What is Infrared Theromgraphy?
At Informed Home Inspections we offer thermal imaging with every inspection we perform. In fact, we are the only Certified Level 1 Thermographer in the area to do so. But what is thermography? And how does it benefit you when buying a home?
Put very simply thermal imaging detects heat energy emitted by objects. The science behind it takes a 300+ page book to explain. (Literally, I have the book on my desk right now.) But for most of us, it’s enough to know that when we take a thermal image we get a picture that visually shows varying temperatures.
How does this help in a home inspection? With thermal imaging we can:
- Find moisture that may be hidden in the walls, or ceiling. Moisture is readily observed because as it evaporates it cools the surface temperature of the object. Most home inspectors use a moisture meter, but this is only beneficial on a specific area where a problem is already suspect, such as below a window. With a thermal imager we can quickly scan entire surface areas for signs of moisture, and then verify with our moisture meter.
- See structural defects. If there is a temperature difference between the inside and outside of the home of at least 5 degrees, framing members transfer the heat faster then the insulation allowing us to clearly see them.
- Find loose electrical connections. When an electrical connection is loose more heat is generated. This is also what causes fires, so catching them early is key!
- Find voids in insulation. Finally if there is missing insulation, that section appears cooler (or warmer) depending on site conditions. On one home inspection a couple of weeks ago, we found the house had absolutely no insulation in the walls. Something that probably would have been missed by other inspectors!
These points are just the beginning, we can also trace ductwork for furnaces, piping in walls, and see air leakage around the home.
But it’s not enough just to have the camera, training is needed as well. Images need to be tuned, the correct background temperature set, and you have to know what the anomaly you are seeing means. There are countless horror stories of inexperienced home inspectors “finding” things. In one case the fire department was called because the inspector thought they were seeing a loose electrical connection when really it was the reflection of themselves on the bus bar. In a local example, a home inspector recommended a wall torn open because of “moisture”. When this was done, the source ended up being the cold water supply line to the shower he had just run for 5 minutes. Not only are these examples embarrassing, they add extra stress for everyone involved in the real estate transaction. It goes without saying there are many benefits to hiring a trained professional.
If you have any questions about the Thermography services we offer you can send us an email at email@example.com or call us at 250-877-0431!