Infrared (thermal imaging) inspection is an advanced, non-invasive technology involving the use of infrared cameras to show surface temperature differences. The use of IR cameras helps discover problems that wouldn’t be normally identified by the naked eye. Infrared Inspections aids in detecting the following:

Energy Loss in The Building Envelope

  • issues allowing heat or cool energy lossInfrared Inspection
  • air infiltration through walls, ceilings, floors
  • missing or thin insulation coverage
  • deficient seals around doors & windows


Energy Loss in Mechanical Systems

  • damaged or malfunctioning HVAC systems
  • air loss in HVAC equipment
  • air loss at air duct connections to equipment, couplings, or supply registers


Moisture Problems Inside & Out

  • plumbing leaks
  • roof leaks
  • condensation moisture from HVAC drain lines or sweating refrigerant lines
  • wet insulation
  • water intrusion, or absorption in perimeter walls or foundation
  • clogged gutters backing up into eaves and walls
  • moisture-wicking into perimeter walls due to poor drainage, high soil, or planter box against the home

(moisture issues can lead to structural damage and will promote mold growth)


Overheated Wiring

  • circuit breakers needing immediate replacement
  • overloaded circuits
  • undersized circuits
  • overheated electrical components
  • faulty electrical wirings


The infrared camera has limitations and may provide a false positive.

It is important that the inspector have the proper training on utilizing the equipment before attempting to use, diagnose, and conveying the conclusions made from the use of this tool.

The camera measures temperature variances, captures color photos, and embeds temperature ranges in jpeg images which can be downloaded to a computer and examined. Photos can be inserted into inspection reporting to help convey issues that a qualified thermographer has discovered.

INDOORS – if measuring for moisture penetration or energy loss of the building envelope the outside temperature needs to be at least 10 degrees higher or lower than the interior. Temperatures difference in/out less than 10 degrees makes it impossible to conclusively capture and evaluate anomalies.

If looking for water penetration the camera does not recognize moisture instead it shows temperature variants. If the wall and water temperature on or within the wall are the same or the water stain is dry nothing will show in the pixel screen of the IR camera. Water penetrating the envelope of a property needs to be examined within 36 hours of recent rain. In winter it is better to evaluate water penetration in the morning when the outside temperature is cooler than the indoor 70-degree constant. In Texas summers it will be better to inspect the same scenario later in the day if the morning starts out warm.

The IR camera captures images of temperature patterns, indicating extreme heat or cool. When moisture is involved I always use a Delmhorst moisture meter to confirm the presence of moisture. Electrical devices and overheating electrical panels are easy to discover with the IR camera. Shortages of wall and ceiling insulation are apparent through the IR camera lens.

Pictures of Thermal Imaging at Work

In this attic, it was easy to see the stained roof deck. This area was not accessible due to tight constraints and no attic decking leading to this questionable image. The camera exposed that this area was moist, and an active leak. On a cold day, the IR pixel screen revealed a 59-degree dark blue area (wet) spot and the 75-degree temperature is the dry decking warmed by the sun radiating through the roof.

Infrared Inspections
Infrared Inspections

The camera captured imagery of floor area that is wet beneath the surface. The blue indicates moisture and orange the warmer dry areas.

Infrared Inspections
Infrared Inspections
Infrared Inspections
Infrared Inspections

Shower wall edge and moisture absorption.

The Delmhorst moisture meter is used to validate the presence of moisture in this wall surface. The needle is in the red indicating excessive moisture in this location.

Infrared Inspections

Electrical items overheating

An overheating switch device and wiring present behind this wall plate.

Hot circuit breakers and wiring is uncovered in this image. The photo shows temperatures up to 141 degrees inside this electrical panel.

Heating & Air systems

Air loss at the air duct connections to the air supply plenum.

Energy loss

I could see that this ceiling had been previously patched. The IR camera exposed that the insulation is thin or missing in this area during the summer months.

The IR camera photos show a lack of insulation batting on the upper vertical walls of this living room.

Attic Hatch – I can see energy loss at the door and door seal. Attic access through ceilings is a great source of energy loss if there is not an insulation blanket or cover over the opening.

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