Latest Discussions : HVAC


09:55AM | 12/02/04
Member Since: 11/04/04
13 lifetime posts
I posted a question awhile ago about my upstairs being colder than the downstairs (newly-constructed home about one year old located in COLD COLD Michigan). The insulation guys just came by and said that in order to fix the problem, they would tear away the trim along the walls in the problem areas and caulk whatever gap there was between the wall plate and floor board. I was wondering, based on TomH's reply to my earlier posting...does this sound right? It still seems to me that there is insulation missing. Is it even possible now to go back and insulate those areas (along the rim joists) that were most likely missed at the beginning?

I would like to have a full understanding of what these guys really need to do. Thank you!


10:59AM | 12/02/04
Member Since: 11/27/04
172 lifetime posts
the rim joists not insulated is what i'm hearing from you.

tear open the drywall out 2 feet from the edge and insulate and vapor barrier. but if you have stippled ceilings then patching is a problem.that is if you know this area is not insulated.

if it is air coming in under the bottom wall plate.. then an accoustical caulk can be applied to this area behind the baseboard to stop air flow.

but can the problem also be in your heating ducts. there could be a damper in the system to cut back on the heat to the upstairs that is hidden or you don't know about.

does the insulator have a thermal imaging camera to check for hot spots in the walls from outside(denotes no insulation in areas).

this is great for not having to rip open spaces to inspect.


09:04PM | 12/02/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
Thanks for checking back. I'm alway curious how these problems pan-out. Caulking behind the base molding on the second floor is a real band-aid approach. I know of no home that relies on caulk along the wall/floor interface to prevent drafts. The proposed approach does not address the real problem, but saves a lot of labor and cost for the insulator. The answer remains insulating that space above the top plate of the first floor along the rim joist or band joist (whatever). As we discussed before, the builder's insulation subcontractor apparently omitted insulation in that critical space.

The suggestion was to inspect that space for the presence or absence of insulation. If there is no insulation, the building envelope has a major breech. The only solution is to install insulation with a vapor barrier facing the inside of the house. Ideally, the insulation will lay against the vertical rim joist and continue under the second floor a foot or two. That will eliminate the drafts and prevent the heat loss. Unfortunately as theeagle notes, this requires removing about 1 or two feet of ceiling along the wall downstairs.

Sounds like you still need to stick up for your position. Considered hiring a home inspector to provide you with a professional written opinion? You may need it before you are done dealing with this contractor.


09:12PM | 12/02/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
A small 1/2 inch hole in the first floor ceiling near the wall is adequate to inspect whether insulation is present. Just use a coat hanger or other thin probe to determine if there is insulation. If you strike wood (rim joist) insulation is missing. If insulation is present you will feel it. The inspection hole can be easily patched.


10:15AM | 12/23/04
Member Since: 11/04/04
13 lifetime posts
Hi again! And thanks to all of you that provided advice/insight for me in the midst of this problem.

Well, the builder's guys just finished applying "ice and water shield" along the "bond" at the first floor and between the first and second floor. Problem is, I'm not noticing any difference!!!! Also, I was just talking with an energy expert in Grand Rapids who said that the ice and water shield should not be applied where the rim joists are because they will eventually rot. I went out to ask the guys if that's where they put the shield and, sure enough, that's right where they put it!

I'm losin' it here, everyone!!! I'm ready to sell the house! There is so much air coming into our bathroom upstairs I have tried to stuff wisps of cotton underneath the trim with a cuticle stick!! C'mon!!! This house was $250,000!!!!

The energy "expert" in Grand Rapids can do a thermal imaging test and a blower door test for $400.00. Might have to bite the bullet on this one.

Merry Christmas!

any other advice/comments are appreciated.


10:22AM | 12/23/04
Member Since: 11/04/04
13 lifetime posts
Oh, just to a quote from the flooring guy to rip up vinyl and carpet so insulation guy can "caulk" the gap behind the trim....$725.00 plus moving out for a day.

Not sure this is worth it.

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