"But it was just a little leak. We turned off the dishwasher!"
Water from leaks has to go somewhere. Even when the leak appears to be contained.
This client built a new home and I performed a home inspection. All of the appliances were tested, including the dishwasher. And they have been in the house over a week, using all of the appliances, including the dishwasher.
They were in the kitchen and the dishwasher was running. There was a pop, and they could hear water splashing under the dishwasher.
So they quickly turned it off.
They noticed a little water coming from under the unit, so they put towels in front.
In the basement below water began dripping from a light fixture right underneath the dishwasher, so they put a large bowl under it to capture the drips.
They emailed me asking what to do.
Looking at my schedule I saw their house was only a short way from my first inspection. Saying we needed to document this for the builder I asked if I could come over early in the morning to look at it with my thermal camera while it was still wet. Mighty Mo immediately began to shiver.
Those images are what the dishwasher and bowl on the basement carpet looked like the next morning. They were a little surprised to see so much water had gotten onto the carpet around the bowl.
But I told them that wasn't all.
Inviting them to look over my shoulder at the light fixture, which was turned on (!), I explained that often lights are the lowest point in the ceiling so water will collect there.
Look at how the water pooled around the fixture!
Knowing what we would see I asked them to step away with me and look at the whole ceiling.
The light fixture can be seen in the lower left corner. They were shocked!
Look at how the water spread even as it was supposedly blocked by the floor joists! Water will go where water can go, even if given only a little space to get through!
I heard, "But it was only a little leak. We turned off the dishwasher!" That was many square feet of ceiling area!
They had not noticed but with my flashlight I could show them how the ceiling had already begun to bow downward. And I found a small brown stain, the first sign of what would eventually be a larger and growing brown stain.
The drain line from the dishwasher to the disposal had been hooked together, but not clamped. It took it a few dishwasher loads, but water pressure eventually popped it off! The problem was a less-than-professional dishwasher installation.
My recommendation: thermal images make what is otherwise invisible to the naked eye quite clear as the camera can pinpoint exactly where thermal anomalies exist. Selecting a color palette to best describe the result a thermographer can make the otherwise unseen totally come to life. And seeing exactly where moisture exists the builder can go about making proper repairs. Many trades will need to be involved with this repair! But it only took one thermographer to document it...
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC
Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.
Office (703) 330-6388 Cell (703) 585-7560