By Peter Jesal, Licensed Home Inspector and Certified Level 1 Thermographer
Housing affordability remain one of the biggest concerns in the Vancouver and Lower Mainland area. Home prices are rising and getting your dream home is a sigh of relief for any person(s) getting into home ownership.
You put in an offer and its accepted. Next comes the Home Inspection. You want to make sure there are no hidden issues or unexpected problems. For this topic- I will be discussing the role of Infrared when doing a Home Inspection.
Infrared is also known as Thermal Imaging and a good addition to a visual inspection. Both are non – destructive. This doesn’t take away the fact the home inspector needs to have the experience and knowledge of all systems that make up a home.
Let’s not go too much into the science behind thermal imaging. The human eye sees short wave and the Infrared goes into a long wave spectrum. With an Infrared Camera – a Certified Thermographer can see beyond the human eye and analyze images when inspecting a property.
There are many benefits of using infrared during a home inspection:
Infrared diagnosis can reveal defects
A trained Thermographer can detect hidden moisture issues, to check if your home radiant pipes are energized, any electrical overloads or areas of heat loss. The list is a lot longer than this- but we will discuss areas pertinent to a home inspection
Electrical defects that are seen with Infrared will help the electrician to carry out repairs quickly. These are mostly inexpensive and could be an overheated or faulty breaker. It is a fact that most electricians or plumbers do not use Infrared camera- so this can be a huge advantage to pinpoint areas that needs repairs.
Areas of Heat loss
If you live in an older home, Infrared can quickly point out to areas of heat loss, less insulation etc. I have also seen new homes where the insulation was compromised or missing. Plugging those areas of heat loss is a good way to reduce your heating or cooling bills.
We have heard of horror stories of sellers masking issues in a home. There could be a leak that has been hidden or painted just before the inspection. A visual inspection even by the most experienced inspector may not uncover such issues. Moisture is always almost related to MOLD – which is the number one question asked by most buyers.
With an Infrared Camera, a Certified Thermographer can quickly scan the home and present the findings to the potential buyers and give them the confidence when making such a large and important purchase.
Most roofs are sloped so with the right conditions, a Certified Thermographer can scan the underside of the roof to check for any leaks etc.
If your home has radiant heating the pipes can be seen when heated up. Radiant heating (if not working properly) can be an expensive fix- especially if the pipes are leaking or damaged.
It is not a magic tool
Infrared is certainly not a magic tool that can be used at every inspection. The conditions must be correct and a trained and Certified Thermographer will be able to tell you that.
Not everyone is Certified
It is an open fact the most inspectors offering Infrared are not certified. By using an Infrared camera to satisfy clients is the norm of the day. A Certified Level 1 Thermographer (which is the minimum standard) has gone through course work and exam in line with the American Standard of Non Destructive Testing.
Always ensure the inspector you hire has the necessary training and certification in Infrared.
Peter Jesal is a Certified Level 1 Thermographer and uses a state of art FLIR Camera.