What I'm Seeing Now

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Solarfried

Sometimes you look at things and don't have to think too much about what is happening.  Even when you haven't seen it before!

REFLECT - verb - to throw back light without absorbing it
REFRACT - verb - to make a ray of light change direction when it enters at an angle
MAGNIFY - verb - to intensify or exaggerate

Every kid knows that you can magnify light and focus it into a point so small it can heat up and explode an ant.  We might not think of a small, focused beam of light as magnification, but that is what it really is.  The beam is super intensified, but only at a specific distance and onto a specific point.

I have never seen this before!

When the deflector shades were moved away it revealed that sunlight had been magnified so much it actually charred the kitchen floor!

This is a double-pane glass door.

It is considered "energy efficient."

It is not.

It is said to be able to reflect heat.

It does not.

People unknowingly think that because a window or door is "double pane" it is "efficient."  Not so...

The double-pane glass is essentially acting as a magnifying glass, focusing light, and therefore heat, within a specific area beyond the door. 

Facing southwest, this certainly only happens a couple of months during the year, when the angle of the sun is perfectly suited to such focus.

Why do you think the left side is more charred than the right?

Simple!  The screen is usually closed.  That tiny, little screen provides enough diffusion of the light, not refraction, to break up its focus and therefore its heat.  Notice how the less charred area is exactly the same distance from the door?  It gets hotter than usual, but not THAT hot!

This is something of a close up of that charred area.

How old is this house?  FIFTEEN YEARS!

If we assume this happens 3 months a year, which is probably a very liberal assumption, but since not every day has sunshine, we are looking at much less than 4 years worth of heat.

I would be interested in just how hot this spot gets!

This same heat would/could affect window sills, kitchen counters, furniture, rugs - anything that sits unmoving within the zone of magnification!

What do you think it does to the efficiency of the HVAC system?

I don't know about you, but this is making me hungry.

For some reason I'm kinda feeling like a hot dog on the grill!  With lotsa fixins'!  Wanna join me?

My recommendation:  remember, oh remember, boys and girls, physics works every time!  Pay attention to control it, or you might get burned!

 

 

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


Comment balloon 34 commentsJay Markanich • June 28 2011 07:33AM

Comments

Holy smoke...or could be...an indoor grill where you would least expect it !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 7 years ago

Good morning, Jay. I don't think I have ever seen this before. That has to be at the perfect angle for this to happen...

Posted by TeamCHI - Complete Home Inspections, Inc., Home Inspectons - Nashville, TN area - 615.661.029 (Complete Home Inspections, Inc.) about 7 years ago

I wonder S&D, do you think it would fry an egg?  Inquiring minds want to know!

Michael - it's the southwest side, and must just be the perfect angle of the house.  I wondered if the houses next door had the same problem!  That is really hot!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, I have also never seen that before. I would have been very concerned once it started and maybe investigated some type of tinting to the glass to maybe break it up.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 7 years ago

Ed - I told the clients they would have to go with ceramic tile (which might discolor!) and probably some form of solar film on the lower portions of the glass.  But I don't know!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Wow!  That's a first for me!

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) about 7 years ago

Me too Bliz.  But the grill is hot!  Come on over!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

You learn something every day.  I want to know why they did not fix this before it went on the market.   It does resemble a hot dog!

Posted by Coral Gundlach, Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate. (Compass) about 7 years ago

Thanks Coral.  Now I'm hungrier...  Well, come on over!

That would have involved replacing the floor for the kitchen and eating space entirely.  The sellers NEED to sell the house - not yet on foreclosure, but apparently on the edge.  The buyers weren't fazed, wanting to replace the kitchen and floor anyway.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Jay, I have never seen anything like this before. 

When you look at the pattern, it seems to be predominantly one half of the Sliding door with the burn... I wonder if this is happening when the doors are opened and combining there refractive properties...

Now I am wondering if this (refraction or magnification) has ever caused a fire, or a home to burn down?

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 7 years ago

Wow! That is interesting and like Michael stated above, the angle has to be just right. We have not seen this situation before. Thanks so much for including this on the AR.

Posted by Atlanta's Home Inspector, David Lelak IHI Home Inspections, Experience the IHI Difference (IHI Home Inspections 404-788-2581) about 7 years ago

I doubt it Chris.  Paper burns at 451F.  I know that because I read Bradbury's book.  I doubt it gets that hot.

D&B - you're welcome!  I run across weird stuff all the time!  Those weirdities are usually the focus of my posts here.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

That's new to me.  NEVER seen that before either.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) about 7 years ago

Justin - which means I am more likely to remember it!  And, like Coral, come on over!  The grill's hot!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

I'll have mustard on mine, thanks Jay. (Hard to make you out in that photo.)

Double pane is efficient at breaking the conductive heat transmission cycle. Light though is radiation and all glass is a radiant transmitter so it's very good at magnifying light.

Great example Jay. I've seen faint discolouration but not true scorch marks like that.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

That is amazing, isn't it Robert!?  A first for me.  And you are welcome any time.  I have the best grill in town.

I autograph everything I grill!     http://activerain.com/blogsview/2038776/jay-brand

P.s.  That avatar isn't me, it's Mosby.  With a sword belt and scabbard!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Wow very interesting. Up here in the Northwest we haven't had enough sun this year to do that.

Posted by Brad Gotham (Granite Peak Inspection, Inc. ) about 7 years ago

Do you ever get enough sun Brad?  The northwest is considered the least able to provide solar heating in any capacity.  Even still, here in the south I have never seen this before!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

The blog title sounds like fried bologny at the state fair or something.  :)

WOW, I don't think that's a high quality door they've got there.  Just a guess, but I really get the feeling I'm right.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

The house is 15 years old Jeremy, so it is not a very old door.  Double pane, but I can't speak to the U-factor or anything.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Yeah, I'm implying that door was NEVER high quality, even when it was first made.

We've had some windows around here that were made with glass that focused the reflection and melted the neighbor's vinyl siding (why does anyone like that stuff!?!).  The next windows were light DIFFUSING instead.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

I've seen that, where a house 40' away has melted siding!  Windows and reflection do a lot of things!  In this case they seems to focus the heat into a small area.  I have never seen this before!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

I've never seen that on the door either.  I wonder if the manufacturer put some glass in backwards or something.

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

Well, Jeremy, I honestly don't know if that would make a difference, but having never seen this before how could I discount it as a possibility!?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

I don't know for sure either, but the local construction rumor mill has mentioned that diffusive glass in backwards used to be a problem.  But hey, it's a rumor until we can find truth to verify it.  :)

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

I wouldn't know how to go about it Jeremy!  Especially on a house that has been there so long.  But these buyers were going to change a lot of things, especially with the kitchen.  Maybe they'll change the door.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

If I was the buyer, I would absolutely change the door.  But yes, you're right, it's way to late to verify things, unless you have a lot of money sitting around and can pay someone to figure it out, full time!

If only I had a lot of money, I'd pay for them to have that door examined!  Maybe there's a grant for that...

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

That's what the "stimulus" bill was all about Jeremy!  Getting money out there for "friends" to enjoy!  I think you should apply for some and have a blast!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Exactly!  That would totally stimulate me!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

I think you write to:

Some Old Lady's Taxes
Ohio

A simple request form should be included.  Don't forget the zip code.  That will get it there faster.

It's obvious people don't need their own money!

Good luck!

Do I get a cut?

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Thanks!  I'll get on that right away!

Absolutely you do!  For the referral fee of stimulating me to wasting money!  What a great idea!

Posted by Jeremy Wrenn, President, Wrenn Home Improvements (Wrenn Home Improvements) about 7 years ago

Happy to help.  Lemmino how it goes.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

Wow, I've never seen anything like that either.  Too cool.  Well, not cool... but y'know

Posted by Reuben Saltzman, Delivering the Unbiased Truth. (Structure Tech Home Inspections) about 7 years ago

Cool works Reubs!  You catching up with my blogs?

I haven't seen it either.  It was too good to pass up for a post!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 7 years ago

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