How an Infrared Camera Works During a Home Inspection

Homebuyers and real estate agents insist on a home inspection before buying a property. Home inspections have several advantages beyond just identifying mold buildup or insect/cockroach/rat infestations. It can help you identify critical structural damages, electrical anomalies, and insulation problems. Eventually, a proper home inspection helps in the overall valuation of a property, which prevents a buyer from shelling out more than what a property is worth. 


Purchasing a home is an expensive affair, and you’ve to cut down financial risks by taking the aid of new technologies like Infrared Imaging. Thermal or infrared imaging is the latest technology that helps in the accurate detection of various issues plaguing a home. For example, thermographic inspections precisely record temperature anomalies and unravel a lot of information about your home that you wouldn’t know otherwise. 


Let’s find out how thermal imaging is used during a home inspection and how you, too, can benefit from its use. 

The FLIR Infrared Cameras


The FLIR infrared camera is sophisticated handheld equipment capable of recording temperatures inside and outside your home. It identifies the hot or cool zones depending on the displayed color on the camera’s screen.


The colors also reveal water leaks, moisture intrusion, ductwork leakages, and damaged electrical systems. General home inspections do not reveal these problems, but infrared cameras can easily detect such temperature differences. 


Should You Go for an Internal or External Inspection? 


The home inspector should take the call on the internal or external inspection. An internal scan is required when you’re trying to detect insulation leakages in a house. Elements like wind and outdoor temperature affect the insulation of a house. Internal scans may also reveal the airflow radiating off any object. Additionally, as air and heat often go through an inside wall without a straight escape from your home, it might not be possible to spot it from the outside.


How is the Infrared Camera used?


Warm or hot zones in your home are marked as white, yellow, red, and other light colors. Darker colors like blue or black indicate cooler zones. The colors are indicators of temperature differentials. It’s these differences in temperatures shown by the various colors, which indicate where leakages are occurring. Once the leakages are detected, house owners can undertake repairs to prevent further damages, which often prove more costly.

Here’s how thermal imaging technology works during a home inspection. 


Heat Loss Detection


Keeping the interiors warm during winter results in massive energy consumption and inflated energy bills. To keep the interiors warm, you often use a thermostat or light a fireplace. Appropriate insulation is crucial for ensuring optimum energy usage and keeping the interiors warm and cozy even during the harshest winter days. Poor interior insulation at your home will lead to rapid heat loss and higher energy consumption – a perfect concoction for big energy bills. In such a scenario, you’ll have to use more resources to keep your home comfortable. 


However, timely house inspection with a thermal imaging camera detects poor insulation and pinpoints the areas witnessing rapid heat loss. Therefore, you’ll know the exact points in your home that require immediate repair. Thus, you can plug the leakages in insulation and save further cost escalation through timely repairs.  


Helps Locate Electrical Issues


Detecting the electrical issues at your home can be challenging. There’s no way you can know if the breaker panel is in proper condition and working effectively or just hanging in there somehow. Now, pending electrical issues, if ignored over a long time, can lead to further damages and accidents like fire. 


Only thermal inspection of your house by a thermographer or trained electrician can precisely detect issues with the electrical circuit, panels, and wiring. The thermographer focuses the IR camera on the electrical box to record temperatures, and you don’t even need to switch off the electricity. 


Faulty electrical components emit heat over normal limits, and infrared cameras can easily pick up this temperature anomaly. The thermal images are then processed using software to produce analytical reports to pinpoints the components or areas with temperature anomalies. Once faulty components or wirings are detected, you can undertake repair work to prevent further damages or accidents. 


Detects Water Leakage and Moisture Intrusion


While water stain is visible to your naked eye, the IR camera will give the home inspector a deeper insight into the extent of damage and exact points from where water leakage occurs. Inspection for moisture intrusion should be done in the evening, as the inspection area would have cooled off after sunset.


Again, instead of the average surface temperature, evaporating water will display a cooler temperature. Blue or purple images indicate the existence of a leakage. Orange or red colour patches indicate things being OK, even though further inspections may be needed. Thermal imaging is a non-invasive technology so the leakages can be located without digging up the pipelines or demolishing the walls.  


Helps Detect Leaking Ductwork


Leaking ductwork of an HVAC system can result in hefty energy bills, as the system works overtime to keep your house cold or warm. However, a thermographic inspection can precisely detect leakages in the ductwork, and you can get the ducts repaired to prevent the outflow of cold or hot air.


Other Uses of Infrared Cameras During Home Inspection 


Pest infestations and erosions in your home can be easily detected through thermographic inspection. Infrared cameras are often used to inspect walls and floors for temperature anomalies. Pest infestation and erosions appear as cold spots on the thermal cameras, and you can avail a detailed report using the thermography software.


The cold spots can be further probed for infestations or erosion. Once it’s confirmed that there’s an issue underneath the floor or beyond the concrete walls, you can call up pest control and maintenance people to take care of the problem. Eventually, an infrared inspection can save your house from further damages without demolishing a wall or stripping the entire wooden flooring. 

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