What I'm Seeing Now

head_left_image

It Wasn't The Bathroom Vent

The builders of a large condo building had had problems for a while with a bathroom vent connection leaking into a bathroom ceiling, but it wasn't the bathroom vent. 

They had opened up the drywall so they could watch and sprayed the vent exhaust point on the outside of the building. 

When they did they were unable to duplicate any dripping.

Prior to my arrival there had been many days of heavy rain.

And it had dripped into the bathroom during the rain storm.

However, my thermal camera was able to detect a cooler area on the subsurface of the roof above, coming from an area to the right of the bathroom.  It can be seen to the left as the purple area, and clearly it is higher than the bathroom exhaust tubing.

So what gives?  The roof is not even a year old,  It is covered with TPO, which is a thick, thermal plastic membrane, which wraps continuously over the parapets on the side of the roof.  Under it is an insulating Iso-foam layer, and then a wood subsurface.  The thermal image is viewing the wood subsurface.

So it was up to the roof!

The parapet can be clearly seen around the edge of the roof.

The seam in the TPO can be seen along the lower edge of the image.  The membrane is "soldered" together, glued essentially, with long seams which were all intact.

We were there about 915am on a sunny day.  Things had not gotten warm yet, with outdoor temps around 72F.  There was no moisture anywhere on the roof.  The surface was entirely dry.

But moisture UNDER a TPO membrane will get warmer quicker than the Iso around it.  I took two temperature measurements for comparison.  It it obvious that the yellow area is warmer than the surrounding roof membrane.

Walking over the unit with the bathroom ceiling leak I didn't even need to measure to get the geography right.  Mighty Mo was able to see problem moisture under the surface.

Looking over the parapet the bathroom vent exhaust is just to the left. 

So the leaking is coming from somewhere in the parapet.  Once the location is established a fix can be planned.  And the problem can be solved!

My recommendation:  thermal cameras can be used for many things.  Sometimes what appears to be the problem turns out to not be it!  Hopefully the true source of any leak can be found.  They called me before the rainy weekend and I suggested we wait until the first sunny day to make the diagnosis.  Today just happened to be a good day to diagnose this issue.  And I think we were successful.

 

 

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 29 commentsJay Markanich • October 17 2015 03:18AM

Comments

Good morning Jay. Gotta love your thermal camera! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) about 3 years ago

Jay, It seems that Thermal Cameras can be used for so many applications.  I would never have guessed that they could help detect this.

Posted by 1 ~Judi & Don Barrett & Chassy Eastep - Integrity, BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK (Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745) about 3 years ago

I do too Wayne!  So do my clients.

I'm glad to inform, Judi.  That's the idea here!  A couple of years ago a hotel asked me by to find a roof leak, and I found about 20.  They were amazed.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Thank you for the post. I always learn something new from your post.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) about 3 years ago

That makes me happy Gita.  Thermal imaging is a great tool.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay. How incredible and how very very scary. Good catch as always.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) about 3 years ago

Ahh...that camera has been worth its weight in....not raindrops....maybe more inspections !

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) about 3 years ago

You go from thing to thing Sheila, insofar as you are able.  And hopefully arrive at the right conclusion.

S&D - worth it's weight indeed!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Good morning Jay,

A nifty gadget the mighty mo. Must save you a ton of hours in searching for leaks.

Make yourself a great day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) about 3 years ago

Jay Markanich ...his eye dont lie....

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 3 years ago

Jay Markanich Sounds like a nifty gadget that Suzanne would like to have.  What is the price point on one of these?

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) about 3 years ago

Raymond - this company was at wit's end, thinking they had to remove siding and do it all over again.

That was Might Mo's eye, Richie!

I bought my first about 13 years ago for over $15K, T&S.  The good ones are expensive.  The training is an additional big expense.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Very cool Jay. Way to go for your clients.That is the kind of success we love

Posted by Vera Gonzalez, Gonzo For Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban, Inc.) about 3 years ago

My imagination was running ahead of your posts, (think CSI), but was happy there was nothing creepy hiding in the walls! Glad the thermal imagery helped pinpoint the area of concern.

Posted by Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty, 601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell (Front Gate Real Estate) about 3 years ago

Good catch my man, lots of homes here with parapet walls. I see ponding on many of these low pitched roofs here, I think some of the builders can't read and build them "no pitched" LOL

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) about 3 years ago

Leaks aren't always possible to diagnose Vera, so we were happy with this one!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Pat - home inspection is a bit of CSI too!

Fred - there should always be a pitch, but with Iso and TPO almost always there is ponding here or there.  In this case the leak appeared to be at the parapet, so it will need some dismantling.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

You want the truth ?   Can you handle the truth ? Jay Markanich and his thermal camera give you the undeniable truth.

Posted by DEANNA EARLY - - ( NMLS # 268590 ), Virginia Mortgage Loan Originator (American National Bank and Trust) about 3 years ago

This was quite a surprise to everyone Deanna.  They were pretty happy with the finding!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Jay, I'm always amazed at these images.  I don't think any of the home inspectors in our area is using this yet. 

Posted by Silvia Dukes PA, Broker Associate, CRS, CIPS, SRES, Florida Waterfront and Country Club Living (Tropic Shores Realty - Ich spreche Deutsch!) about 3 years ago

Mighty Mo does it again! That tool is fantastic and pays big dividends in situations like this!

Posted by Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert, Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com (Zion Realty) about 3 years ago

Yes, it's Mighty Moe to the rescue again. I think he's solved more issues than Sherlock Holmes. - Debbie

Posted by Women of Westchester Working Together, Women helping Women get ahead (Women of Westchester Working Together) about 3 years ago

Silvia - I have been doing thermal imaging for 13 years.  It is the sharpest arrow in my quiver.

Nicole - agreed!  People are usually amazed.

WoW Cousin - he thinks he is more important than perhaps he is.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

That is so neat on how they found and determined the problem..

Posted by Ginger Harper, Your Southport~Oak Island Agent~Brunswick County! (Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage) about 3 years ago

I kind of found and determined the problem, Ginger!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

Always lots of fun looking for water leaks. Looks like the camera is a winner.

Posted by Bill Reddington, Destin Florida Real Estate (Re/max Southern Realty) about 3 years ago

Jay Markanich wow, lots of advantages of thermal camera.

I'll ask my buyers to add this at the time of home inspection. May cost a bit more but worth it.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) about 3 years ago

The toys are getting more sophisticated and do make the job easier.  Not to mention some great colors just before Halloween

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 3 years ago

Bill - the camera has been a winner for me for over a decade.

It is worth it Praful, if you can find someone there who does it.

Ed - I took an image of a ghost that I will publish just before Halloween.  He looks cold, but very, very handsome.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 3 years ago

This blog does not allow anonymous comments