What is Thermal Imaging?
Thermal imaging uses an infrared camera to capture heat differences around a property. The infrared camera converts invisible infrared radiation into an image displaying the heat distribution in an area. While not a standardized method for home inspections, thermal photography can reveal important information to the inspector. Here are a few uses of thermal imaging in home inspections.
Uses of Thermal Imaging in Home Inspections
During an examination of a home, the inspector uses an infrared camera to identify issues with the home’s wiring, insulation, and plumbing. Trained inspectors can take advantage of the temperature readings to detect other problems like pest infestations and roof leaks.
Using thermal imagery, an inspector can see higher-than-normal temperatures around outlets, breaker panels, and the home’s wiring. A warm area indicates the presence of an electrical hotspot. Infrared imaging allows the inspector to identify the hazard early, so the homeowner can make repairs before a fire occurs. An electrical hotspot will generally show as a bright yellow-white area on the infrared camera, depending on the camera used.
An infrared camera helps identify areas where heat is lost, such as insufficient insulation, damaged roofing, and ineffective window and door seals. These spots appear a different color from the surrounding areas on the camera. The home inspector will note these places where insulation is missing or damaged. If not repaired, energy inefficiency will result in higher utility and maintenance costs for the homeowner.
Thermal imaging can also locate plumbing leaks before they result in visible stains or puddles. Leaking fixtures, broken pipes, and leaking roofs will display darker spots on the image. With an infrared camera, these problems are easier to identify and correct before causing costly water damage in the home.
Thermal Imaging Can Detect Pests During Home Inspections
Thermal imagery might indicate the presence of pests. For example, a rat’s nest may appear as a warmer spot in the basement or attic. The heat will be visible as a brighter color.
Irregular spots of color along the walls, ceiling, and flooring might be a sign of termite damage in the home. Thermal imagery provides a non-invasive method for detecting pests.
A home inspector using thermal imaging technology provides a more thorough evaluation, allowing the buyer to make an informed decision about the home they are considering.