Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections
I use a state-of-the-art infrared camera to find problems that aren’t always apparent to the naked eye. By evaluating the images, I can detect sources of energy loss, locate areas of moisture intrusion, pinpoint dangerous hot spots in the electrical system, and uncover other problems, such as wood-destroying pest and rodent infestations, and flue leaks in the chimney.
Thermal imaging is included in your Home Inspection fee at Complete Care Inspections, there is no additional charge! If you would like pricing on a thermal imaging inspection of your home or property based on existing issues or suspected problems, I can work up a price using the characteristics and size of your home, I will help find the problem!
Infrared (thermal imaging) is an advanced, non-invasive technology that allows the inspector to show clients things about their homes or buildings that can’t be revealed using conventional inspection methods. 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. I will include thermal images in a typical home inspection report where it makes sense. It is important not to over-state this amazing technology. It does help an inspector to see things the naked eye cannot see, however interpreting these results takes a significant amount of training. All images that are included in the reports for the client will be explained in detail.
As an Inspector I will:
- Explain the limitations of thermal imaging, including the fact that, as with any type of inspection, it 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.
- Explain the capabilities of thermal imaging and how it can benefit my clients. I will detail any images used and explain to the client how I think this affects the property or home
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
Here is an example of how a thermal image can show a cold area behind the wall. This can be caused by a lack of insulation or some type of defect in the wall. 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.
Thermal imaging equipment is expensive enough that not every inspector offers this type of ancillary inspection. I think it is important enough to use the latest technology and give my clients the most comprehensive inspections in the market today!
Complete Care Inspections, LLC
8am -10pm 7 Days a week
Serving Washington D.C. and Maryland in the following counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Baltimore City, Calvert, Carroll, Cecil, Charles, Frederick, Harford, Howard, Kent, Montgomery, Prince George's, Queen Anne's, Talbot's