This picture shows hidden water intrusion (Dark area) there was no visible sign of water damage on the wall. We would have never seen this without a thermal imaging camera. We use this on every home inspection.
Click here for another sample of hidden water intrusion found on a Houston home inspection.
Does your home inspector use an Infrared camera? If not they may not be telling you the whole story about your new home!
For a limited time only we will include a free basic thermal imaging scan of you home.
What is Infrared Thermal Imaging?
In the most basic terms, infrared energy is heat. The infrared spectrum is beside the visible light spectrum that allows us to see with our eyes. All objects give off some level of infrared energy. The actual amount given off is determined by the material properties of the object and its environment. With specialized equipment and training it is possible to "see" and interpret infrared images. Infrared Thermal Imaging is the use of specialized equipment to "see" in the infrared spectrum. Originally developed for military then industrial applications, the technology has finally made its way to the residential inspection industry.
This process is still a "visual" inspection. Contrary to what some companies and advertisers would have the public believe, this technology does NOT allow you to "see inside the walls." With proper training a qualified operator can make educated interpretations of what is occurring inside the wall based on the thermal image. Infrared Thermal Imaging still has certain limitations in its use. Glass and reflective surfaces are opaque to this infrared technology and the images seen on these surfaces are reflections not the thermal properties of the surface. It is absolutely essential that the operator of the equipment be properly trained in Thermography, Heat Transfer and Thermodynamics. As a Infrared Certified thermographer, I have this training.
Furthermore, not all infrared equipment is equal. There are low priced, low powered, low sensitivity cameras on the market that are little more than infrared hunting scopes. To insure a proper infrared inspection it is necessary to use infrared cameras developed for home inspections. We use the Flir Bcam SD that was designed specificaly for home inspections.
Can Infrared Thermal Imaging see through the walls like an X-ray?
Absolutely NOT! An infrared camera simply sees the surface heat of whatever it is looking at, in a completely passive manner. A properly trained operator can interpret the images to determine some of what is happening behind a surface. As with any technology, there are limitations, making proper training and quality equipment essential.
How is Infrared Thermal Imaging useful or important to a home inspection?
Hot or cold spots can be indicators of problems and the infrared camera is designed to allow efficient scanning of the home to find these problems.
Moisture Intrusion, Leaks, Condensation
Because of the thermal properties of water and the phenomenon of evaporation, active wet spots will generally show up as "cold" spots in an infrared picture. While there is other equipment that detects active moisture, it is spot specific. Meaning it works for a very small specific location. Infrared Thermal Imaging, with the proper equipment, allows the operator to quickly and efficiently scan larger areas for suspicious active moisture spots. When a suspicious area is found, the area can be checked with a moisture meter to confirm or deny the presence of active moisture. Often with our sensitive camera we can even determine where the moisture came from.
Hot spots are often found with electrical problems. Electrical outlets, switches, wires or circuit breakers that are malfunctioning, overloaded, or compromised in some manner. These are very dangerous as they can easily lead to a catastrophic fire. Our Infrared Thermal Imaging process allows us to easily and efficiently scan for these electrical hot spots which may not have been visible to the naked eye and would have escaped notice. If the scan gives indications of problems follow-up investigation is called for to verify the problem and resolve it.
Insulation anomalies are also alarmingly common in construction, both new and old, in our area. With energy costs soaring, these deficiencies can lead to huge energy costs. Again, our Infrared Thermal Imaging process allows us to efficiently scan the home and identify areas that are improperly or incompletely insulated. Because this scan is completed from inside, we can see areas that may otherwise be inaccessible and therefore not visible to traditional visual inspection procedure.
Improperly Connected HVAC Ductwork
If your HVAC flex duct has not been properly sealed you could have significant leakage at joints in the attic. Infrared Thermal Imaging can identify this problem, if the connection is visible. We have found both poor connections at plenums and registers in our infrared scans. These situations are simply costing the homeowners money and comfort. Left unfixed, with the right atmospheric conditions, these can even lead to moisture problems from condensation.
Why is your inspection price not the lowest in the area?
Quality, high performance infrared imaging equipment designed for home inspections is VERY expensive, in the price range of around $10,000 plus. We use a FLIR camera specifically designed for home inspections. While we work to provide this revolutionary service at a reasonable price, we realize our price will not be the lowest around. We firmly believe in our training, equipment, and inspection process. We also believe that this technology is too important to perform an inspection without. Therefore, it is not an option, it is part of every inspection we perform. If you are interested in the BEST inspection possible you have to remember you get what you pay for. Comparing our inspection to an inspection without a high quality infrared camera is like comparing apples to oranges.
Why don't all inspectors have infrared?
This technology is very expensive, some inspectors cannot or will not invest that much back into their business. Others actually believe that Infrared "sees too much" and that it is too far beyond the required standards and may increase their liability. At HTown Home Inspections we think differently. We believe our clients deserved the absolute best inspection possible. We strongly feel that includes Infrared Thermal Imaging. With proper education on our part clients understand what the technology is capable of and what it is not. They benefit from the thorough inspection and we sleep better at night knowing we have done our best.