Infrared (thermal imaging) is an advanced, non-invasive technology that allows the inspector to show homeowners things about their homes that can't be revealed using conventional inspection methods.
How Does an IR Camera Work?
Infrared Energy Detection
An infrared camera is a non-contact device that detects infrared energy (heat) and converts it into an electronic signal, which is then processed to produce a thermal image or video, on which you can perform temperature calculations. Heat sensed by an infrared camera can be very precisely quantified, or measured, allowing you to not only monitor thermal performance, but also identify and evaluate the relative severity of heat-related problems.
Recent Infrared Innovations
Recent innovations, particularly detector technology, the incorporation of built-in visual imaging, automatic functionality, and infrared software development, deliver more cost-effective thermal analysis solutions than ever before.
An infrared inspection can identify and document moisture intrusion, energy loss, and even unexpected hot spots.
In terms of energy loss, an IR camera can detect:
· heat loss and air infiltration in walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors
· damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems
· air-conditioner compressor leaks
· under-fastening and/or missing framing members, and other structural defects that can lead to energy loss
· broken seals in double-paned windows.
In terms of detecting moisture intrusion, an IR camera can locate:
· plumbing leaks
· hidden roof leaks before they cause serious damage
· missing, damaged and/or wet insulation; and
· water and moisture intrusion around penetrations and at the foundation and building envelope that could lead to structural damage and mold.
IR cameras are equally effective at locating hot spots in the home, including:
· circuit breakers in need of immediate replacement
· overloaded and undersized circuits
· overheated electrical equipment and components
· electrical faults before they cause a fire.
Additionally, based on the color gradients that thermal images provide, an inspector can locate:
· possible pest infestation, as revealed by energy loss through shelter tubes left by boring wood-destroying insects
· the presence of intruders, such as rats, mice and other larger pests hiding within the structure and detected because of their heat signature that the IR camera captures; and
· dangerous flue leaks, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning of the home’s residents.