Does the House Suck or Blow

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

That may seem like a rude title to some, but it does describe what goes on in a home naturally. Air moves in and out of a home constantly. The movement of air is driven by mechanical devices such as fans or furnaces or naturally occurring phenomenon such as thermal convection.

Some air infiltration into the home is a good thing, but as Newton said for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So what comes in must push some thing out. You can't dispute physics.

What's undesirable is too much air infiltration. The air that makes its way into the home is unconditioned which then causes a more rapid cooling or warming of the interior. That of course triggers the heating or cooling system to operate more often and that means more money spent by the home owner to be comfortable.

The other side effect of excessive air infiltration is discomfort from drafts. Drafts are one of the most common complaints of home owners with regard to energy efficiency and over all comfort.

These two photos show what is in my experience extreme air ex-filtration into the attic of this home. Notice the dirt on the insulation around where the wires come through the wood framing in the first photo. In the second photo directly to right of where the pipe pops through the insulation a similar streak of dirt can be seen. Around the attic scuttle entry was many time worse.

I believe the reason for this much air being sucked into the attic was the unique design of the home. The home was a combination of old and new construction. The basement ceiling was un-insulated and a large part of one wall was an old wooden garage door. In the original living space above the exterior walls were not insulated while the new second floor was very well insulated.

So the upper floor retains heat extremely well while the lower areas cool fairly rapidly. All that warm second floor air is very attractive to the lower house cool air. The second floor air is pulling the lower house air up to the second floor and eventually into the attic through the holes in the ceiling.

Sealing the holes and gaps through out the house and then insulating the old walls and floors should alleviate this suction effect to the attic. Once done the home owners should see an appreciable savings in their utility bills.

The next time you hear someone say; "that house sucks," it may indeed be a correct observation.

James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

To find out more about our other high tech services click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services. Learn more about our energy audits, the Home Energy Tune uP®.

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Ambassador
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Hey James we are on the same wavelength again:)

May 23, 2009 02:11 AM #1
Rainmaker
382,620
Matt Listro
National Credit Fixers - Matt Listro - Vernon, CT
Your Credit Repair Expert

Hi James: I think my house sucks all winter - then it blows all summer!

:)

May 23, 2009 02:28 AM #2
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

Had I written a blog post with that title all of my critics -- such as you -- would have been all over me about my taste. Now you are really bringing out a double standard that leaves poor Nutsy out to lunch.

Poor Nutsy

May 23, 2009 04:47 AM #3
Ambassador
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Charles Buell
Charles Buell Inspections Inc. - Seattle, WA
Seattle Home Inspector

Nutsy, how can you STAND the smell of mustard all day long?----inquiring minds want to know.

May 23, 2009 06:45 AM #4
Rainmaker
684,009
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Charlie, It would seem we are on the same "level".

Matt, Sounds like your house is breathing very slooooowly :)

Nutsy, A tasty lunch or a barbecue does sound good.

May 23, 2009 10:44 AM #5
Ambassador
1,041,595
Andrea Swiedler
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties - New Milford, CT
Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT

Interesting post! I know my house sucks and blows all year long, and I mean REALLY sucks and blows. Oh well.

Next inspection I will try my hand (silently) to find where the house sucks and blows!

Have a great holiday weekend!

May 23, 2009 11:29 AM #6
Rainmaker
684,009
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Andrea, Sounds like you have a drafty old? house.

You should not have any trouble finding where the house sucks or blows if it has fiberglass insulation.

You have a great one too!

May 23, 2009 11:02 PM #7
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

Mean people do not get invited to my special barbecues. Keep up the comments and you will not be attending a barbecue that is put on by me. I am a pro at barbecue.

Nutsy

May 24, 2009 03:41 AM #8
Rainmaker
179,891
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

James, great explaination on the dirty insulation.  My house sucks, but I think it has something to do with kids forgetting to close the doors.

 

May 24, 2009 05:16 PM #9
Rainmaker
684,009
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Jack, Thanks. My kids never turn off lights, the TV or their computer. That sucks when the electric bill comes.

May 24, 2009 11:11 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

I bet your uncle did not star in the movie Billy Jack.

Nutsy who answered your question over at the bosses blog

May 25, 2009 11:53 AM #11
Rainmaker
684,009
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

My uncle didn't suffer from delusion of grandeur either.

May 25, 2009 12:01 PM #12
Rainmaker
1,244,530
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

James,

You are pretty hard on my assistant's ego. He really hopes to impress you and you shoot him with the garden hose.

May 26, 2009 02:18 PM #13
Rainmaker
1,843,340
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Depending on the context of those words, that house could either suck or blow.

I see lines along interior walls at the edge of carpets a lot, indicating that the flex ducts, inside the walls, are not tightly installed.  Waste-ooo.

May 29, 2009 09:22 PM #14
Rainmaker
684,009
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Jay, Same occurrence, air movement through gaps and seams. May actually be more than just those ducts.

May 29, 2009 11:25 PM #15
Rainmaker
152,435
Virginia Tatseos
Stage-Show-Sell - Bloomfield Township, MI

When I was listing and selling I did notice extreme dirt along the walls/carpet.   I was told it was an insulation problem.

I don't do attics.

Jun 08, 2009 12:31 AM #16
Rainmaker
684,009
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Viginia, That is a common sign of air infitration and could be a clue to other issues in the home.

Jun 08, 2009 12:47 AM #17
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James Quarello

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