We at House Inspections Melbourne pride ourselves on our expert knowledge and top of the range tools. Combining these is what makes our inspections top quality. One of the tools we use that ensures our in-depth inspection is thermal imaging, otherwise known as thermography. We frequently get asked about what thermal imaging is and how it works. If you have ever wondered that yourself, and want more knowledge about your home inspection, keep reading below
What is it?
Thermal imaging works by using a ‘camera’ which senses heat and radiation. Instead of taking traditional images, the camera works by showing an image of the area, built from varying colours based on differing heat levels.
A thermal imaging camera can detect heat through walls and other blocks that traditionally cause difficulties in detecting an issue in a home inspection. The differences in the temperature of different objects or areas on the screen could be an indication of many things. This is why a house inspector needs to be trained in proper use of the thermal imaging camera.
A thermal imaging camera often needs to be used with other tools to accurately diagnose a problem. However they can also be the first thing to detect a problem, allowing a house inspector to know where to focus on and what problems they may be looking for.
What problems can they detect?
Small differences in temperature in walls, ceilings, bathrooms and other areas in a house can often be due to excess moisture in the area. Water problems can cause mould, leaks, and even structural damage, something you need to look out for in your home. When damage or small leaks occur, the first signs of damage can begin within the walls. This is only able to be measured by a devices such as a thermal imaging camera, because we can not see directly inside walls, so tools help us judge what is happening inside.
The importance of having an expert conduct your thermal imaging test, is that often when moisture damage is inspected, it needs to be followed up by a moisture meter. This will confirm that moisture is causing the temperature difference, and can give indication into what the damage is and what needs to be done to fix it.
As you may know from our previous post about termite infections, they can cause massive problems to houses, and are often difficult to detect until too late. Fortunately, thermal imaging can assist in detecting termite infections.
Due to termites and other bugs often living in nests, and travelling in packs, their heat can often be picked up by thermal imaging cameras. They will show as a small but possibly significant area of difference in heat, where it would not be otherwise expected. To an experienced inspector, this small sign can be picked up on, and they can conduct a more detailed look into the area.
We also know that termites can lead to moisture from our previous post. And now we know that moisture can also be detected by thermal imaging cameras, leading to a higher chance of termites being detected if they are there.
Insulation and Air Leaks
Most homeowners or potential homeowners already know to be concerned about air leaks and having secure insulation. Minor defects in these can cause major price increases on gas and electricity bills, and it is definitely something we check for when conducting house inspections.
Thermal imaging cameras can help us with this task. The camera picking up on differences in heat in small parts of the wall, or around window sills and other areas, can often mean that they are not properly insulated, and small gaps are allowing air to travel in and out of the house.
We also investigate thoroughly around skirtings, as often these can appear to be fully sealed, but the camera can show us signs of cold air leaking in.
Another thing you can to be secure about in a new house is the switchboards. Switchboards allow for control of electricity supplies across the building, and therefore need to be kept in excellent condition for ensured safety in a home.
Whilst some of this inspection can be done by eye, a thermal imaging camera can give an insight into other important factors of the switchboards maintenance. Often one of the largest signs of a switchboard having faults that will lead to failure if not addressed is build up of heat. This can easily be detected with thermal imaging, and then addressed by our recommended electricians.
For peace of mind about your inspection, you want to be assured that not only are you getting an experienced and skilled person, but also that they are using the top equipment. These factors combined lead to a job well done, and security for you and your family’s future. For more information or to book an inspection, contact us online or by calling 0422 228 716.