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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; and 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;  and 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.


Interpreting the Data:


This is perhaps the most critical aspect of providing a solid IR report, and goes hand in hand with the limitations of thermal imaging, as well as the depth of  training and experience.  Depending on the established baseline IR readings and the locations of the images, the results can either alert the client to a critical repair needed – such as an electrical hot spot – or simply be an item that they need to keep in check – such as adding insulation at an exterior wall.


Thermal imaging equipment is expensive enough that not every inspector offers this type of ancillary inspection.  Nevertheless, those who use IR cameras for both ancillary inspections and as part of their standard home and commercial property inspections will testify that it’s become one of the more indispensable implements in their toolkits.


Infrared Certified:



Building Inspections

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