photography basics and tips

5 Ways That A Thermal Infrared Camera Can Help You Improve Your Home

Thermal infrared cameras were first developed for military and rescue applications, so naturally this kind of equipment has been too expensive for most homeowners to use for decades. With recent developments in scanning technology, now there are plenty of affordable options for personal use. Investing in your own thermal camera can help you with these five common home improvement chores.

Find a Water Leak

Water leaks and drips are very damaging to every part of the home and are also hard to find. If you're suspecting a moisture problem due to mold development or rot but you don't want to partially demolish the house to find the source, a thermal infrared camera is the perfect tool for the job. Tracing water back to the source is challenging because it can flow dozens of feet before making a visible sign of damage, but thermal imaging reveals the trail without requiring you to cut into the walls or ceiling.

Methods for using an infrared camera in this way include

  • Simple scans to reveal dark spots where moisture is already gathering or flowing, bringing down the temperature of the area.
  • Live water tests in which liquid is sprayed over a wall or roof suspected of leaking, which usually results in clear visuals when cold water is used.
  • Scanning for hot spots in the floors and walls if the problem is believed to be a hot water line leak instead.

Track Insulation Gaps

Trying to lower your heating and cooling bills with insulation only works if you create a solid, tight envelope around the home. Even one- or two-inch gaps in insulation coverage let all your hot or cold air leak out, and tracking these tiny seams and cracks can seem impossible. Thermal imaging is worth the investment in these situations, because the camera immediately shows you where temperatures are unusually high or low without requiring you to open up any drywall. You can scan your entire house in an afternoon instead of spending months trying to figure out exactly where that pesky draft is coming from. Of course, this kind of equipment also works for other weatherproofing tasks like sealing around windows and doors.

Discover Entrance Points

Is your attic acting as a hotel for a revolving cast of raccoons, squirrels, and other animal pests? If you keep getting new visitors after the professionals swear they've closed up every gap and opening, you can use a thermal infrared camera to double check their work. Pick a day that is particularly hot or chilly and every small opening should appear quite clearly on your screen when contrasted against the stable temperature of your home's indoor air.

Inspect Your Roof

Of course, few parts of the home are as susceptible to water leaks and missing insulation as your roof. When your attempts to catch roof leaks from the inside fails, you can head up to the roof for some in-depth investigation. The plywood decking and insulation under the roof will hold heat as the rest of the structure cools off if it's wet, so hot spots on an otherwise cool roof indicate moisture problems. It's also a great tool for double checking repair work, since most leaking and rotting roofs still look fine on the surface.

Check The Wiring

Finally, you can also check up on the health of your electrical wiring with an infrared camera to prevent house fires. When a wire is damaged by wear or has a loose connection to the rest of the system, increased resistance causes the metal to heat up. As long as the rest of the wiring is working correctly and operating at safe temperatures, problem areas should pop out quite brightly.

For more informaiton, contact a professional supplier, such as Infrared Cameras Inc.