Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Initial Response to Flood Damage

       Returning to Flood Damaged Homes 

Once local authorities have determined it's safe to return home, there are a number of things that can be done prior or during remediation.

1)      Air Out: Open all exterior windows and doors, and all interior doors that include closets, vanities, and kitchen cabinets to promote the drying process.

2)      Remove Water Damaged Materials: The general concept here is to remove water logged items from the home to mitigate mold growth that can occur within 24-48 hours. For your protection use appropriate PPE that at a minimum include gloves, eye protection, and a N95 disposable respirator.

      For information on flood damage and mold remediation visit the following websites:

Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Infrared?

In today's real estate market flush with foreclosures, short sales, and many home often left unoccupied for long periods of time, its never been more important for home buyers to exercise extreme caution and due-diligence before closing the deal.

To put this in perspective, I was inspired to write this post after reviewing an impressive looking 28 page home inspection report from a young family who just closed on their 1st house and while painting their new living room, sadly discovered one of the exterior walls to be badly water damaged and deteriorated from an undetected leak. Without getting into the murky legal  aspects of the matter or the estimated $20,000 repair bill, I'm going to focus on how thermal imaging can help savvy home buyers locate hidden problems such as water damage, leaks, deficient insulation, and faulty electrical components.

To better understand how this technology works, all objects emit invisible infrared light (heat energy) in proportion to their temperature that cannot be seen by the naked eye. For example, in the case of a hidden leak or water damage, wet building materials will have a distinctly different surface temperature than their dry counterparts due to the high thermal capacitance of water and evaporative cooling. Similarly, areas with missing or damaged insulation can also be easily located as can electrical components on the verge of failure - all by virtue of their unique thermal signature.

In short, all homes and buildings regardless of their construction, age, or disposition can harbor many elusive problems that aside from tearing open a wall are impossible to detect. The great value of thermal imaging is it provides us with a completely non-invasive inspection technology that can not only detect these problem, but also produce vivid images that can help home buyers save thousands of dollars and avoid unanticipated repair bills. For more info on infrared home inspections visit: http://infrareddiagnostics.com/index.html

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It's up.....

Big thanks to Rhinebeck Web Design for creating our new web-site, check it out at: www.infrareddiagnostics.com

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Money Saving Tips to Cut Heating Costs

Ready for winter?  Like it or not it's the time of year homeowners should be making sure their homes are buttoned up for another winter heating season. With this in mind the focus on this post will be on how reducing air-leakage and heat loss can help you make your home more comfortable and less expensive to heat with as little as a few bucks worth of caulk and some added insulation.
Pathways of air infiltration and leakage

In general, air-leakage is a common performance problem that can be attributed to as much as 20% to 30% of a typical home's heating cost and, the culprit often behind many other winter related problems such as cold drafty rooms, frozen pipes, and ice dams. Fortunately, air leaks are one of the easiest forms of heat loss to correct and when compared to other energy efficient  improvements  offers the highest return on investment in energy savings.

Where to start? The first step in any successful plan to cut heating costs begins by conducting a thorough inspection of your home for air leaks and deficient or damaged insulation. For this we recommend hiring a profession consultant, but if you're handy around the house and know what to look for you can do a pretty good yourself.

Where to look? In most cases, the air leaks that typically have the greatest impact on energy bills are found in basements and crawlspaces, around window and door frames, and hidden under the insulation inside your wall, floor and ceiling cavities. A good rule of thumb is to start off by sealing air leaks in your attic and basement or crawlspace first, then move to the exterior walls to seal the smaller leaks that can be found around electrical outlets, plumbing fixtures, ventilation ducts, and alongside window and door frames - wherever air might infiltrate or escape. Listed below are some common performance problems to be on the look out for that can significantly increase your heating and cooling costs.

Air Washing
Attic insulation: Measure the thickness of attic insulation and lift areas that appear darkened or dirty to look for air leaks. For the Hudson Valley region the DOE currently recommends R-49, which is approximately 16.5" of insulation.

Common air leaks: Lift attic insulation to identify and seal holes commonly found around wiring chases, vent pipes, and other penetrations found in the attic floor with a fire proof caulking.

Soffits: Make sure rafter vents are properly installed to provide a channel for outside air to flow from the soffits into the attic without compromising the insulation. Air movement through insulation (air washing) can reduce the rated R-value of insulation by as much as 50% - clearly visible by the cooler purplish areas in the thermal image above of a typical ceiling that wasn't properly vented.

 Attics access: If not already,weather-strip the edges of access hole and insulate the back side of hatch panel with 2" foam board .

Air-leakage from cold basement
Basements: The two most costly sources of heat loss in basements are cold masonry walls and, air leaks from sill plates and band joists into the wall cavities of conditioned living space - illustrated by the cooler dark blue and purplish areas in the thermal image on the left of wall cavity air leakage and compromised insulation. To mitigate these condition we suggest sealing up all penetrations between the basement and living space above with a fire proof caulking, using spray foam to air seal and insulate your sill plates and band joists, and insulating either the basement ceiling or foundation walls depending upon how the area is to be utilized or if there is any history of moisture issues.

In short, substantial amounts of heat energy is wasted when cold outside air is allowed to infiltrate your home through leaky window and door frames, in attics where roof rafters meet exteriors walls, along the top of foundation walls, and from numerous other cracks and openings that can be found in a typical building envelope from penetrations and normal aging. The good news is by initiating a simple, low cost air sealing campaign you can greatly improve the comfort and energy efficiency of your home with little more than a few bucks worth of caulking and some time well spent.

For more information about these energy saving tips or on thermal imaging you can contact Infrared Diagnostics at http://www.infrareddiagnostics.com/


Friday, September 30, 2011

High Indoor Humidity and Condensation

 Does your house feel damp? This may seem like a silly question to ask with all the recent storms and flooding, but with cooler winter temperatures around the corner high indoor humidity can foster condensation and mold growth, reduce the R-value of your home's insulation, and left unchecked damage structural components.To guard against this, it's important to inspect your home regularly, maintain an indoor humidity level of between 30 and 35% during the colder winter months and, keep an eye out for evidence of moisture damage in attics and basements, ghosting of framing members on interior gypsum board wall and ceiling surfaces, mold growth in colder corners, and naturally moisture on the inside of window panes. For help resolving building envelope moisture and mold problems visit Infrared Diagnostics at http://www.infrareddiagnostics.com/ Our infrared building envelop inspections offer a powerful tool that can help us quickly get to the bottom of your home's performance problem and develop a cost-effective repair strategy.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Infrared Moisture Surveys and Leak Detection

Originally a tightly held military secret behind night-vision, thermal imaging technology has become widely recognized for its unique ability to detect the otherwise invisible thermal signature of many diverse building related problems. With proper application, an infrared camera can identify electrical and mechanical components on the verge of failure, track down the source of elusive moisture and mold problems, locate plumbing and roof leaks, verify energy efficiency, and produce tangible evidence of construction defects. However, with Hurricane Irene bearing down on our area the focus of this post will be on how an infrared moisture survey can help homeowners locate leaks and document water damage for insurance claims.

To better understand this technique, it may be helpful to explain how an infrared camera detects moisture. In short, every object radiates infrared light (heat energy) in proportion to its temperature that the human eye cannot see. Wet or moist objects will have a different temperature than their dry counterparts due to the thermal properties of water and evaporatvive cooling. Infrared cameras provide us with a means to make temperature differences visible, that in turn can be used to identify wet building materials and with a high degree of accuracy to determine the source, route, and scope of water damage and mold problems. Armed with this information homeowners can make informed decisions about the maintenance and repair of their properties as well as speed insurance claims or in cases involving workmanship issues pursue defect litigation.  

             For more information on infrared visit http://www.infrareddiagnostics.com/