Customer Story by Cheryl Lewis of Oswego, IL
I purchased a townhome in 2007. The master bedroom, bath and closet were all above the garage but I was totally unaware of the real problem this can be. Each year, the pipes in the master bedroom either froze and/or burst. Year 1, they froze. The builder pretended to do something to the pipes and THEYbrought out some guys who showed them that my carpeted floor was 50 degrees and the wall in my master closet below my window but ABOVE the heating vent was 34 degrees. They replaced the insulation in the garage's ceiling with a 'brand new' insulation specifically made for rooms over garages. I told them the unit had a design flaw. Year 2, the pipes burst in two places. The builder paid for the plumber and put some insulation in the garage walls and in the attic but I had to pay for everything else. (This includes the damage done to my front door by the police fire dept since it happened while I was out of town. I have great neighbors!) They also froze this year, and I couldn't take it anymore. In addition to being afraid of my pipes bursting again, my master bedroom and closet were really cold. I had theories and contractors willing to do whatever I asked in this economy, but I decided to find out what the problem was by someone who actually knew what they were doing. I needed some type of audit or assessment of what the problems were. They talked to me over the phone at length, and I really appreciated that. They came to my house and did an audit which took about 2.5 hours. They were ALL over the house -- especially in the attic and garage. They used infrared cameras. They also turned off my heat and pilot lights, opened my front door and put a 'fake' door with a fan in the middle of it. They were trying to suck out the air to create a type of vacuum to find areas of infiltration. I have 3 floors. They then wrote a lengthy audit. This cost $400. With this audit, I could either have them do the work or have someone else do it. I was so happy with them, I had them do the work. They did the following: ATTIC: They sealed the "top plate" with that foam stuff to prevent cold air from the attic from getting to the pipes. The builder had put the insulation next to the drywall (preventing any heat from getting to them from the house) so the pipes were not protected nor allowed to get any heat. When the pipes froze, the plumber expressed concern re: the cold air he felt. GARAGE: (1) They sealed the gap in the garage where the floor meets the drywall. (2) They insulated the walls at my insistence. BASEMENT: Sealed the rim joists in the front and back of the townhouse. The idea was to stop cold air from getting in from the garage and attic. The builder had done some similar work in the garage and attic after the pipes froze but they didn't do very much.