Home inspection with infrared scan

graywings123March 3, 2009

I'm shopping around for a home inspector and have come across a company offering the use of infrared scan technology to help identify (per its website):

Internal structural problems

Moisture concerns

Termites and other insects

Pipe and duct work leaks

Roof and ceiling leaks

Heat loss

Insulation deficiencies

Rats, mice and other pests

After the infrared scan, the home inspector then conducts a normal visual inspection.

Any opinions on the value of an infrared scan? I'm buying a 90 year old house that has been renovated.

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Infrared scan technology is an excellent tool. However, the veracity of the results does depend upon the quality of the equipment, as well as the abilities of the inspector to use it properly and to make the proper assessments from what is seenÂand therein lies the rub.

As far as I know, the training needed to effectively utilize this technology in the home inspection profession is not readily available and it appears that there arenÂt any standards out there to regulate the use of the device in order that one be assured that the HI really knows how to use it and to properly analyze what he finds.

It is my understanding that the HI needs to not only have skill in operating the camera but a solid understanding of the science involved in the assessment of the thermal evidence.

In addition, the device itself has limitations, such as not working on reflective surfaces, and deepening upon how much light or heat a surface emits, the conclusion will vary.
For example, the inspector must know how to determine the difference between and image that could represent a leakÂor simply a water pipe. Easier said than done.
There are also different levels of training, and various software depending upon the application.

And, if your state licenses wood destroying insect inspectors, my guess is they donÂt have an established standard as of yet for the use of IR in termite detectionÂwhich would mean the HI is making his own SOPÂif so, is that a license violation? If there is a standard, familiarize yourself with it in order to assess the results.

That said, a thorough understanding of both thermo-graphic principles and structural engineering provide the best chance that the HI will be able to interpret the data correctly.

Therefore, the technology should be used only by those home inspectors who are well trained on the device and are capable of accurately interpreting thermo imaging. The home inspector should be able to thoroughly document such training, and if he has been properly trained, he should make certain that you receive disclosure information making you fully aware of the limitations of thermo imaging.

I would want to verify that the HI has at minimum one year (preferably more) solid experience inspecting using the deviceÂ.especially on old homes. Ask for references from inspections from a year ago where he has used the device, to see what the clients may have to say about the results.

AndÂÂcheck to see if he has E&O insurance that covers errors made in interpreting the results.

Best wishes.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2009 at 3:38PM
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