Suburban Philadelphia Real Estate News


A Year And A Half Of Contractors, And 15 Minutes With A Thermal Camera

It is important to remember that when you have a problem, take the time to gather the facts and think about it logically to make sure the proposed solution makes sense. Thanks to Jay Markanich for this reminder.

We've heard this story before - a year and a half of contractors, and 15 minutes with a thermal camera.

This was a contact through ActiveRain!  And it was a story I have heard before.

Roofers came and determined that moisture in the living room ceiling (two floors below) was roof related.  And they "fixed" it.

Siding guys came and determined that it was squirrels and "fixed" it.

Plumbers came, tore out much of the ceilings on the middle level, determined it was NOT plumbing, and "fixed" it.

And a year and a half later the problem remained.

None of these contractors showed how it was that moisture got from the roof, or siding, COMPLETELY BYPASSED the bedroom above, to manifest in the living room ceiling two floors below.

I actually said to the client how water goes from A to C, without passing through B.

Without showing all the thermal images, the moisture meter determined there was more than 30% moisture in the living room ceiling.

And the camera showed right where the moisture was.

This is DIRECTLY below the master bath shower above.

That purple above the window is NOT wet.  It is a location that lacks insulation as it is very cold.

So, what to do?

This bathroom was used that morning for a shower.  It is used every morning for a shower.

So we ran the water for some time, easily mimicking another shower.

My thinking was that the problem was in the shower supply assembly and to let it all sit for a couple of days and see if it would dry out.  Sometimes it pays to experiment!

If that was not enough time, I was willing to wait a week and come back. 

No charge, of course, for more than one visit.

The client used the other bathroom for two morning showers.

Looking at the same location it was dry!  One small location showed moisture at only 25%, so things had dried out substantially.

And that after only two days!  Diagnosis correct!

So, what causes the problem?

Right above that spot is a shower stall.

Inside the wall is the handle and shower head plumbing supply connections.

It must be that since it was determined NOT to be a drain problem, it must be a supply problem.  The plumbers never checked that.

There must be slight dripping from either the diverter assembly where the handle is or the shower head connection.  When the water is demanded, dripping happens.  And we could tell that WITHOUT cutting drywall or making a mess!

Water goes down!  And in this case from B to C.  Eighteen months, various contractors and thousands of dollars later, the problem never was A!

This will be an easy fix.

So Mighty Mo proves himself again!  And thankfully. 

My recommendation:  a thermal camera is the best tool for determining problems WITHOUT doing damage to property.  Sure, it's part science and part art, and you have to do a little thinking.  You might have to do a little experimentation, like with the case above.  But an experienced thermographer can sometimes work little miracles!  Try it and see!  And remember, all thermographers are really cute.




Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia

Comment balloon 1 commentDavid Henke • April 22 2013 06:00AM


Thats a pretty cool way of discovering the source of a problem.  A shame that so many other methods were tried before the one that worked!

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) about 7 years ago

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