Some home issues are not detectable with the naked eye. That’s why ancillary service like infrared thermography is very nifty for preventive home maintenance.
What is Infrared Thermography?
Infrared thermography (IR) is a home inspection method that uses thermal imaging equipment to detect infrared energy in a room. Different objects and substances emit varying levels of infrared energy. Infrared light, unlike visible light, is not detectable with the human eye. It is on the invisible end of the electromagnetic spectrum due to its longer wavelength.
Thus, an inspector uses an infrared camera to detect thermal infrared emissions. This will display temperature variations inside the home using a color gradient. With this method, the inspector will be able to spot potential issues based on the heat variations inside the house.
Why is Infrared Thermography Useful?
Infrared technology is useful in all sorts of applications. Industries like security and surveillance, medicine, astronomy, construction, and home inspection use this technology. Although the tools vary depending on the task, the same underlying principle of infrared thermography is applied.
With a home inspection, inspectors can cover a large area very quickly. And since infrared testing is non-invasive, this is safer than contact inspection.
The inspector can also spot small issues before it becomes a larger problem, requiring costly repairs. With heat variation on display, inspectors can document these issues. And homeowners can see those for themselves in real-time as well.
What Will an Infrared Thermography Inspection Reveal?
With infrared imaging, the inspector should be able to interpret data and identify potential problems. These may include the following:
Infrared testing makes it possible to view the surface temperature differences. This makes it easy to detect if there’s moisture intrusion in the roof. During the day, the roof absorbs heat but as the temperature plunges, it releases heat. When there’s moisture on the roof, heat is released at a slower rate. This results in temperature variation in different parts of the roof. Thus, the infrared camera identifies the moist and dry area with their varying heat signature.
Several factors can affect the accuracy of infrared testing on the roof. These are:
- Exterior and interior temperature differences
- Wind speed
- Solar loading
- Weather condition and changes before the inspection
For the best data, inspectors conduct this under these favorable conditions:
- Clear and sunny days before the inspection so there’s enough solar loading. This is helpful for clearer temperature differences between moist and dry spots.
- Wind speed that’s less than 15 mph.
- Plunging ambient temperature. This is the reason why most infrared inspection is usually done at dusk. The roof releases heat quickly during these hours. Thus, the temperature difference between most and dry areas is most obvious.
Aside from these, the inspector will also have to identify roof material and construction type. These may affect the accuracy of the results as well. If your home inspector discovers issues with the home roof, they can also provide maintenance and repair tips to help fix the issue.
Electrical faults and other electrical issues are often preceded by a surge of heat in the different electrical components. Normally, current flow in an electrical circuit. Some of this energy gets converted into heat. But when there’s a problem with the electrical system like an abnormally high current or resistance, a high amount of heat is also generated.
Infrared testing detects the heat emitted. In so doing, inspectors can also note potential issues before they become full-blown problems. And homeowners can schedule necessary repairs to avert a disastrous situation.
Thermal imaging can detect issues like:
- loose connections
- faulty terminal wires
- defective insulation
- open circuits
- inductive heating
- breaker problems
- defective electrical equipment
- damaged jumper wires
With infrared camera’s color gradient display, inspectors identify hot spots to pinpoint affected components. This is faster than manual inspection. Also, homeowners don’t have to suffer through a long power interruption to get this done.
Thermal imaging can also help with a structural inspection. Some common issues that would come up when the house structure is surveyed include pest infestation and water damage.
Wood-destroying organisms (WDO) can chew through woods for years. Often, homeowners are none the wiser until the damage on walls, floors, and frames become very clear. Infrared scanning can catch these culprits before they do extensive damage. They may lurk beneath the surface but their heat signature shows up on the infrared camera.
Water intrusion in the basement or around the foundation of the building can cause mold and structural damage. Two common problems leading to these are drainage issues and plumbing leaks. Drainage issues could cause water to pool around the foundation and building envelope. And when the plumbing leaks, water could seep into the soil, creating excessive pressure on the foundation.
Thermal scanning can zero in on problem areas faster and help mitigate the effects of these issues. There’s no need to tear up walls or crawl to hard to reach areas to check the structural condition of the house.
Infrared Thermography and Preventive Maintenance
To ensure the house is in pristine condition and avoid costly repairs in the future, preventive home maintenance routine is a must for every homeowner. Infrared testing is one of the practical ways to do this. With a routine inspection at least once a year, thermal imaging can check the house’s mechanical systems (HVAC, electrical, and insulation) and structural integrity at one go. Preventive maintenance could preempt potential issues. And this could save homeowners or buyers from the nerve-wracking hassle and thousands of dollars worth of repairs.
Infrared thermography is not just about the data that shows up on display. Anybody can operate those scanners. But it takes a highly-skilled IR thermography inspector to ensure conditions are right for accurate results as well as interpret and make a report based on those raw data on the screen. To reach out to a professional inspector, call (800) 309-6753 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our experts will contact you promptly.