Hi folks. I'm assembling an article for daily5Remodel outlining prevalent visual (to the naked eye) indicators that a home has significant problems with moisture, infiltration, air quality and the like.

 

When you're doing a visual inspection, what types of problems do you typically see, and what do these indicators reveal about the likely problems and solutions?

 

If you'd like to be quoted in an article on Monday, please post your responses here, and/or shoot me an email (leah@daily5Remodel.com). It would be great to have some compelling -- albeit potentially icky -- photos of these visual giveaways as well.

 

FYI: the article will kick off a contest we're running on d5R in June. Sponsored by the Building Performance Institute, the contest seeks yucky "before" photos (i.e. moldy insulation, damning infrared images) and much better "after" photos. The winner will receive a BPI certification written and field exam valued at $550.

 

Thanks for your help!

Leah

Tags: BPI, daily5Remodel

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As I replied to you on Twitter (and to get the party started):

mold, mildew, spongy drywall, bubbling paint, dirty insulation, mouse traps / droppings, condensation, ice dams, snow, no vents

One of the things I see a lot locally is ceilings (and sometimes walls) with T&G paneling instead of drywall. These almost never have an adequate air barrier behind them and will leak profusely during a blower door test. The sad truth is that the solution is almost always to install drywall over, or, in the case of a ceiling, the repair can sometimes be made from the top if the roofing is replaced.
Attachments:

During the winter, the first thing we look for is snow or frost melting, as it helps us track down locations that have either air leakage or missing insulation.

Inside, we watch for any signs of condensation, including mold and any "ghosting" of studs and/or cavities.  There will often be missing insulation in these areas too.

 

 

Spider webs!
Thanks for everyone's input. I got some extremely helpful responses outside this forum as well. Of all the surprising indicators, I have to say that spider webs resonate most with me. Spiders love air movement ... because (here's where the resident insectologists weigh in) air movement brings food into their webs?

Mostly winged creatures end up in the webs, so the air movement (from a lower level to a higher level) may be more of a clue for them (there's another somewhere ahead) than a current that carries/pushes them to their doom.

Might be some of each!

Thanks again for everyone's help. I hesitate to post a link to another site on this forum (I've been chastised for it before), but here's the article that resulted.

One of my favorite statements came from Josh Wojcik of Upright Frameworks, in Maine. He said:

"It's been said that ignorance is bliss. People who believe this are usually afraid to get an energy audit because they're afraid that the recommendations will be expensive and scary.  What's scary to me is the volatility of energy markets and the fact that oil's been averaging a 10 percent-a-year increase over the last 10 years. A good weatherization retrofit pays for itself (quickly) and I like helping people save money. My advice to savvy building owners is to look for the symptoms I've described above, because fixing those symptoms (if done correctly) can create an annuity for that building owner of 10 to 40 percent a year for a long, long time."

 

Leah

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