Why should your inspector use thermal imaging on a general residential or commercial inspection. The answer is simple, so much of what goes on around us in unseen by the naked eye.
A small leak may go undetected when viewed normally, but when viewed with infrared the temperature differential between the area surrounding the leak and the moist area is enough to make is show up easily. This is true in bath areas, ceiling and walls, foundations and many other areas in a structure.
The electrical industry has used thermal imagery for several decades, mostly in the industrial side. Advances in manufacturing technologies have brought equipment cost down to where one man firms can afford them. Loose wires, low grade shorts, bad circuit breakers and the list goes on and on around how many electrical problems can be discovered and preemptively dealt with using infrared.
In the course of a real estate transaction, especially one that is in a corrosive environment like at the beach, electrical components age much faster than they do inland. This typically causes heating and this is detected the infrared camera and documented in a report.
Infrared can be used to trouble shoot HVAC system, aid in the discovery of Wood Destroying Organism, moisture intrusion and many other problems that can be found in the building envelope,
Whats the cost?
We believe in it so strongly that we do not charge extra for it. Cameras can be found for a few hundred dollars to many thousands of dollars. Obviously there is a difference in the equipment, but more importantly there is a difference in the overall experience level of the inspector, his training levels, and abilities to interpret the images generator by the equipment.
So when someone throws out a price for a $199.00 inspection, most likely they are not getting a detailed inspection report ( most important) with annotated pictures , a personalized consultation with the inspector (second most important) and a separate report showing all of the thermal images for the structure interio, the electrical panel, hot water heater, and major component of the HVAC system.