Infrared Training Center

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Traveling? Bring Extra Towels (and an Infrared Camera Too)

Ron Lucier, ASNT NDT Level III – TIR
Sr. Instructor – ITC

Time to call Housekeeping and ask for more towels.
For much of the year ITC instructors are on the road running certification classes at a variety of locations, including a number of onsite courses that are less expensive and more convenient for customers.  We look forward to these trips as there are many fun and interesting places to go and teach.  The hotels where we stay for these types of classes, however, can sometimes deliver unexpected surprises as happened to me recently at an onsite course in central Pennsylvania.

When I made my reservation it was with a major chain and within a mile of the customer site – perfect!  No traffic jams to deal with and a shopping center with restaurants a mile away.  It was expensive, but this is summer and with a major amusement park 20 miles away, and in the middle of Penn Dutch country, well, best to grin and bear it!

I drove from Central Massachusetts arriving just before a huge thunderstorm.  I wasn’t in my first floor room for more than 5 minutes when the rain suddenly hit, hard!  It was during this torrential downpour that I began to hear something rather odd – water dripping.  Looking around the room the source of the noise was the window and it wasn’t simply dripping – it was pouring in right near the air conditioner!  I shut the unit off because I know electricity and water probably shouldn’t mix.  I immediately called the Front Desk and was told Maintenance would be around soon.

About 15 minutes later the rain let up enough so that I could run out to get my FLIR T650sc (I never leave it in the car, I just didn’t have time to get it before the storm hit).  The images show that not only was there water on the curtains and the A/C unit, it splashed across the floor and even onto the bed!  By the way, I hadn’t unpacked yet.

The Maintenance guy shows up with towels and says “Oh, this is a big leak!”.  I asked him if this was the only one.  “They tell me I’m not to say anything about leaks here” he replies.  I tell him he’s said everything I need to know about the situation.

Back I go to the Front Desk to ask for another room.  “Really?” was the response.  Yes, I politely told the fellow.  He finds me another, room 215.  This one leaks too, smaller leaks in two spots. Another trip to the Front Desk and I was informed there are no other rooms available so I stayed in that one all week.

Two days later I figured the exterior moisture should have evaporated enough to perform a quick exterior inspection.  These images, panoramas from FLIR Tools using interval isotherm as blue, appear to show probable wet areas in several spots.

My conclusions from the thermal analysis and a visual inspection is that the caulking around the windows has several large gaps and probably needs to be completely redone.  I offered my analysis to the hotel, free, and they said they would get back to me.  Crickets.  Still waiting.  So having over 500 TripAdvisor reviews published I reviewed this place too and…well, let’s just say it wasn’t the most flattering.  I will leave the identity of the hotel to TripAdvisor and keep the technical details here!

By the way, this reminds me of a hotel I was at in Tennessee last year when a guest used a sprinkler as a coat hanger.  Over 600 gallons of water flooded my floor and black mold began to grow behind the wallpaper within 24 hours! 

For those that travel, do you have any road horror stories?  Look forward to hearing what others have experienced.  Until next time, travel safe!