The end of the beginning

Flir IR for consumers

Those who will say that these are toys, don’t meet resnet, blah blah blah, are missing the significance of what is going on here.
Flir, Fluke and Testo have been selling us the same late 1990’s technology for almost 20 years for stupid prices and near zero product development.

IF the ordinary consumer or even a smaller group of tech junkies take an interest in IR and start buying thermal imaging products, we are going to see real competition improving the breed as opposed to a few manufacturers conspiring to control and limit the market. The downside, if there is one, is that thermal imaging equipment will be like anal orifices, everyone will have one. I am not overly bothered with this, but it will make life interesting.

I look forward to seeing similar advances as what drove the consumer digital camera market in the last 20 years for similar technology, ie more pixels better software, lower prices, comes to thermal imaging driven by competition for consumer spending.

IMO, Nick and Mark Cohen will have to put their heads together and come up with separate SOP’s for drones and IR, or revise the current SOP’s.

HI’s that use instruments or specialized tools not addressed in the SOP’s and agreements may have an issue in a court case.

Dan Bowers and I just discussed this this morning, and are concerned that if every HI used these “gadgets” and failed to abide by operational rules, could have a litigation problem.

Here in KC, weather plays a major part in using any drone or IR camera, and cannot always be used or operated. Using these will spoil an agent, and they will expect their use at every inspection. As a veteran inspector, often using new technologies is not a benefit to the HI or the client. Up-front costs, as well as the costs of the education and operational/maintenance of these tech items is high, as takes many inspections, if not years, to make up the expense.

Myself, I use a 15 year-old camera, and print all reports on site for many years, and I still use an old laptop and printer on site. Figure the cost effective use of this equipment, and the litigation if it comes to that.

Hog wash I can use my camera 365 days a year where I live and its not many miles to your front door from mine. I paid for a 16K camera in one month. You need to get your facts straight. Its kinda like your not walking a roof, incomplete information;-)

The IR camera is half blind in the hands of a non professional for several reasons that I shall not discuss. Let me just say that if you turn on an infrared camera, that does not mean it is doing you much good (those with training and experience already know what I am talking about and the others don’t want to believe this is true).

Now you cannot depend on counting the number of detectors (sensors) because so many cheap ones are being made. Most don’t even know what the mk factor means. Cheaper materials and methods to build tiny optics makes the IR camera lower in cost but also creates a poor image. Processors are now being made to hide these flaws and when you ad a little while outline to the mess, it starts to look fairly nice to the untrained eyes. Gotcha.

When you go out and miss defects that you cannot see, then you feel no pain. The realtor and the client are happy. Your happy. The camera company is happy. Everyone is happy and more cameras sell and… anyone who rains on the parade and warns of what is happening are scoffed at because everyone is too busy being happy.

Don’t worry, be happy.

Everyone is happy but inspectors who care about quality and have a brain. Get some training. It takes a special person who says that they want to truth regardless of the pain it takes to obtain it and walk in it. You cannot save a fool from himself.

Interesting opinions put forth here. I can’t say that I fully agree with any of them. I do agree with Erik that the IR imager industry is glacially slow to advance and is generally hostile to the consumers of their products (e.g., intentionally dumbing down hardware with firmware so that they can charge higher prices for uncrippled versions of identical hardware). Most industries would have agreed on some industry standard, no-proprietary formats, published specifications and provide development kits so that third parties can produce robust reporting software, instead of the slow, unreliable, overpriced, kludgy crap that they deliver today. Customer service from the manufacturers is lousy IMO. These are all traits of an industry controlled by monopoly or small oligarchy of companies. One that needs real competion.

If one of the leading photography companies got into this industry, they would lay waste to the existing players in the consumer markets. I find it unfathomable that FLIR does not provide a means to take an image or video without their logo displayed prominently on your work. Could you imagine if Nikon or Canon watermarked the photos of the professional photographers that use their products? Incredible arrogance. I don’t even want to buy a new imager from FLIR or Testo, because I don’t have confidence that they will properly support it.

The two products that Erik puts forth are irrelevant in this discussion. The scout is essentially thermal night vision monocular (popular with night hunters who are willing to send the money - they also make thermal aiming devices). The TG 130 is a spot imager, a glorified IR thermometer. These are not candidates to professional building diagnostic use. I think that the invasion will come in the form of more advanced cores that couple with smart devices. possibly from new players.

If it takes years to recoup your investment in infrared thermography, your doing it wrong. Yes, you can use your imager in some capacity every day on every inspection, but that doesn’t imply that weather conditions don’t have a significant impact on what you can reasonably do with your imager on any given day and IMO: it’s important to make sure that the client is on board with the implications of the conditions (you won’t find a roof leak during a drought and you won’t find most thermal envelope defects when it’s 75 degrees outside).

I charge separately for thermography services so that we don’t confuse what is home inspection and what is thermography. When conditions aren’t suitable for what we wanted to accomplish with thermography that day, we can drop it from the order and not charge for the service. How does one maintain the separation between what is a home inspection and what is thermography and how does one manage expectations when conditions aren’t suitable for thermography when you have pre-loaded it into your home inspection fee and advertized that you do it for every home inspection? Do you waive it around and pretend, knowing you won’t find the insulation deficiencies or roof leaks that you’ve told your client you can do every time?

In a home inspection I could care less about the weather conditions it can be snowing, raining or a 100 + degrees for what I include in a home inspection it makes no difference. If I should need to manipulate mother nature that is what the furnace and or the A/C unit is for. Most of my IR income is provided by commercial work and as to the low resolution junk cameras I don’t have to compete against them because commercial clients are familiar with IR and can not be fooled by amateurs with junk cameras

Thermal imager allows me to find defects that others may miss. Benefits me and my customer. Buy quality equipment and get training to operate it properly. A flashlight exceeds the standard of practice, the minimum that is allowed. I am looking forward to continuing my education with thermal imaging. I am really supprised that others refuse to use this technology. It clearly benefits my customers and allows me to perform a superior inspection.

I would like to see some additional competition in the equipment. I think there could be some improvements and that would help the industry.

I do not use it, because it is not reliable. Volunteer firefighters and departments here have one on every truck, but rarely use it. They attempt to see firefighters in fire areas inside of buildings. It is a tool; not the total picture. When a home has been empty, no utilities, and the outside temps are the same as the outside, it is a tool: not the total picture. IMHO.

What idiot would even attempt a inspection with no utilities your just ripping the client off

It is a tool, helps me be a better inspector. It has helped me find things that would have otherwise gone unreported. Yesterday, found a roof leak where there was no staining yet. Confirmed with moisture meter. Its a tool, not the whole picture, I’m there to figure out the whole picture the best I can. Without the imager, I wouldn’t have done further investigation.

I did more then one and I do not feel I was ripping them off. .
How about on an Island where there is no Hydro .
How about in the winter when all Pipes have been drained .
How about a home that no one has lived in for a while and the hydro has been disconnected .
By not doing an Inspection for the Client is in my opinion is Not fair to the client .
They need to know there are many things I can not see .
My clients all where pleased to have us do the inspection even though we where limited with no hydro.

I don’t do half A** inspections and if the utilities are not on that is what you are giving the client. Think as you may

Roy, you missed Charlie’s point.

If you are paid to inspect the house, how can you when the systems are off? No water running, no electrical, no gas. How can you test those? You cannot so then you cover your butt and say that it was a limitation. But when they buy the place and the water gushes from the pipes or the outlets are all ungrounded and the fireplace doesn’t work the client will not think they got their monies worth… I would personally feel like crap that I did them a disservice.

So the people who wish to buy this place can not get an inspection .
Some places do not have running water , no hydro, and only a wood stove for heat.

Sorry ,I disagree …You would be doing them a disservice by refusing to do an inspection…

Charlie doesn’t live where empty house’s sit in below zero weather 4 months out of the year and the bankers are not about to turn the water on on a chance someone is going to buy it.

I have seen where the clients had to pay to have the water turned on just to inspect and then pay to have it winterized again.

I do agree it’s not a good inspection when you can’t have these things on but it is the way it is sometimes.

They give us a 3 day window here to get the utilities on and then back off again. I simply won’t do a inspection without the utilities

So, do you pay to have them turned on and off? I just bought a home in that condition for a rental. I knew it had broken pipes so I didn’t have the utilities turned on even to close. I didn’t want the potential secondary damage. So, are you paying for the secondary damage repairs as well? It would be half azzed if you didnt, one would think.

Your reading skills are lacking what part of I don’t do inspections with no utilities on don’t you understand. That means for the reading impaired I don’t do them Period,someone like you can do them.

I think maybe you failed the writing with clarity aspect in school. Simple questions only require simple answers. My reading skills are fine. If you don’t do them, say it… and leave all the ego out of it.

I say again what part of the above don’t you understand???