This month’s topic is Thermal Imaging. You may have seen us at an inspection with a funny-looking camera and wondered what it is we are doing, or maybe we have explained it a bit to you already. Below are some details of what this is all about. For us, it is exciting to offer you and your clients an exciting new tool to help us see things we otherwise can’t see during a typical home inspection, making our services better for you.
What is it? Thermal imaging is the process of taking an image (in this case, a photo) that shows the temperature (thermal) differences between objects in the photo. At right is our thermal imaging camera, made by Fluke.
Why would it be used for a home inspection?
Thermal imaging technology is relatively new to home inspections. The tool is primarily used during an energy audit to visualize areas of greatest energy loss within a home. However, as more home inspectors such as us review energy use as a part of an inspection, this is becoming a valuable tool. Thermal imaging can provide us with a way to see heat loss in a home and focus on those areas where improved insulation may provide energy savings. Other uses include finding spots of water leaks or damage and viewing radiant heating in floors.
The picture at right shows the heat loss around a window (darker shades are cold areas of the window versus light areas are the walls.
How much does it cost?
If used by our inspectors as a tool to enhance the inspection process, there is no additional cost. If the client requests either a standalone energy analysis or requests thermal imaging of the house in addition to the normal home inspection, we typically charge for this service. The charge varies depending on the house’s size, etc., but expect it to be approximately $145.00.
In the “real world” of home inspections, we have had very few client requests for thermal imaging. All clients find it a fascinating tool when we use it, but few appear willing (at least at the time of purchase) to pay extra for a full house energy audit to be done. However, we have found it to be a huge advantage when analyzing radiant heat systems.
During a typical inspection, we will usually try all heat zones in a home to ensure they all work. This cannot be easy to do with radiant heat. Radiant heat warms up very slowly. It isn’t easy in the time of a normal inspection to turn it on and be sure that it is warming a room as it should unless you have a thermal imaging camera. So, when we know we will inspect a home with radiant heat, we will almost always use our thermal camera for verification.
We recently inspected a home that had several zones of radiant heat. We found one zone not operating and one zone in the living room. Only half of the room was heated. Wouldn’t you want to know if the home you or your client was purchasing only had heat in ½ of the living room?
That is what we can do for you with a thermal imaging camera. The picture on the left below is of the middle of the living room, thermal image. You can clearly see the in-floor radiant heat (light-colored stripes on the left and none on the right. The picture on the right is in the same area.
KEY POINT TO REMEMBER
We just wanted to thank you for the comprehensive inspection report. Eric was very nice, extremely professional and thorough, and explained everything he found so we could understand exactly what we were dealing with and what needed to be done, if anything. Please thank him again for us for his great work and attention to detail!
From our initial phone call to delivery of the final inspection reports, Perkins Home Services was a complete delight. Professional, prompt, thorough, and accommodating. We even learned a thing or two from the general home inspector, in addition to the required information. We're satisfied and smarter!
Scott and John who inspected our septic system have completed their work at our home in Deer Isle, Maine. We wish to complement their professionalism, courtesy and willingness to respond to our questions. They were very informative. You sent a very good team and we appreciate it. Thanks for your help too in explaining the process and arranging our appointment.
I just wanted to say thank you and how incredibly happy we were with everyone. Scott & John were beyond friendly and answered any and all questions we had! We hope to recommend you to anyone that is looking for the same service in the future.
Just wanted to say I was pleased with your Septic Check on the Blackwood Rd, Property. But saddened that I was hoping to buy it without incident. Nice to be forewarned of future problems. Thank you. I would recommend you to others.
It has been a pleasure dealing with all at Perkins. Very professional and knowledgeable. Little wonder that you are highly recommended by every realtor that we have met.
This is a very professional, thorough company. Their excellent work takes much of the worry out of buying a new home.
Scott came and inspected a home today I am interested in buying and he was great! I just wanted to say thank you for being so flexible and available. Scott was great about explaining everything to me in depth and answering all my questions. Thank you again!
Many thanks to you and the Perkins team for the great work on inspecting the home I plan to purchase. Your workers (both those who answer the phone and send out reports and those who do the hands-on inspecting of house, water, and septic) are all wonderful- friendly, knowledgeable, efficient- and you came so quickly when I needed you! I especially liked it that I could observe the inspections and ask questions. I learned a lot about the place I will soon call home!