There is a lot of BUZZ regarding infrared (IR) inspections. There are a number of inspectors that started offering IR technology around 2010. Since then infrared cameras have improved and more inspections have included this tool. Some Inspectors charge an additional fee for this service, while others lump this service into the General Home Inspection fee. Inspectors have learned that this tool is not nearly as amazing as the developers of this equipment lead prospective buyers to believe. Some inspection firms advertise this as an advanced technology tool that sets them apart from other firms that do not offer this service, as a means of landing more work. Most inspectors have put the tool away and rarely pull it out due to its limitations.
The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has set the inspection guidelines which are considered the minimum Texas standards. The TREC guidelines are considered the best in the US. The inspector can offer additional inspection services beyond the TREC Guidelines but by doing so is not protected on anything beyond the standard TREC guidelines. IR reporting maybe a can of worms for an inspector that does not know how to use this tool.
SOME THINGS TO KNOW
The infrared camera definitely has limitations and may provide a false positive.
The camera measures temperature variances and captures images that can be saved as a jpeg.
From indoors, if measuring for moisture penetration or energy loss the temperature needs to be at least ten degrees warmer outside. The subject surface temperature needs are at least a ten-degree variance or greater to actually capture anything at all.
If looking for water penetration the camera will not recognize moisture if the wall and water temperature are the same or the moisture spot is dry. Water penetrating the envelope of the property needs to be examined within 36 hours of recent rain. It is better to conduct a water penetration inspection in the morning when the indoor temperature is around i.e. 72-77 degrees and the outside temperature is 82-97 degrees or greater. Water penetration will or likely be cooler than the inside temperature exposing the moisture pattern in the IR camera LCD screen.