Thermal Camera - The New Smell Detector?

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

On a recent thermal examination of a house I was called on to find the usual - diagnose why rooms are hot and cold, if recent roof repairs stopped further moisture intrusion as intended, and so forth.  It went well. 

I had a very unusual diagnosis to make also.  My client said, "When I am standing at my kitchen sink, I can smell what is going on outdoors.  For example, when my neighbor fertilizes his yard, I can smell it almost immediately."

There are many things a thermal image camera can detect, but I have never used it to diagnose fertilizer smells.

But why not try?  So I set out to find the problem.  Air infiltration was happening somewhere.  But where?

Looking above the kitchen sink it wasn't hard to see why.

The sink is located in a 3 foot bump out, with its own double window. That's a pretty common architectural design.  But looking above we see why air, and smells, can get in.  The left image is of the window and the ceiling above the sink.  The right image is the corner of that bump out, over the corner cabinet.  The cannister lights and square light over the sink are evident.

The purple area is the ceiling of that bump out.  There is no insulation there!  That area is 58 degrees F.  The outdoor temperature is 55F.  There are soffit vents under the gutter just over that window, where air is supposed to get in.  It does!

What is in that air will easily filter into the kitchen, through those lights and even through the drywall!  Hence, the fertilizer smell.

She said, "Oh, so that's why it gets so hot and cold there when I am at the sink!"  Um, yes!

My recommendation:  Don't underestimate the power of your home inspector's thermal infrared camera!  We inspectors are finding new uses for them every day!

 

 

Posted by

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the world to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
Groups:
Active Rain Block Party
Professional Home Inspectors
The Vent
Tags:
thermal imaging
thermal infrared inspection
missing insulation
air infiltration

Comments 12 New Comment

Rainmaker
77,850
Eric Middleton
Professional Property Inspector
Closer Look Property Inspections Inc.

Hey Jay,

Simply put, nice detective work. Work like that helps the value of a home inspection to gain ground in the real estate industry.

November 21, 2009 09:44 PM
Rainmaker
1,172,646
Steven L. Smith
Bellingham WA Home Inspector
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc

So far, I am old fashioned enough that I have to use my nose.

November 21, 2009 11:58 PM
Rainmaker
1,171,126
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

Eric - there is a mental paradigm shift needed before consumers really recognize the value and power of a thermal infrared inspection.  I think it has yet to take hold among home inspectors!!  I have been doing it now for five years and my camera is a powerful arrow in my quiver of home inspection tools.

Steve - that seems to work every time!  It did for this lady.  That's one reason she googled and called me!

November 22, 2009 06:22 AM
Rainmaker
1,277,104
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
WI Realtors - Luxury - Short Sale - CDPE, REDS
Keller Williams 414-525-0563

Hey Jay...come on out here where you would REALLY be able to test the camera...and work hand and shutter with the insulation specialist !

November 23, 2009 06:13 AM
Rainmaker
1,171,126
Jay Markanich
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC

S&D - the camera sees in 1/10th degree increments.  It is very powerful.  A deeper purple (or whatever color I set the camera on) would be the result if the temps in the attic were colder.  Insulation in your area is very dear - it better be thick!  The camera would be able to see where they skimped in insulation in the walls, in addition to where it is not well placed or not present...

November 23, 2009 03:59 PM
Rainmaker
1,171,126

Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
You may contact me anytime...
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Accessibility option: listen to a question and answer it!

To submit the form,
drag the chair to the circle on the side.

Type below the answer to what you hear. Numbers or words, lowercase:

Additional Information

An experienced home inspector's look at current home inspection events and conditions along with his useful recommendations.