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Help Please - Cold air coming from base of wall/carpet/baseboard (NEW HOME)

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  • Dec 14th, 2010 11:43 am
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga

Help Please - Cold air coming from base of wall/carpet/baseboard (NEW HOME)

My house has just turned 2 years old and I have been requesting the builder to fix what I suspect is structural or insulation problem for the past year. Now both the builder and myself are pretty upset about the whole issue and I don't want to go into details. Basically the problem is that I can feel cold air coming from the base of wall/carpet/baseboard and from the heat vent (hence a cold bedroom for my 1-yr-old) especially if it's a cold & windy day. I proved this to the builder with a video showing tissue paper taped to the wall is moving when the heat is off (but builder said they didn't witness that). The bedroom will usually be around 20/21/22 degree when it's not very cold/windy outdoor or if it is cold like -15 or less plus windchill, the room will barely reach 19 degree. So, I always use a space heater. The builder insisted that insulation was correctly installed because he can see the insulation in place from the heat vent and otherwise the city inspector would not have passed them during construction stage ......

What would be the cause for cold air (more like breeze) coming from the base of wall/carpet/baseboard and heat vent? And any suggestion on possible fix?

To prove the cold air blowing from base of wall/carpet:

Experimental video 2

Experimental video 1

Thanks in advance.

Edit: videos uploaded
10 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 28, 2008
1177 posts
29 upvotes
Sarnia
You've got air leakage somewhere unforunately and without ripping the walls down or the floor up I don't know how you're going to find out.. The builder is probably lying. Did you get a new home warranty? Perhaps they can do something for you.. Is the room built over a garage or an unfinished basement?
Deal Expert
Oct 20, 2001
18709 posts
1160 upvotes
pkguy wrote:
Feb 13th, 2008 2:02 am
You've got air leakage somewhere unforunately and without ripping the walls down or the floor up I don't know how you're going to find out..
You don't have to rip apart walls... you can use a thermal infrared camera like at http://thermaview.ca/home.html

In the GTA, you can probably get an analysis through Green$aver -- http://www.greensaver.org/audit_hydro.html
These folks have taken over RFD, so I'm done here.

Mutu qabla an tamutu
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
I listed this item in the 1-yr and 2-yr warranty; however, the builder said that insulation can be seen in place from peaking through the heat vent and the city inspector approved the house and hence there is nothing wrong.

The builder said their visits to attend my concern is at their courtesy (although I think these are covered under warranty). The bedroom is above the family room and the family room is above a outdoor porch entrance. They fixed the cold floor in family room problem which I also complained) by reinstalling denser installation and a plastic which they said was an additional courtesy. They said that should also took care of the cold bedroom and cold air leaking in problem as well. However, that didn't help and I wrote again and the builder got pretty unset/angry in the letter and said that cold outdoor temperature and wind chill will have some effect to feeling wind through the wall/carpet joint. They said they will pay us the last courtesy visit to investigate my "belief" that there is a problem with insulation and that there is cold air leaking in.

I have another bedroom right next to this problem bedroom with the same wall, same direction. However, that bedroom doesn't have this wind coming from base of wall/carpet joint even on the same cold windy day. Also, isn't that pretty obvious that the videos indicated wind coming in along the joint?
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
Rehan wrote:
Feb 13th, 2008 2:28 am
You don't have to rip apart walls... you can use a thermal infrared camera like at http://thermaview.ca/home.html

In the GTA, you can probably get an analysis through Green$aver -- http://www.greensaver.org/audit_hydro.html
That cool. Although I think it's pretty obvious to see from the videos that air is leaking in, I'll see how much such a report will cost and how much would it be to fix this problem if the builder refused to fix this. Most of the windows are also leaking cold air into the house but I didn't bother complaining coz I think that's probably normal but through the wall/carpet joint ...
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 28, 2008
1177 posts
29 upvotes
Sarnia
air leaking through the windows on a two year old house is not normal either. There should be no drafts at all around the windows. Have you contacted the program that offered the home warranty. I would call them and at least register your complaints before time runs out.
I'd be furious if I bought a new house and had all those air leaks. Jus because the bulder says you can see the insulation around the dryer duct etc.. of course you can if that's the only place he put it so it could be seen. Whos' to say he didn't skim elsewhere or install it improperly before the interior walls went up... the inspector isn't there watching everything every minute.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Aug 12, 2005
1632 posts
22 upvotes
Mississauga
Called the Green$aver organization and they said that I should take the issue to the builder because the whole ecoENERGY Retrofit Program is really for old houses and that windows/doors etc should be pretty tight that one cannot feel the cold air leaking in. However, if I still want to do the "blowing door / pressurization test" which may not be useful, will be $149. For the "Home Energy Infrared Scans", it'll take at least $600 ...

Regarding the air leak from wall/carpet joint, I'll keep bugging my builder in the mean time or take it to the next level if they don't fix it.

Regarding the window air leakage, the warranty is only for 1-yr and I didn't report that. So, I'll just do some caulking myself and hopefully that will help.
Deal Expert
Oct 20, 2001
18709 posts
1160 upvotes
ayeung wrote:
Feb 13th, 2008 5:07 pm
Called the Green$aver organization and they said that I should take the issue to the builder because the whole ecoENERGY Retrofit Program is really for old houses and that windows/doors etc should be pretty tight that one cannot feel the cold air leaking in. However, if I still want to do the "blowing door / pressurization test" which may not be useful, will be $149. For the "Home Energy Infrared Scans", it'll take at least $600 ...
You should be able to get it for $225 from http://www.infraredscanning.ca/pricing.html
These folks have taken over RFD, so I'm done here.

Mutu qabla an tamutu
Sr. Member
User avatar
Sep 9, 2003
746 posts
55 upvotes
Calgary
Your description of air coming from the baseboards makes me think they didn't acoustic caulk the vapour barrier at the floor, as mind boggling as that sounds. After putting in the batt insulation, when they put the plastic vapour barrier over it, the plastic is supposed to be sealed to the floor with a black tar-like caulk. This prevents exactly what you are describing.

If you removed the baseboard you should be able to see the caulk holding the plastic right underneath the drywall (the drywall doesn't go all the way to the floor).
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Newbie
Apr 13, 2008
3 posts
Chicago, Illinois
malbadon wrote:
Feb 13th, 2008 6:06 pm
Your description of air coming from the baseboards makes me think they didn't acoustic caulk the vapour barrier at the floor, as mind boggling as that sounds. After putting in the batt insulation, when they put the plastic vapour barrier over it, the plastic is supposed to be sealed to the floor with a black tar-like caulk. This prevents exactly what you are describing.

If you removed the baseboard you should be able to see the caulk holding the plastic right underneath the drywall (the drywall doesn't go all the way to the floor).
I have to agree with MALBADON. There should be a vapor barrier stopping the airflow from the outside.

My first brand new home had this same issue (94'). As long as there's no evidence of moisture, I would do the following.

Pull back the carpet not too far or too much, use a tube of outdoor silicone caulk and fill the gap by forcing the caulk into the 1/2 inch gap between your drywall and the floor. By using your pinky, pack the caulk into the gap closing off the draft. Before it dries, with a screwdriver, push the carpet back underneth the baseboard making sure it's taunt and has caught on the carpet tacks. The caulk will dry and the carpet will stay intact. This should stop your draft from coming under your baseboard in the room.

When it comes down to removing the drywall to correct a draft, this way is definitley more cost affective. ;)
Newbie
Apr 8, 2008
1 posts
Brampton
It looks like I have the same issue.
ayeung - did you get any solution to this?
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