If I had a dime for every time I heard it said, “they don’t make things like they used to”, I’d be retired lounging on a warm beach sipping a tall, frosty adult beverage. The previous statement is supposed to mean everything built today or at least the subject of the declaration is inferior to something made from yester year. The way I see it all the crap that was made long ago has gone where all junk ends up, in the dump. The well made and well cared for are still around, but remember this, time and nature always has the final word.
I was reminded of how buildings have improved over the years when during an inspection I saw a dichotomy right in front of me.
The trend has been and continues to be for improved energy efficiency in homes. Many years ago energy was cheap and no one really though about insulating homes. Generally from what I have seen through inspections and energy audits is that homes were first starting to be regularly insulated in the 1950s. The insulation was minimal and usually only in the ceiling and sometimes inside the exterior walls. Over the years houses have become super insulated, but there is still room for improvement.
During a recent home inspection where the customer had requested infrared scanning the differences in time were captured in infrared light. On this home the differences in wall insulation and its performance can be seen and compared.
The portion of the house in the fore ground was built in 1952, while the newer section in the back ground was made in 2009. The chimney is basically the border between the two parts. Two things that are distinctly noticeable and show the “good old days” compared to the here and now.
First is the uniformity of the temperatures on the new compared to the old. The old side shows patchiness which is indicative of minimal insulation inside the wall cavity. Second are the temperature differences. There is an about 5 degree difference between the two walls. The old wall is warmer, indicating more heat loss. Since the day was mild, with temps in the mid 40s, the difference isn’t too great. As the temperature drops, the difference will become much more pronounced.
The differences in time and in this case temperature are distinct.
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