Most homeowners-to-be already have plenty to think about when it comes too assessing the best home for their comfort, needs, and budget. It’s what they aren’t looking for, or don’t expect – energy leakage caused by thermal bridging, insufficient or defective insulation, moisture pooling within walls — that can cause real headaches (and budget aches) later.
To avoid any unexpected problems, most buyers hire a home inspector to look the structure over thoroughly. What many people who are purchasing a residential or commercial building may not realize is that an infrared scan (building thermogram) can discover hidden problems that the seller may not even know exist, mainly because they are not visible to the naked eye.
An infrared scan will detect air leakage, thermal bridging, and insulation defects that will cost the homeowner potentially thousands of dollars in high energy bills, and provide the information necessary to take preventative measures before purchasing the property or moving in.
Even new houses can have inadequate thermal envelopes designed into their architecture. New homes are the most deceptive, since we all expect a brand new home to have all the modern defenses against energy waste built in, but that is rarely the case.
Even after purchasing the house, the one year warranty on a new home will buy some time to have an infrared scan performed by a licensed inspector, and any defects in the thermal envelope will be revealed. Before purchasing a new home, talk to the listing agent or builder about the warranty, and explain that you will be having a thermal inspection done before the warranty’s expiration. If there are any loopholes you need to know about first, you can weigh the benefits of conducting the thermal scan before purchasing the home, or after.
Using infrared cameras (thermal imagers), home inspectors measure the surface temperature for finding structural defects that can, under certain conditions, reveal water leaks, moisture intrusion, condensation, air leakage, thermal bridging, insulation problems, abnormal heating in electrical systems, defects in HVAC distribution systems, and other problems.
Since infrared cameras can not actually see through walls or other solid elements of the building, they are not providing X-rays. In fact, with a thermogram they are simply measuring the surface temperature and thermal distribution of the target objects, passively and non-intrusively.
Once completed, surface temperature patterns are read and interpreted, and those findings are corroborated with further specialist investigation. Similar to a moisture meter, thermography images compliment the traditional inspection and provide an additional peek within the structure’s walls to see if energy is leaking, moisture is collecting or leaking, or defects in the home’s insulation. If thermal bridging is a problem, you can address it immediately with a thermal-bridging specific insulating material like Thermablok aerogel insulating strips.
This type of extra-thorough home inspection can save new home buyers thousand of dollars or more in potential energy loss, damages, and repairs.