By Silas Murphy-Ellis 6-1-2019
USING THERMAL IMAGING OR INFRARED CAMERAS FOR HOME INSPECTION
Uses For Thermal Imaging During A Home Inspection
Identify moisture or leaks not visible to the naked eye
Find electrical issues, such as overheating circuit breakers or wiring
discover missing insulation hidden in roof, floor or wall assemblies.
Determine functionality of a heating or cooling supply
Detect failed thermal seals in doors and windows
Advantages Of Using An Infrared Camera
Examine large areas quickly
Inspect hard to reach areas such as tall ceilings
Gather Information about hidden areas, like roof or wall assemblies
Make quick assessments of areas of significant energy loss
Moisture Intrusion & Active Leaks
IR cameras do not detect moisture, but they can still be a very helpful tool in finding wet spots. A wet area will often times be cooler than the surround surfaces, making it easy to see with an IR camera. An effective way to use the IR camera to find leaks or moisture intrusion is to look for cold spots with the camera, and then test moisture levels with a moisture meter.
We do not recommend relying too heavily on IR cameras to find moisture issues in the home. Although it is a great tool that can help us see otherwise invisible moisture, IR cameras do not always give us indications that there is moisture present. If the leak is small, and the temperature difference is not large enough, the camera will not be of use.
We always recommend using your eyes and using visual clues like small stains, or rot. It’s best to test these areas with a moisture meter, even if the IR camera does not indicate a temperature difference.
Electrical Hot Spots
Although it is not very common to find overheating electrical components or wiring, it is a major concern when it does happen. An overheating circuit or circuit breaker presents a fire hazard, and definitely needs to be dealt with.
Missing insulation in ceiling, floor or wall assemblies can greatly reduce the energy efficiency of the home and the effective R-value of the insulation. Scanning with an infrared camera can quickly tell us about hot or cold spots that should have added insulation. Typical areas that we see are ceiling corners, and edges near the soffit vents. But it’s also not uncommon to find missing insulation bays in wall assemblies.
Confirmation Of Heating Or Cooling Source
The fastest and most accurate way to check the temperatures of heating or cooling supply is with an infrared camera. The camera can quickly tell us if the register is getting hot enough or cold enough. It’s one of the best ways to find disconnected ducting, and to determine whether the duct system in the home was designed relatively well, and is delivering enough airflow to each room.
Failed Thermal Seals In Windows And Doors
Most modern windows and door lites are filled with argon gas, which has greater insulating properties than air. Failed seals can often be seen with the naked eye due to humid air or moisture that enters the air cavity and fogs up the glass. If there is not visible moisture in the