As Much As Thirty Percent Of Energy Loss Happens Here

Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

As much as thirty percent of energy loss happens here.

Remember, heat seeks cold.  Heat looks for cold!  Heat then moves toward cold!

In a finished house, assuming everything is in place (including insulation) the energy loss (meaning thermal movement - heat toward cold) breaks down more or less like this:

> 30% of loss happens through the attic ceiling.
> 30% of loss happens through walls.
>30% of loss happens through windows and doors.
>10% of loss happens through exterior wall or uninsulated ceiling penetrations like switches, receptacles and lights.

Obviously those percentages change if walls or ceilings are not adequately insulated, or there are really lousy windows and doors.  But overall those percentages are a pretty good rule of thumb.

These thermal images are examples of a door and window IN NEW CONSTRUCTION!

Wow.  How would anyone know without seeing such an example with a thermal camera?

Not only is the weather stripping poorly placed around the door, but the insulation as well.

And not only is the window leaking (this is a basement fire escape window) but the insulation is poorly placed here too.  The temperature outdoors was about 50F at this time, so think what these images would look like on a really hot or cold day.

Do you not think that all over a house this would not, could not, have a dramatic effect?

It does.

My recommendation:  when you buy new construction find out what kind of windows and doors will be installed.  Their quality, performance, U-factor and weather stripping.  Will they be Energy Star, or some other standard, quality?   Who will the subcontractors be as regards insulation and window and door installation?  Find out what they do - for example, will they foam around windows and doors in addition to insulation?  Check out their reputations, licensing, how carefully they treat the materials, and how many will be involved with the installation.  All these things add up!  Remember the 5% rule - if only 5% of the insulation in a room is poorly placed, or missing, it will affect the R-value performance of that space by 50%!  (Click on the orange link to see my post on this subject)  And if windows and doors all over the house are poorly installed you will be in for a lifetime of energy loss.  Be proactive!



Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560


Re-Blogged 1 time:

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  1. Ginger Harper 12/12/2016 08:19 AM
Home Buying
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Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I don't know about Texas, Raul, but here that would be considered a fire hazard unless the door was of particular material.

And it would have been a good guess, Sheila!

Faye - I post here many days a week.  Each blog is a different topic or encounter and intended to be informative.

Dianne - if the ceilings were way underinsulated, or lacked it entirely in some rooms (which I found recently on two different new construction inspections) it would be 80% I bet!

Joshua - that's got to be a huge waste location.  In the last two years builders are spraying rim joists with a thin coating of Icynene foam (1/2") and then insulating, which is going a long way to correcting that.  Last week a new home had foam in the cracks, with insulation elsewhere.  That is probably just as effective.

Dec 12, 2016 06:22 AM #15
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Lisa - I come to AR to learn and to try to inform to the extent that I can.  Thank you.

Dec 12, 2016 06:27 AM #16
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Oh yes, that is a costly mistake.  Very sad to see. 

Dec 12, 2016 08:55 AM #17
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

I don't need thermal imaging to know my front door leaks - it's practically a blizzard through there.  Kidding aside, I know we need to replace it - I think it's original to this 1920s home!

Dec 12, 2016 11:02 AM #18
Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC
Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC - Rockledge, FL
... a small office, delivering big service!

Pretty significant losses.  Here in Florida the loss of cool air can be a real killer!

Dec 12, 2016 11:45 AM #19
Nick & Trudy Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtors, Philly Main Line

Dramatic photos, and they tell a story.

Dec 12, 2016 02:04 PM #20
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS, Broker
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana of Real Estate!

Jay excellent post!  We've got some awesome new home builders that use the latest and greatest materials.  I  love selling those homes!

Dec 12, 2016 02:47 PM #21
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Debbie - without Mighty Mo not much of this would be seen.  But in the dead of winter it would be felt!

Margaret - if you don't have any historic rules to meet, energy efficiency pays for itself.

Gary - when the house is pressurized air does leak out.  But when the system is not operating the heat comes in!

N&T - yes, thermal imaging is usually very descriptive, instructive, and definitive.

Thanks Anna B.  These windows and doors were excellent quality and met every energy standard.  The installation is a big deal, however.  THAT is usually where the failing is.

Dec 12, 2016 03:10 PM #22
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad

Hi Jack

This is a great post for all homeowners to read, especially at this time of year. I haven't done this for some  time but I bet a home energy audit for many would be smart!


Dec 12, 2016 04:57 PM #23
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yes it is Jeff.  I do a lot of energy audits, and thermal imaging is a big part.

Dec 12, 2016 05:19 PM #24
Mike Cooper
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Sales Pro

I love the thermal images. It's the perfect example of a picture is worth a thousands words. You can't argue with the picture.

Dec 12, 2016 05:58 PM #25
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

Great pictures by mighty mo.

Dec 12, 2016 07:31 PM #26
Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale
Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260 - Tahoe City, CA
Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers

Jay Markanich - A great post and reminder as to where we need to look to prevent heat loss!

Dec 12, 2016 09:46 PM #27
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Great Post! lots of really good information! one thing we learned up here is to allow the home to breathe too! you cant make it so tight it doesnt ventilate!.

Dec 13, 2016 12:11 AM #28
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Mike - and the software gives me the ability to describe things in different ways, and really make something pop out to a client.

Scott - Mighty Mo is the man!  Inorganic, maybe, but the man!

Laura - certainly one place!  But even when there are good products used, the installation is critical, as this post suggests.

Debra - Thank you.  And I have had AR posts on tight houses.  This is one:

Dec 13, 2016 01:57 AM #29
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

We just have to wonder why builders do not do a better job ensuing those areas are well insulated and sealed to prevent energy loss.  Congratulations on the Feature Post!

Dec 13, 2016 07:14 AM #30
Mary Jo Quay
Remax Results - Edina, MN

We all expect that a new home will be perfect, but it ain't so.  In Minnesota, energy loss is a big deal.  The high today is 3 degrees above zero, energy loss is uncomfortable and costly.  Two years ago a client did an inspection on a national builder home and found that the windows along an entire wall were faulty. There had been other complaints, and the builder had the manufacturer replace windows for multiple homes in the development. 

Dec 14, 2016 04:25 AM #31
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Kathleen - quality control is a problem with builders everywhere.  And inspections are vital!

No, Mary Jo, they are not.  There was a whole development near me where all the windows in every house had been installed incorrectly and it was a big deal!

Dec 14, 2016 04:45 AM #32
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Jay

Some great information on your post and it's been featured to the group:

Addicted to Active Rain

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Dec 17, 2016 06:49 PM #33
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thank you Bob!  I don't know that I have ever had this honor before!

Dec 17, 2016 07:18 PM #34
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