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Thermal Imaging

Infrared thermography, also known as thermal imaging, is the science used to capture and process thermal information using non-contact measurement tools.

Thermal imaging cameras work by detecting heat signatures and displaying them as a gradient scale, with lighter colors signifying areas that are more hot and darker colors signifying cooler areas. Unlike a traditional camera that captures visible light, infrared captures the heat signature of an object. This allows infrared cameras to function in ways that traditional visible light cameras cannot.

Infrared technology can help your inspector find defects such as:

  • heat loss and air infiltration in walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors
  • damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems
  • plumbing leaks
  • hidden roof leaks before they cause serious damage
  • missing, damaged and/or wet insulation
  • water and moisture intrusion around penetrations and at the foundation and building envelope that could lead to structural damage and mold
  • possible pest infestation, as revealed by energy loss through shelter tubes left by boring wood-destroying insects
  • the presence of intruders, such as rats, mice and other larger pests hiding within the structure and detected because of their heat signature that the infrared camera captures
  • dangerous flue leaks, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning of the home’s residents

Detecting Moisture Intrusion

Using an infrared camera provides certain advantages in locating moisture problems. Thermal patterns created by latent moisture become readily apparent when viewed through an infrared camera, even when they are not visible to the naked eye. This is because the infrared camera sees the apparent temperature difference between wet spots and building materials. Water intrusion and excessive moisture within walls, under floors, and above ceilings will show up in the thermal image. Water intrusion implies that the house has been compromised somewhere, perhaps through the roof, in the basement, or as the result of a mechanical or plumbing leak.

Detecting Energy Loss and Air Leaks

Infrared imaging is especially useful when looking for air leaks, including insulation defects, because it allows the inspector to actually view the apparent temperatures in a given area.

By purposely controlling the temperature and air pressure in the interior of a house, air can be forced inside through cracks and holes. Using an infrared camera, the sources of these air leaks can be quickly located and visually documented. Areas of insufficient insulation also become more apparent when viewed through an infrared camera and can be visually documented, as well.

Thermal technology is a safe, effective and non-invasive way of detecting moisture and air leakage that can lead to mold, higher energy bills, and structural damage. If you suspect your home of having moisture problems, missing insulation or air leakage, a thermal CastleTech inspection and report can help you save money on heating or cooling costs and find hidden water.

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