Infrared Thermography is an important part of the home inspection process. It is critical that it is understood that infrared thermography measures temperature and not moisture.
While many wet areas will be cooler this is not always true. Infrared does not replace a moisture meter.
Infrared Thermography is an important part of the home inspection process. It is critical that it is understood that infrared thermography measures temperature and not moisture. While many wet areas will be cooler this is not always true. Infrared does not replace a moisture meter. More importantly, when anyone tells you that infrared is used to discover moisture you should realize that that is not true. Infrared thermography distinguishes cooler areas from warmer areas only. This information is useful to determine which areas should be further evaluated by the proper tools such as a moisture meter to determine if the area is actually WET. or NOT.
How much does infrared thermography cost when used in a home inspection?
Is infrared thermography necessary when performing a home inspection?
Infrared thermography is not necessary to perform a home inspection. Infrared is another valuable tool for the diagnoses of certain issues if it is used correctly and within the parameters of its limitations. An infrared camera is basically a very sophisticated thermometer that measures temperatures for multiple areas simultaneous. There are other ways to determine what infrared can tell you it just might take you a bit longer to get there.
What are some of the most common misdiagnoses using infrared thermography?
The number one misdiagnoses using infrared thermography in a home inspection is calling something that is cool, 'WET'. For example, missing above ceiling insulation in cooler weather can look exactly the same as a wet ceiling area to the infrared camera in some instances.
Another misdiagnoses is calling a hot electrical area a problem without understanding what the connected load is to determine if a problem really exists.
The most embarrassing mistake that a new owner of an infrared camera can make is to report an actual reflection of a heat source as a problem. Consider the scenario where the inspector catches a glimpse of his own infrared reflection and rights down that an area was suspiciously hot when it was in fact the reflection of his own body heat off of some reflective material such as a metal bowl or glass surface.
Where is infrared thermography useful during a home inspection?
Hands down checking the heating and cooling systems with infrared has been my favorite use for my FLIR brand system. Infrared gives definitive and accurate results that I am able to use at every home regardless of condition. Infrared confirms both heating and cooling function as well as exposes irregularities such as damaged ductwork.
Of course, infrared is useful locating issues that may not be present in every home such as missing insulation and pinpointing areas that need further evaluation by a moisture meter. Infrared is also useful locating hot spots in an electrical systems. For these examples interpretation of the results is crucial to understanding if there actually is a problem. For example, a hot spot in the electrical system simply could be a large appliance in use or it could mean that electrical arcing is occurring. Knowing the difference separates the novice from someone that understands the capabilities of infrared thermography.