IR: War Stories -Related Topic to the FLIR ONE Therad

Ok, now that I’m dipping my little toe into the wonders of IR for home inspections could I hear some “war stories”?

Be very interested to hear how you all use it on a home inspection.

What have you found, that you clearly couldn’t have with a moisture meter and your eyes/brains/training/experience?

Thanks in advance.

Here is one that i never would have seen without a little thermal intervention. My first walk through in a home is the thermal scan. It was summer, warm temperatures. I saw an anomaly on the master bedroom ceiling. It wasn’t air exchange based upon how it presented. However, there was no browning on the ceiling and no sign of moisture otherwise. I broke out the moisture meter and low and behold, it was moisture. It turns out that the bathroom vent was pitch up enough to let condensation flow back and through a pin hole in the vent pipe material. I never would have seen it or found it otherwise.

Last week I had my IR camera out to look under a 2nd story bathroom that had a known issue.

As I was walking away from that, I caught a small cold dot above a closet. I thought that was an odd spot, given it was NOT under the bathroom.

Then I realized I’m under the upstairs AC unit that I had just tested. OK, I thought, it’s perhaps just the refrigerant line touching the ceiling drywall, but I couldn’t leave it at that. So I put a moisture meter on it and the spot was indeed moist. After more investigation, I realized the AC condensation line is leaking.

There were zero visible signs of a leak.

Given it’s not summer, it would be several more months before anyone ran the AC with any regularity, so it would have been a while before it leaked enough become visible.

(And before anyone asks why I was testing an AC system in February, I am in Los Angeles, it was in the high 70’s that day).

Nice. Can you come help me tomorrow it will be 6 with a 20 mph wind. It should be fun walking the roof. :mrgreen::mrgreen:

Warmer in New Glarus? Were looking at 5 below.

Yeah that’s the expected temp or high just about the time I start. :wink:

I am so glad I’m not a carpenter right now.

Not a home inspection, but my single most valuable and expensive find to date.

5,000kVA transformer about to become fireworks (images are copyrighted)

Found moisture in the carpet padding, where rocker left crease in carpet. IR picked it up and further searching showed moisture in other areas of the carpet and mold growth. Client and her husband had been through major mold remediation and spent tons of money on hospital bills related to mold treatment. Previous company that did mold remediation never found the sweating slab issue, but we did.

Ceiling with no attic access


Any idea what the cause of the sweating slab was?

Recently found a spot about 9 sq.ft. where the attic insulation had been blown away by wind. It was hidden from view at the attic hatch. It being -20C outside that day with high winds it showed up clear as day. Ceiling temp was close to freezing.

Never would have seen it without the IR.

Found a leaky dishwasher as well.

Lots of things!

Duct separation within the wall.

these are always expensive… water coming up from below carpet at walls opposite shower pans… look at the delta T I was working with, it’s my opinion that this is where the less sensitive/lower res cameras would have little chance. Absolutely no water marks… pan had been flooded and tested/cleared by pest control operator earlier. There are soooo many others like this, I couldn’t begin to count, happened to have the images as it was recent (I don’t save everything)

Images are mine/copyright etc… ask first :smiley:

Good stuff everyone I’m enjoying seeing these examples, very helpful.

The migration of the underground water flow can change over time as an area of a subdivision develops. If it finds a new release point it will start to saturate that area with moisture, similar to what a house goes through during a flood. This can cause expansion and contraction of the soil in some cases, which causes the plastic moisture barrier to shift. Once moisture finds a way past the plastic moisture barrier it will sometimes be absorbed into the concrete slab and start the sweating process above the slab (under the carpet padding). Moisture and the right spores can trigger a fungi/mold growth at this point. The lady said her yard was dry for many years and then a few years back the ground became more and more soggy with moisture.

Building science and thermal imaging always go hand in hand.

This is why I am always leery of a carport slab that someone converts into a room addition. The carport slab does not always receive the same level of care when it comes to the moisture barrier installed under it during the construction process.

Those who install septic systems are very aware of the underground water flow and how it can float a tank and shift it, if not secured properly. Even if you cover the tank with plastic, the underground water flow can still float the tank, if a rain comes in during the installation process.

Great point.

I have found that ground water can be seasonal also. We had to install a French drain uphill of a home for a water problem that only exposed itself because we received a lot of rain during construction. The rest of the year it was fine.

Water will go up a tree 400 ft, it will travel through concrete for at least 6 miles. Air moves up in a home.