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Thermal Imaging

Infrared (thermal imaging) is an advanced, non-invasive technology that allows inspectors to show clients things about their homes or buildings that can’t be revealed using conventional inspection methods.  Ancillary inspection reports are just as important as the reports generated for standard inspections.  For something as specialized as a thermal imaging inspection, it’s critical that the information presented meets the clients’ needs for information they can use.
 
The art of an IR inspection is to interpret the results as accurately and reasonably as possible such that the client is given actionable information in order to proceed with necessary repairs. 

It is important to understand, as with any type of inspection, thermal imaging can’t predict future conditions.  However, a roof that is experiencing moisture intrusion which has been detected through thermal imaging will very likely lead to serious structural issues, if left unaddressed.

An infrared inspection can identify and document moisture intrusion, energy loss, and even unexpected hot spots.

In terms of energy loss, an IR camera can detect:
  • heat loss and air infiltration in walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors;
  • damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems;
  • air-conditioner compressor leaks;
  • under-fastening and/or missing framing members, and other structural defects that can lead to energy loss; and
  • broken seals in double-paned windows.
In terms of detecting moisture intrusion, an IR camera can locate:
  • plumbing leaks;
  • hidden roof leaks before they cause serious damage;
  • missing, damaged and/or wet insulation; and
  • water and moisture intrusion around penetrations and at the foundation and building envelope that could lead to structural damage and mold.
IR cameras are equally effective at locating hot spots in the home, including:
  • circuit breakers in need of immediate replacement;
  • overloaded and undersized circuits;
  • overheated electrical equipment and components;  and
  • electrical faults before they cause a fire.
Additionally, based on the color gradients that thermal images provide, an inspector can locate:
  • possible pest infestation, as revealed by energy loss through shelter tubes left by boring wood-destroying insects;
  • the presence of intruders, such as rats, mice and other larger pests hiding within the structure and detected because of their heat signature that the IR camera captures; and
  • dangerous flue leaks, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning of the home’s residents.

Standard Images with Infrared Images

I provide standard digital images side-by-side with your IR images.  This gives clients an accurate point of reference for the IR data, which is essential for mapping out improvements and repairs.

Interpreting the Data

This is perhaps the most critical aspect of providing a solid IR report, and goes hand-in-hand with the limitations of thermal imaging, as well as the depth of training and experience.  Depending on the established baseline IR readings and the locations of the images, the results can either alert the client to a critical repair needed – such as an electrical hot spot – or simply be an item that they need to keep in check – such as adding insulation at an exterior wall.