how to locate holes behind installed cabinets?

carolssisDecember 13, 2011

When we bought our home, we knew the kitchen had been remodeled. New cabinetry along one whole wall, with fridge and stove, around corner to sink and dishwasher. In winter, the floors are really cold near the corner of sink, and again in front of pantry. From looking at the home repairs and other things, I think previous owner had no experience in installing cabinets, and instead of repairing holes in walls, he left them, thinking they wouldn't matter since they are behind the cabinets. Problem is, all cabinets were installed on top of new tile, which has 1/4 in. grout lines, and isn't a real smooth tile. Room for air flow. So, now that I know there has to be leaks in the walls, how do we find out where they are without taking cabinetry completely out? The pantry is a separate unit, with trim that extends across adjoining cabinets, not easy to remove. The sink unit is butted against cabinet around corner, so counter top is "L" shaped, and would be difficult for us to remove, we are not spring chickens. The reason I'm sure we have holes is that the floor is not cold in front of fridge, cabinet and stove, which are all next to each other and easy to feel cold from the other two places compared to there. And, yes, both of the walls are outside walls. We may be able to remove siding on wall outside behind sink, but wall behind pantry is brick. And one have any ideas how we can find the air leak? Our butget is limited, but we may be able to save on heating costs. Thanks so much

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sierraeast

What is your foundation type? If on a crawlspace with access, possibly someone can crawl under and inspect the areas concerned.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 10:15AM
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brickeyee

The interior wall surface is the last defense against air leaks.
Closing up a hole in the wall surface is unlikely to solve your problem.

The cold air has to get into the wall somewhere else.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2011 at 1:48PM
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graywings123

I live in an old house and have the same issue in the kitchen. In my case it is the complete lack on insulation on the outside wall.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2011 at 9:40AM
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kudzu9

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to find any holes. You would have to remove all cabinetry and inspect the area behind the cabinets to make that determination. Even relatively small cracks or gaps can allow cold air to flow. (For example, if you put your hand by a receptacle in an uninsulated wall, you can often feel air blowing out of the slots for the plug.)

The two things I can think of that don't involve removing the cabinets are: 1) caulk anywhere you can see a gap on the inside; this also means pulling out appliances so you can caulk along the sides of the cabinets at the floor and up along the walls where the cabinets meet the wall. This is not an ideal approach, but is better than nothing.

2) In addition, have a qualified contractor blow insulation into the walls from the outside. They don't remove the siding; they blow the insulation in through 2" holes that they drill and then plug. This would not only cut down on leaks, but cut down on a lot of heat loss through the walls that happens independent of the leaks.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 2:44PM
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woodbutcher_ca

Hi you may not have holes in the wall. Floors in front of refrigerator most times are warm because the fan exaust warm air from the condenser and compressor across the floor.
Good Luck Woodbutcher

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 6:13PM
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energy_rater_la

The least invasive route would be to caulk all sides of the cabinets where they meet the walls. If you seal some of the leaks the air will just go to next crack.

blowing insulation in to the wall may lessen the
air flow, but it won't stop it. if you have any
insulation in the walls already..blowing insulation
into the wall won't work very well.

can you post pics?

best of luck

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 10:46AM
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