Have You Heard About Thermal Imaging Inspections?

Cary Amo | http://yourlafayettea.wpengine.com

As a residential realtor, buyers and sellers are frequently looking to me to recommend the types of inspections they should conduct when buying a home.  One type of inspection that I have been recommending for over 2 years (when the situation warrants) is a Thermal Imaging Inspection.

I am amazed at the number of Realtors® who are not familiar with this type of inspection, much less perspective buyers or sellers.  I typically recommend this type of inspection when the subject property is a short sale or REO (bank owned property).  A Thermal Imaging Inspection utilizes an infrared camera that can see behind hard surfaces and capture those images of “hot spots” or “cold spots”.  Specifically, a thermal camera can identify electrical issues (hot spots) and water damaged wood (cold spots) not visible to the naked eye and without damaging the hard surface.  The kind of hard surfaces I’m talking about are (for example) drywall, wood, tile…The camera can even spot gaps in insulation in walls and ceilings.

One example of how this technology has proven invaluable was with a buyer I represented who was purchasing an investor flip home.  The house looked beautiful.  However, since the property had been purchased from the court house steps by the investor, I recommended a Thermal Imaging Inspection.  When examining the electric sub panel in the garage, the inspector noticed the temperature was over 97 degrees.  Even when current is running through the circuit breakers, the temperature of the sub panel should be (approximately) the same temperature of its surroundings; in this case around 70 degrees.  However, something bad was happening within that subpanel that was bad, a potential fire hazard and in need of repair.  See image below from that Inspection:

Cary Amo | http://yourlafayettea.wpengine.com

Needless to say, we requested the seller fix this problem.  When they saw the above image in the Inspection Report, they quickly agreed.

Very few Home Inspectors utilize this type of technology.  However, I believe it is incredibly important, at least for buyers to utilize this type of inspection to prevent dangerous and costly safety issues from going unnoticed.

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