Why Choose A Home Inspector That Uses Thermal Imaging

While I don’t recommend specific home inspectors since I consider that a conflict of interest,  I do strongly recommend selecting one that utilizes thermal imaging.

A few years back, a first time buyer was attending a home inspection.  This particular inspector referred to thermal imaging cameras as expensive toys that weren’t useful.  As you can guess, this inspector didn’t use thermal imaging  and assured the buyer that it was unnecessary.

Some time into the inspection,  the buyer accidentally discovered a wet spot on a dark colored rug located in the corner of the basement.  A considerable amount of  water had seeped through from outside, dripped down behind the drywall and spread onto the rug.

I’m certain the home inspector wouldn’t have discovered the problem had the buyer not informed him.

Now consider a recent example where my client selected a home inspector that used thermal imaging.   The older home had been beautifully renovated a few years earlier and nothing seemed amiss.   That is until the inspector brought out his “expensive toy”  and scanned the entire house.

Thermal Imaging Pictures

Thermal imaging uncovers issues not visible to the naked eye

Invisible to the naked eye, the home inspector discovered a small pool of water in the basement ceiling coming from the bathroom above.   He confirmed it by taking moisture readings.  Armed with this information, we notified the sellers and asked them to repair the leak.

There would have been no way for the first home inspector to discover this leak without the help of thermal imaging.  It’s not like inspectors take a moisture meter and run it along every square inch of the walls and ceilings.

Granted, there are particular times of the day or year when thermal imaging cameras may not be as effective (ie. when it’s really hot outside) However,  the  important details they can uncover far outweigh their limitations.

To the home inspectors out there – what are your thoughts?

8 responses to “Why Choose A Home Inspector That Uses Thermal Imaging

  1. Hi Mike great article! I use a thermal imaging camera for my business it gives me piece of mind that i’m doing my best to serve my clients I just recently finished my level 1 thermographer training which is important to diagnose any findings especially if your going to use a thermo imaging camera



    Thanks for sharing! Glad to read you use thermal imaging in your inspections too.
    -Mike Fotiou

  2. Not sure what that says about the construction quality of some renos in Calgary! Scary!

  3. Good article. I appreciate you pointing out how great these cameras can be and that they have limitations.
    I use an IR camera in every situation that allows. Also, an inspector that says that IR cameras are not a valuable tool during a home inspection are not informed on how these tools should be used.

  4. Curtis you forgot to mention that any inspector not using a IR camera is simply to cheap to buy it, many inspectors in my area downplay them as crap simply because they don’t want to shell out the money for one, I have the fluke tir1 which cost a small fortune but has saved my rear end many times over and made many people very happy with some of the issues it has uncovered.

  5. and for the record many real estate agents hate to see the ir camara also as they know it could easily kill there deal.

  6. That term, “deal Killer” makes me ill. As a home inspector my duty is to the purchaser and my job is to provide an unbiased inspection and a report about the general condition of the home. If my inspection uncovers issues that the potential purchaser is uncomfortable with and chooses not to purchase then that is their business. I am not responsible for the defects in the home. I found defects and reported those defects to my client so they can make an informed decision.

    The derogatory phrase “deal killer” is often used by real estate agents to describe independent home inspectors who give buyers objective information in an inspection report, which may lead the buyer to renegotiate or to look at other properties. Many real estate agents view independent home inspectors as a challenge to their ability to generate income. They view these “deal killers” as foes and will use a number of tactics to control the inspector selection process to make sure that the prospective buyers do not retain independent home inspectors. http://independentinspectors.org/about

    The author of this article is absolutely bang on the money that it is a conflict of interest for a realtor to be involved in the home inspection process.

  7. I agree on the use of thermal imaging. I use it as a standard tool with all of my home inspections. I have a duty to the client and will give them the best effort possible. After all it is possibly the largest investment they will ever make and they hired me to give them a better idea of the condition the home is in.

  8. dennisbegin2660

    I also use an infra red thermal imaging camera in all my home inspections. The home inspectors that are interNACHI certified know that the cameras are invaluable tools that are a necessary part of any comprehensive inspection in 2016.

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