Infrared Thermal Imaging

What is Thermal Image Scanning?


Thermal imaging uses infrared technology to detect very small differences in temperature. Every material has a unique thermal signature. When moisture, heat, cold, or wood destroying insects are introduced into the structure, the thermal signature changes. The changes can be subtle or dramatic, but with this incredible thermal image scanning technology the thermal signatures are detectable where they wouldn't be seen with the naked eye.

Thermal image scanning technology is now being used to evaluate residential and commercial structures. As a non-invasive testing tool it can quickly help discern where there are suspected issues. This can help to limit the areas where time consuming further evaluation and destructive discovery is needed.

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What Thermal Image Scanning is NOT!

A MOISTURE METER - The infrared thermal imaging camera is NOT a moisture meter. It simply identifies thermal anomalies. This device greatly aids in identifying areas that need further investigation.

X-RAY VISION - The infrared thermal imaging camera is NOT an X-ray vision scope. It does not provide the user with the ability to clearly see inside walls. Instead, it identifies thermal differences.

A SILVER BULLET - The infrared thermal imaging camera is NOT a silver bullet solution. When it is used in conjunction with other technologies, thermal imaging helps us to identify issues that are rarely identified during the limited visual home inspection process.

RISK ELIMINATOR - The infrared thermal imaging camera does NOT completely remove the risks of concealed damage.

PLEASE NOTE: It is deceptive for someone to claim that thermal imaging detects moisture because the best that it can do is detect thermal differences. Using the infrared camera to help discover moisture issues is helpful because once the anomalies are identified, moisture meters and other diagnostic tools can then be used to identify the source of the anomaly.

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How Does Thermal Imaging Technology Work?

Thermal, or Infrared energy is not visible to us because its wavelength is too long to be detected by the human eye. Unlike visible light, everything in the infrared world with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat. Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared energy. The higher the object’s temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted. Infrared allows us to see what our eyes cannot. Infrared Thermal Imaging Cameras produce images of this "heat" radiation and provide very precise, non-contact temperature measurements.


The military and NASA have been using this technology for many years. Only recently has this technology become affordable and available to the public. Its use in the building industry is relatively new, and new uses for infrared technology are still being discovered.

How can this technology be useful?

  • Moisture Detection in Walls and Ceilings - Thermal imaging is a great tool that helps to identifying water damage in walls, floors, and ceilings. By detecting the difference in temperature between a wet area and the surrounding dry areas, thermal imaging can help detect moisture issues that would not be visible during a limited visual home inspection.
  • Stucco & EIFS Inspections - Thermal image scanning has greatly improved our ability to find moisture and rot behind stucco. The moisture is often visible with thermal imaging in the form of temperature anomalies. Thermal image scanning also helps to quantify the affected areas of moisture damage. With this technology, we are able to better identify where the trouble areas are that need repair.
  • Energy Evaluations - Air infiltration is the largest single source of heat loss in most homes and commercial buildings. Cold air infiltration can be easily and quickly detected with the infrared camera. It is also great at identifying areas where the insulation contractor failed to insulate adequately. Once the energy wasting areas are identified, appropriate improvements can then be made to reduce energy consumption and costs, as well as improve comfort in the home or commercial building.
  • Flat Roof Inspections - If you have a leak on a flat roof and have been told that a new roof is needed, then call us first. We may be able to save you a substantial amount of money. Thermal imaging can be used to detect the precise location of the leak. We can then mark the affected area so that repairs can be made to the leaking area. Obviously, if the roof is older then you should forego the thermal imaging and invest in the needed new roof.
  • Electrical Inspections - Loose or dirty electrical connections and other electrical anomalies can cause power outages and even fires. We can inspect electrical panels and receptacles to detect issues before they cause damage or a fire. Thermal imaging can detect hot spots in the electrical system not visible to the naked eye which may be a precursor to a larger issue. The resulting report can be a great aid for the repair electrician hired to address the identified conditions.
  • Plumbing Inspections - Water leaks from the plumbing system often leak undetected until major damage has occurred. We can scan in, under, and around plumbing fixtures in the home to determine if there is active leaking going on. Since this tool is not a moisture meter, we will use it to find heat anomalies and then pursue the issue further to attempt to determine the source of the leak. Thermal image scanning can detect temperature anomalies in the plumbing system not visible to the naked eye that may be a precursor to a larger issue. The resulting Thermal Image Scan report can be a great aid for the plumber hired to repair the leak.

Thermography scans reveal what we can’t see.

The homeowner stated that the ceiling stain (left) was from an "old" water leak caused by a broken pipe in the attic. The thermal image clearly shows moisture intrusion in blue (right) is from an active leak.

before after

Infrared thermal imaging clearly shows moisture infiltration in this corner under the window. A window sill dam test revealed a failed aluminum weld at the window's corner.

before after

Thermography scans find missing or displaced insulation summer or winter.


Photo LEFT: New home missing attic insulation (black area) on a cold winter day.


Photo RIGHT: On a hot day, a new home insulation scan revealed missing insulation along the bottom of the wall (indicated by the solid orange area of higher heat.

We are often hired to help our clients with preventive maintenance programs or to pinpoint leaks in homes and businesses. Adding this service along with a normal home inspection saves 40-50% off the normal stand-alone thermal image scanning fee.

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