Purchasing a home is a large financial decision, and it’s important to know that the house you’re investing in is structurally sound and without any dangers lurking inside. While every state has different regulations for minimum inspections, you should always have your prospective home thoroughly checked by an experienced home inspector.
In the end, if you want to avoid finding hidden problems in your home, you need a resource that can spot them before they cost you financially or cause structural issues.
Many prospective home buyers consider getting a thermal imaging inspection because it detects heat loss and gains in the walls and floors, insulation levels, roof defects, and reveals hot or cold spots that could suggest an issue underneath the surfaces.
This type of inspection is more intensive than your run-of-the-mill home inspection since it uses infrared equipment and spectrum imaging, also known as thermography.
How Thermal Imaging is Different From a Regular Home Inspection
A thermal imaging inspection is done using an infrared camera to inspect the exterior and interior of a house. A thermal imaging inspection is very much like an X-ray machine for home inspectors. It can detect moisture in a building without doing any invasive digging, something that regular building inspections don’t accomplish.
Inspectors can also measure the quality and longevity of your house’s foundation! When there is a change, the modified infrared signal is displayed as a colored image on a computer monitor or TV screen. This technology allows you to see beneath things like flooring, furniture, and walls with ease.
Here is a quick rundown on what the colors displayed mean:
- Cool temperatures show as purple
- Moderate temperatures show as red
- Hot temperatures show as yellow
- Fluke Ti480–The Fluke Ti480 tool combines the aspects of durability and quality into one convenient package for performing accurate measurements in hard-to-reach places.
- The Pti120 can conduct high accuracy tests right on the work surface and is portable, allowing for easy storage when not in use.
How Thermal Imaging Can Help Your Home Inspection
Thermal imaging can help home inspectors see different aspects of a house and spot issues before they become serious.
Let’s look into some areas for which thermal imaging is a no-brainer.
Detecting moisture In Building Structure
Thermal imaging maps the temperature of surfaces, allowing property inspectors to easily determine which areas are hot or cold. Inspectors can then examine the flooring, walls, and ceiling for insulation problems and check for moisture damage.
Detecting Plumbing Errors
Thermal imaging is a great way to inspect plumbing. By scanning for heat and temperature anomalies, inspectors can identify a leak. It allows inspectors to focus on the exact spots that need immediate attention.
Using thermal imaging cameras can help contractors spot problems with stucco. A FLIR camera can look behind the stucco of a house for things like mold or rot that may not have been visible to the naked eye.
It might surprise you, but infrared cameras pick up the heat signature of animals! Since all organic material gives off heat, infrared cameras can capture thermal images that help detect many insects, animals, or rodents that might be making a house in your house.
An infrared scan can locate hotspots. These may show overloaded circuits, old circuit breakers, electrical faults, and overheated electrical equipment.
Thermal imaging cameras can pinpoint areas of missing insulation or places where moisture is trapped on the roof. This indicates the source of a leak or where there may be compromised insulation.
Tip: If you want to spot problems with your roof, it’s best to perform these tests during the late evening when temperatures start to cool off.
Best Thermal Imaging Cameras for Home Inspections
Do you sometimes feel that your home is cold and other times it’s hotter than you want it to be? Your indoor temperatures—and ultimately, your comfort levels—can almost always be traced back to infrared heat, your home’s insulation, and air sealing.
Thermal imaging cameras reveal the problem areas in your home with colorful heat-sensitive visuals. You can then use these devices with a trained home professional inspector who can interpret the data shown by the thermal imaging camera.
Now let’s look at the basics surrounding infrared cameras before diving to our top picks.
We can detect the amount of heat in an object through IR thermography. This technology allows the measurement of infrared energy to identify hot or cold areas in contrast with their surroundings. For example, a huge temperature difference can suggest problems in construction or insulation. If you find one part of your roof is much hotter than the rest of it, this suggests an air leak, causing your energy bills to go up.
While you can always feel the hot and cold areas with your hand, it is never accurate. Moreover, the more you experience hot and cold spots in your home, the more you become accustomed to living with it.
This can lead to more problems down the road. That’s where thermal imaging cameras come in.
We know sometimes we want to go all out and spend all our money on the most expensive cameras, but you don’t want to overspend and waste capital on features that will just be underutilized.
It’s worth scouting for a company that offers state-of-the-art IR heat vision cameras at good prices so you can find one that fits both your budget and the work you’re undertaking.
Some of our recommendations include:
This camera is top tier when you mention thermal imaging cameras. It’s one of the go-to cameras for home inspectors as they give accurate results. There are many models, from Flir One to Flir C3 and more. Flir’s most popular thermal imaging camera among experts is the Flir One because it plugs right into a smartphone and converts the regular camera into a thermal imaging camera.
Another leader in thermal imaging cameras is Fluke. Founded in 1948, Fluke has been providing experts with quality products for seven decades. Two of the top thermal imaging cameras from Fluke are:
Seek Thermal offers inspection experts with the latest tools and technologies on the market to increase safety and insight. Their two most popular series include Reveal series and compact series. The compact series is compatible with smartphones, making it very efficient. Each of their models is not only portable, they are also lightweight and have long-lasting batteries.
We hope this article helped you better understand the benefits and importance of thermal testing and how it can aid in-home inspection and safety. When making an important decision such as buying a house, we encourage you to consider a thermal inspection that will give you peace of mind and make your home safer and healthier.