Technology has evolved over the years. The scenario today is completely different than what we had some decades ago. Certain technological advancements were accepted by people whereas some did not live up to such expectations.
The question arises however, whether every technological change is necessary or even beneficial? Talking about smartphones, people line up outside the stores to get their latest smartphone. A lot of time and money is being spent in getting hold of the latest gadget.
This desire for the latest technology and upgrades is not limited to gadgets alone. In all walks of life, people are being more dependent on technology. Today, let us talk about the evolving Home Inspection industry and whether the hype is really worth it.
What is Thermal Imaging?
The latest technological advancement in the Home Inspection sector is the use of infrared camera for carrying out inspections. This technology is named as “Thermal Imaging Inspection”. But the real question is, whether this method of carrying inspection worth all the hype.
The thermal imaging inspection method is a non-invasive and advanced method that allows the professional in revealing to its client about their office or home. Certain things that cannot be easily identified through the conventional inspection method is made easier with this new technology.
Only a professional inspector would be able to decode the results generated from this infrared camera. It also becomes important that the information which is presented from this inspection meets the needs of the client so that they can carry out further action.
The best thing about this imaging process is that it can interpret the results in a correct and reasonable manner. This result can then be used by the client for taking appropriate action in terms of repairs or renovations. The thermal imaging process makes use of an infrared camera for measuring and recording the temperature of various materials present on the surface.
This technology provides a much detailed information which cannot be easily detected through the conventional route. The use of this technology would allow you to view things easily that otherwise would not have been possible through naked eye. Infrared camera makes of the color coding scale for providing the differences in the temperature on the surface.
What can be seen through Thermal Imaging?
In our daily routine, we normally see the lights that are visible around us. It is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we normally can view. The visible light present around us is known to be taking up a small area in this electromagnetic spectrum. However, the larger part is taken up by something called an IR or infrared radiation. But if we would want to see what exactly is going on in the other parts then a specialized equipment is required to read that spectrum.
It is commonly known that every object present around us is said to reflect and absorb some kind of energy. In certain times, these objects are also known to be transmitting energy at various levels. Each object is made up of different materials and these materials are said to emit either cold or heat. Also the energy that is emitted is done so at various levels. This particular energy can be easily detected by a specialized infrared gadget and also the different energy rates are then displayed on the camera as images.
Role of the Thermal Imaging Inspector?
For a layman, understanding the results initially may be very difficult but it is the responsibility of the inspector to explain the details and limitations of this process.
- The inspector should properly explain in detail about the limitations of this process. Thermal imaging cannot predict what’s going to happen in future. It would only help in determining the current situation of the home or the building. Hence the inspector should beforehand explain to the client, the various inspection checks that can be carried out through thermal imaging.
- It is also the role of the inspector to mention the various capabilities of this process. For a new client, the advantages of this process may not be known. Hence, the inspector should be listing down the various benefits of this process. The inspector can also provide any written materials that clearly mentions the various conditions that can be detected through the infrared camera.
The use of thermal imaging has taken the home inspection industry to the next level. One is able to get an idea of all those elements beyond physical nature. Hence, a perfect looking home or office can have lots of hidden issues that are not easily visible through naked eye. Thermal imaging process cannot miss out on these hidden parts. Let us go through the various elements that can be identified through Thermal Imaging inspection.
When it comes to energy loss then the IR camera is able to determine:
- If there are broken seals in the double-paned windows.
- Air infiltration or heat loss present in the flooring, doors, ceiling and walls.
- Leaks from the compressor of air conditioner.
- Improper functioning of the radiant heating system
- Any other structural defects that leads to loss of heat quickly
Whenever a scanning is carried out through this process of floor, ceilings, walls then you notice differences in the conductivity and temperature. These differences would tell about any hidden, damaged or missing structural components. Even wet basement walls that become breeding ground for mold can be identified through the thermal imaging process.
When it comes to water leakages, then the IR camera is able to determine:
- Hidden leaks present in the roof that may have led to serious form of damage
- Leaks due to plumbing system issue
- Penetration of water in the foundation of building that may lead to weakening of the overall structure.
- Wet insulation being damaged or missing.
There are no such buildings or home which are spared from water leakages or infiltration. Water tends to give up to its heat at a gradual rate than the roofing materials present in the surrounding due to the high thermal capacity.
The best time to carry out thermal imaging to catch any presence of moisture is during evening times. By this time the roofing materials would have slowly released the heat thus displaying purple or blue colors on the image screen. On the other hand, the materials which are moisturized would be warm thus displaying orange or red colour scale on the image screen.
Hot spots can also be easily located through the use of IR technology:
- Any kind of electrical faults that can lead to fire.
- Circuit breakers that need to be replaced quickly
- Circuits which are either undersized or overloaded
- Electrical components and equipment’s which become overheated.
There is nothing more important than saving your home and its members from any faulty electrical circuit. Hence identification of the actual electrical source on a timely and accurate manner would add up to huge value for the entire home.
It would ensure prevention of property and human damage. Wherever there is faulty electrical system, the image would display yellow color thus making it easier to spot the grey areas and get it repaired.
Few of the other elements that can be identified through IR technology are:
- A possibility of pest infestation
- Presence of rats and other larger pests that easily hide behind the tiniest possible place.
- Flu leaks which can lead to easy spread of the dangerous gas carbon monoxide.
Benefits & Limitations of Thermal Imaging Inspection at home or buildings:
This upgrade of thermal imaging comes along with its own set of advantages and limitations. There is no such technology which can be termed to be completely perfect. Hence before you judge whether thermal imaging is really worth all the hype that has been created. Let us walk through its benefits and limitations.
- Easily identifies the current leakages in the roofs, ceilings, walls, floors.
- Location of pipe
- Determines the presence of excess moisture in any of the building materials.
- Small or large pest infestations
- Whether there are any kind of insulation gaps or unevenness.
- Placement & Structure, Beam/Raft/Joist.
- The process of thermal imaging would only be displaying the solid object’s temperature that is present on the surface.
- So as to ensure that proper imaging is carried out and also the results can be interpreted accurately it is important to carefully adjust the temperature range that gets displayed on the camera.
- The process of thermal imaging is not to see through the walls. However, it would only be displaying any kind of slight temperature differences present on the wall surface.
Interpretation of Data:
Interpreting the thermal imaging data is of prime importance whenever one carries out the inspection at home or any building. The quality of the report that is generated from thermal imaging is based on the qualification and work experience of the inspector.
Based on the baseline readings and the image locations, the results are enough to alert any client for carrying out repair work. The thermal imaging equipment is also very expensive and not every home inspection team can afford it. But the ones who make use of it would surely testify its importance and how it has not become one of the indispensable gadget in the kit.
When you have plans to purchase a new home, ensure that it does not have any hidden faults that can turn out to be a headache for you in the future. Carry out a thorough home inspection by using a thermal imaging process.
Even home sellers would not want to have any unexpected issues that can scare away the buyers hence the need for inspection is a must. For those home owners who are not looking to sell their homes can also carry out a routine thermal inspection at periodical intervals.
The addition of thermal infrared inspection would avoid any untoward incidences and at the same time ensure timely action is carried out.
The information that a client receives with the help of thermal imaging process is of extreme importance. Such information can serve a great purpose for both the home owner and the buyer of the home. But it is also worth making a note of that such home inspections comes with its own set of limits.
However, the results should be interpreted by an expert professional who are well aware about the source of such issues. Once the source has been identified then the owner can discuss on how to get it repaired or renovated to avoid any further damage.