<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=262189827814310&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Amerifirst blog

 Explore our blog for insights on buying, financing, remodeling, and taking care of your home.

Back to all posts

Why Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections are Great for a First Home

First time home buyers can use all the help they can get in the buying process. You may not realize technology like exists. Infrared thermal imaging cameras spot small, but key changes in temperature in different areas of a house, identifying problematic areas that the naked eye never could and some that a visual inspection could only hypothesize.  A house will show up as hot, cold, or somewhere in between as we scan the house with a camera sensitive to infrared radiation.

 

What infrared imaging reveals during inspections

Moisture is a big issue that gets revealed during these inspections which includes hidden sources of mold, roof leaks, and posts that indicate termite nests. Electrical problems are also revealed as well as heat and energy loss, foundation cracks, structural concerns, missing insulation, ventilation glitches and rodent infestations. Let’s go through a couple of typical problems we find with the camera, which can save you a bundle of money.

 

Roofing leaks

Why Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections are Great for a First Home 1Water will typically give up its heat at a slower rate than its surrounding roofing materials because of its high thermal capacity, so we can see with just one image if any areas have accumulated moisture. This is best done in the evening when the temperature outside begins to fall. The roofing materials will have released their heat showing up blue or purple on the image, while the moisturized materials will still be warm and will show up red or orange on the image. The image on the top right shows a bad leak in winter, showing up blue as the cold infiltrates the warm house.

 

Electrical faults

Identifying the source of electrical problems quickly and accurately will add huge value to a home, while preventing injury and property damage. The image will have yellow marks wherever there is damage to electrical systems, making it easy to spot and put on the list of repairs to be done (as you can see in the bottom right image of the light fixture).

 

Structural defects

When we scan walls, floors and ceilings with the camera we notice differences in temperature and conductivity which tell us about hidden missing structural components and damaged portions of these components. On top of the missing insulation (that you can see in the right most photo below), many houses will show wet basement walls which could be a potential source of mold.

Why Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections are Great for a First Home 2

The information provided by thermal imaging inspections is extremely valuable to the owner or perspective buyer of a house, but it is also worth noting that infrared home inspections also have their limits. The results must be interpreted by an expert who knows about possible sources of error in measurements such as dry areas, reflected heat, and the limit of surface readings.

 

When buying your dream house, make sure it doesn’t have hidden headaches with an infrared thermal image home inspection. Home sellers don’t want unexpected problems (especially the easily fixable kind) arising and scaring off a potential buyer when they get an inspection done. Even current home owners with no intentions of selling would benefit from having a thermal inspection done. Infrared technology is a good addition to a visual inspection, and doesn’t negate the need for an inspector with experience and knowledge of all systems that make up a home. As always, choose wisely!

 

Get Mortgage Ready

Preston Sandlin is a proud member of NCLHIA and Charlotte Regional Realtors Association. He is owner and founder of Home Inspection Carolina in Charlotte which has allowed him to inspect thousands of homes in all of the surrounding counties. Preston gives seminars on termites, radon, and thermal imagery while teaching home inspection classes.

Photos: ©Home Inspection Carolina

Related Posts

5 Reasons Not to Skip Your Home Inspection

You found a house you love—hooray! But with lots of other buyers breathing down your neck, you feel like you need to act fast. To make your offer more attractive to the seller, you might be tempted to skip your home inspection, but here are five good reasons not to! 1.) Not all problems are obvious. It’s easy to spot issues like a crack in the sink or a broken light fixture. But do you know how to recognize foundation problems, termite infestations, outdated wiring, or sewer system problems? Trained home inspectors do and taking the time to have them go over the entire property before you sign the papers can prevent you from buying a headache instead of a home. BOTTOM LINE: The great thing about an inspection is that if you see major problems you’re unwilling to take on, you can change your mind and walk away. 2.) You may not be able to afford the repairs. If you’re like many new homeowners, you may not have much set aside to pay for needed repairs after saving up for your down payment and closing costs. While you may not mind waiting a bit to repaint or update appliances, waiting on problems like leaky roofs, broken plumbing, or infestations will only make them worse, and some issues, like broken furnaces, may need to be repaired right away. BOTTON LINE: You don’t want to go deep into debt to keep your home safe and comfortable. Instead, it’s worth negotiating with the seller to pay for repairs. If they refuse, you can simply walk away. 3. Some problems can make it harder to insure the home. Getting home insurance is essential because lenders need to see an insurance policy before you can close on your home—and of course, you’ll want to have your home protected in case anything goes wrong. However, some companies may decide that your home’s older electrical systems, plumbing, or building materials make it too risky to insure. BOTTON LINE: If essential updates are needed, the only choices are to ask the seller to pay for them, pay for them yourself if you can afford it, or walk away from the deal. 4. Serious issues can affect the resale value of the home. Your home is probably the biggest investment you will ever make. However, if it has major problems, instead of building your wealth, it could turn into a lousy investment that threatens your financial well-being. BOTTON LINE: While a home inspection typically costs a few hundred dollars, it’s an excellent investment in your peace of mind and financial health. 5. Some problems can threaten your family’s health or even your life. This sounds scary, but it’s no exaggeration. Issues like lead paint, black mold, radon (an odorless radioactive gas), or carbon monoxide leaks can cause serious and sometimes fatal health problems. BOTTON LINE: These issues are also easy to miss without a professional home inspection, and it’s simply not worth taking the risk. While it’s not easy to compete with other buyers who are bidding for the house you want, home inspections are one area where you don’t want to cut corners. To protect your physical, financial, and mental health, there’s no substitute for a professional home inspection.

6 Tips on How to Buy a House in Today's Market

Buying a home may be the American dream. But with escalating home prices, rising interest rates, low inventory, and inflation, as a first-time buyer, you may be wondering if that dream is out of reach.

Let's Talk FHA Loans

  If apartment living is getting old, or you've outgrown your parents' basement and house rules, you may be thinking about buying your own place. For this reason, you may be interested in learning about home loans that offer low and no-down payment options and have flexible lending requirements. One of these is the FHA loan. Let's take a closer look. 

icon_footer_phone-01

Call us

800.466.5626

icon_footer_laptop-01

Get started

Apply online today