Infrared Imaging instrumental in finding shower leak for Frisco Home Inspector

Yet another example of the power of infrared when properly used as part of a home inspection.

I was able to detect this shower leak in the closet behind the shower. The shower had been running for about 15 minutes when the first IR picture was taken. The warmer signature at the baseboard was the crucial indicator. Moisture was confirmed with a moisture meter as shown. The second and third IR pictures show the thermal signature that is created as the moisture cools and begins evaporating and seeping into the pad.

March has been a big shower leak month so far. That makes 5 in two weeks.

Would the moisture meter have detected the moisture without the IR picture?

Yes, if you checked the right area.

Not all of the area along wall was wet. So if you simply spot checked and picked the wrong spot you would have missed it. It did not register to the surface testing mode of the meter. There was also a pile of toys in the closet that I had to move to check with the moisture meter, but the Infrared showed the suspicious area without moving them. How often would an inspector clear out personal belongings from a closet to probe? I guess some would, but many would not.

I often find that IR is just another valuable tool, giving initial indicators that something is wrong or showing the extent of the problem when only a small portion is visible.

I had two leaks last week that did not require IR to find - water was clearly visible on the floor of the bathroom, pouring outside of the foundation, and or pooling in the garage below. In those cases, IR simply helped to show the extent of the moisture around the areas you could see with your eyes.

I personally believe infrared is an invaluable tool. But ultimately, it is still a tool. Inspection protocol and experience is still more important.

Agree. I’m not knocking IRT but the inspector should always pay close attention to areas adjacent to showers and tubs.

Pressing ones’s knuickels into carpet of this area would likely have revealed the leak in this case. Confirm with a moisture meter if needed.

IR is much more sensitive than hands/skin. I have had many examples where the carpet was not wet to the touch and the moisture could not be felt. But Infrared sees the moisture in the pad below the carpet. This was one such case, believe me I try to get wet fingers to confirm things. There is something about having actual water on you finger to back up the tools that erases any possible doubt.


Using IR is so much faster and better than using your knuckles or hand. It also gives the inspector and the client a visual image of the extent of the damage. See attached images
I did a scan on a 40 ft high ceiling recently (did not verify findings with moisture meter) that was approximately 5000sq ft in size in less than 20 minutes including documentation (photos).
This technology is invaluable to an inspector, and IMO inspectors that have realized the benefits of IR are way ahead of everyone else.

Images 3 and 4 high ceiling (1x1 ceiling tiles with 1 inch drywall below, commercial building)
Images 12 and 13 are from a home inspection (basement exterior wall)

Good find Kevin!!

Mario, I said I was not knocking IR.

I’m sure if and when I buy one I will fall in love with it too.

But it’s not a must have tool.

Neither is a screw driver or a flashlight but they sure are handy:D The sop states that if the crawl space is accessible you must enter it does not state that you have to take a flashlight with you

Let’s not make this a war between the IR haves and have nots.

I’m sure your were all doing a good inspection before you fell in love with your IR cameras. At least I hope so.

Don’t be so sure I thought I was doing a good inspection before the camera but after I bought mine it scared the crap out of me:shock::shock:

What Charley said! This morning found a leaking shower pan in upstairs bath by scanning the downstairs family room ceiling. No visible staining or peeling paint. There is NO DOUBT I would have not found that anomaly without IR. Simple as that. My client just received a superior addition to his inspection which he gladly paid for.


I know you are not trying to start a war. I think the point we are trying to make is that we keep finding things with IR that you would not with other tools - period. I do not believe I would have found the shower leak in the original pictures - touching the carpet did not indicate a problem.

Today’s inspection had two roof leaks. They were not making any kind of stain. I definitely would not have found them without IR.

Like Charley said, I thought I did a pretty thorough job at inspection before using IR. After using it for two years, I shudder to think about what I did not see, could not see. I did the best I could at the time, but now I can do even better and I like that.

Have a good week guys, I’m off to go skiing with the family for the week.

roof leak (1).jpg

roof leak (1).jpg

roof leak.jpg

I know you are not knocking IR Michael, I’m just pointing out how fast and accurate this technology is! I guess we will have to agree to disagree on whether this tool is a must have for proper building diagnostics.

That is what I thought. :smiley:

I recently did a Home inspection on a house that was bank owned. The house was winterized, meaning the water was off. I asked my clients to make sure the water was turned on when I did the inspection, the bank agreed and had the water turned on one day prior to the inspection.
It turns out there was a plumbing leak from the 3rd floor washroom as evidenced from a simple IR scan on the 2nd floor ceiling directly below the 3rd floor washroom. There was no visible evidence to suggest that there was an active plumbing leak in the immediate area. I’m quite sure that if the water remains on for an extended period of time it will be visible.
I would not have known of this plumbing issue if the area was not scanned using an IR camera.

…a few images from the inspection.

I agree IR is the way to go i use mine every day, I found many leaks that where not visible to the eye or flash light, and not in the usual places. A great addition to any Home inspector I have been using mine for 2 years, I had a chance to use one 15 years ago it was like a old VHS video recorder