When infrared technology first became available, the cost of the equipment was so high that it priced itself right out of the market for many home inspectors. What appeared to be a great idea was unattainable. But like any new and interesting technology, the price is coming down as the popularity grows.
Infrared technology helps home inspectors provide a more comprehensive service for a better value. And that’s always a good thing. If you’ve been toying with the idea, now is a good time to start. Here’s why.
Equipment is More Affordable so Thermography is More Attainable
Some of the earliest thermography or infrared devices cost well over $10,000. If you can’t imagine making that kind of an investment, you’re not alone. Inspector Bruce Barker writes for ASHI Reporter that his initial interest waned quickly when the cameras he saw came with price tags over $15,000.
Because of the extraordinarily high equipment price, larger inspection groups were the earliest technology adopters. Everyone else sat back and waited. But then as expected, the prices started coming down.
Now, you can find an IR camera for less than half the steep cost from just a few years ago. And some IR technology is even available as a mobile device app. It might not be as precise, but it shows the direction that the industry is headed.
Infrared Training is More Widely Available
You could, at least in theory, invest in an infrared camera for home inspections and teach yourself how to use it. Part of the device is relatively easy to understand just at a glance. Different levels of heat are represented in different colors. So when you see a red spot on an attic floor, you know that the home is losing heat through inadequate insulation. And blue spots can indicate cold drafts.
But thermography equipment is also very sophisticated. The basic operation might not be complicated, but interpreting what you see takes training. Thankfully, programs such as ICA School are stepping into the infrared training sphere. Through the right courses, you can learn where to use an infrared camera, how to read the results and how to apply them to a more comprehensive home inspection for your customers.
Thermal imaging is great for a home energy audit, and it also reveals more. The presence of moisture in basement walls, water leaks on the roof, excessive heat loss through windows and many other issues show up as heat signatures, which are simple for you to identify and help customers visualize the problems and their location.
Infrared Works as a Standalone Service or to Enhance General Inspections
Once you’re comfortable using an IR camera, you can increase your earnings in a couple of ways. First, your general inspections become more valuable. For the same cost to the customer, you can offer more than the competition. And that makes your inspections highly marketable.
You could also offer standalone or ancillary energy audits assisted by thermal imaging. This approach is a bit riskier because it implies expert knowledge about the technology and all of the factors that affect heat transfer.
Keep in mind that a thermal imaging inspection takes additional time, says Barker. And unless you charge extra for the service, which puts you at a higher liability risk, you probably won’t see a return on investment right away. But chances are, it will come. That’s especially true as more and more home inspectors add thermal imaging to their toolkit.
Thermal imaging can take your home inspection business up to the next level. The tools keep improving, and they’re more affordable than ever. And with the right training in both equipment operation and how to apply it for better home inspections, you can catch the same technology wave as other home inspectors around the country.
Ready to get started on your path to a new career in high-tech home inspections? Enroll now with ICA School and begin working at your own pace today.