Infrared cameras are the latest technology being used for fast, reliable, accurate building diagnosis in a wide range of building problems, from post-catastrophe fire and flood investigations to chronic leaks and moisture problems.
Moisture in building materials can destroy structural integrity and nurture mold. The first step in moisture problem remediation is to quickly and accurately locate and remove all sources of moisture. By finding variations in temperature, Infrared cameras instantly show you what’s wet and what’s dry.
Example of Thermal Imaging Technology
How does Thermal Imaging work?
Thermography is the use of an infrared imaging and measurement camera to “see” and “measure” thermal energy emitted from an object. It is not a moisture meter, and does not “see” moisture. The cameras help the inspector see temperature differences and anomalies which can be caused by moisture. When two areas composed of the same or similar materials experience changing ambient temperatures, the area with the higher thermal mass (usually moisture) will change temperature more slowly. The first thing we do is turn on the functioning plumbing. We let water run through the drains of the toilets, sinks, showers, and dishwasher. Depending on the ambient conditions at the house at time of your building inspection, we may run hot or cold water. If the house is cold, hot water will show up better than cold water. We may use the heating or AC system to help change the temperatures in the house. The dry areas with less thermal mass will change temperature quickly. Areas with a higher thermal mass, which may include damp areas, will change temperature slower. These differences will be obvious when viewed through the Infrared camera.
Picture of carpet that appears dry
Thermal Imaging gives you the Ability to Detect:
- Moisture Missing or Defective
- Insulation Structural Shortcomings
- Source of Heating & Cooling Losses
- Plumbing Blockages/Leaks
- Electrical Issues
- Termites and other Pest and Much More
Evaluating the home with an IR Camera is a simple process, but one that most home inspectors do not use (The cameras are very expensive ranging from $6,000 – $24,000). It is important to note that the Infrared Cameras do not see through walls, cabinets, or concrete. Rather, they show differences in the surface temperature of a material. It is these temperature differences that may indicate moisture or another anomaly such as missing insulation.