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Building insulation guide to selection, installation, inspection, troubleshooting, & improvement:
This article series discusses how to inspect, diagnose and correct problems in building insulation or ventilation systems. We discuss Insulation R-values, Types, & other characteristics, Insulation types, R-values, installation, improvements, troubleshooting insulation & heat loss or un-wanted heat gain problems.
We also describe how to install or repair building insulation & ventilation systems including using stains and other clues to diagnose air movement, heat loss or moisture problems.
We also provide a MASTER INDEX to this topic, or you can try the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX as a quick way to find information you need.
Guide to Inspection of Building Insulation & Ventilation
The articles listed here provide in-depth discussions of how to identify various types of insulation and building ventilation systems, including where insulation or ventilation defects occur and what is their effect on buildings.
We also discuss various indoor air quality issues
involving building insulation such as asbestos and fiberglass particle contamination, mold in insulation, and building moisture and condensation where insulation and ventilation have not been properly installed.
Insulation products are used in a
very wide range of building products and building locations besides attic, ceiling, and wall insulation. Some kinds of insulation can be tricky to identify and may have special concerns which are discussed in these articles.
To find what you need quickly, if you don't want to scroll through this index you are welcome to use the page top or bottom SEARCH BOX to search InspectApedia for specific articles and information.
LOG HOME WALL INSULATION VALUES - discusses the insulation value of solid log wall homes compared with other structures, and it explains the principal errors people make when evaluating the cause of chilly log cabins.
MINERAL WOOL - ROCK WOOL INSULATION - properties; what is mineral wool or "rock wool" insulation. Is it the same as slag wool?Definition of mineral wool, slag wool, stone wool, rock wool and mineral fibre insulation products, insulation properties, R-values, IAQ hazards. Is there asbestos in mineral wool?
MOISTURE PROBLEMS in BUILDINGS: CAUSES AND CURES. Understanding moisture problems can steer you free of trouble, Steve Bliss: Building it Right, Solar Age, March 1983 p. 37, 38. -- Adapted with permission, from original material to form this web page article.
RADIANT BARRIERS - how do radiant heat barriers work in buildings, how should they be installed, how effective are radiant heat barriers, what about "radiant barrier insulation" products such as ALFOL™?
RADIANT HEAT FLOOR MISTAKES case history of improper placement of slab insulation and radiant heat tubing - don't let your contractor ruin your costly in-floor heating system as ours did
Canadian Insulation Standards: BASEMENT & CRAWL SPACE INSULATION in CANADA [PDF], NRC Canada, retrieved 2018/10/25, original source: www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy/efficiency/housing/home-improvements/keeping-the-heat-in/basement-insulation/15639
Ice Dam Leaks [web article] in building attics and roof cavities, how to inspect for evidence of leaks, identify causes, and correct bad attic ventilation, improper roof venting, and these causes of attic mold or roof structure damage
Moisture Problems: Causes and Cures [web article] Understanding moisture problems can steer you free of trouble", Steve Bliss: Building it Right, Solar Age, March 1983 p. 37, 38. -- Adapted with permission, from original material to form this web page article.
Asbestos: How to find and recognize asbestos in Buildings - visual inspection methods, list of common asbestos-containing materials
Asbestos products and their history and use in various building materials such as asphalt and vinyl flooring includes discussion which draws on ASBESTOS, ITS INDUSTRIAL APPLICATIONS, ROSATO 1959 [online re-published copy], D.V. Rosato, engineering consultant, Newton, MA, Reinhold Publishing, 1959 Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 59-12535 (out of print).
ASHRAE resources on building insulation, dew point and wall condensation - see the ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook, available in many libraries. The following three ASHRAE Handbooks are also available at the InspectAPedia bookstore in the third page of our Insulate-Ventilate section:
2005 ASHRAE Handbook : Fundamentals [link to purchase this document] Inch-Pound Edition (2005 ASHRAE HANDBOOK : Fundamentals : I-P Edition) (Hardcover), Thomas H. Kuehn (Contributor), R. J. Couvillion (Contributor), John W. Coleman (Contributor), Narasipur Suryanarayana (Contributor), Zahid Ayub (Contributor), Robert Parsons (Author), ISBN-10: 1931862702 or ISBN-13: 978-1931862707
"2004 ASHRAE Handbook - HVAC Systems and Equipment The 2004 ASHRAE Handbook
HVAC Systems and Equipment discusses various common systems and the equipment (components or assemblies) that comprise them, and describes features and differences.
This information helps system designers and operators in selecting and using equipment.
Major sections include Air-Conditioning and Heating Systems (chapters on system analysis and selection, air distribution, in-room terminal systems, centralized and decentralized systems, heat pumps, panel heating and cooling, cogeneration and engine-driven systems, heat recovery, steam and hydronic systems, district systems, small forced-air systems, infrared radiant heating, and water heating);
Air-Handling Equipment (chapters on duct construction, air distribution, fans, coils, evaporative air-coolers, humidifiers, mechanical and desiccant dehumidification, air cleaners, industrial gas cleaning and air pollution control);
Heating Equipment (chapters on automatic fuel-burning equipment, boilers, furnaces, in-space heaters, chimneys and flue vent systems, unit heaters, makeup air units, radiators, and solar equipment);
General Components (chapters on compressors, condensers, cooling towers, liquid coolers, liquid-chilling systems, centrifugal pumps, motors and drives, pipes and fittings, valves, heat exchangers, and energy recovery equipment); and
Unitary Equipment (chapters on air conditioners and heat pumps, room air conditioners and packaged terminal equipment, and a new chapter on mechanical dehumidifiers and heat pipes)."
"The 1996 HVAC Systems and Equipment Handbook is the result of ASHRAE's continuing effort to update, expand and reorganize the Handbook Series. Over a third of the book has been revised and augmented with new chapters on hydronic heating and cooling systems design; fans; unit ventilator; unit heaters; and makeup air units.
Extensive changes have been added to chapters on panel heating and cooling; cogeneration systems and engine and turbine drives; applied heat pump and heat recovery systems; humidifiers; desiccant dehumidification and pressure drying equipment, air-heating coils; chimney, gas vent, fireplace systems; cooling towers; centrifugal pumps; and air-to-air energy recovery. Separate I-P and SI editions."
"Energy Savers: Whole-House Supply Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Whole-House_Supply_Vent.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11880?print
"Energy Savers: Whole-House Exhaust Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Whole-House_Exhaust.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11870
"Energy Savers: Ventilation [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Ventilation.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Natural Ventilation [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Natural_Ventilation.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Energy Recovery Ventilation Systems [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Energy_Recovery_Venting.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy energysavers.gov/your_home/insulation_airsealing/index.cfm/mytopic=11900
"Energy Savers: Detecting Air Leaks [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Detect_Air_Leaks.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
"Energy Savers: Air Sealing [copy on file as /interiors/Energy_Savers_Air_Sealing_1.pdf ] - ", U.S. Department of Energy
Fiberglass: [web article] Indoor Air Quality Investigations: Health Concerns About Airborne Fiberglass: Fiberglass in Indoor Air from HVAC ducts, and Building Insulation
"Your state and local building codes probably include minimum insulation requirements, but to build an energy-efficient home, you may need or want to exceed them. For maximum energy efficiency, you should also consider the interaction between the insulation and other building components. This is called the whole-house systems design approach."
Insulation Types, [PDF] table of common building insulation properties from U.S. DOE. Readers should see INSULATION R-VALUES & PROPERTIES our own table of insulation properties that includes links to articles describing each insulation material in more detail.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST (nee National Bureau of Standards NBS) is a US government agency - see www.nist.gov
"A Parametric Study of Wall Moisture Contents Using a Revised Variable Indoor Relative Humidity Version of the "Moist" Transient Heat and Moisture Transfer Model [copy on file as/interiors/MOIST_Model_NIST_b95074.pdf ] - ", George Tsongas, Doug Burch, Carolyn Roos, Malcom Cunningham; this paper describes software and the prediction of wall moisture contents. - PDF Document from NIS
Piquet Wall Construction: See this photo of
piquet wall construction - involving timber-framed wall construction with long top girts, diagonal timber bracing, and small diameter logs
placed vertically along with concrete chinking to fill in the wall plane.
Plank House Construction: weblog from plankhouse.wordpress.com/2009/01/25/plank-house-construction/ and where plank houses were built by native Americans, see
Large 1:6 Scale Plank House Construction / P8094228,
Photographer: Mike Meuser
Rubblestone Wall Filler: See this Lartigue House [photo] using exterior-exposed rubblestone filler between vertical timbers of a post and beam-framed Canadian building.
"Weather-Resistive Barriers [copy on file as /interiors/Weather_Resistant_Barriers_DOE.pdf ] - ", how to select and install housewrap and other types of weather resistive barriers, U.S. DOE
More books and references including textbooks and articles for purchase at third party sources are given below at REFERENCES
19 March 2015 Steve said:
I'm trying to ID some attic insulation I have.
I see it (darker yellow, foam chunk looking) clearly depicted in the top photo of this page (inspectapedia.com/insulation/Insulation-in-Buildings.php) but what I don't see anywhere is a statement or description of what that image is showing?
Thank you kindly
The page top photo shows two generations of fiberglass - chopped and lighter yellow batts.
Continue reading at INSULATION AIR & HEAT LEAKS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.
Asbestos Identification, [link to purchase this text] Walter C.McCrone, McCrone Research Institute, Chicago, IL.1987 ISBN 0-904962-11-3. Dr. McCrone literally "wrote the book" on asbestos identification procedures which formed
the basis for current work by asbestos identification laboratories.
Stanton, .F., et al., National Bureau of Standards Special Publication 506: 143-151
Pott, F., Staub-Reinhalf Luft 38, 486-490 (1978) cited by McCrone
Brick Nogging, Historical Investigation and Contemporary Repair, [Web article] Construction Specifier, April 2006. Historical use of brick in timber-framed buildings, drawing on the investigations of the Kent Tavern in Calais, VT.
"Brick nogging is a European method of construction which was brought to the new world in the early-nineteenth century. It was a common construction method that employed masonry as infill between the vertical uprights of wood framing." -- quoting the web article review.
Insulate & Weatherize (Taunton's Build Like a Pro), [link to purchase this document] Bruce Harley. Review quoted:
An engineer who trains builders in energy-efficient construction, Harley offers a wealth of information that will allow readers to improve their home's efficiency, saving both money and natural resources. After an introductory section that explains the underlying principles of heat transfer, insulation, and air quality, Harley demonstrates basics such as weather-stripping and moves forward through advanced projects including insulation and major upgrades. Short "Pro Tips" as well as sections labeled "Trade Secrets," "What Can Go Wrong," and "In Detail" provide a great deal of helpful information. Increasing energy efficiency is one of the easiest ways for homeowners to save money
Principles of Heating, Ventilating, And Air Conditioning [link to purchase this document] A textbook with Design Data Based on 2005 ASHRAE Handbook - Fundamentals, Harry J., Jr. Sauer, Ronald H. Howell, William J. Coad. Quoting
... textbook for college level HVAC courses or independent study and review, especially when combined with the 1997 ASHRAE Fundamentals Handbook. Contains the most current ASHRAE procedures and definitive, yet easy to understand, treatment of building HVAC systems -- from basic principles through design and operation. Dual units of measurement.
Re-Bath, tub lining products is a bath tub relining manufacturer and distributor located in Tempe, Arizona - see rebath.com
Understanding Ventilation: How to Design, Select, and Install Residential Ventilation Systems, [link to purchase this document] John Bower, Quoting:
Understanding Ventilation is the only book that covers all aspects of exchanging the air in houses: infiltration, equipment selection, design, heat-recovery ventilators, sizing, costs, controls, whole-house filters, distribution, and possible problems that a ventilation system can cause--all in easy-to-understand language.
Weaver: Beaver Board and Upson Board:
Beaver Board and Upson Board: History and Conservation of Early Wallboard, Shelby Weaver,
APT Bulletin, Vol. 28, No. 2/3 (1997), pp. 71-78, Association for Preservation Technology International (APT), [link to purchase this document] available online at JSTOR.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones