Really? 2 Degrees? Your Kidding right?

I had a Insulation Contractor contact me the other day. They are having issues with a home builder who has just become Mike Holmes Approved. Now every house is getting thermal imaged once house is finished. From what the insulation contractor has told me, the “inspector”
is not the issue. He is a very qualified thermograph. He does a good job of not sticking his neck out between the contractor and the builder. The Builder has come up with a 2 degree deficiency standard for the insulation. (apparently in accordance to Mike Holmes standards?)
Excluding thermal bridging and behind electrical outlets. If there is a difference of 2 degrees from one area of the wall to another, this is categorized as a major deficiency and the insulation contractor is being made to come back and repair. This sounds absurd to me. Thermal imaging of the house is done during the day, no blower door, and it is not the inspector calling the deficiencies it is the builder supposedly going by the Holmes Standards. I Can’t find any standards for quantitative testing of insulation in a house. There are only qualitative testing standards. So how is it they have made up their own standards? Any advise I should give the insulation contractor? Besides RUN! :smiley:

Where are you located?

Saskatchwan. Canada

South of you, it’s based on generally accepted construction practices.

The builder is the boss!

I would contact the AHJ and find out what standards for levels of insulation are required in your area. A temperature difference is a very arbitrary method of evaluating insulation given all the variables which can affect the temperature of a wall.

In Illinois, levels of insulation in new homes must be documented and a certificate with the levels in each component of the home affixed to the electrical panel. I would assume the insulating contractor would have similar documentation of what was installed. A two degree difference is not evidence of improper installation in my book.

The builder has the right to demand ‘higher’ quality than what is the accepted standard. Bet it was in the ‘scope of work’ for the job bid, and the insulation guys just blew it off. The insulation guy is just being held accounatble for his crap work. I wish more builders gave a damn about the finished product.

That may be true, but how does a 2 degree difference in wall temps determine that?(I’m genuinely asking your and others opinions, not just being argumentative)

That must be up to the AHJ to enforce. I inspect dozens of new home construction each year, as a home inspector and also final inspections for FHA, in several municipalities, in 3 different counties, and I have Never seen an insulation certificate affixed to the service panel. The only documentation I see is in the attic stating type, amount and R-Value of the insulation installed in the Attic.

I absolutely agree with the builder being able to set standards higher than local accepted standards. As long as those Standards are attainable. Even spray foam is not consistant in applied r-value. There is always peaks and valleys if the cavity isn’t filled. Same with blown insulation in an attic.
This insulation company is highly respected by many builders and several code inspectors I have personally talked to for doing high quality work. The houses with the Apparent defects passed local inspections. The issue they are running into is not that the IR inspection is revealing one area meets the local requirements for r value while another is not. Indicating a missing batt or maybe a batt of r12 was mistakenly put in instead of r20. This is not the case. It is simply a 2 degree difference. No matter the size of the area. They have done repairs on 2 houses now and when they opened them up there was nothing to indicate a poor install. Batts were thick, fluffy, not cut short, and liberal amounts of caulking installed on cracks. I have looked into ASTM, ISO, NMS for any standards that would come even close to mentioning that X number of degrees would indicate deficiency. I cannot find any. It is my understanding we can only do qualitative inspections reliably due to the many, many variables involved in the building envelope.
So my question is this, is a thermal image showing a 2 degree difference from 2 spots on a wall REASONABLE to call out a serious defect and merit removing drywall, “repairing”, re-drywall, tape, paint, etc no matter the size of the “defect”? Assuming the IR inspector meticulously measured his temperatures, humidity, wind speed and emisivities.

All new construction in WA has the insulation certs and calculations installed next to the service panel, usually above, sometimes to the side. For replacement furnaces, they also must now post the results of the required duct leakage test. And then of course the northern states will have the 90% furnace requirement in 2013. I am sure more changes are coming.

How do you know it’s not a problem with the heating system?

Not enough information but I would think that Mike Holmes standard, (or maybe not) would include the standard we all go by and that’s ACH.

Remember, you are scanning the surface of the wall and not the cavity itself.

Without a blower door your not getting accurate information about air leakage, which is what I assume this standard is for. Any number of thing can attribute a 2 degree difference on the surface of the wall.

In NYS a “REScheck” energy compliance sheet must be attached to the electric panel for all new construction. REScheck is a software tool developed by the DOE as an Energy Codes Compliance Checker.

Two degree IR standard is totally ridiculous!

Anyone can write a standard, even a dumb one. If they can find naive people to volunteer to follow it, you get this scenario. If the builder spec’d that 2 degree standard and the insulation guy bid to that standard, he’s probably stuck no matter how unrealistic it may be.

Last time I checked, which was quite a while ago, Holmes’ people were Level-I certified so they shouldn’t be writing quantitative standards. Even so, there are many things unrelated to insulation which will create a temperature variance greater than that. Even standing too close to the wall for too log will do it. They probably need to maintain thermal equilibrium for about six hours or more - no small feat itself. Control of thermal conditions and variables would be critically important to measure things to that degree. Even the imager is not rated for better than a 2C accuracy under controlled, ideal conditions. I would love to have the opportunity to read this standard and the measurement protocol that goes with it.

If this is all true the builder and insulation contract have screwed themselves by committing to build to standards provided by a TV personality. I can’t imagine any real house in an outdoor location ever clearing that standard or the conditions permitting accurate measurement to the standard unless you have the house in a test lab.

I just saw this thread Wow anyone that would try to set a 2 degree standard has no clue about IR. Just for giggles I turned on my camera just now and shot the temp of my office interior wall there is more than 2 degrees difference between the top and bottom of the wall just due to air strafication which would be present on any interior wall or exterior wall shot from the interior of the home

The AHJ is responsible, but it is not up to his discretion. The standard can be exceeded, but municipalities cannot set a lower standard. The AHJ can decide how to enforce it, but it has to at least meet the standard which would mean the builder providing that certificate.

That being said, I haven’t seen one new home which even comes close to meeting the standard and I too have never seen a certificate at the panel. Either the builders don’t know or they could care less.

2 degrees or 4 degrees / Who cares