Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video or film record the temperature variations of the building’s skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas. The resulting images help the home inspector determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.

Water Leak
Water Leak (Infrared Photo)
Radiant Floor Heat
Radiant Floor Heat (Infrared Photo)

A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy inspector decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.

Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building shell. Such air leaks appear as black streaks in the infrared camera’s viewfinder.

Thermography uses specially designed infrared video or still cameras to make images (called thermograms) that show surface heat variations. This technology has a number of applications. Thermograms of electrical systems can detect abnormally hot electrical connections or components. Thermograms of mechanical systems can detect the heat created by excessive friction. Energy home inspectors use thermography as a tool to help detect heat losses and air leakage in building envelopes.

Roof Leak (Infrared Photo)

Infrared scanning allows energy inspectors to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building’s construction. The resulting thermograms help inspectors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.

Poor Insulation (Infrared Photo)

Infrared Camera

All infrared cameras are not created equal, because infrared camera manufacturers are not all the same. FLIR stands above the rest.

The largest commercial infrared company in the world, FLIR has nearly 50 years of experience building and integrating high-performance infrared cameras

Now that FLIR’s cameras are available for your personal use, Big Sky Home Inspectors chooses to use them in the field. We choose FLIR cameras because it is the same quality technology as what is in Audi and BMW cars as a pedestrian detection system. They also offer class-leading sensitivity of up to <0.02°C for outstanding image quality.

FLIR’s patented multi-spectral dynamic imaging (MSX) etches vital image detail from the visible light image onto the thermal image to help us see where problems are quickly and easily without compromising any of your temperature measurement data.

Download the camera brochure for more detailed information: