Home inspections took with an even more practical role in home buying with the creation of infrared thermography, or thermal imaging. In the past, inspectors have relied heavily on visual cues to allow them determine if there are plumbing issues or leaks in a home. While highly trained inspectors can detect problems much better than your average homeowner, there is always the chance that the issue "hiding" in the walls would surface following the sale was complete. With infrared thermography, inspectors now have a camera that can detect problems not easily seen before they become a larger issue. Though it looks like an average camcorder, a thermal imaging camera sees variations in the amount of heat held by an item. Variations in ambient temperature appear as gradations of blue/green (colder) or red/yellow (warmer.)
Infrared thermography can be useful for both home buyer and home owner. For example, if you detect a musty odor in a house or hear water dripping but do not see any sign of leakage you can "see" the top differently with infrared thermography to assist discover the leak. The system will show the temperature difference between wall and water, indicating the leak points. Think about it; if your plumber is able to pinpoint the exact spot of the leak before water stains appears, that means fewer holes, less mess, and less investment property fixing the issue.
Water leaks aren't the sole problems easily discovered by infrared thermography. Use of the camera could mean places that electrical systems are overloaded. Age and improper installation can lead to shorts, high electrical use, even fire. Before this detection technique, a house owner might don't know there was a potential hazard until it had been past too far. The hazardous areas can have up as glowing hot points around the system screen, which makes it simple to detect. This process may be used both to see into walled areas, and also to thoroughly inspect electrical boxes, junctures, etc.
The infrared thermography inspection does more than detect problems, it will save you money. Insufficient insulation will set you back thousands each year in heating and cooling bills. Scanning your home will disclose the areas around doors and windows that lose heat or improperly insulated walls and ceilings. In addition, those cracks and crevices not only lose energy; they can allow pests to your home. Thermal imaging can verify pest infestations of all types without needing to drill or remove wood.
Infrared thermography is not a substitute for a conventional home inspection. It's a tool that can help your house inspector verify findings, provide visual evidence of an issue, and yes, find issues that the human eye alone may not see. For homeowners who suspect an unseen leak, pest infestation, energy loss, or electrical problem, it can target the source without needing invasive measures. A professional home inspector armed with traditional tools plus infrared thermography can doubly assure you that your home investment is safe and secure.