Using an infrared camera for home inspections requires the eye of a trained professional who knows what they’re looking for. An infrared camera in the hands of a novice might view every abnormal reading as a potential problem, wasting valuable time and money. However, this highly sensitive tool is a great way to scan for potential issues without tearing up drywall and flooring.
Using an Infrared Camera for Home Inspections
At Zoom, we use the infrared camera as part of our home inspection tool kit to scan for areas showing contrasting temperatures that might have excessive moisture. Many inspection companies will charge extra to include the IR camera during inspections. Contrarily, we see it as a necessary step to ensure your home inspection is as thorough as possible. Infrared cameras can also be used for energy assessments, but that is not within the scope for home inspections.
The Dynamic Duo: The Moisture Meter & Infrared Camera
When we scan a home for moisture and find an area that requires further investigation, Zoom will switch from the infrared camera to the moisture meter. A moisture meter is a handheld tool that measures electrical signals to determine the level of moisture in a product. Moisture meters can use pins to penetrate surfaces or use non-invasive pads to measure inside a surface for moisture levels.
Locating Water Damage
When we use an infrared camera for home inspections, water damage is one of the biggest things we look for. Water damage spotted during an inspection can range from a plumbing issue to basement moisture intrusion or a leak in the roof. The IR camera can identify potential problems that are invisible to the naked eye. The biggest red flag when scanning an area for water damage is a puddle-like shape or drip marks when viewed on the infrared screen. Typically, water will appear as a cooler-toned color in the IR image, such as dark blue or purple. However, if the water is warm due to plumbing conditions or weather, it will read in the ranges of yellow to red on the IR camera.
Optimizing Your Energy Bill
Using infrared technology for home inspections is a great way to investigate sources that might be creating higher energy bills. For instance, we discovered that a toilet in someone’s home was using heated water at 108°F on one of our jobs! Since toilets are often used, this would likely raise the energy bills and go unnoticed without a thorough inspection.
Another way infrared scanning can save you on energy costs is by finding areas with missing insulation. For example, a kitchen remodel on a ranch-style/rambler home may disturb the attic insulation. If the contractor forgot to repair the insulation in the ceiling, an infrared camera could detect this and save money on heating and cooling bills.
To get the best results from this test, we prefer performing infrared scans when there is a large difference in temperatures between the inside and outside of the home. When there is a drastic difference between the temperature inside and outside, we get a more precise read on the camera.
For more information on how Zoom Home Inspections can assist you with your next home inspection, click here to schedule your appointment or call (425) 301-2747 to speak with us today.
“Brian was very thorough, personable and excellent at explaining things to make them easy to understand.” – Maya R.