Forensic Engineering Investigation of a Furnace Oil Supply Line Fitting Leak
Keywords:leak rates, consumption rates, SAE 37° flare, Daubert, forensic engineering, oil furnace
A basement oil leak was reported to a service company, which immediately replaced a supply line SAE 37° fitting body while leaving the flared copper lines in place. An environmental remediation claim was later made against this service company, alleging improper installation of new supply lines within the prior year. Fuel delivery records and heating degree day records were analyzed, revealing a consumption rate discrep-ancy versus the homeowner’s narrative. An experimental apparatus was designed to evaluate leak rates for flared fittings in tightened and partially loosened states. The modeled expected consumption rate results inferred tampering with the fittings several days prior to the leak report. The experimental technique and consumption rate analysis withstood a Daubert challenge for relevance at the mediation conference.
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