Mike’s long-standing dream had been to build a Passive House in upstate New York, but in the end he bought a brand-new home. Now he’s beginning to wonder whether it has some hidden problems.
“It is supposed to be well insulated, although not anywhere close to Passive House levels,” Mike writes in this recent Q&A post. “I have noticed some uneven snow melt on the roof and it has me concerned something is not right with the insulation details, or the HVAC system.”
He enclosed a photo (above) showing one side of the roof covered uniformly in a thin layer of snow while dark streaks of roofing appear through the snow on the other side.
“In my opinion on a roof that is facing the same direction, with no difference in shading, or slope changes the snow melt should be pretty much uniform if the insulation levels are the same,” Mike continues. “What are your thoughts? Do you think there is a problem here?”
That’s where we start this Q&A Spotlight.
Inside, more clues
Under-insulated, poorly air-sealed cathedral ceilings are problems that have popped up many times in posts at GBA, but in this case the roof on the right side of the house covers a vaulted ceiling with recessed LED lighting and shows no signs of snow melt. On the left is a staircase that goes up to the master suite.
“From my understanding there is spray foam, cellulose, and rigid foam used in this house, but I can’t tell you for sure when it transitions from one to the other,” Mike says. “I am assuming mostly cellulose in the attic areas, spray foam in the walls.”