A good way to find insulation gaps in your home is with a thermal infrared imaging camera. In the past these were very expensive, but they’re a lot cheaper now, especially if you don’t mind owning a less powerful model.
For my needs, the FLIR ONE for iOS hits the mark. It’s inexpensive and has a detailed enough resolution to measure the temperature variances in my walls and ceiling.
The FLIR ONE Connected to my iPhone Permalink
As you can see, the FLIR ONE connects to the iPhone via the Lightning Connector. To use it you plug it in, turn it on, and connect it with FLIR ONE iOS app.
The FLIR ONE has two cameras. One is for the thermal imaging, while the other is for the photo overlay so that you can better discern what you’re looking at. Pretty neat if you ask me!
My DIY Thermal Imaging Audit Permalink
I have spent a lot of time air sealing my attic in preparation for adding extra insulation. Although I know that my attic is under insulated, I still wanted to find the areas that really need remediation.
To that end, I waited for a 90 °F day and ensured that our central air conditioning was off while we were away from the house. Only when we returned around 3:30 PM did we turn the AC on. That is when I started taking photos, which show a wide variance of temperatures on my ceiling.
What I Discovered Permalink
These are the areas of my attic that I’ll need to take care to air seal and insulate to ensure sufficient R-value.
The Top Plate Permalink
Where the exterior walls meet the ceiling there is very little insulation, which may be explained by the low pitch of the roof. It’s difficult to access and there are no baffles or barrier to prevent the existing blown-in insulation from covering the soffit vents.
Recessed Can Lights Permalink
We have many recessed can lights that break the thermal plane. I have installed airtight insulated covers over them, but the heat is obviously still coming through. I took these photos with the lights off, if you wondered whether that were a contributing factor.
Random Areas Permalink
During my work in the attic I have been careless about moving and compressing the existing blown-in insulation. As a result there are patches that have no insulation whatsoever. I hope to cover every surface in at least a couple feet of insulation, if not more.
The Future Permalink
I plan to take more photos once I’ve added additional blown-in insulation to the attic. I am interested in comparing the images the before and after images, both in the winter and in the summer.
Obligatory Cat Photo Permalink