If I want to offer home inspection scans, moisture scans, energy audits, electrical scans, HVAC scans, what would be the best camera you’d recommend? I can do withOUT offering roof scans if it means a less expensive or less resolution camera. And less training.
Do you recommend offering energy aduits without BPI or RESNET Certifications? If not, could I get certified in one or another? Which is better?
John M., would you recommend offering energy audits after completing your course only, or just home inspection thermal imaging?
It seems the majority do NOT use blower doors, is that correct? Do I need one? What blower door do you recommend?
A few level one courses I checked into recommend that I purchase a camera and bring it with me. Did you guys buy the camera first or after training?
I agree! It seems that for every extra amount of money you invest in a camera your opening that much more room for opportunity.
It cost’s over $25,000 just to buy the rights to open a Dippin Dots Ice Cream Booth. That’s not for anything but the rights to use the name and product.
An $8-$10K investment is NOTHING for a business start-up!
The Infrared Inspection industry is one of the few industry’s you can realistically profit $40K+ in the first year(if you know how to market). Your camera is your only substantially large investment needed to get started. I look at it like a business investment. The more your willing to put into the business in the beginning than the more your offering yourself out to the possibilities of more income.
Do yourself a favor and buy the best camera you can possibly afford because if you don’t than your just going to wish you did. It’s going to cost you way more than you saved in the beginning to upgrade after your first year not to mention possibly missing some opportunities. This is all just my opinion. We may be on two very different wave-lengths or thought patterns so please don’t take this is me trying to tell you what you need or something of that nature.
This is just the advice I plan on offering myself once I get done with my nuclear powered time travel machine.
Best of luck. I’d say 320 x 240 resolution should be on your lists of requirements.
I can agree with this statement, I had a Bcam and upgraded two years later and I should have bought the t400 first. Now I am leagues ahead of where I was and can scan so much more with better information coming back to me via the screen and pictures.
A bigger bite will make your commitment that much more powerful, along with you may be the best camera in your area which will set you apart from the get go, with th better camera your starting point may be most others maximum topend.
As far as an energy audit is concerned…a thermal scan without a blower door test is meaningless.
The purpose of an energy audit is to determine for the client the most effective and least costly methods of reducing his loss of conditioned air (in addition to improving comfort levels and eliminating moisture intrusion).
The first and foremost cause of conditioned air loss is air leakage. Air leakage is not an insulation issue and air bypasses can be found anywhere in the room, although they are typically located at the top or bottom.
Air leakage can be measured and quantified by a blower door. Sometimes, but not always, it can be observed with an IR camera. Observing it does little in an energy audit, for the fact that the air leak exists is already a given before you arrive at the address. For every one you are able to see with the IR camera, there are many others that you cannot…but must still be addressed.
The blower door test will also alert the auditor to the need for the addition of mechanical air. Finding air leaks with IR cameras and sealing them without a measurement of the affect that it has on the air exchange rate could actually create deadly carbon monoxide issues. It is also done AFTER the contractor has performed his work to measure the effectiveness of his work by comparing the “before and after” tests.
“Hey, you can use some insulation over here…” is not an energy audit. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to either sell you a camera or a training class.
“Air leakage can be measured and quantified by a blower door. Sometimes, but not always, it can be observed with an IR camera. Observing it does little in an energy audit, for the fact that the air leak exists is already a given before you arrive at the address. For every one you are able to see with the IR camera, there are many others that you cannot…but must still be addressed.”
Geez…John M., IR guru, is not going to want to see this…the truth!! When air leakage is quantified, it helps determine where to better expend your energies and retrofit $$$.
A furnace/boiler efficiency test is another item that should be included in every energy audit. Without knowing how the biggest energy user in many homes (in heating dominated areas) is operating, you’re also guessing at where to spend your $$$.
James: I see you’re now BPI certifed. Looks like an intensive and wide ranging treatment of energy, housing, auditing, IAQ, etc. At Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1989, I took a “Train-the-Trainer” course in the “House-as-a-System” under Laverne Dalgleish, past president and a current director of BPI
Good stuff, James. I am glad to see you guys going the extra step and bringing on BPI/Resnet in to your certification pool. There are a few guys on here that were ahead of the curve about 18 months ago and the nay sayers were all over them. Now a days the BPI/Resnet training discussions are more people looking for the training.
Here is another situation that is never covered in ANY IR training. A house is under a natural -5pa pressure (except the CAZ) and we have a perfect IR day with a 20F delta T. Now the air leakage should be very apparent to the camera (almost any camera). The home owner is a really motivated greenie type and decides to seal up all of the infiltration issues found by the IR scan and adds more insulation. Basically sealing the house down. Meanwhile the CAZ was already a mess with CO issues, before the structure was sealed down.
Is the IR inspector on the hook if someone dies? I don’t see how they would not be.
Nick, there might be some sort of training you can put together to keep inspectors from falling in to a situation like that.
You can order the above booklet from the gov’t.
Are non RESNET and BPI inspectors allowed to read this?
The above sources of information supply info on how to find air leaks without a blower door. Are they allowed to reveal that kind of information? Will millions die now? Are people allowed to weatherize their own home and save money?
Note: I do not sell IR cameras, RESNET/BPI energy audits, blower doors,… or energy audit certifications. If you do, please reveal that in your post.
I sell an IR class and help people cut through the fog, save money and find balance regardless of who gets mad. I am a home inspector who also makes realtors mad. My students and my clients love me for the truth. That is all that matters.
A homeowner can do anything he likes to his own property, under his own direction, and as long as he does not kill anyone other than himself…he will not be sued. If, however, he kills a guest inside of his home…you can refer to the link I shared to the Minnesota attorney who specializes in wrongful deaths for carbon monoxide poisonings.
When you engage in an enterprise where you are charging people for your advice and your services…and your advice and/or your service causes them harm…you can be sued. This applies to any industry. That is probably why the warning you referred to was issued to the reader regarding carbon monoxide poisoning.
Does that help a little bit?
By the way, I don’t find this warning “casual” at all (as you said you did):
“When sealing any home, you must always be aware of the danger of indoor air pollution and combustion appliance "backdrafts.” Backdrafting is when the various combustion appliances and exhaust fans in the home compete for air. An exhaust fan may pull the combustion gases back into the living space.** This can obviously create a very dangerous and unhealthy situation in the home.**
In homes where a fuel is burned (i.e., natural gas, fuel oil, propane, or wood) for heating, be certain the appliance has an adequate air supply. Generally, one square inch of vent opening is required for each 1,000 Btu of appliance input heat. When in doubt,** contact your local utility company, energy professional, or ventilation contractor."**
I just sold my FLIR BCam on Ebay for $1600. Paid $5000 4 years ago. I took the ITC/FLIR Building Science Certification Course about a month after I got the camera because I wanted to know how to understand what I was seeing with my expensive tool. After 4 years of doing moisture intrusion inspections, energy/insulation scans, home instections I wanted to expand my abilities.
I recently purchased a Flir T300 and started a separate entity (S-Corp) that will specialize in IR only. I learned a lot but if I had to do it again I would have invested more money up front and purchased a higher end camera and started with the Level 1 certification.
My goal now is to get Level 1 and Level 2 and expand further. Experience with any camera is essential to advance to a higher level.
You may want to sign up for a Level 1 class and rent a camera to see if you are cut out to do this before you take the plunge.
As far as energy audits, go with a BPI or RESNET Certification.
If you go all the way, plan on investing $20,000 minimum, then you have to market and sell your services. A little colorful logo and online certification won’t get you anywhere. Listen to the guys that are Level 1 and 2 that are here and have started from scratch.
This is one of the best “advice” posts I have ever seen on here.
I think we will start to see similar posts as guys in the 1-2 year experience range start to add on additional services and upgrade cameras from a couple of years ago when the first guys on here got in to IR.
Yes…but as long as there is a market for the “cheapest” camera and the “cheapest” certification…there will be a P.T. Barnum standing in front of the tent willing to sell tickets to the show. Home inspectors are easily impressed with neat gadgets that impress clients.
While hyperbole might sell the tool…your client is paying for the end result of your use of it. IR cameras do not measure air exchange rates or the need for mechanically supplying additional air as a result of sealing air leaks. Thus, it is the wrong tool for one to rely totally upon in performing an energy audit.
Ignore the man at the door of the tent with the loud speaker and remember that safely sealing up a house requires more tools than a picture of the air leak. What you don’t know could kill someone.