Thermal Imaging and Home Inspections

Originally posted 2010-06-16 06:39:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Thermal Imaging has made a significant impact on the Home Inspection industry with the reduction in costs associated with owning a Thermal Imaging Camera. Investing in new technology has always been a priority with my company and we were the first Home Inspection company in Simcoe County to offer this Free service with our home inspections. Even Mike Holmes has been a vocal advocate of Thermal Imaging Cameras and I believe all his “home inspectors” now offer this service as part of the Mike Holmes package.

Thermal imaging is not magic, some people will try and convince you that it is, but simply a device that measures light that the human eye cannot see. You can buy Infrared film for you older style film cameras and take your own Thermal Imaging pictures. There are even animals who naturally have the ability to see images in the infrared spectrum. Thermal Imaging is a tool that can aid in finding missing insulation, electrical hot spots, moisture problems, water leaks, in-floor heating problems, flat roof problems and finding where plumbing or electrical cables are located prior to renovating. This is not magic, no more than using moisture meter or video camera snake for inspections.

Lack of or missing insulation can be detected with the proper use of thermal imaging cameras except that unless there is a temperature difference of over 10 degrees the information is basically useless. Thermal imaging will only measure differences in temperature and is unable to measure the thickness of your insulation. If the temperature difference is not extreme then the insulation will perform its job even if not installed to required R value. So as you can see Thermal Imaging does have its limitations.

Moisture can also be detected by use of Thermal Imaging camera, but once again only by detecting the visible change in temperature in the infrared spectrum. So while the moisture may be behind a wall it will affect the temperature on the surface which is what the Thermal Imaging displays.

Thermal imaging can be deceptive to the in-experienced user. I have personally come across situations where electrical cables have been identified as foundation cracks and drywall corner beads have been determined to be water leaks. Imagine the shock to that home owner, especially when in-accurate information was provided.

Beware of individuals promoting Thermal Imaging as a “magical” see through your wall technology. Infrared cameras are just another tool, which when used with experience and knowledge, become part of a professional home inspectors array of tools to bring you the best possible home inspection. If your home inspector is misleading you about what Thermal Imaging is what else are they misrepresenting?

Caveat Emptor = Buyer Beware

An educated consumer is a smart consumer. Always ask questions and check with two or three professionals before making a commitment.

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