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Is Thermal Imaging worth It For A Home Inspection?

Are you considering a home inspection but unsure if it’s worth the extra cost to include thermal imaging? 

Discover the benefits of thermal imaging for home inspections and how it can help you uncover hidden issues and potentially save you thousands in the long run.

Maintenance of a home at regular intervals is essential to ensure the health of a building or home. Missed maintenance might lead to unnecessary repair costs, and no wise homeowner can allow that to happen. Irrespective of whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or already own a house, you must get a thorough inspection done.


No sane person would pay thousands of dollars for a dilapidated house or building and incur further expenses in the form of repairs. Often a house looks attractive from outside but might find glaring damages once you start exploring further. Thus, a home inspection plays a vital role in the buying process as it facilitates the assessment of a house’s actual condition.


Even though home inspections are carried out using various methods and tools, thermal imaging has emerged as a preferred method of late. Thermal imaging is a technology wherein a thermal camera is used to capture a different house or building sections to ascertain its exact condition. All surfaces emit infrared radiation because of the temperature change, and thermal imaging is based on capturing the radiation. The radiation’s intensity works as an indicator of a surface’s heat, and different sections of your house will reveal different infrared radiation results.

Inspection of your house will involve inspection of different sections and systems, including structural inspection, plumbing inspection, electrical inspection, insulation inspection, and HVAC inspection. You can even opt for a thorough thermographic inspection to detect pest infestation. Let us look at all these inspections and try to understand the entire process:


Structural inspection using Thermal Imaging 


Assessing a house’s structural integrity is crucial before you even get down to conducting other inspections while buying a new home. The inspection of a new building or home’s structural integrity is mandatory in most of the states. It would be best to decide whether you should opt for thermal imaging or other ways to conduct the inspection.


You’re free to use any inspection method or tool you deem fit for your house or building; however, thermal imaging is the best among the lot. Let us find out how thermal imaging can help you carry out a thorough structural inspection:


Visual inspection of a house or building is a tedious but inefficient inspection method when you’ve to cover a large area. Thus, if you want to effectively and efficiently check the structural integrity of a new house you intend to buy, you must use thermal imaging to efficiently capture images of different sections. These images are then scanned using a computer, and a detailed report is generated for the experts to analyze structural anomalies. The entire task of clicking photographs, computer analysis, and inspection does not take more than a few minutes. Thus, thermal imaging has emerged as one of the most efficient and effective options for building inspection.


Several structures get concealed once the building gets completed, so visual inspection isn’t possible. During a structural inspection of a building, the support beams, metal rods, and foundation need to be analyzed as these are critical elements that hold the house together. If you intend to learn about these building elements’ condition, you must choose thermal imaging. 


Inspection of Electrical Systems using Thermal Imaging


Thermal imaging for inspecting electrical systems is the preferred choice of inspection experts as they know it’s worth every penny. Thermal imaging is an excellent way of inspecting an electrical system while it’s still operating. All other inspection methods call for a complete shutdown of the electrical systems, which leads to apparent inconveniences and losses.


The entire thermal imaging working is based on changes in temperature, which are quite pronounced in electrical components. This is why thermal imaging is the most appropriate method for inspecting electrical systems. Each component, along with the electrical system, will exhibit different temperature changes on their surfaces. The thermographic images concerning every component will show different colors as per their surface temperature.


Overloaded or faulty electrical components tend to get overheated, making them appear orange or red in thermographic images. These specific color changes help the inspectors detect the faulty components and commission preemptive maintenance work.


Another significant advantage of thermal imaging during an electrical inspection is that the inspecting personnel don’t need to get close to the electrical components and capture the images from a safe distance. Electrical systems carry heavy voltage, and even a small mistake can lead to fatal accidents during an inspection. However, thermal imaging lets the personnel inspect an electrical system from a safe distance without risking their lives. Hazards and injuries are minimized with an effective and efficient inspection method like thermal imaging.


Electrical systems classified as high-load can be safely inspected and accurately with the thermal imaging tools. Once the images are analyzed using a computer and a detailed report is generated for the same, the inspector can easily carry out the repair work without shutting down the system for longer durations.


Inspection of Plumbing and Drainage Systems using Thermal Imaging


Thermal imaging is being widely used for inspecting plumbing and drainage systems. Infrared images of pipes for the entire system can be captured without much hassle and analyzed to understand their condition. As we all know, plumbing and drainage systems develop various issues after being operational for more extended periods, so they need to be repaired at regular intervals. However, inspection of new systems is also needed to find out whether everything has been installed correctly or not.


Inspection of pipelines and drainage systems is an arduous and time-consuming procedure, mostly when done with traditional methods and tools. On the other hand, it can be accomplished quite conveniently and efficiently with thermal imaging. For instance, if someone is to inspect an underground pipeline for leakage, then traditional methods would need him/her to dig out the pipes and check each section properly for detecting leakages. However, when you use thermal imaging, the same inspection job can be completed in a few minutes as the pipeline’s thermal imaging would reveal the exact sections that have leakages. Since thermal imaging will reveal the sections with a lower temperature than the others caused by water leakage, the detection can be completed quickly.


Concealed pipelines in multistoried buildings can also be inspected efficiently and accurately by using thermal imaging. Leakages and worn out sections can be easily detected using thermal imaging by sending down hot water in the pipes. The leakages and worn out sections will reveal distinct temperature changes that can be easily captured by the infrared thermal imaging device.

Thermal imaging prevents unnecessary demolitions of walls and digging in buildings and properties for inspection of pipelines. Thus, inspectors can avoid such unnecessary tasks and provide detailed inspection reports to maintenance teams and maintenance specialists to undertake necessary repair work. Thus, home and building owners can save hundreds of dollars and, at the same time, complete the maintenance work quickly.


Thermographic imaging is aided by computer-based analysis of the images to generate easy to comprehend reports. Thus, experienced inspectors can quickly gather the necessary information about a particular drainage or plumbing system and take appropriate steps to limit the damages.


Inspection of Insulation Systems using Thermal Imaging


Insulation systems can also be efficiently and accurately inspected using the latest thermal imaging cameras. If you don’t intend to incur substantial electric bills, it’s essential to have a robust insulation system. Thermal imaging can quickly detect insulation leaks by identifying temperature differences.


Insulation inspections can be conducted appropriately if there’s a significant difference in temperatures outside and inside the house. For instance, if the house’s temperature is significantly higher than outside, then thermographic cameras can easily detect the difference.


The temperature anomaly is shown by different surface temperatures and insulation leaks leading to air movement from or inside the house, which is quickly captured by thermal imaging cameras. The air movement is shown using a jet of colored air, and the wet patches are also detected during the inspection. Wet patches absorb more heat than their surroundings, leading to their different color appearance in thermal images.


Thermal imaging has emerged as a boon for inspectors of insulation, electrical, drainage and plumbing systems. They can accomplish more significant numbers of thermal imaging tasks because it’s much more efficient and effective than the traditional inspection methods. The infrared images, coupled with computer-analyzed reports, make their job more manageable, and they’re able to undertake preemptive and regular maintenance tasks with greater confidence and conviction. The use of thermal imaging ultimately leads to higher cost savings through quick and appropriate maintenance. Inspectors can detect faults and breakdowns within minutes and repair specific sections without wasting the home owners’ time, effort, and money. 

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