Infrared Thermal Technology & Uses
If you want your house or property inspected by one of the industry leading companies, they have to be utilizing infrared technology plain and simple!
IT ALL STARTED WITH...
The idea of a thermal camera first came to light in the U.S. when our military and Texas Instruments (Think: Graphing Calculator) designed an infrared line scanner in the 40's. It wasn't first commercialized for roughly another two decades when a company discovered using a cooled photoconductor would cut the wait time for the picture down from an hour. Could you imagine waiting a whole hour to get one Thermal picture!?
WHAT IT DOES...
The "Thermographic Camera" is an instrument that develops an image by sensing infrared radiation signatures, homogeneous to the modern camera detecting visible light, only difference is infrared's wavelengths are so incredibly long (up to 14,000nm) that the human eye can't process them.
WHAT THIS MEANS TO US EVERYDAY PEOPLE!
A Thermal Camera simply measures the differentials of temperatures of the field the camera lens is facing. Think about when you first get out of the shower. The area inside the shower is obviously warmer than the temperature in the bathroom, if you were to face the thermal camera towards the shower it would show up a hot orange or red color. Where as, if you pointed the camera to the inside of a freezer in might show a dark blue or purple color. So what this does is allow the inspector to find anomalies in properties. Normally they can deduct, from previous encounters, what this variation is indicating.
MOST COMMON PROBLEMS DISCOVERED USING IR CAMERA
If you think about any movie or video game (military related) you have seen the night vision mode where the soldier can see the enemy in the dark but the enemy can not see him. If you think about this from a home inspection aspect, the Thermal Camera gives us the ability to see the unseen! So the possibilities are virtually endless.
-- OVER HEATING ELECTRICAL ISSUES
-- PLUMBING LEAKS
-- MISSING OR INADEQUATE INSULATION
-- WATER INFILTRATION (WITHIN LAST 24-48 HOURS)
-- AIR LEAKS AROUND DOORS & WINDOWS ANY UNSEALED PENETRATIONS
-- A/C DIFFERENTIALS
FREQUENT OVERSIGHTS ABOUT IR CAMERAS IN THE HOME INSPECTION INDUSTRY...
When it pertains to Infrared Technology you can either be gathering quantitative data or qualitative. What does this mean? In layman's terms, you are either trying to discover items or describe them. Say for instance, you are looking at a properties main service disconnect (breaker panel) with the Thermal Camera and see this <---- , well what we can easily determine is that some of the breakers are identifiably hotter than the rest. With a qualitative respect, you would report that there overheating breakers that may be faulty and to consult a certified Electrician. With a quantitative approach you would ATTEMPT to accurately determine the temperature of the overheating breaker itself with comparison to the temperature of the general batch. You then would report the temperatures recorded and recite the same verbiage. People like a very detailed report but if both determine the same outcome then whats the difference?! Well to precisely measure down to the tenths or even hundredths of a degree you would need an industrial grade IR camera priced roughly $15,000+. To sum it all up, IR cameras were developed with governmental uses in mind, so inspectors should use them in relative and practical applications, and explain thoroughly their capabilities and limitations. Often enough, inspectors advertise and promote deviance concerning the tool's abilities, in return making them sound more experienced and capable.