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Old 1/22/19, 7:31 PM
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cevans cevans is offline
Certified Master Inspector ®
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Stagecoach, TX
Posts: 10,960
Default Re: Tell Me What You See!

Originally Posted by wogletree View Post
I think this raises a question we as inspectors need to consider: Is it unprofessional to be reporting on conditions we find if we cannot offer some convincing explanation that might indicate an actual problem?

My inspection today presents a perfect example. Take a look at the two attached IR images.

These photos are from either side of a wall dividing a first floor shower stall from its adjacent bedroom. Obviously something is warming up the ceiling in this area, but what?

It could not be warm water, since the water heaters were not lit at the time the photo was taken. I seriously doubt it was wiring, as the lighting in the house was LED, which draws very little current.

This was new construction, and the kitchen appliances were not installed, thus could not be drawing current.

I had been running the furnace for a while before capturing these images, so I shut off the furnace and went about inspecting the rest of the property. I came back about an hour and a half later and the warm spots were gone. At that point I felt a reasonable guess would be that there was a leaking air duct in the area, but I would have to have removed sheathing in the attic to visualize the area, so I could not confirm it.

In this case, I feel I was able to eliminate enough other possibilities to form a plausible hypothesis (leaking ductwork), so I included it in my report.

A few weeks back, though, I found a warm spot that I could find no plausible explanation for. I did not include mention of it in my report, but did discuss it with the buyer.

What say the rest of you? Do you report an anomaly even if you can't offer a plausible explanation?
That is where the duct is in contact with the sheetrock on the ceiling. When you run the A/C it will be cold. You will often find that in transitions to/from a ceiling area where there is minimal space between the ceiling and the roof (like at the transition from an attic space over a first-floor area up to the upper attic).

I do not report these unless we have dewpoint issues.

I know that the above did not answer the broader question that you posed to us. My approach is to perform enough deductive analysis, observation and testing in order to develop at least a likely theory as to the source of the anomaly, which depending on the condition may or may not be comment worthy. I figure that's what people are paying me for and I do, in fact, charge a fee for performing infrared thermography at an inspection. I cannot even think of the last time I reported an unknown anomaly, if ever. If I as the thermographer who can see the anomaly can't figure it out, what is a contractor who doesn't have my equipment going to come up with? Reporting phantom anomalies for someone who can't see them to try to investigate would simply create a frustrating exercise for both the buyer and seller. You can't just hand-off undefined thermography exceptions for someone else to figure out.

Chuck Evans (TREC #7657)
Level III Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer (#8402)
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Last edited by cevans; 1/23/19 at 10:14 AM..