INFRARED CAMERAS FOR HOME INSPECTIONS - YES OR NO?

By
Home Inspector with National Property Inspections of Southern New Jersey, LLC

It is getting close to that time of year when I start dwelling on new equipment for my home and building inspection business.  I have been thinking about purchasing an infrared camera to use on my inspections which are mostly residential homes.

However, I am not sure how infrared cameras are perceived by real estate agents and brokers.  This is where I need your input.  If you are not familiar with these cameras, what they do is take a picture of invisible infrared or "heat" radiation also known as thermal imaging.  The camera is a remarkable diagnostic tool for inspectors as it can indicate problems not visible to the naked eye.   For instance, water leakage can be detected through a roof, wall or window with no interior evidence that the leakage even exists.  We all know what problems water may cause (can you say mold) and the liability it presents.   

It is also possible to use the camera for energy loss issues (think green) such as missing insulation and improper operation of air conditioners and heat pumps.  There are safety uses too, such as locating overheating electrical wires inside walls or other faulty electrical components. 

Now that you are up to speed on what thermal imaging can do, I think you are starting to get the picture (no pun intended).  Using infrared cameras for home inspections will find more problems.  And with more problems, selling properties may become increasingly difficult and more deals may not close due to the seller's unwillingness to negotiate repairs.   

This is my dilemma.  Although my inspections already are high quality, an infrared camera will help me provide an even better inspection.  But I am not sure an infrared camera can help me grow my business with real estate agents and brokers.  Do you want this technology - yes or no? 

 Glen Fisher southjerseynpi@aol.com                                                                                                                    

"The South Jersey Home Inspector"

 

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  1. Paul Howard 02/19/2009 04:17 PM
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Topic:
Real Estate Technology & Tools
Location:
New Jersey Camden County Oaklyn
Groups:
Realtors®
Tags:
infrared cameras
home inspection
home inspections
building inspection
building inspections

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Anonymous #29
Anonymous
Suzy

I just had a deal fall through on my home as a result of an infrared camera;  The SECOND in 2 weeks in their office, according to my realtor.  The siding of my house was found to be damp after 10 continuous days of raining. I would like to know if the home of THE inspector would pass their own rigorous inspections.  My home is 35 years old.  It has been *impeccably* maintained.  Who can afford today's buyer's standards > Complete renovation and like new condition, if your home is not brand new?  It's called "Foreclosure".  We are fortunate in that we don't have to sell our home.  If we had to we would be in foreclosure.  We have put in $45,000 of repairs over 10 years and $15,000 to put the house on the market.  It is priced at what we bought it for 12 years ago.  I *FLUNKED* the inspections.  What really is your goal?  When did the goal change from finding things in a home that are not up to code or have not been maintained to finding absolutey every possible thing wrong with a house and then forcing a seller to fix *every* problem and then disclose it giving a home a "flawed" appearance.  How many houses are getting 2-3 inspections generating more money for inspectors because the house flunks unreasonable standards?  Is this simply another example of the real estate industry generating revenue for themselves?  

May 12, 2012 08:59 AM
Anonymous #30
Anonymous
mw

Hi Suzy:

1st: A home inspector's job is never to make sure the house is "up to code".  That is the job of the building department.  To verifiy code complaince, walls would likely need to be opened up, about which I'm sure most sellers would not be thrilled.

2nd: House inspections are not pass / fail.  If an inspector stated that your house "flunked", I would regard his agenda with suspicion.  Our job as home inspectors is to provide information about a building, not to give pass/fail grades.  Any inspector who does that is injecting his own opinion into the mix and that is unfair to a buyer.  It is the buyer's decision to make as to whether the house "passes or fails" for their needs/concerns.  Of course houses, whether new or old have problems, and a good inspector will suggest rational solutions to them, without overstating the issues.

3rd: Of course the siding will be damp after extended rain.  It's outside.  How is that a problem?  The water barrier behind the siding (tar paper) is what keeps the house dry.  If that's really the call he made, then he sounds incompetent. If however, if the real call was moisture on the inside wall of the house, and he used a moisture meter to back his assessment, then, sorry, but that's a  problem, which if left unaddressed can lead to bigger problems and it must be addressed, whether by you or the buyer.

I'm sorry you're frustrated, but IR is really useful in our work for discovering water leakage that is not visible and if you were on the *informed* buying end, you would insist that the inspector working for you uses IR.

May 12, 2012 09:32 AM
Anonymous #31
Anonymous
Anonymous

..."IR is really useful in our work for discovering water leakage that is not visible and if you were on the *informed* buying end, you would insist that the inspector working for you uses IR."


*Really*?!?


In Medicine there are studies that are" placebo controlled" studies... these studies ensure that the information are not opinion nor bias.  When I googled IR, I did not find any scientific studies.  I also did not find any state certifications.  State certifications protect the public.  An example is the he certification required for a radiologist... "The field of medicine comes to mind as a anology.  So I guess doctors and dentists MUST do (as an example) an XRAY if it might show something that could not be seen without it EVEN IF THE PATIENT WILL NOT OR CAN NOT PAY."  Doctors and Dentist choose obtaining their xray studies based on scientific data. The best example is a mammogram which is a screening test for breast cancer in women.  It has *no* validity for women in their 20s... an important fact determined by scientific data.


What is "normal" for IR?  What is the "gold standard" for a house in New Jersey on the beach versus a house in Tuscon AZ in the desert?


This is a very difficult real estate market... are you *really* adding benefit?


May 12, 2012 09:28 PM
Anonymous #32
Anonymous
Anonymous

... and now "code"...

 

The inspector on the house I tried to buy [ fell through b/c of IF]  knew that a gas line in the property needed to be grounded to the electrical box... an unique gas line issue that was a "class action suit" and inexpensive to fix.  He also knew that the house has a "blue max" piping that is the pipe for the main water line an has been found to be unreliable and burst causing disastrious main water line problems.  He did not have to look behind any walls for "OMG the sky is falling" issues!

May 12, 2012 09:35 PM
Anonymous #33
Anonymous
Suzy

http://www.ashireporter.org/articles/articles.aspx?id=1471

It's science and needs to be used *correctly*;  Homeowners have a right to *accurate* inspections of their homes in this difficult buyers market.

May 31, 2012 04:40 AM
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Rainmaker
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Glen Fisher

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