What I'm Seeing Now

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"But It Was Just A Little Leak. We Turned Off The Dishwasher!"

"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

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • October 17 2017 08:40AM

Comments

Nice post, I know what I want to ask santa for Christmas.  Water can spread everywhere quickly. 

Posted by Peter Mohylsky, SoWal Is HOME., Let me help you find your path to the beach. (Gulf Place @ 30A) over 1 year ago

Water can get everywhere very quickly! I think every inspector should have a Mighty Mo.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com) over 1 year ago

Good morning, Jay Markanich ugh... what a horror show from one leak.... I wish out inspectors had your thermal imaging equipment...

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 1 year ago

Good morning Jay. The morale of the story is a leak is a leak is a leak.  I remember a little leak I once had with a hot water heater.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 1 year ago

As I said beofre I wish inspectors in Oklahoma City would do this but none to my knowledge do.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 1 year ago

Peter - this is my third camera which I bought before it hit the market at a discount.  It was only $13K.  You can get cheaper, but I don't recommend it.

Only I can have Mighty Mo, Kat!  We are attached at the, um, wrist cord.

Barbara - when I bought my first (14 years ago) I said that all inspectors would use them inside of a few years.  I was way wrong!

Shiela - I am sure it was a little leak!  Even if you catch it right way a water heater can leak dozens of gallons!

Joe - they are not cheap, or is the training.  You need good equipment and training to make a go of it.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

I'm a believer in thermal imaging inspections with your stories over the years. Thankfully we have inspectors with that capability in Southern California.

Posted by Pete Xavier, Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide (Investments to Luxury) over 1 year ago

They should be everywhere by now, Pete!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

At least it was new construction and the ultimate problem/solution lay with the builder.

Had a similar problem a year or so back.  My wife looked down and said what his that puddle next to the dishwasher?  I immediately removed the kick plate and found the main solenoid leaking.  Must have just started and I shut the unit off and cleaned up the water with a paper towel.  If that had happened after we had gone to bed..........

Posted by Stephen Weakley (Nationwide Mortgage Services) over 1 year ago

Stephen - yeah, and he isn't going to want to see my thermal image report!  And you caught that just in time!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

We own rentals and the calls about leaking water always strike fear in our heart, lol!

Posted by Brenda Whitman, Live in Laramie Real Estate, Broker/Co-Owner, Laramie, Wyoming (Live in Laramie Real Estate, Laramie, Wyoming) over 1 year ago

I imagine those phone calls late at night can be unpleasant to say the least, Brenda!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Hi Jay, Might Mo to the rescue again. We had something similar happen with our dishwasher when we lived in VA. And yes, the leak showed up on the ceiling in the basement. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 1 year ago

Water goes down, Kathy!  Unless you have an Archimedes Screw, which probably would not work on a dishwashwer!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

It’s always a little more complicated than people think most of the time. I totally get it.

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 1 year ago

It's more complicated when they discover a leak they didn't know about, Laura!  Fortunately I was able to show them what they were dealing with.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

Little and leak should often not be used in the same sentence as you wisely noted ! 

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 1 year ago

Is true this, S&D.  I sometimes laugh when I hear peoples' explanations for things!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) over 1 year ago

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