condensation forming

I did an inspection on a home back in september 07 . The client contacted me the other day regarding condensation that is forming on the upper exterior wall and ceiling of the main bathroom opposite of a built in shower , this condensation appears after the shower is used (he says he takes very hot showers). They do have a functioning exhaust fan, This is an exterior wall .
My opinion is that this is a vapour barrior or insulation problem , I am going there this afternoon to have a look.
Is this something I should have found ? I don’t think so the house was empty at the time of the inspection.

It doesn’t seem to have been there to find when you did the inspection.

People operate and live in their homes uniquely and many scenarios can happen after they move in.

He probably just wants some advice.

It sounds like insulation settlement with lots of moisture from the very hot showers. Possibly fix the insulation or get a stronger fan. Hand it off to an HVAC/insulation guy for more info.

Yes I think he is just looking for some advise . With the home being empty when I did the inspection it was not possible for me to locate a condensation area in the home.

This is outside of what you can visually see.

Recommend follow-up investigation by a building science infrared thermographer. You should have one available to subcontract to anyway.
Someone that will come in there and not play “home inspector” behind you but address the specific concerns.

Explain that this is outside of the scope of your home inspection but that you can provide this service for them if needed (through your subcontractor).

Excellent advice.

Sounds like a good example of why it is relavent on more than just an efficiency level to call out the missing insulation we find with our Infrared Cameras.

Sounds like a classic situation. I would second David’s advice.

I regularly see this. It is usually because the guy doesn’t run the exhaust fan or the fan is old and clogged (for some reason, people don’t vacuum these).

Many times, the client calls back and complains about this. I go out and find that the fan is “noisy”. The client then says that they never use the fan because it is noisy. I explain the use of the fan and that it supposed to exhaust the excess humidity. They are surprised because they “were always told” that the fan was for exhaust of flatulance. I see, more and more, big bathrooms with a separate toilet area (and a door). The fan is installed in the toilet area and not near the shower.

Educate. That’s the key. I, regularly, explain to the client about the proper use of the fan and how often they have to vacuum it and keep it clean.

I have also had a couple of clients, usually in new construction “Lincoln Park Townhouse Style” houses where the client complains about water dripping out of a bathroom light fixture. Almost always the cause is excessive moisture from the bathroom condensing in the between floor area (which is cold) and dripping back down through the can light.

Hope this helps;

IR is great, but it could be as simple as a weak exhaust fan…just food for thought.

ah, quick Will beat me to it…

I too would recommend using or upgrading exhaust fan. Most fans don’t move much air. Upgrades are fairly easy.

Unless you took a very hot shower during the inspection, there’s no way in knowing it would be an issue.

Just because he “says” he uses the exhaust fan every time, doesn’t mean he does. IMO, this is a common problem, especially if the bathroom is cramped quarters(small).

Very true. But if you have IR and do the scan the food is moot because you would know the answer to the insulation question.

Hey Fred!

    Most people assume that the exhaust is working, just because it makes a noise. I find in most cases, the fan is fried, or really dirty. I agree also, with whoever said it was a settlement of insulation issue, as well.