The candle has been around the cave and the realm of weatherization and energy efficiency for some time now, but here’s an app which few have ever conceptualized.
In the early days of weatherization, before the thermagraph, even before the blower door, the trusty candle provided us several enlightening concepts. It would flicker when breezes brushed against its flame as a clear indicator of infiltration. Before the fancy schmancy digital manometers, a few old timers would mount a box fan in a window and measure the flame distortion sideways to gather crude data about the amount of flow under a known pressure, an indication of how leaky the house was.
But today I am introducing you to a new concept – tracer deposits! I came across this by accident in an architect’s home, an architect whose wife burned candles and then he noticed the blackened outline of his cooled joists near the walls where the condensation of PARAFIN had deposited.
In a few places between the joists it was possible to also see the path of windwashing of heat on the other side of the sheetrock where soffit vents were poorly baffled and allowed the cooling that marked the area as a place to add both insulation and correctly placed baffles. The paraffin deposits were ‘air-brushed’ in a gentle sweep, reflecting the path of outside air passing too close to the sheetrock and marking what needed to be retrofitted.
Photos tomorrow. You'll witness air-brushed thermograhs (in Black and White) created by cave-dwellers in a modern home where the wind-washing gave the carbon black a tell-tale story of how things are on the other side!