Infrared Training Center

Friday, February 20, 2015

Warm Feet, Cold Reality

Matt Schwoegler, Infrared Training Center

It can take being uncomfortable for some homeowners to really start thinking about the efficiency of their house. Certainly, the bill from the electric company or that propane truck *once again* backing into the driveway all serve as painful reminders that your home uses (too much) energy. However, when air leakage across the floor leaves you with cold feet, or you find yourself always shivering from a draft on a windy day, it starts to get old...fast. Experiences like this can help motivate one to consider putting energy efficiency improvements on the fast track.

This assumes, of course, that the occupants are *feeling* cold in the first place. How about when it might not be as obvious, such as the case here? Sometimes thermal imaging can help a homeowner understand why what they are experiencing (feeling) is very different from what is actually happening.

FLIR1009

FLIR1006

These infrared images (above) were taken near the rim joist in the basement of a contemporary-style home built in 1984.  The residence has wood floors, fiberglass insulation and, not surprisingly, a decent amount of air leakage (3550 CFM 50).

As expected, one of the larger areas of air infiltration in the structure is located around the rim joist. What you will notice too is that the home also has a radiant floor heating system (images below):

FLIR0996

FLIR0997

Now I live in a home with wood floors and it too has significant air infiltration issues, but what I don’t have are radiant coils warming up the floor AND any cold air infiltrating in before it reaches my feet.  As such, I am often very cognizant of the air leakage issues that need to be addressed in my house.

In the case of this residence, not only is the heating system working to keep the house warm, it is also tempering what would likely *feel* a lot worse for the owners of the home. Their energy costs may be high, but I guarantee you that their feet are always warm and comfortable, no matter the weather. They say ignorance is bliss, right? Perhaps…at least until the fuel bill arrives.

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