Infrared Imaging in Moscow and Pullman
As Moscow and Pullman's first home inspector to adopt infrared imaging as a tool in 2006, I have more than a decade of experience in interpreting the readings from my camera. Currently, I use a FLIR E8 having worn out my first camera. The E8 is able to take side-by-side digital photographs along with the infrared imagery (called thermographs.)
What I Look for in My Infrared Inspections
When I perform an infrared scan during your inspection, I am looking at four critical areas. First, I scan exterior walls inside andout (which is why this needs to be done in the early morning.) From this, I can detect voids in your insulation that could cost you money on your utility bill.
Second, I look for water. Not directly, because the camera doesn't 'see' water. What the infrared camera sees are the temperature differences caused by water intrusion and evaporation. Water issues are always a concern with houses and the infrared camera gives us a chance to find roof and plumbing leaks that are not visible to the naked eye.
Third, I look for air intrusion. A leaky house costs you money. By locating those leaks, we can devise strategies to correct them.
Finally, I look at your electrical panel, the visible wiring, and switches/receptacles for indications of overheating.
Thermography (infrared imaging) is not perfect and can not see through walls for you. The single biggest limitation is the skill of the thermographer. An inexperience thermographer can miss anomalies that are significant or, just as bad, misidentified a problem that is not actually there. I have completed the Level I thermographer classes and been certified as well as completing Building Sciences thermography classes to zero in on the needs of my clients.
Environment plays a large role, too. The best thermographer in the world cannot use an infrared camera to locate a roof leak in the midst of a drought or find insulation voids when interior and exterior temperatures are too close. A wise thermographer is aware of the limitations and informs you of them as they occur.