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Thermal imaging home inspection

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John Fish
Professional Home inspector
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Most Inspectors Utilize Thermal Imaging in Home Inspections

investing in a house is a big decision since this will likely be the place you stay in for quite some time. It is important to ensure that everything is going well in the home, so having a home inspection is highly recommended. A company with thermal imaging capabilities is beneficial for home inspections, as they can detect things that cannot be seen without special technology.
Thermal imaging can detect problems such as water damage, air leaks, and electrical issues that would otherwise go unnoticed.
It's advisable to inquire if the inspector you plan to employ incorporates thermal imaging as part of the inspection of the home

What is a thermal imaging inspection?

Most home inspectors utilize infrared technology in their home inspection service during the home inspection process.

Infrared cameras are used to find possible hidden defects. A home inspector performs a scan of the home using a thermal camera. Thermal imaging equipment finds differences in temperature when thermal scans are performed. Thermal anomalies are unexpected temperature changes in areas that may indicate a problem. The temperature anomalies help to find hidden issues that could be lurking in walls, and ceilings.

What kinds of issues can be found with thermal imaging scans?.

Hot spots in electrical systems overloaded circuits
Plumbing leaks
Energy Loss
Air leaks in HVAC equipment
Roof leaks
Wet insulation
Damaged thermal seals in double-paned windows
Structural defects like missing framing in walls.
Hot electrical connections
Flue leaks
Missing insulation

How do infrared inspections improve a home inspection?

A thermal inspection helps find things that normally would go unnoticed during a typical visual inspection. Since the inside of walls and ceilings aren't visible to an inspector some moisture issues would go undetected. An infrared scan can scan large sections of walls and ceilings very quickly. One quick scan can locate temperature differences.

 I  can't tell you how many issues I have found that would not have been detected without infrared technology. Thermal imaging scans allow a home inspector to find issues that are not visible to your naked eye. Utilizing thermal imaging technology for my home inspection clients is a major benefit for any home inspection service.

What do hot and cold spots look like on a thermal image?

Thermal imaging cameras have different color palette settings so it depends on what color palette has been selected. The color palette I like to use is called iron. Cold spots look dark and hot spots look bright orange-reddish color.

What does a cold spot indicate?

Cold spots can mean a few things either cold air or moisture from plumbing leaks, moisture intrusion from roofs or walls, Condensation from ducts and supply registers, overflowing A/C drain pans, or Moist air venting into attics from disconnected dryer vents etc. It's imperative that before you call out any moisture issue you take some moisture readings of the suspicious areas with a moisture meter.

What do hot spots indicate?

Hot spots can indicate heat loss due to poorly sealed doors or windows, missing insulation at exterior walls, or ceilings. Also, a hot spot may be a more serious issue found in electrical systems or electrical equipment. Types of electrical hazards found during a thermal scan are overheated circuit breakers, electrical faults, overheated wires, and overheated electrical equipment.

What types of thermal imaging services can be performed in a home?

Infrared can be used to help in electrical inspections helping to locate possible fire hazards.
Moisture intrusion inspections from poor drainage, siding damage, and water leaks from the roof and walls.
HVAC inspections infrared can find heat leakage or cool spots that could indicate leaks around ducts, evaporating coils, plenums, or dangerous Flue leaks at combustible vents into interior spaces.
Plumbing inspections infrared can help spot plumbing leaks inside ceilings and walls and could help locate the location of the leak.

Preparing the home for thermographic inspections.

Here in our Houston climate conditions this type of inspection is best performed during the summer. The first thing that should be done when the inspector arrives at the property is to turn the A/C down even if the unit is running. Thermographic inspections need to have about a 20-degree temperature difference from the indoor temperature compared to the outside air temperature. Once this difference has been achieved thermal image scanning can begin.

Thermographic inspections are better than your regular home inspection.

Thermal imaging is an advanced non-invasive technology that can reveal a great deal of information from an infrared image that may have not been revealed using conventional methods during an inspection. Ready to schedule our inspection business includes infrared inspections at no additional cost when conditions can be met.

Reasons why conditions couldn't be met to include a thermal imaging inspection.

Reasons why conditions couldn't be met to include a thermal imaging inspection.
Power off at home.
A/C systems that don't function or cool.
The heating units not functioning.
Unable to meet temperature difference from interior to exterior temperatures.

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