I hope allis well. are you back from Vegas?
I want to know about thermal imaging, and how much it can help my business. I am new to the industry and with the home sales market down. I love the idea behind a preventative type of inspection and an energy conservation inspection. Which has brought me the point I want to know about and that is, will an imaging camera help my business and should I buy or lease one? and what kind should i get, if I do decide to incorperate thermal imaging into my company?
There are 4 major advantages to having an IR camera as I see it.
- You can do a better home inspection with it.
- You can charge extra for it.
- You can add additional services (like energy audits) with it.
- You can use it as a marketing tool.
An energy conservation inspection using IR is of limited use unless you want to pull the wool over the clients eyes with ads and claims that are misleading and simply make you money!!
An IR scan is definitely not an “energy audit”!!
But much more difficult without an IR camera.
We have a large national program of residential energy audits going on here in Canada. It’s been in place for 5-6 years now and…an IR camera is not required…hundreds of $millions, if not $billions, of retrofit work is being carried out.
An IR camera will enhance a good energy audit and save a bit of time but you still need the other stuff…blower door, furnace efficiency test kit, an accurate, easy-to-use computer program to evaluate investment options, and the most important thing…good energy auditor training.
I saddened to say that out auditor training is not the best…too short and not enough field experience before they’re allowed to be in the field…sound familiar???
James i add $ 16K IN sales my first year…
As to buy or lease. Buy a use camera There was a FLIR B2 on ebay
4700 thats a nice camera for the HI. Will do anything you will need for home inspection. full of alarms and Video out. it look like it had a wide lens to boot. thats a 3500 lens. good buy
Well then, they won’t be too happy with the EPA who is about to release a recommendation to never use blower doors for fear of permanently contaminating the home with the hazards that normally sit harmlessly undisturbed.
You say the program is 5-6 year old… it shows.
It’s 2008 dude, catch up. IR cameras are here to stay.
I might agree IF you qualify this and say “using infrared ONLY may have limited use.” In fact the new Canadian Master Specification Section 02 27 13 THERMOGRAPHIC INSPECTION SERVICES: BUILDING ENVELOPE addresses the use of thermography as part of an envelope analysis.
In the USA both RESNET and BPI are about to add a standardized methodology for using infrared as well as a standard for how a person becomes qualified to conduct the inspection.
I cannot, to be honest, imagine doing a full-blown energy audit without an infrared camera. It is, in my experience, faster and much more effective than without especially with regard to showing air leakage and bypasses. When cameras cost $60K each, one might argue you could skip IR, but at less than $5K, IR pays significant dividends for all involved—the HI or auditor, the home inspector and the contractor of any work that has been or will be done.
ASNT NDT Thermal/Infrared Level III #48166
I was speaking against using IR only for an “energy audit” as you will find in most ads for IR from HI’s…it’s the only technology mentioned, like it’s some magic box.
And I partially agree that it may/will make an audit go faster. I worked in and around the energy industry for 31 years now and really haven’t seen the need for IR at the residential level…industrial, commercial, electrical–yes!
I worked on an IR project with a power utility in 1984-5. They used it as a sales gimmick to get people into their public offices!! What I’m seeing in the HI ads is way more gimmick than having a well trained energy auditor sit down and discuss the results of thorough and complete audit!!
“I worked on an IR project with a power utility in 1984-5. They used it as a sales gimmick to get people into their public offices!! What I’m seeing in the HI ads is way more gimmick than having a well trained energy auditor sit down and discuss the results of thorough and complete audit!!”
THIS I can relate to and agree 98%! The 2%?? There may be room to use such IR images to interest people in signing up for a more detailed analysis or audit but I’ve seen stuff that was just plain WRONG and MISLEADING too, the worst being aerial thermography of the roofs of homes! If my roof showed up as warm (in the winter) it could be (1) no insulation, (2) dark roof with solar loading, or (3) I’m up in the attic installing insulation at the time—they will all look the same.
Thanks for the clarification Brian.
ASNT NDT Thermal/Infrared Level III #48166
That was exactly the nature of the poco’s public project I worked on…Come down and have a look at your home’s roof/attic.
I was called 2 days after the display opened because their staff could not answer all the questions they were getting from the public. We agreed to a deal over the phone and I showed up the next AM. It was quite lucrative; I ended up paying myself with a 3 week vacation to California!!
With an IR camera you could take that bulky blower door and toss it in the trash…a small window unit would work just fine and wouldn’t suck the mold spores out of the walls.
Show me a house that was audited without the benefit of IR…and I’ll find 5-10 significant flaws in that same building envelope using IR.
By the way, what are all the mold spores doing stored in the walls. That would indicate a lot of mold growth, will the IR find that??
I’ll bet you that a lot of the significant flaws are in the poorly installed attic duct systems. In the north, the duct system would be in the heated envelope in most houses.
I was using IR scans of previously retrofitted houses in the 1980’s to help owners make further retrofit decisions and…I never found an insulation miss or settlement that made sense to send a crew to correct…The cost versus savings would not be paid back for 15-20-30 years…very small returns!!!
But most airsealing usually has a payback of under 3 years and sometimes less than a year!!! A good investment!!
You did what in the 80’s?
Mold is only a small percent of the nastiness that is found within walls and it doesn’t take IR (or an auditor) to find it…it’s been there since the home was built. Next time your at a lumber yard or construction site just take a look around…building materials are freakin nasty beyond belief.
*Insect/rodent/animal and possibly human excrement
*Fiberglass, metal, wood, and chemical dust in addition to a host of other VOC’s
Just to name a few. Mold and all of that stuff is already in the walls and insulation. Houses don’t (usually) develope mold problems because it fell on the house (even though it does)…its more likely that a moisture problem caused existing mold to bloom. I think some builders will clean off the building materials before assembling them but I hear they charge extra for it
IR doesn’t see mold inside walls…only a person can. IR can only give me part of the information I need to decide to look inside the wall. I agree about the insulation BUT I find a lot of insulation that appears to be installed correctly yet doesn’t perform thermally, in accessible spaces. I think I can say that I find that in every home I inspect.