Thermal Infrared Inspection
At CeS Inspections, we include a full thermal inspection with a commercial grade camera (Minimum 320 x 240 pixels) with every inspection.
Our certified thermographer will conduct a standardized thermal infrared scan on your home in conjunction with your home inspection in order to maximize the potential to discover certain defects, some of which can be significant.
There are multiple thermal anomalies that a home inspector can uncover when a standardized thermal scan is conducted: including;
- Resistance heating on electrical connections and overloaded circuits
- Locating water infiltration into the home and plumbing leaks
- Detecting missing or voided insulation in exterior walls and attic walls
- Locating excessive air infiltration
- Detecing damaged or leaking ventilation supply and return air ducts
Thermal Images Taken During Actual Inspections
Thermal Inspection Detecting Electrical Defects
The thermal image to the left depicts a main breaker within a standard residential electrical panel that was showing signs of elevated temperatures. The high comparative temperatures, in this particular image, typify loose or deteriorated connections.
The thermal image to the right shows a breaker that was significantly overheating. This is also indicative of a loose or deteriorated connection. It should also be noted that the panel was a General Electric and the breaker that was overheating was a Square D, which did not match the listed and approved breaker types on the panel label.
Thermal Inspection Detecting Water Infiltration and Leaks
The left two images help provide a good working base for how a thermal scan detects hidden moisture and water leaks. The visible light image shows a location on the ceiling of a home, that happened to be below a 2nd floor tub. In that image there are no signs whatsoever of a water leak. However, if we look at the thermal image taken at the same location it is clear that there is a water leak at that location. In order to confirm our suspicion, we always take additional readings with contact and non-contact moisture meters.
The below images were provided to show examples of multiple misconceptions regarding the use, and the expectations of a thermal scan. The images were taken in a garage during the summer months. Due to the science behind the thermal scan, a certified thermographer will always try and manipulate the atmospheric conditions within the home to enhance the capabilities of the thermal imaging camera. On balance, this cannot be done during the course of a home inspection in the garage as it is a non-conditioned space.
However, our certified thermographer was able to detect a fairly recent roof leak in just such a space. The image to the left shows a perfectly normal, non-water stained garage ceiling in a newly constructed home. The image to the right reveals a rather large roof leak. Now, another misconception, typically brought on by builders, is that there should be obvious signs of water damage from within the attic space (Mold, Mildew, etc). Eventually this will be the case, but when caught in the very early stages, the water penetration can be nearly non-visible.
The image left shows only the most faint amount of water staining, while the probe style moisture meter is picking up maximum water levels in an area that has no signs of water penetration, though we know it has been exposed to it.
Thermal Inspection For Insulation & Air Leakage
The following images can help to see how air leakage and missing insulation is detected. The image to the right shows a large exterior wall section that was never insulated. This was found during the course of a warranty inspection. The lack of insulation in the wall was allowing large amounts of exterior heat to conduct into the 2nd floor game room. The diagonal pattern mirrored the pitch of the roof (Steep roof) and the squares are highlighted due to the wood studs having more resistance to heat transfer than the non-insulated sheetrock.
Air leakage is also a culprit for high energy bills and poor thermal comfort. The visible light image to the right shows a furred out wall that was not properly air sealed within the attic space during construction. This was allowing the unconditioned attic air to migrate down from the attic into the thermal envelope.
The left thermal image shows the attic heat being transferred down into the home. Keep in mind, this defect has nothing to do with insulation. Some builders will errantly cut into the wall see the insulation of the exterior wall section and decry our incompetence, not knowing that the defect is related to the migration of heated air, and not the lack of insulation.
Well, I believe that is all of the photos for now. This page will continually be updated and improved so feel free to check back in with us and see what’s new!