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Looks Like It's Time To Make The Leap To I.R.


hausdok
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Hi All,

I just dodged a bullet; more or less by accident.

About six weeks ago I inspected a little modern cottage house for a lady. It's on a slab and heated with a bio-radiant heating system with in-wall forced hot air hydronic heaters. The water heater sits in a plastic overflow pan in a closet on the second floor.

Whenever I inspect one of those homes, I always tell the client to try and find out where the PEX is located in the walls and ceilings, so that they don't accidentally puncture one of the lines while hanging pictures after they move in; either by talking to the mechanical contractor that did the job or by having a thermographer come out, turn the heat up to full and then scan the walls.

Well, she did just that. About a week or so ago she called me to ask for some recommendations and asked me whether I saw an issue with one of my competitors that uses IR technology. I gave her some names and told her that the guy had a good rep locally.

Today I got an email. They'd done the inspection Thursday. Everything looked good until they scanned the interior of the pantry below the mechanical room where the IR camera revealed a damp spot. They cut a hole in the drywall; yep, the water heater is leaking above and apparently the pan is cracked under the water heater. She's got a pail catching the drip right now.

Jeez, what are the odds that my own recommendation to just do something extra as an optional precaution would accidentally uncover something like this?

No indication at the ceiling of that pantry of any issues at the time of the inspection and all of the walls were dry. I did not get up on a ladder to check the ceiling - maybe I should be doing that when there's a bathroom or mechanical room above, but in more than 14 years this is the first time I can remember something like this nearly biting me.

She's not mad. She realizes I don't have X-ray vision; but not all clients are so understanding or even want to be so understanding. Anyway, it's got me more than ever seriously considering the leap to IR.

Check out the photos below; especially the last three.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Jeez, what are the odds that my own recommendation to just do something extra as an optional precaution would accidentally uncover something like this?

I'd guess that there would indeed be fairly good odds of that happening especially if that 'something extra' is an IR scan of the whole house, given how revealing those devices are, but how is that different from a recommended sparky finding something new, or a foundation specialist? It's what we do on most inspections.

Marc

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You know, that might be just the thing I need to get the Korean Konnection on board, since she's the moisture meister on this team. I warn you though, every School of the House I perform is a marathon; no 2 to 2-1/2 hour inspections here. I've only got two speeds; slow and careful.

I'm going to be ordering a new Protimeter in the next day or two; let's see what we can set up. You've got my email, shoot me a message offline.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The IR cam does come in very handy for finding certain types of leaks that are otherwise not going to be easy to find. What are you going to do, scan the whole house with an SM? Even if you did, you'll still miss some leaks because the SM doesn't scan deep enough, and the anomalies that you do find, without any other supporting evidence, will make your head ache trying to figure out if they are a problem or not.

When you get an IR camera, you'll probably spend the first year doing complete scans. After a while, you'll find that a waste of time given your knowledge about buildings and where and when leaks are likely to be detected.

Chris, Oregon

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After a while, you'll find that a waste of time given your knowledge about buildings and where and when leaks are likely to be detected.

Chris, Oregon

That's what I'm finding. Doing complete scans is sorta goofy in some ways; I mean, what are folks looking for?

Knowing what I know after 6 months, honestly, if I had it to do all over again, I'm not altogether sure I'd buy in. There's been a half dozen revelation moments, that upon consideration, I could have found without IR if I'd been diligent.

Then again, diligence ebbs and flows depending on all sorts of considerations, distractions, red herrings, etc.

One thing for sure; folks think it's the coolest thing in the world. They stand around awestruck. Especially when you show them the location of radiant heat tubing in the floor. It even makes obnoxious overbearing 'zoids shut up.

Which, upon reflection, may make it a worthwhile investment.

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Hi,

It's kind of grainy, but she sent me a photo of the leak once they'd opened it up. It looks like they've installed an access panel. It's hard to see where it's coming from. Looks to me the leak is coming from the pipe elbow but it might just be draining off of something from above and dripping off the elbow. She says she's accumulated about 1/4-cup of water since Friday. The spot in the photo is pretty small. Either it's very recent or there was so little that it's simply been evaporating as quickly as it's dripped onto the drywall.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks Kurt.

I find your comment about possibly not buying in interesting (speaks volumes actually).

Thread drift alert:

BTW, the borescope I bought is still in the box. I took a few picture with it and it looks like [:-censore, very grainy and under exposed. I sent an email to the manufacture about the quality and never heard back.

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Thanks Kurt.

I find your comment about possibly not buying in interesting (speaks volumes actually).

Thread drift alert:

BTW, the borescope I bought is still in the box. I took a few picture with it and it looks like [:-censore, very grainy and under exposed. I sent an email to the manufacture about the quality and never heard back.

Ok Terrence, you have interesting timing. I got mine in yesterday. Was very excited to see it. I had the exact same thoughts on the picture quality. With the pixel count it should at least be able to have a 3x4 picture with decent quality. I can't see hardly anything with this thing. I'll be calling the manufacturer today to find out if I'm doing something wrong. If not, sending it back.

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Thanks Kurt.

I find your comment about possibly not buying in interesting (speaks volumes actually).

Thread drift alert:

BTW, the borescope I bought is still in the box. I took a few picture with it and it looks like [:-censore, very grainy and under exposed. I sent an email to the manufacture about the quality and never heard back.

Ok Terrence, you have interesting timing. I got mine in yesterday. Was very excited to see it. I had the exact same thoughts on the picture quality. With the pixel count it should at least be able to have a 3x4 picture with decent quality. I can't see hardly anything with this thing. I'll be calling the manufacturer today to find out if I'm doing something wrong. If not, sending it back.

OK, brand name(s) please so that the rest of us can avoid them. Don't suppose you two would like to put your heads together and do a borescope review article for TIJ? Maybe you could get some other manufacturers to loan you samples of their product for a "scope off."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks Kurt.

I find your comment about possibly not buying in interesting (speaks volumes actually).

Thread drift alert:

BTW, the borescope I bought is still in the box. I took a few picture with it and it looks like [:-censore, very grainy and under exposed. I sent an email to the manufacture about the quality and never heard back.

Ok Terrence, you have interesting timing. I got mine in yesterday. Was very excited to see it. I had the exact same thoughts on the picture quality. With the pixel count it should at least be able to have a 3x4 picture with decent quality. I can't see hardly anything with this thing. I'll be calling the manufacturer today to find out if I'm doing something wrong. If not, sending it back.

OK, brand name(s) please so that the rest of us can avoid them. Don't suppose you two would like to put your heads together and do a borescope review article for TIJ? Maybe you could get some other manufacturers to loan you samples of their product for a "scope off."

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Slave driver.

Mine is the EXTECH BR200.

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Extech BR250.

And yeah, that sounds like fun. Terence, you interested?

Ya, we can cobble something together I would think. I can get in touch with the different manufactures and explain what we're trying to do. I'm hoping that most are dishonest and would like to bribe me (times being what they are and all [:-angel]).

Shoot me an email at hlis@windstream.net Grant.

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