The results of an infrared survey can be delivered to the client as a technical report.containing high resolution images and recommendations to help resolve any problems. This can be invaluable for anyone who recently purchased a brand new house, and is finding it losing heat quickly. The report can provide a basis for discussion with the builder and NHBC to get things sorted. If this is you, call Tom on 01357 520557.

However for older properties, solutions to some of the heat loss problems we see are often much simpler, and would have been standard practice for previous generations. 

A good surveyor will seek to understand the needs of the client, and provide a tailored report that provides an appropriate balance of technical and practical.  

So if you live in an older property and are wondering what 21st century technology you could implement to make your house more energy efficient, before you reach for solar panels (or at least at the same time!) think back first to what you saw at your grandparents’ house! 

1.Closing curtains at dusk

Even if you have double glazing closing your curtains at dusk can make a huge difference to heat loss from the house – have a look at our thermal image gallery at http://www.thermalimageuk.com. Make sure the curtains are set to the window side of any radiators, and that they reach the floor or window sill, creating as much of a seal as possible. This will not only direct warm air from the radiator in to the room, but will restrict the amount of cool air that gathers and sinks from the relative coolness of the glass on to the floor. This unrestricted flood of cool air can create the sensation of draughts.

2. Draught-proofing

Remember the sausage dog behind the living room door that kept out the draughts?! While you need to ensure that you maintain adequate ventilation (especially if there is gas fire or similar), by simply cutting down on the level of draughts you can create a more comfortable living environment (particularly if your feet become warmer), and turn down the heating. 

3.Stop heat leaking up the chimney

If there’s an open fire and it’s not in use then use a chimney balloon (rather than the old newspaper from days gone by) to slow down the rate of warm air leakage up the chimney. While you might not have noticed the warm air leaking out through the chimney, you will have noticed the cool air getting sucked in from windows, floorboards etc to replace it!, and perhaps wrongly diagnosed the main source of the problem. Just slowing the rate of air flow down a little and eliminating some draughts can make a big difference. 

 

 

 

 

Call Tom at thermalimageguy (Thermal Image UK) on 01357 520557 if you would to arrange a survey or discuss how to cut your heating bills

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The introduction of air testing in Scotland in Section 6 of the 2010 Scottish Building regs has definitely resulted in a better build standard. Whereas previously gaps and unsealed openings which were out of sight could be ignored, the air test (or air pressure test/ air tightness test/ air leakage test as it’s sometimes known) means that a minimum air tightness standard has to be achieved (10m3/h/m2). Excessive air leakage results in excessive energy costs, and the introduction of new regulations to address this can only be a good thing for homeowners and building managers. For more information go to http://www.thermalimageuk.com

So what are the top three reasons for failing an air test?

1.Surpringy the no.1 reason that we have experienced for failing an air test is a house being built too air tight! The builder in an attempt to avoid the house failing for being too leaky, goes too far in the opposite direction and seals up every opening and joint. As a guideline 10m3/h/m2 is the minimum standard under the new Scottish regs. Our air testing has shown that with due care to the building process this can readily be achieved. In fact under 7m3/h/m2 can also fairly readily be achieved if care is taken to use standard construction details and seal openings and penetrations as required. Once a house scores between 3 & 5 m3/h/m2 then a much higher air tightness standard is being achieved. In this range, the architect must satisfy him or herself (and the verifier) that there is adequate natural ventilation provision in the house design, for example through trickle vents or include some form of assisted ventilation. We’ve tested some houses which have scored 2.6 m3/h/m2 when a target of under 7 was being targeted. The builder is frustrated to realise that ironically by taking less care they would have passed the test…. however in the long run (and next iteration of Building Standards) an ability to ‘build tight, ventilate right’ will pay off for good builders. In cases where the house is too air tight, assisted ventilation has to be introduced – for example through changing over extractor fans to continuous running fans, or introducing humidity activated ventilation – check with your architect and Local Authority verifier for your house design. For a house scoring under 3 m3/h/m2 then some form of assisted ventilation must be included. The risks of under provision of ventilation include poor air quality and condensation.

2. The next most common reason we’ve encountered for failing an air test in Scotland is leaks around penetrations – for example unsealed areas around boiler flues, toilet waste pipes, under the kitchen sink, electricity cabling etc etc. Cumulatively these can results in signficant losses, however the good news is if found early enough they can fairly easily be corrected.

3. Our third most common area for failing a house is due to leaks at floor to skirting. However these only tend to affect properties which are targeting a higher air tightness, for example under 7 m3/h/m2, and reference should be made to the architectural drawings and construction details to see what should be in place for your house.

For more information visit our website www.thermalimageuk.com or call me Tom Barbour on 01357 520557. We are based in central Scotland and carry out air testing in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayr, Stirling, Perth, Dundee, Aberdeen and all across Scotland.