Thermal imaging

All in One Home Inspections is Infrared certified and can perform thermal imaging on your home for an additional fee. The Infrared services are an add on to the normal home inspection and are $95.

What does an Infrared camera do?Infrared Cameras “see” in the infrared spectrum, or in other words, it “sees” the heat emitted by items and converts it into an image that humans can see. Since everything has a temperature, the camera is a very effective tool to show us how items are heating or cooling. Even items in your freezer have different temperatures based on their thermal mass.

A Thermal imager (Infrared camera) candetect anomalies but these anomalies must still be checked/verified using other means such as moisture meters for water issues, thermometers for insulation issues, other conditions and tools, and above all the eyes and brain of the Home Inspector! Some anomalies will still defy explanations with secondary means and are then left to destructive inspection/testing means that are not a part of a normal home inspection.

The truth is that a home inspector cannot see into walls through the use of an infrared camera. Instead, the camera may pick up temperature differences that could indicate problems. However, there are no guarantees.

The timing of an infrared inspection makes a difference. The sun can change temperatures within the home. This could result in a false reading. IR cameras work best during early morning hours, or in the evenings when it's cooler. Most home inspections are not performed at these hours, making an IR inspection of little value. Wind can also significantly affect the results

Benefits of Thermal Imaging

Benefits of Thermal Imaging in the detection of:

  • Water infiltration (roof leaks located with recent rain fall within 24~48 hours)
  • Cold air infiltration
  • Excessive moisture in building materials
  • Stud / Joist / Beam / Rafter placement and structure
  • Insulation gaps, insufficient and unevenness
  • Electrical drops, panels, breakers, switches and wire connections
  • Heating and cooling duct placement, insulation, air leaks
  • Pipe location
  • Special Inspections
  • Pest infestation
  • Energy audits
  • Insurance claims

Thermal Imaging Limitations

  • Thermal imaging only displays surface temperatures of solid objects.
  • IR detects the temperature based upon wavelength of the light emitted by the object (longer wavelength, colder). IR, therefore, does not show the temperature of objects that reflect light, (glass, shiny metal, light colored objects in direct sunlight).
  • IR, does not “see through walls”, but only displays the very slight differences in surface temperature of the wall. Images of areas “behind” and not in contact with walls depends upon the temperature difference of the area. It is easier to see “hot” objects because they will be radiating heat to the not-in-contact surface. See pictures below for how IR is still incredibly useful.
  • Careful adjustment of the range of temperatures displayed is important to proper imaging and interpretation. (but don't worry: I have been trained to do this).

Using a thermal imaging camera can help the inspector see variances in the home that may otherwise go undetected. 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.