Took my Level 1, now the questions!

Took this pic of a custom built shower today and my first thought was moisture but my moisture meter recorded no moisture; also, no moisture was visible from the basement under…

So my second thought was cold air infiltration from exterior wall and it was cold today.

Which thought was right?


Marcel can I assume that first shot is not the same area as the subfloor shot ?
I can not tell anything about what your thermal shot is looking at.(it looks like the bottom of a curtain)

I assume that was a exterior wall in the image and if so what type of cladding was present. You did as required by checking with a moisture meter. If you are like most IR trained that are serious about this business when you see a thermal pattern that is not self explainatory you dig until it is.

BTW when posting your images run them thru your software and remove all the un-necessary salad dressing makes you appear more professional:D


The IR pic was from the bathroom looking in the shower left rear corner, the second pic is from the basement looking up directly below the shower pan.

And yes it was a shower curtain on the left that you are seeing.


It was the exterior wall at rear which was covered with vinyl siding, on the left was an inside wall.

Thanks for the pointers!


some building science food for thought

could the anomaly be associated with a penetration allowing “air infiltration”

or a thermal bridge commonly observed with framing materials

which is convection

which is conduction

That was my thought exactly after the moisture meter showed no moisture but I wanted to run it by some experts to confirm.

Sorry, but I don’t see air, I see moisture.

I don’t care what your moisture meter says, it can’t read that far into the wall all the time.

Moisture is not under, cause it hasn’t made it there yet.

I’m not saying there isn’t air leakage because moisture can be synonymous with air leakage.

You need to get Charley up there and do his shower pan testing… :wink:

A way to check farther into the substrate or in this case, up through the 5/8" or 3/4" subfloor is to drive a couple of shiny new 2" or longer finishing nails into or through the suspected wet/damp subfloor (at the spacing of the meter pins) where they can do no damage to the shower pan (for example: in the area of the raised shower pan perimeter). If the upper surface of the subfloor is wet or damp from leakage/etc, the meter will indicate the moisture.

Just a hint for you Marcel, thermally look at the area around the shower before you turn the water on. Doesn’t take very long and will help you determine if moisture is present after running water.

And there was a wood burning fireplace (metal insert with insulated metal chimney) in the living room.

I say missing insulation…

The visible studs are the studs that frame the upper front wall of the enclosure over the fireplace. This wall does not need insulation unless for some reason, this is not a standard installation. The fact that the drywall is showing up cool is most likely cold air infiltration into the open hollow space above the unit.

I have been called in many times to comment on this situation. In one case, a house supposedly built to “R2000 standards” by an untrained, non-“R2000-certified” contractor had a wood burning “zero clearance” fireplace installed on a north exterior wall with the unit enclosure extending outside the plane of the north wall. On a cold day with north wind, on the floor about 4 feet in the family room from the unit, the temp was only 13 deg C (55 deg F).

Marcel that is typically what I see here in the north country of Okla:D metal flue on the insert and no insulation within the wall cavities surrounding the chase or it has fallen out. The flue piping they use here has a MFG label stating 2 inches to combustibles including building insulation. If it is zero clearance flue the cavity should still be insulated or enclosed at the top of the chase at the top plate level

Marcel I think I understand your image of the shower stall correct me if I am wrong but with the shower curtain in place were you shooting the inside of the stall and if so it appears what you see is where the cold water was hitting the inside wall and running down. I never shoot the inside and I make darn sure not to let any water get past the door while running water into the stall I have even slapped Realtors hands for opening the shower door while I was testing because the door will drip water onto the outer floor. You always want to shoot the outside walls of the stall as many as are available I have in some cases had access to all four wall of a shower stall not often but ocassionall depending on the type of construction. Remember I am the shower pan terrorist and have developed my Companies SOP for testing shower pans and have been very successful at doing so

Attached are pics of the outside wall and of fireplace.

This is a bungalow with walk-out basement, fireplace is on the main level.

With the exterior enclosure and chimney chase, the easiest way to complete the top thermal boundary of the enclosure/chase would be to extend the plane of the interior cathedral ceiling (a thermal boundary) out through the chase to its outer wall. This keeps it in a simple straight line plane.

The 3 outer walls of the chase down to and including the floor supporting the unit are then insulated and airsealed to complete an efficient thermal enclosure of the fireplace unit. In this scenario, the inner house wall above the unit would not have to be insulated (redundant). If this protruding chase/enclosure was not airsealed/insulated properly, the inner uninsulated wall would be cooled.

Although Canadian WETT courses teach principals of airsealing and building shell efficiency, the certified WETT technicians are not firstly insulation and airsealing professionals so in many cases that aspect of their work lacks.

A quick peak into the enclosure from the exterior with a borescope would give a better idea of problems with fallen or missing insulation.

Why would that be? Walls like this are 3 stories high around here. That is some serious sf and significant energy loss.

Here is what I typically see first pic is from in the attic looking up the chase at the roof penatration and the second pic is looking down at the back side of the fireplace in the living room having significant temp intrusion

No insulation on either walls but a wet spot…

No wet spot on my pic’s???