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  1. #1
    Ron Bishop's Avatar
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    Default Smoke stains on walls??

    I found smoke like stains on upper living quarters of the house that I inspected today. What is unusual is that these some of the stains came from electric outlets. Others were on upper portions of walls, but the walls weren't stained where trusses were on the other side of the drywall, and the outlines are visible.. I hope the photos will show you what I am talking about. I don't know what caused the stains.

    Any help??

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    The first pic looks like dust burning off of a night light bulb over a long period of time. I've seen something before that looked pretty similar.... although not quite as bad. It's kind of like when the dust burns on top of the bulbs on a bathroom light bar and leaves scorch marks on the ceiling if it's close.

    The second pic looks like it's from those evaporating candles that were around a few years ago. I don't know whatever came of that type of candle but when they first came out with them there was quite a bit of problem. The candle would evaporate and stick to curtains, walls and everything else. This could also just be from something burning in the room (fireplace smoke sucking in, animal sacrifice, etc.).

    I'm not 100% convinced on either one..... just kind of thinking out loud.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    It's called "ghosting" ... (and I just had a mental loss of the explanation I was going to type).

    Oh well, someone will fill that part in.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    Probably those scented plug ins or possible candles.

    You had smoke, I had fire.

    Check out this electric range. People had foil under the elements which has some grease which caught fire. Great way to start the day.

    Rick

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  5. #5
    Ron Bishop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    I like the ghosting idea Jerry...I just don't understand it yet..


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    Then ghosting is caused by air flow. Not coming in but going out. Dirt particles get caught on the wall surface and collect there. That is a good indication of heat loss going out thropugh the outlets. You will see the same in many a/c register areas especially in large buildings.


  7. #7
    Ron Bishop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    That is very interesting...thank you!


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    Ron,

    Second Picture looks like it was Dusted /Cleaned.

    Couple of clean upward swipes & lower area (reachable) better.

    Higher chair or longer dust mop was needed.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    Ron,

    Here is a great handout on Ghosting and Soot.

    Thought it might be of help.

    rick

    http://www.misterfix-it.com/content/soot_web.pdf


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    I agree with Rick and Jerry's link, I have seen it often just above those scented oil plug-ins. Usually there will be a bunch of them plugged in all over the house and most will have the trail above like in your picture and maybe some ghosting on outside walls or at vaulted ceilings.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Smoke stains on walls??

    While candles are often the primary suspect there actually can be several including the vented appliances. I have traced ghosting back to spilling furnaces and water heaters. You will also find the these stains can be more prevalent on colder surfaces such as along studs and rafters. If you use an inferred thermometer you will find the correlation. The attached is not quite the same but was interesting - due to smoking of the homeowner who recently died for some strange reason.

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    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

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