Thermal Imaging - Infrared Camera
What Is Thermal Imaging And Why Is It Important
Thermal Imaging also known as a thermal scan, thermography, or an IR scan is the use of an infrared camera that allows infrared radiation to be seen and displays this information as gradient colors on the display screen or an IR camera. As a Certified Residential Thermographer I use this information to look for thermal anomalies in the images presented.
When using an Iron Contrast setting (as seen on the images on this page), cooler temperatures are represented in darker colors (blues and purples), while warmer temperatures are represented in the brighter colors (yellows and oranges). The differences in these temperatures is called the Delta-T.
Thermal imaging is invaluable for detecting potential moisture issues. When moisture is present in a material or surface, it is constantly evaporating. This process of cooling during evaporation (when liquid is converted to a gas), is called evaporative cooling. An infrared camera is so sensitive that it can pick up the Delta-T or temperature differential from this process taking place, and alerts me to the potential of possible moisture. This is then verified with a moisture meter to get an exact reading of the moisture content.
On the other end of the spectrum an Infrared camera is great for finding electrical deficiencies that can not be seen with the naked eye. Undertorqued lugs and terminals in electrical panels can allow conductors to overheat, without an Infrared camera this would go unnoticed.
During a home inspection a limited scan of the home is conducted, focusing on walls below grade, looking for moisture intrusion. As well as a scan of the electrical panel looking for overheated components. Infrared photos of these areas are included in the inspection report.
Home Inspection Deficiency Examples
Below the first image is from a new construction home inspection in Johnson City where water was found infiltrating into a finished basement that would never have been seen with the naked eye, the repair cost for this was over $10,000.
The Second image is a hot water temperature encroaching 170 degrees (no need to boil your water here to make coffee), as well as an overheated ungrounded bus bar that once again would have never been seen with the naked eye.