ASHI Certified Summerville, SC Home Inspector 

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Infrared Thermal Imaging Inspections

Thermal Imaging Reports

Infrared (thermal imaging) is an advanced, non-invasive technology that allows us to show buyers things about their homes or buildings that can’t be revealed using conventional inspection methods.  Ancillary inspection reports are just as important as the reports  generated for standard inspections.  For something as specialized as a thermal imaging inspection, it’s critical that the information presented meets buyer's needs for information they can use and act on.

The art of an IR inspection is to interpret the results as accurately and reasonably as possible such that the buyer is given actionable information in order to proceed with necessary repairs.


  • The limitations of thermal imaging, including the fact that, as with any type of inspection, it can’t predict future conditions.  However, a roof that is experiencing moisture intrusion which has been detected through thermal imaging will very likely lead to serious structural issues, if left unaddressed.

An infrared inspection can identify and document moisture intrusion, energy loss, and even unexpected hot spots.

In terms of energy loss, an IR camera can detect:

  • heat loss and air infiltration in walls, ceilings, floors, windows and  doors;
  • damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems;
  • air-conditioner compressor leaks;
  • under-fastening and/or missing framing members, and other structural defects that can lead to energy loss; and
  • broken seals in double-pane windows.

In terms of detecting moisture intrusion, an infrared/thermal inspection can locate

  • plumbing leaks;
  • hidden roof leaks before they cause serious damage;
  • missing, damaged and/or wet insulation; and
  • water and moisture intrusion around penetrations and at the foundation and building envelope that could lead to structural damage and mold.

infrared/Thermal Imaging are equally effective at locating hot spots in the home, including:

  • circuit breakers in need of immediate replacement;
  • overloaded and undersized circuits;
  • overheated electrical equipment and components;  and
  • electrical faults before they cause a fire.

Additionally, based on the color gradients that thermal images provide, we can locate:

  • possible pest infestation, as revealed by energy loss through shelter tubes left by boring wood-destroying insects;
  • the presence of intruders, such as rats, mice and other larger pests hiding within the structure and detected because of their heat signature that the IR camera captures; and
  • dangerous flue leaks, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning of the home’s residents.

Standard Images with Infrared Images

We  provides standard digital images side by side with your IR images.  This gives an accurate point of reference for the IR data, which is essential for mapping out improvements and repairs.


Thermal Imaging Limitations

  • Thermal imaging only displays surface temperatures of solid objects.
  • IR detects the temperature based upon wavelength of the light emitted by the object (longer wavelength, colder).  IR, therefore, does not show the temperature of objects that reflect light, (glass, shiny metal, light colored objects in direct sunlight).
  • IR, does not “see through walls”, but only displays the very slight differences in surface temperature of the wall.  Images of areas “behind” and not in contact with walls depends upon the temperature difference of the area.  It is easier to see “hot” objects because they will be radiating heat to the not-in-contact surface.  See pictures below for how IR is still incredibly useful.
  • Careful adjustment of the range of temperatures displayed is important to proper imaging and interpretation.