Thermal Imaging Inspection (AKA: Infrared). Should your client have it done? Perhaps!
Infrared is an advanced, non-invasive technology that allows the inspector to show homeowners things about their homes that can’t be revealed using conventional inspection methods.
Infrared detects extremely small but crucial differences in temperature from one area of a house to another. These temperature variations show up on the camera’s view screen as “cold” or “hot” spots, which reveal hidden problems that often cannot be detected in the course of a traditional visual inspection.
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.