Thermal Imaging Averts A Potentially Dangerous Dryer Fire

By
Home Inspector with Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC 3380-000723

Thermal imaging averts a potential dangerous dryer fire.

Mighty Mo does it again!  He loves his job.

I do a lot of One-Year Warranty Inspections.

They are the last time a buyer has a chance to have the builder address anything wrong with the house.

During those inspections the report needs to be very specific.  And they are extremely helpful inspections.

One very important thing I do is sweep the house with a thermal camera.

That is the only way we can see the quality of the insulation behind the drywall, and any other of a myriad of things a thermal camera can detect.

This family had dried a load of clothing about an hour prior to my inspection.  Yet the wall and ceiling above the dryer was still very warm.  I wondered why.  From the outside I had already looked at the dryer vent opening to see if it was clogged.  It was very clean.

So I had them run the dryer for about 10 minutes before looking at the wall again.

The same location looked much warmer!

There is a reason for that.  It tells me heat is not escaping.  Somewhere there is a clog, and it isn't on the outside of the house at the discharge hood.

Mighty Mo was vibrating with excitement.

It was attic time.

From the attic space I could see that the flexible discharge tubing, a virtual slinky with insulation and plastic, was crimped tightly as it turned immediately to the right to blow its air outdoors.

Thermal imaging showed that there was a heat build up right at that crimp.  Given that there is insulation at the crimp, so where the line is crimped the insulation is crushed also and provides less protection.  Hence heat, almost 125F, is built up right at that location.  That temperature build up is after only 10 minutes!

THERE IS A CLOG!

These folks and a small child have been in the house only 11 months.  In one year the three of them washed enough clothing, and created enough lint, to build up in that crimp, where the tubing is crushed to a very small dimension.

During installation, when the tubing was directed toward the outdoors it was bent too tightly.  THAT MUST BE CORRECTED!  These images notify the buyer of the dangerous condition and will put the builder on notice.

There are thousands of dryer fires in this country every year.  They are due to clogs - lint, bird nests, etc. - which build up heat.  That heat backs up overheating the dryer and it gets too hot.

Many years ago I wrote a blog calling the dryer the most dangerous appliance in your home.  Click on that link!

My recommendation:  not only are one-year warranty inspections very important, but a thermal camera can go a long way toward finding issues in a house that would be otherwise unnoticed!  Thermal imaging is very important during inspections.  Mighty Mo has found literally hundreds of problems otherwise unknown to buyers, and sellers.  And as far as home inspections and thermal imaging goes, insist on Jay Markanich!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by

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


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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Barbara Todaro 10/20/2018 05:33 AM
  2. Roy Kelley 01/05/2019 01:00 AM
  3. Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain 10/21/2018 03:55 PM
Topic:
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Location:
Virginia Prince William County Bristow
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Tags:
thermal imaging
dryer vent
dryer fires
thermal imaging inspections
dryer vent clog

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Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Debb - I've been doing thermal imaging for 14 years.  Training is expensive and ABSOLUTELY essential.

New persona, Sharon?  If they were clueless it is likely they were not diligent about dryer cleaning!

Oct 21, 2018 08:54 AM #19
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Faye - when I inspect condos I ask who is responsible for cleaning the dryer vents.  Usually nobody knows!

Oct 21, 2018 08:58 AM #20
Rainmaker
1,963,764
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning Jay - Our Florida house just passed one year.  I had an inspector during contruction but never thought of a check in the first year.

Oct 21, 2018 01:22 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Sales contracts here include it, Grant.  Sometimes the builders are sneaky and do it at the 11th month.

Oct 21, 2018 01:32 PM #22
Rainmaker
448,303
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Jay, thanks for this information. Do you use the camera on anything other than the dryer? I have never understood why dryer pipe was not made of something like big truck exhaust pipe. a lot of it is flexible, but virtually uncrimpable. It is extremely heat resistant.

Oct 21, 2018 04:15 PM #23
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Tom - yes, on dozens of things!  With many posts to prove it!  The recommmended dryer vent tubing is 6" and metal, with very small ribs when flexible is needed, and solid when straight can be used.

Oct 21, 2018 04:18 PM #24
Rainmaker
1,458,407
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Mighty Mo to the rescue again! Great catch! This is a scary situation; I'm sure that family is so happy they were notified about this before it became a tragedy.

Oct 22, 2018 04:00 AM #25
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Yes, Kat.  They were!  Installations like this are non think.  Smart should rule, but unfortunately we know a lot about that.

Oct 22, 2018 04:05 AM #26
Rainer
309,356
Stephen Weakley
Nationwide Mortgage Services - Rockville, MD

Had a similar situation years ago.  We were visiting friends for dinner.  As we walked to the patio I could hear the dryer running.  As we sat on the patio and chatted I looked over and noticed the flap on the dryer vent closed.  The owner and I went in and confirmed the dryer was running but not venting to the outside.  We got a step ladder and confirmed that the vent pipe was separated and the basement ceiling was full of dryer lint! 

Oct 22, 2018 10:54 AM #27
Ambassador
1,649,966
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

As I have said before, no inspector I know of in Oklahoma City does a thremal inspection. They are not required to but I wonder if they worry about liability.

Oct 22, 2018 11:08 AM #28
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Serendipity can be a wonderful thing, Stephen!  Good thing you looked!

Joe - of course it would not be required, no tool is on a home inspection.  And I have heard that liability argument since moisture meters came out and I think it's silliness!

Oct 22, 2018 12:02 PM #29
Ambassador
4,043,540
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Jay

Thanks for sharing this valuable information. It's a good reminder for homeowners to have their dryer vents checked and cleaned. There are plenty of inspectors in our area that do NOT use thermal imaging but the value is clearly there.

Jeff

Oct 22, 2018 12:55 PM #30
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Thermal imaging can detect a lot of things in a lot of places, Jeff.  It defines value!

Oct 22, 2018 01:08 PM #31
Rainmaker
981,746
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for this timely post!  I always recommend an inspection at the 11 month mark and now i have a story to go with it.  Amazing, an 11 month old home and ready for a fire!

Oct 22, 2018 07:02 PM #32
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Installation matters, Jan.  But really a dryer should be checked often and perhaps cleaned annually.  With more people living in a house maybe even every six months.

Oct 23, 2018 03:21 AM #33
Rainer
122,808
Anthony Kirlew
Group 46:10 Network @ eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Helping You Make Fiscally Sound Choices

Thanks for sharing your insights. Makes me want to go out and buy a thermal camera.

Oct 23, 2018 08:22 PM #34
Rainmaker
448,303
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Jay, I plan to research your old posts on this topic, but can you briefly cover the big things you use the camera for. I have never seen an inspector use one here in SE North Carolina! FYI heavy truck flex exhaust pie though usually only 5” should work for a dryer. It is a lot of work to bend it, and it takes a big hammer to put a dent in it! It is designed to withstand temperatures of more than 1250 degrees. 

Oct 23, 2018 09:20 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Looks easy, right Anthony?  I've been doing it for 14 years now, and bottom line, training, training, training, which is very expensive.  A good camera will cost you more than a car!

Tom - I've probably had 60 or 70 thermal imaging posts on AR, and have detected a myriad of different things.  Here is a post from last winter on a new condo with poorly-installed doors.  Electrical issues, and window and insulation inefficiencies are big finds too.  This is a post from last winter:

https://activerain.com/blogsview/5166796/how-can-you-see-extreme-exterior-door-inefficiency-

You can see all the different things these cameras do on my website here

http://www.jaymarinspect.com/home-inspector-virginia-thermal-infrared-imaging-Ashburn-Virginia.html

As to the hefty dryer vent, that is great but still needs cleaning!  I read that most house fires happen because the dryer itself overheats.  About 5% of accidental deaths in homes is due to dryer fires.

 

 

Oct 24, 2018 01:50 AM #36
Ambassador
3,097,156
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Mighty Mo does catch a lot of things.  I love that thing.  Glad these buyers had you doing their inspection.

Oct 30, 2018 07:30 AM #37
Rainmaker
1,853,449
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Chris Ann -

The original Mighty Mo is to the right.

The featured burger at Hot Shoppes, the Marriott family's first foray into business in the Washington area.

And a great childhood memory!  That was looong before a Big Mac.

Oct 30, 2018 12:39 PM #38
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Rainmaker
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Jay Markanich

Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia
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