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phreaq 09-04-2007 11:20 AM

Insulating brick walls

I live in a 100+ years old schoolhouse, that is made from brick. In fact, there are 3 layers of brick around the house (I've drilled 2 holes for ductwork, and it was killer!).

My issue is, there is no insulation on the inside of my house. It's my understanding the 3 layers of brick is creating 2 air pockets, and that's the insulation. Is there any method of adding more insulation (increasing the R value), by injecting something into the air cavities?

To complicate things further, my upstairs still has the original chalkboard and tin walls, so anything I do will be restricted to outside access only.

Is this even possible? Will I even notice a difference?

Thanks in advance,

Has anyone seen my brain today? (^_^)

travelover 09-04-2007 01:16 PM

I'd concentrate on insulating the ceiling and limiting air leakage from door windows and holes. Wall insulation is not as critical and you have a unique situation that will make insulating the walls expensive.

CraigFL 09-04-2007 02:27 PM

I don't think you're going to have enough space between the brick to put anything of decent R value either. If you need to insulate, you may have to put high R panels on the inside of the wall and recover with wallboard. Although you have little insulation, you have significant thermal mass so I would expect the temperature change thru the wall to be slow. Wait until winter to see where the real problems are. You can investigat with a IR heat gun to see where your losing heat or use IR film. Homefully, you can insulate the ceiling where a lot of heat loss will be.

phreaq 09-05-2007 07:33 AM

thanks for the replies guys, gives me a little comfort, since you're saying what I was thinking.

It seems I was looking for Cavity Wall Insulation, but it doesn't seem to be too popular where I live. One gentlemen was saying the exterior bricks may get destroyed, as a 1" dia hole needs to be drilled into the wall at various places.

As for the house having "significant thermal mass", you couldn't be more right. It takes days for the house to warm up or cool down compared to the outside world.

I'm a bit intriqued by the "IR heat gun" comment, I've never heard of this process, how is it used?

CraigFL 09-05-2007 10:16 AM

This is what I was talking about but I'm sure you can find them less expensive:

All you have to do is to "shoot" the walls at various places and measure temperature logging them on a drawing.

mudmixer 09-05-2007 11:58 AM

Becarefull with the "IR heat gun".

If you do not know how to read it you can be off by several hundred percent. You have to understand the different types of heat flow.

A R50 masonry wall can look like a hole in the side of a building with the windows looking good - That is how far they can mislead you. - Not for amateurs!

phreaq 09-05-2007 12:15 PM

Thanks for the link Craig, I know what you mean know.

As for the guns themselves, it seems the price is a factor of the accuracy of the unit. What tolerance should I be looking for? I didn't see any listed on that site, but have seen them on others.

Mudmixer, thanks for the insight. I'd like to have a go at this and realize there is a technique to be followed. I'd apreciate any insight you may have.

inspectorD 09-08-2007 08:42 AM

Outside the box
Why buy ir gun when you need an infra red thermal imaging camera to let you know the picture.
Companies are out there to do thermal heat scans and give you a report on the issues...even find water leaks. Check out home inspectors, heat loss companies and even a good heat/ac company can do this for you.
I know this is a DIY forumn but this is not a DIY project...its science.

Besides its like paying for some scoolin...and the money you save by getting a professional to look at it is nothing compared to the price of heattin yer home.;)

I have the thermometer and the infrared camera....use them frequently and the camera is hands down the way to go. Plus the camera company makes you go to a two week course to learn how to use the camera and how to report what you see.

At the most... $500 bucks for a simple easy lookin at.

phreaq 09-10-2007 09:50 AM

Thanks inspectorD.

I agree, I would rather have a Pro tell me where to focus on, but.... I live in quite a rural area, and it's slim pickings with pros in the area. I called a few, and 'they used to do it' but only seem to focus on insulation installation now.

inspectorD 09-12-2007 07:17 PM

I would go with what the fellas said early on. Go with the attic and window /air leakage first and see how it helps.

Keep your eyes out for those energy audits if someone can do them in your area. Try for a good inspector...we are even in Canada.:D

Sometimes even your local utility co. will do energy audits. Check it out.:)

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