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Are House Inspectors with IR Inspection Camera Better?

June 23rd, 2009

    Are house inspectors equipped with infrared imaging device better inspectors than those using only conventional home inspection devices?

    This question probably arises when you are choosing among recommended house inspectors and you are being convinced by a particular home inspector that he is better than the rest because he uses a top-of-the-line IR imaging device that can diagnose the conditions of parts of the house that are not easily accessible.

    An IR inspection device is a customized camera that takes thermal images of hidden parts of the house or parts behind surfaces.

    These thermal images show spots that indicate possible problems in the structures of the house or in the components of mechanical, electrical, plumbing, ventilation and water systems.

    The IR camera uses the technology of thermography, which enables people to see and gauge images of heat emitted by any material.

    Among the defects that can be easily diagnosed by an IR camera are damaged insulation or lack of insulation, faulty mechanical or electrical systems, leaking roofs, constructions defects, damages from previous fires that were already repaired and presence of pests such as termites.

    In electrical and mechanical systems, the IR camera can diagnose defects in heat furnace exchanges, flues, motors, wirings, circuits, pumps, refrigerants and HVAC components.

    In insulation systems, the IR camera can point out damages or moisture in walls, windows, access plates and crawlspaces.

    Nevertheless, no matter how efficient the features of the IR camera are, mere possession of the IR camera by home inspectors is not an assurance that your home inspection will be adequate and well-done. This is because the usefulness of the IR camera depends on the skill and training of the house inspectors and their understanding of thermography.

    Experienced home inspectors trained in thermography will know when to say that a hot or cold area in the thermal image represents a problem. Sometimes, thermal images show heat coming from materials other than the parts being diagnosed.

    In the home inspection and thermal imaging industry, there are thermal imaging camera operators, thermographers and house inspectors who are also good thermographers.

    Because of the high cost of thermography devices, home inspectors using them would most probably increase their fees to cover the acquisition of the device.

    In conclusion, not all house inspectors using the IR camera are better than those who do not use the device. There are talented inspectors that can perform better without the device. But good house inspectors who can also use the IR camera well will be able to help those seeking more thorough home inspections.

Home Inspection, Home Inspectors

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