The infrared image below was taken by John Snell of The Snell Group. The structure had recently been insulated with blown in cellulose. What is wrong with this picture, and what's the solution? What steps should the contractor and installation crew have taken to avoid this?

Photo Courtesy of The Snell Group


Tags: BPI, Chump, Group, Snell, Stump, The, camera, cellulose, infrared, insulation, More…the

Views: 292

Replies to This Discussion

It is best to list the conditions when the image was taken and the palette used- I will assume winter time with a heated interior because of the warm areas around the windows and the 38.5 degree tag:

This appears to be balloon framing - note the lack of a band area showing between the upper and lower row of windows.

It also appears that there are fireblocks in the wall - specifically for one problem, there is a row of fireblocks between the two upper left windows.  If this is the case, the insulator did a ridiculously poor job - he did not fill the cavity above the fireblock and he did not fill the cavity below the fireblock.  Look to the immediate right of the right upper window - there appears to be a cup full of insulation in the upper of the two cavities.  Look at he right of the upper left window - missed virtually all of the cavities there.

If he were trained in proper densepack techniques he would have a better chance of getting good fill.  And using a scanner after insulating (temperature and time permitting) is the perfect training tool for a couple of dozen jobs.

To correct the situation now, put a Post-It note on the wall at the center of every defect you want repaired, then have someone do the repairs that knows how to insulate.

Congratulations to Bo Jespersen of The Breathable Home in Manchester, Maine who clearly knows his way around blown in cellulose, and maybe chicken coops too! We received many great responses to last month's stumper, but Bo sent us the most accurate diagnosis and complete solution.

Says Bo: "This picture shows the kind of situation that keeps me up at night. I own an insulation company and this type of installation is what we would deem unacceptable in anything other than a chicken coop! What we have here is cellulose installed in a wall that has both settled, and in some areas, been missed altogether."

Bo explains that the installer used the drill-and-fill method by drilling a small hole (or two) in each stud cavity, inserting a small nozzle, and blowing the cellulose directly against the finished wall. "The problem with this method is you can never be sure of the density of the finished product, or that full coverage isn't being prevented by a block or obstruction."

This technique has been used for many years, and until the advent of IR cameras, was assumed to be sufficient. The picture however, is what we see more often than not with this technique, whether in a home that was insulated last week or 30 years ago.

The solution lies in first installing the insulation correctly, and then verifying that it completely filled the cavity. Says Bo, "We have found that the best way to install cellulose is to drill a larger hole in each stud bay (3"), insert a fill tube that reaches both the top and bottom plate, and use an insulation machine that is calibrated to 3.5 lbs. per cubic foot. Finally, before any holes are plugged, we inspect each bay for complete coverage via an IR camera. The density of the cellulose assures it will not settle like it did in the picture, and the IR camera makes sure that all areas are filled."

Bo adds that all is not lost for the property owner. "The building can most likely be re-insulated with dense pack cellulose if they use the above technique - we have to do it all the time!"

 

RSS

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Latest Activity

Efficiency First California posted a blog post

Building a Clean Energy Future, Respect for the People Who Will Build It

You don’t need to spend a great of time deal in the policy world before you hear a conversation…See More
6 hours ago
Profile IconDavid G. Tamutus and Sharon Block joined Home Energy Pros
6 hours ago
Gary Reed added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

HOME ENERGY ADVISORS WANTED (NEW YORK STATE: Saratoga & Glens Falls Region)

We are currently seeking experienced HOME ENERGY ADVISEOS to join the Jack Hall Plumbing &…See More
yesterday
Profile IconGary Reed and Kurt Shafer joined Diane Chojnowski's group
Thumbnail

Job Board

This group is for posting jobs related to all aspects of the home performance industry including…See More
yesterday
Ron Sarrick liked Energy Wise Solutions's discussion What causes a temperature plane in a home
yesterday
Kurt Shafer added a discussion to the group Job Board
Thumbnail

Installers for Whole House Fans in Various Cities

Invisco Whole House Fan Company in Temecula CA sells the highest performance fans in history. The…See More
yesterday
Kurt Shafer posted a blog post

First Rooftop Whole House Fan for Homes without Attics

Eichler was one of the most famous Mid Century Modern home builders in the 50s and 60s. His homes…See More
yesterday
Travis Lundberg replied to angela stanzione's discussion Used Weatherization and auditing equipment for sale in the group Energy Auditing Equipment for Sale, Trade or to Purchase
"Do you still happen to have a blower door fan, frame and fabric still for sale?  If so please…"
yesterday

Home Energy Pros

Welcome to Home Energy Pros – the unique digital community by and for those who work in the home energy performance arena.

Home Energy Pros was founded by the developers of Home Energy Saver Pro (supported by the U.S. Department of Energy) and brought to you in partnership with Home Energy magazine.  Home Energy Pros is sponsored by the Better Buildings Residential Network. Please honor our Guidelines

© 2017   Created by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service