Your home inspection training helped you to learn ways to spot evidence of leaks — stains, warping, and evidence of patch work — but what are you doing for leak detection to find the source of these water leaks?
Sometimes it’s easy. You may be in an attic and see water leaking through a hole in the roof. You may be in a basement and view water seeping under a door or dripping out of a crack in the wall. You may spot a slow leak in a pipe or water heater. But other times, it’s harder to figure out where the water is coming from.
Homeowners know only too well how they can pay for repairs over and over and still suffer from the same problem. You can help future homeowners with leak detection during a home inspection.
Leak Detection Using Thermal Imaging Tools
Unfortunately, you can’t just ask Alexa, Siri, or Google where the source of a water leak is located. But the same technological innovation that makes everyday helpers like Alexa is also responsible for thermal imaging infrared cameras. Thermal imaging works by detecting subtle changes in temperature caused by the presence of moisture.
The more sophisticated tools produce a colored picture, but both these and the monochromatic versions reveal wet areas as darker. Unfortunately, this alone doesn’t solve the mystery. It’s just a clue. After all, it’s not difficult for a homeowner to eyeball a wet spot; but sometimes it’s hard to tell where the water is coming from.
When you identify a wet area on a ceiling, the next step is to find out what’s up above it. It may be a hole in the roof, or it may be a plumbing leak in the bathroom upstairs. If you see a wet area in a basement, water may be seeping through the floor, but it may also be trickling in through a window, door, or crack in the wall.
A thermal imaging meter can help you trace the water back to its origin more easily.
Detecting Hidden Problems
Thermal imaging is an incredibly useful tool, and not only to find the source of leaks but also to find moisture. As a home inspector, you’ll want to use your meter in every room to search for any signs of wetness and moisture – even if it looks like a leak was fixed. All too often, there is no evidence of moisture infiltration until there is a significant problem that’s visible and creates some kind of damage. If you can catch it early, it can save the homeowner money.
How well can thermal imaging work as a leak detector? Sometimes a small roof leak will trickle down the underside of the roof and into the walls, where it may be absorbed by the insulation. This can go on for years without anyone knowing. In climates with heavy rain or snow, as the seasons shift and water leaks, no one will notice it until there’s damage. But with a thermal image moisture meter, you may be able to detect dampness inside the walls of a room, which will lead the homeowner to the source of the problem before it creates more visible damage.
Thermal Image Leak Detection as a Service
An infrared camera is not a cheap tool, they can run from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand. The time and investment it takes to look for moisture in rooms with no evidence of problems may not be worth the effort. However, the tool itself can help you add value to your home inspection service which allows you to increase your cost. How? If you purchase an infrared camera to use when you discover evidence of active leaks and it works as a leak detector during a home inspection, you can offer thermal imaging leak detection as an add-on service or increase the overall cost of your home inspection service while promoting the use of thermal imaging. Either way, it gives you the ability to earn more money.
This is actually a highly valuable service that will save homeowners a lot of money, energy, and headaches in the long-run. For an extra fee, you can offer to go through each room of the house, looking for any signs of unusual moisture. Anyone can see puddles or stains, but an infrared camera can spot moisture that no one can see. This is evidence of a problem — possibly an expensive one — that would have otherwise gone undetected. It can also go hand-in-hand with mold inspection.
Thermal Imaging Training Course
As a home inspector, you already know the visual signs of a leak but additional training can enhance the value of your inspection services. This can make your business more competitive and in demand. Our Thermal Imaging Course will teach you how to use thermal imaging equipment and how to interpret what you see.