What I'm Seeing Now


"When We Sit Near Our Fireplace It's Really Cold Unless We Turn It On"

"When we sit near our fireplace it's really cold unless we turn it on."

You go to watch "the game" or a movie and sit down next to the fireplace.  And everyone needs a blanket!  That or the fireplace has to be turned on to feel comfortable.


Well, look at the fireplace in this thermal image.

Not only is there cold coming from the fireplace cavity, but the wall beside the fireplace.

So much here is poorly insulated. 

And on the other side of the fireplace the insulation looked the same way.

Had I done a pre-drywall inspection, and looked at the insulation then, or a final inspection just before closing, this would have been found at that time.

You can see the cold areas, and the cold radiating from the fireplace itself.

On a really frigid day this will be a really cold spot to sit down!

Are you cold while enjoying the movie?  Or need to drink hot chocolate during the game?  There's a reason!  AND THE REASON ALWAYS INVOLVES INSULATION.

My recommendation:  every year I get the "cold fireplace" phone calls.  And every year I can tell them over the phone the problem is due to the insulation near the fireplace!  But a thermal image is a real eye opener, and can EXACTLY demonstrate the problem for all to see!  My clients always thank Mighty Mo.  And I can tell you from personal experience that builders do not like seeing my thermal images!  One builder said to my face that home inspectors "should not be allowed to use thermal cameras."  Well, of course not!  Look what they can reveal!  Never mind wanting to turn a good product over to the consumer.  Why should someone have a comfortable house, anyway?  For a builder to say that is unconscionable.  Call  a home inspector with a thermal camera!  The cameras are worth their weight in gold.



Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

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


Comment balloon 7 commentsJay Markanich • January 16 2017 12:08PM


Good morning Jay. Oh so true! Had the insulation problem at a home I once owned. The seller, who I knew through business, told me how he saved money when it was built by not having an inspection and depending on the builder. Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) almost 2 years ago

A phase inspection of new construction is a wise move Jay Markanich - helps avoid problems such as this!

Posted by Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers, Serving Scottsdale, Phoenix and Maricopa County AZ (BVO Luxury Group @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty) almost 2 years ago

It is odd that this area would be overlooked when the home was built. Mighty Mo strikes again.!

Posted by Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI, Presence, Persistence & Perseverance (Realty National) almost 2 years ago

I would give up my thermal camera for a chunk of gold the same size... I'm just sayin! 

Posted by Fred Hernden, CMI, Albuquerque area Master Inspector (Superior Home Inspections - Greater Albuquerque Area) almost 2 years ago

Good morning Jay. Not surprised but appalled by the builder comment. They know and do it anyway. Too bad.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) almost 2 years ago

Thank goodness for your camera. One of my fireplaces used to whistle in the high wind. I had it reinsulated, caulked, etc & it was great after that.

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) almost 2 years ago

Great plan, Wayne.  He saved about $350 and over the long run cost himself much, much more than that!

T&S - I have been doing pre-drywall inspections for about 20 years, and they are worth it!

S&N - if the buyers rely on the builder and supervisor they will never have such a thing pointed out!

Fred - let me know how that works!  Can I visit you on the island you buy?

Sheila - once I did a one-year on a house where the young lady was having many insulation issues, and I found so much she roared through the neighborhood with my report.  I did many inspections there, and the builder was really, really upset!  Of course, I was the neighborhood rock star.

Lyn - caulking is very cheap and can be a very effective form of energy savings!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) almost 2 years ago

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