through the attic ceiling.
> 30% of loss happens through walls.
>30% of loss happens through windows and doors.
>10% of loss happens through exterior wall or uninsulated ceiling penetrations like switches, receptacles and lights.

Obviously those percentages change if walls or ceilings are not adequately insulated, or there are really lousy windows and doors.  But overall those percentages are a pretty good rule of thumb.

These thermal images are examples of a door and window IN NEW CONSTRUCTION!

Wow.  How would anyone know without seeing such an example with a thermal camera?

Not only is the weather stripping poorly placed around the door, but the insulation as well.

And not only is the window leaking (this is a basement fire escape window) but the insulation is poorly placed here too.  The temperature outdoors was about 50F at this time, so think what these images would look like on a really hot or cold day.

Do you not think that all over a house this would not, could not, have a dramatic effect?

It does.

My recommendation:  when you buy new construction find out what kind of windows and doors will be installed.  Their quality, performance, U-factor and weather stripping.  Will they be Energy Star, or some other standard, quality?   Who will the subcontractors be as regards insulation and window and door installation?  Find out what they do - for example, will they foam around windows and doors in addition to insulation?  Check out their reputations, licensing, how carefully they treat the materials, and how many will be involved with the installation.  All these things add up!  Remember the 5% rule - if only 5% of the insulation in a room is poorly placed, or missing, it will affect the R-value performance of that space by 50%!  (Click on the orange link to see my post on this subject)  And if windows and doors all over the house are poorly installed you will be in for a lifetime of energy loss.  Be proactive!

 

 

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 34 commentsJay Markanich • December 12 2016 12:07PM

Comments

Great minds DO think alike...I just used this topic in our newsletter to hit mailboxes this week....great information of course !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) almost 3 years ago

Great recommenations, Jay. The good news in Charlotte area is that new home builders are increasingly aware of  "selling" the energy efficiency of their homes.

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage ) almost 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. Evidence perfect for the argument that all new construction needs a home inspection at various times through the construction process! Enjoy your day! 

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 3 years ago

Good morning, Jay Markanich ...t'is the beginning of the heat loss season...this is a great post for all to read.... 

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) almost 3 years ago

S&D - I will send you a copy of my newsletter regarding leaking windows.

As did this builder too, Nina, but the quality of the materials and subs are integral to coming through with that promise.

Wayne - I check the quality of windows and doors, AND their installation on all pre-drywall inspections!

Geez, Barbara, all my posts are great to read.

I mean, um, like, you know, um, thanks, that was very kind to say!

 

 

 

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Thanks for shraing!!!

When you buy new construction find out what kind of windows and doors will be installed.  Their quality, performance, U-factor and weather stripping.  Will they be Energy Star, or some other standard, quality?

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) almost 3 years ago

Many people are sealing their attic door in order to minimize energy loss.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) almost 3 years ago

Sham - thank you for quoting my blog!

That is a BIG place for losses, Harry.  I have many thermal images!  That would be included in the window and door 30%.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

From what I see in your examples the only thing I have going for me is that the attic door is in my garage...or am I fooling myself?

Posted by Raul Rodriguez, Looking out for the client's interest and not my p (Covenant Partners Realty) almost 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. This is something I didn't know. I would have guessed windows and doors.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) almost 3 years ago

Very informative post. Please tell us more!

Posted by faye schubert, Living the Branson Lake Life almost 3 years ago

Very interesting.  I've been told 80% through ceilings, but it makes sense to me that poorly insulated windows and doors have an effect as well.

Posted by Dianne Goode, Realtor/Broker (Raleigh Cary Realty) almost 3 years ago

Curious as to the energy loss % at the rim joist area and/or how much of the 30% at the walls (as you mentioned) occurs at the rim joist area.

Posted by Joshua Frederick, Home Inspector in Defiance & all of Northwest Ohio (Home Inspector for ASPEC Residential Services, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Interesting article, Jay, and something that I have not put much time into thinking about. Thank you for the education.

Posted by Lisa Friedman, 30 Years of Real Estate Experience! (Great American Dream Realty) almost 3 years ago

I don't know about Texas, Raul, but here that would be considered a fire hazard unless the door was of particular material.

And it would have been a good guess, Sheila!

Faye - I post here many days a week.  Each blog is a different topic or encounter and intended to be informative.

Dianne - if the ceilings were way underinsulated, or lacked it entirely in some rooms (which I found recently on two different new construction inspections) it would be 80% I bet!

Joshua - that's got to be a huge waste location.  In the last two years builders are spraying rim joists with a thin coating of Icynene foam (1/2") and then insulating, which is going a long way to correcting that.  Last week a new home had foam in the cracks, with insulation elsewhere.  That is probably just as effective.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Lisa - I come to AR to learn and to try to inform to the extent that I can.  Thank you.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Oh yes, that is a costly mistake.  Very sad to see. 

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) almost 3 years ago

I don't need thermal imaging to know my front door leaks - it's practically a blizzard through there.  Kidding aside, I know we need to replace it - I think it's original to this 1920s home!

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) almost 3 years ago

Pretty significant losses.  Here in Florida the loss of cool air can be a real killer!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) almost 3 years ago

Dramatic photos, and they tell a story.

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) almost 3 years ago

Jay excellent post!  We've got some awesome new home builders that use the latest and greatest materials.  I  love selling those homes!

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886, Arizona's Top Banana! (Phoenix Property Shoppe) almost 3 years ago

Debbie - without Mighty Mo not much of this would be seen.  But in the dead of winter it would be felt!

Margaret - if you don't have any historic rules to meet, energy efficiency pays for itself.

Gary - when the house is pressurized air does leak out.  But when the system is not operating the heat comes in!

N&T - yes, thermal imaging is usually very descriptive, instructive, and definitive.

Thanks Anna B.  These windows and doors were excellent quality and met every energy standard.  The installation is a big deal, however.  THAT is usually where the failing is.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Hi Jack

This is a great post for all homeowners to read, especially at this time of year. I haven't done this for some  time but I bet a home energy audit for many would be smart!

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) almost 3 years ago

Yes it is Jeff.  I do a lot of energy audits, and thermal imaging is a big part.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

I love the thermal images. It's the perfect example of a picture is worth a thousands words. You can't argue with the picture.

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 3 years ago

Great pictures by mighty mo.

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) almost 3 years ago

Jay Markanich - A great post and reminder as to where we need to look to prevent heat loss!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale TahoeLauraRealEstate.com, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) almost 3 years ago

Great Post! lots of really good information! one thing we learned up here is to allow the home to breathe too! you cant make it so tight it doesnt ventilate!.

Posted by Debra Leisek ( Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska) almost 3 years ago

Mike - and the software gives me the ability to describe things in different ways, and really make something pop out to a client.

Scott - Mighty Mo is the man!  Inorganic, maybe, but the man!

Laura - certainly one place!  But even when there are good products used, the installation is critical, as this post suggests.

Debra - Thank you.  And I have had AR posts on tight houses.  This is one:  http://activerain.com/blogsview/2386482/if-your-house-has-a-way-to-breathe--keep-it-clean

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

We just have to wonder why builders do not do a better job ensuing those areas are well insulated and sealed to prevent energy loss.  Congratulations on the Feature Post!

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) almost 3 years ago

We all expect that a new home will be perfect, but it ain't so.  In Minnesota, energy loss is a big deal.  The high today is 3 degrees above zero, energy loss is uncomfortable and costly.  Two years ago a client did an inspection on a national builder home and found that the windows along an entire wall were faulty. There had been other complaints, and the builder had the manufacturer replace windows for multiple homes in the development. 

Posted by Mary Jo Quay, I Move You Home (Remax Results) almost 3 years ago

Kathleen - quality control is a problem with builders everywhere.  And inspections are vital!

No, Mary Jo, they are not.  There was a whole development near me where all the windows in every house had been installed incorrectly and it was a big deal!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 3 years ago

Hello Jay

Some great information on your post and it's been featured to the group:

Addicted to Active Rain

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Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz, Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale (Realty ONE Group) over 2 years ago

Thank you Bob!  I don't know that I have ever had this honor before!

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

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