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What does thermal imaging do for a home inspection?

Home inspections are an important part of any home purchase but they should also be something you have completed on a regular basis to ensure your home remains structurally sound and safe for you to enjoy.

Fortunately, technology can help you to see all the details about your home, even those that are usually difficult, or even impossible, to detect. One approach that really works is drone thermal imaging

As the name suggests, this is a thermal imaging camera attached to a drone, allowing you to get a rooftop view of your home. The pictures supplied by the drone will highlight where heat is escaping from your home. 

It will enable you to see how much heat escapes through the walls, roof, and even the windows and doors. This can help you to establish if your home needs more insulation or if you have an issue. Thermal imaging is especially good at locating the following issues:

  • Damaged or malfunctioning radiant heating systems.
  • Compressor leaks in air conditioning systems.
  • Framing issues and other structural defects allowing energy to escape from your home.
  • Broken seals in your double glazed windows.

It can also detect plumbing leaks and even a roof leak that isn’t yet visible to the human eye, wet insulation will show up on a thermal camera. 

Surprisingly, a thermal camera can also help you to find hot spots in your home. The electrical leakage actually creates a thermal heat. This includes overloaded circuits, circuit breakers that need replacing, and electrical appliances that are overheating.

Being aware of these as soon as possible can help you to fix issues before they cause a serious problem, such as starting a fire.

But, that’s not all! The gradients shown on a thermal imaging camera will actually help you to identify if you have a pest problem; even if you’re not currently aware of it.

Pests that can be detected include wood-boring beetles, termites, rats, mice, and even larger pests that emit a heat signature. You can even spot flue leaks which can leave you exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning!

Limitations

It is important to note that thermal images are a great way to locate issues with your home but they should be part of a full inspection package. While thermal cameras do spot heat loss, moisture ingress, energy issues, and electrical issues; they can’t find every fault with your home. 

It is still a good idea to invest in a full report and to remember that all reports, including thermal imaging, can only tell you what is happening in your house at the moment. While some issues are likely to lead to bigger problems, there is no way to predict the future.

A good inspector will explain the limitations of thermal imaging before they start, as well as confirming what it is able to pick up. You may not have used this method before but once you’ve tried it once you’ll want to use thermal imaging every time.


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