Data about IR cameras

I don’t use IR camera, but with all of the new discussion about IR cameras and the patient that we just purchased, I was wondering how many inspectors use IR cameras.

With Standard Inspection
As an Ancillary Test/Inspection
Not at all

If you only offer as an ancillary inspection, how much does it cost?

If you have data, then please provide.

I am a certified water damage specialist and structural drying specialist. Having been a part of 100’s of dry downs in the past, I don’t see the need to use one nor can I justify the cost to own one. In the 500 plus inspection that I have done this year, it may have only come into play a handful of times. Sure, I could use it on every cold weather inspection to check for loss of heat, but that isn’t really what a home inspection is about. I am not there for an energy audit. If I can look in the attic and see substandard insulation, that is a more cost effective way to approach things. I would rather add a few more radon monitors which pay for themselves quickly and are potentially a much more sought after service (they are a more sought after service). All I really need is a good moisture meter and psychometric data and I am generally good. The prices on the cameras are way too high for the amount of tangible use. In my cost-benefit analysis…simply a cost.

I think they are great.

Just difficult to use occasionally which is the bad part.
Seems you need to spend many hours getting hooked into it and join the culture.

Hate that you must have special conditions to show temp variations when checking for potential problems and still may miss something.

Hard to see a wall under IR with temp variations if the leak is only running down a pipe withoiut touching the wall and your not imaging the exit point.

They have their limitations and should not be seen as protecting you from missing everything though you may find more.

Heck in Chicago with exposed brick walls everywhere I doubt they care much about me showing thermal pictures of missing attic insulation.(time waster)

If a toilet is leaking it is usually lose or showing the leak below (correct)?

If a window seal is busted the glass is normally foggy (correct)

If there is staining at a cathedral ceiling …(OK got me) :slight_smile:

Geez Bob have you been living in a cave. This one image leaking shower stall booked me an immediate inspection from a seller I was inspecting his house yestrday:mrgreen:

Would a real pic actually show moisture to where you could use a meter on it ?

Did your meter confirm it and at what percentage ?

Now show us it was just soap…:slight_smile:

here we go again??? no water was not visible to a visible light camera or to the eye of a inspector. The water was on the living room side of the bathroom wall and under the pad and carpet:D

I think its very funny last month I sneaked into Tx and took some CE put on by a PHD in mechanical HVAC and plumbing. I questions him about testing shower stalls for leakage and what he would consider a proper test and his answer was put a stopper over the drain and elevate the water betwwen one and two inches and let it set Geeaz I have been doing that for 17 years;-)

I am sure you will find no Data your looking for Personally I would not be conserned about how many people used the IR Camera I think it would be more usuful to know how may were properly using them

Would you explain what a certified water damage specialist and structural drying specialist is. I suppose if I was a janitor with a mop I could claim that title.
Good luck with your moisture meter I would like to be in the same moisture riden home with you some time while your trying to find all the moisture with your meter I have moved to the next two jobs. Its not about comparing moisture meters to IR cameras its about throughness and time. Or comparing a Indy race car to a horse drawn wagon???

I find many shower pan/drain leaks that would go unnoticed for weeks or months before they soaked through and became visible.
I make a lot more with IR than I would selling cheap warranties and client information.

Hickey IR 029.jpg

So you guys are claiming ir makes more income than selling insurance.
Outrageous and heretical.

Actually I made $350 for a 1 hour IR job today.
On the other hand, it took all day to make over $2,000 on the stock market.:wink:

I only worked 2 days this week and made $1600.00 was down with my back tried to bench Press a full size oxygen bottle and popped my old back out of place. Its because of my IR incorporated into my inspections I set my own SOP for IR and follow them on all inspections

Christopher. Charley is correct regarding proper training and experience, and Linas is also correct as the $$ is good.

Where I am at is basically a newbie to IR. Only in it for about 1 year seriously, dabbled for a little before I got more serious. Anyway I use IR now as an added tool for myself on inspections for suspect areas. It has done well so far as I have found many leaks that the naked eye could not. I don’t really advertise it yet full scale as I am not comfortable with my knowledge and skills yet.

But that being said I have made a few extra bucks because of it so far and have helped some people so all in all I think it is a good tool and I hope to get proficient Like Charley and my good friend Dale Duffy in the next few years.


To add to Charley’s and Linus income statements. I have no problems getting $500+ an hour for IR. However, I am at a little bit of an extreme. First off, I don’t have to do it so I am very picky about what I do. I pass on all residential inspections to local guys. I don’t stay busy for 40 hours a month, let alone 40 hours a week. I do not market IR, everything is word of mouth.

What I will tell you is, I know guys that charge more than I do and they do stay busy.

As far as the moisture stuff goes, we sell both Servpro and Service Master. I have heard from many of their locations how IR pays for itself inside of 30 days…and these guys do not buy cheap cams. One factor in the moisture post above that wasn’t addressed is the fact that the insurance adjusters are paid to pay out as little as they can. It is easy to argue X meter’s findings and X inspector’s report. It is nearly impossible to argue with IR.

I have yet to meet someone who got in to IR with a good cam, level 2 (min) and treated it like a real business (no “build it and they will come” mentality) and didn’t upgrade their cam within a couple of years. I have sold tons of cams to people that expect to get in on the cheap, little to no training and just wait for the calls to come in and then their camera is on the message boards or on ebay for sale inside of a year.

The money in IR isn’t really in residential. You can make money that way and it helps to have a residential service business already (HI). The real money is in commercial, industrial and specialty applications. The specialty ones generally require some knowledge of the industry. Semi conductor/bench top stuff is big right now.

For the commercial and industrial applications join IFMA and BOMA. Attend their events and network. Even if you do not get in to IR you should join those two organizations to build your commercial inspection business.

When you do a commercial / industrial job, get everyone you can there. People love to oversee stuff and be in charge. Let them. Example…I did a job for Abercrombie and Fitch (I tell this story a lot on calls and have on the board before). Instead of just doing the job for the electrician, I made sure the mall (Scottsdale Fashion Center) had their facilities manager on site and Abercrombie’s regional manager on site. Now I end up with 3 contacts from one job and 3 people that get to see what IR can do for them. Be creative with your word of mouth advertising abilities and it yields incredible results.

Jason Kaylor
AC Tool Supply
Net Zero Tools
AZ Infrared Inspection Services

You might be interested in knowing that they were three insurance companies at information 2013 this week all promoting the use of thermal imaging in their business!

I don’t know what the income numbers are what they compare to but if they can save money, I think they call that “income”!

The cam and education were not cheap, so I wanted a return on my investment.
In my case and market, it pays for it twice. Once in more referrals and twice in higher fees as I upcharge.
I also use the drain plug in the shower…None of these leaks were visible to the naked eye.

The last image was a vacant house with a flipped walk-in shower on the 2nd floor. The water was running into the ceiling and exterior wall cavity. The water became visible a few hours after the inspection. Without IR, I would have received an angry callback from the buyers… Instead, the buyers got the sellers to have the repairs made to all areas affected and this time a shower pan/liner was installed prior to placing the tile on the floor :shock:

Getting just slow enough I have time to think…(dangerous).
Maybe I will get a toy camera to play around with.

Hey William I think you have adopted my business plan perhaps I should have patented it ya think:p

Had one on Wed I would never have found within out my cam, the darn water was under the carpet along a outside wall. I don’t know how many HI’s go along the walls with a moisture meter I suspect not many

BTW Your Cam used properly will aquire more business for you than a CMI designation

Would be nice if you explained which model of camera.