Thermal Energy Leak – Compare Wall and Ceiling Insulation

Many homes in NZ don’t have insulation in the walls and suffer heat loss in a big way.

Although there are now government subsidies to assist you with costs of installing insulation, most people don’t even know if there is insulation behind their walls in the first place.

If you live in a home built in the 50’s, 60’s and so on up to the year 2000, it doesn’t always mean the home has no insulation. In many cases, the home has been renovated and insulation batts or spray foam insulation has been installed along the way.

Here’s a thermal image of missing insulation in a wall, compared to a ceiling that does have insulation…

Darker Colour Walls is Cooler
Darker Colour Wall is Cooler

As you can see, the wall is cooler in this image and the ceiling is much warmer. When you have a clear surface temperature difference on the gib board wall like this house, it’s quite obvious there’s a lack of insulation. Climbing into ceiling space to install a thermal barrier like insulation is easy, but to insulate the walls requires more money due to the intrusive nature required to do such a job… and that’s why some home owners skip that step.

So how do you know if you have heat energy loss issues in your home?

Let me say this. I inspect and detect issues behind walls in many New Zealand homes… but I had no idea this home had no insulation behind the walls until I scanned it with the infrared thermal imaging camera… I then knew right away. As you can see in the above photo, there would be serious heat loss issues in this particular house.

Something else to consider when looking to install insulation, is how much of your wall do the windows take up? Some windows take up 80% of a wall is some cases, so if the window is single glazed, it’s almost pointless going to the expense of insulating the other 20% because the large cold window surface could knock out the effect of the insulation! 

Thermal imaging cameras are the tool of choice to see temperature differences of walls and ceiling… and lack of insulation. It’s simple, fast and no holes go in your walls!

Ceiling Insulation Batts Missing After CCC Issued!

Here’s just another reason why a thermal home inspection should be considered when buying a home in NZ:

This should make you scratch your head…

Recently I performed a thermal imaging inspection on a home built in 2005 in the Greenhithe/North Shore area, and what I found was very ‘unethical’ to say the least. If you weren’t aware, council requires ceiling insulation to be installed before issuing a Code of Compliance Certificate (CCC) on the home.

Well… the builder had removed the ceiling insulation pink batts out of the home AFTER the council issued the CCC! Yes, you read that correctly. The batts were installed when building the house, then completely removed before handing the keys to the new owner. I wonder how many homes that same set of batts has been through now??

Take your time when purchasing a home. Here’s what insulation looks like through an infrared camera…

We see what building inspectors dont see!
We see what building inspectors don't see!

Infrared – Damaged or Missing Insulation Causing Heat Loss

If you’ve ever thought about infrared thermal imaging as a way to detect missing or damaged insulation in your home, then this picture should ‘tell a thousand words’

When we perform pre purchase inspections with the infrared camera, we are also looking for missing insulation that could be causing heat loss. During a building inspection in Auckland recently, we found a complete wall that was substantially cooler then the rest of the walls in the home. For a home buyer, this is obviously a concern for a couple of reasons… 1) The home is not energy efficient at all, and 2) The home will cost more to heat (more money).

Here’s a photo of the corner of one of the rooms showing the warmer side on the left, and the cooler side of the wall on the right. Same room – larger temperature variations…

thermal image of missing insulation

This is just another reason why an infrared inspection is very useful when buying a home!

Do You Have a Roof, Building Envelope or Insulation Warranty Still in Effect?

If you currently have a warranty in place for your roof, insulation or building envelope, here is some very important information for you to read…

Lets say you have a 5 yr builders warranty on your home roof, and 4 years have passed without a hitch. Does this mean there’s isn’t a problem with the roof, and everything should be fine? No. You may not be able to see it, but there could be air leaks, trapped water between the membrane and insulation, leaks in roof tiles, cracked tiles, popped nails on tin roofs etc. All these usually go undetected until it’s too late.

roof leak water infiltration

Get a thermal imaging scan to maximise your warranty!

What’s happening behind your walls? We can do a scan of your ceiling and see any unusual thermal anomalies that could be caused by either an air leak(s) or latent moisture. These common issues are usually a result of a roof failure.

We can take a thermal image of any detected issues found in your ceiling to assist your case if you need to make a warrenty claim! This method of early detection could also apply to any other current warranty you have on components in your home.

Call us today for a ‘warranty claim check up’.

(Pic provided by thermal imaging survey)

What Missing Insulation Looks Like

Here’s an interesting photo for you. Just like a helicopter can detect criminals trying to hide in the bush at night time with infrared thermal imaging, NZ Leak & Heat Loss Detection Ltd. can now do the same for you and your home with missing insulation and air leaks.

missing insulation

In today’s construction world, some trades people like to cut corners… and they ‘think’ we can’t see what they do behind the walls. Here’s a classic photo example taken from the street outside a home… can you spot the missing insulation?

If the temperature inside your home experiences wide variations on any given day, or something just doesn’t seem right with the inside temperature compared to previous years, give us a call. Detection of missing insulation is exactly what we do. We can even start the process of thermal imaging on your home before we even pull into your driveway… as this photo to the left hand side demonstrates.

Contact us today on our free call number for a LIVE quote.