Why do at least a basic infrared scan in all our Home Inspections? The answer is simple, using infrared technology or thermal scanning gives a better detail of what is happening in the area we are looking at. It allows a new spectrum to be seen that a standard camera or eye simple cannot.
Here is some general information regarding thermal imaging:
Thermal imaging cameras work by detecting heat signatures and displaying them as a gradient scale, with lighter colors signifying areas that are more hot and darker colors signifying cooler areas. Unlike visible light, which is the reflection of wavelengths of light off an object, infrared comes directly from the image source. This allows IR cameras to function in ways that traditional visible light cameras cannot.
The general advantages of IRT are the following:
· IRT is a non-contact technology; the devices do not to be in contact with the sources of heat creating a safer work environment.
· IRT creates a two-dimensional thermal image that allows for comparisons with visible light cameras
· IRT works in real-time, allowing high-speed scanning of images
· IRT is safe and effective
· IRT is non-invasive and will not disturb or affect the target area
IRT had widespread use as a military technology in the 1970’s but found itself in commercial use soon after. Today the technology is employed in various fields including medicine, surveillance, engineering, and building diagnostics, which includes home inspections. For home inspectors, knowledge of training of IRT can help diagnose defects that may not have been apparent in a routine inspection, reveal further defects and underlying causes, and can make the job safer.
Infrared imaging or thermography uses specialized instruments that detect and visualize heat spectrums that allow home inspectors to follow the flow of heat through a system.
Here is a list of some applications for IRT:
· Determine if insulation if lacking or deficient
· Determine if there are any air-leaks or abnormalities in heat flowing out of a building
· Determine if there is any moisture intrusion with insulation or other systems (when used with a moisture meter)
· Determine if electrical systems are overloaded or overheating
· Determine if there are leaks or defects with the roof
· Determine defects with the HVAC system
In conclusion, if your inspector is not using Infrared Technology, they are missing part of the picture.