Southwest Home Inspections LLC

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Thermal Photography

How does it work?

Infrared cameras enable us to see and measure heat. All materials on earth emit heat energy, in the infrared portion of the spectrum. Unfortunately, the unaided human eye cannot see in the infrared. However, infrared cameras can not only see, but also record infrared images and measure the surface temperatures of objects quite accurately. Real-time imaging allows the user to see the infrared image displayed as the camera is moved, like a viewfinder. Thermography can pinpoint missing insulation, leaks in roofing and other building envelope inspections by exploiting the thermal properties of water. Water stores heat very well; it warms up or cools down more slowly than other materials common in buildings. This property is called “specific heat” by physicists.

The Infrared camera enables professionals to measure and compare the temperatures of roofing substrate materials that are wet—presumably from leaks, and roofing substrate that is dry. The dry roof areas cool faster after sunset and warm up faster than the wet areas after sunrise. This causes a temperature difference that can be imaged.

The practice is addressed by the American Society for Testing & Materials (ASTM) in measurement standard C1153, “Location of Wet Insulation in Roofing Systems Using Infrared Imaging.” The technique can also be used to inspect the underside of roof decks, a highly effective approach when working with metal and ballasted roofing systems, which are difficult or impossible to inspect from above.

I provide a high quality inspection service that makes other inspection services seem primitive. The days of inspections being done by a “good ole boy” or a family friend that knows a little more than you is over. It takes more than a flashlight and clipboard to be a Home Inspector these days. Who’s doing your inspection?