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The importance of thermal imaging in your home inspection

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A thermal camera focusing on a laptop.

Home inspections are undeniably difficult. There are multiple areas of interest in any home and a wealth of problems to keep an eye out for. Moreover, many issues will only present themselves only when the underlying problems reach extreme levels. Finally, many inspection methods may require invasive processes that can also cause needless hassle. Fortunately, using thermal imaging in your home inspection offers a simple, efficient, non-invasive asset to any inspector’s arsenal.

The benefits of using thermal imaging in your home inspection.

As we’ve highlighted in the past, there are multiple issues a home inspection can reveal. These can range from minor problems that occur due to poor maintenance all the way to potentially severe health hazards. Moreover, they will vary in terms of financial impact from minor inconveniences to serious costs if left unchecked. Needless to say, some issues can and will significantly impact an appraisal. They may be in plain sight or hidden from view.

Fortunately, thermal image’s explicit purpose is to reveal what the naked eye can’t see. Infrared cameras allow home inspectors to gauge how much thermal energy objects or areas emit. Whether too hot or too cold for a specific area, abnormal thermal readings can reveal problems early.

With this in mind, let us explore four main areas of interest in this regard. As we do, we will explain what thermal imaging in your home inspection can uncover and how.

#1 Insulation

Perhaps most importantly for extreme weather conditions, your insulation guarantees optimal home temperatures. It’s a crucial metric for home inspections and can affect appraisals since it directly impacts everyday life.

Specifically, insulation directly impacts your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Any number of insulation problems can cause your HVAC system to work overtime to compensate for the temperature loss. In the summertime, this will increase your AC’s energy consumption; in the winter months, it will strain your heating systems. In both cases, insulation problems will inflate your energy bills and diminish your quality of life.

What can thermal imaging show you?

To address this, thermal imaging can reveal the following insulation problems:

  • Wet patches on roofs and walls; wet patches retain their thermal energy for longer, making them easier to detect
  • HVAC system leaks; internal thermal images will detect lower heat levels inside, while external ones will reveal heat oozing out
  • Roof leaks; wet patches on roofs may detect roof leaks, which are difficult to detect early

A close-up of decaying roof tiles.

#2 Plumbing

Similarly, plumbing issues are a pressing concern for homeowners. By nature, plumbing issues only become visible when they’ve progressed, incurring higher costs. Fortunately, using thermal imaging in your home inspection can reveal such issues early.

Plumbing issues typically revolve around pipe damage, but not exclusively so. Frequently, they become visible through such means as:

  • Visible wet spots
  • Water discoloration
  • Loss of water temperature

However, these findings are frequently inconclusive. For example, water temperature loss may be related to water heating system malfunctions. Moreover, they may present health hazards; water discoloration usually indicates serious, persisting pipe deterioration. However, as pipes typically run within walls, over ceilings, and under floorboards, it takes such signs to identify a problem.

What can thermal imaging show you?

In the case of plumbing issues, thermal imaging can reveal the following:

  • Wet patches within walls; these may indicate a pipe leak and are easy to detect through thermal readings
  • Moisture; moisture condensation may also indicate pipe leakage and hint at the existence of mold or mildew

A leaking blue water pipe.

#3 Electrical systems

In the same vein, electrical systems can suffer damage over time and through misuse. As we’ve highlighted before, home buyers should know of electrics, as they can pose a serious risk. These range from personal injury and death to severe property damage through fires. In fact, electrical fires are one of the five primary home fire types in the US.

By nature, physically inspecting electrical systems can pose dangers itself. Moreover, electrical components can continue to function despite damage or wear, obscuring problems. Finally, interventions may cause unforeseen downtimes. Fortunately, using thermal imaging in your home inspection can bypass such dangers by facilitating contact-less inspection. Professional inspectors will use thermal imaging to scout for overheats across systems, a prime indicator of potential malfunctions.

What can thermal imaging show you?

To identify electrical system malfunctions, thermal imaging can reveal overheats across systems, including:

  • Fuse boxes
  • Conductors and circuit breakers
  • Wires

Open electrical sockets on a grey wall.

#4 Structural integrity

Finally, structural integrity is a crucial aspect of any home. In the US, federal law mandates seamless structural integrity, and local laws demand checks at varying intervals. But laws aside, structural defects can present risks to homeowners, diminish one’s property value, and require hefty costs to remedy.

Similar to the above, structural integrity is difficult for the general public to ascertain. One may manually check for wall damage, for example, but testing foundations and support beams require invasive testing. Moreover, obstructed objects like concrete-encased rods and other structures may be downright impossible to check without specialized equipment.

Fortunately, thermal imaging bypasses these obstructions. It may not do so in all cases, depending on one’s home’s structure and design, but it offers an efficient alternative. Moreover, it does so without being invasive, saving homeowners costs and hassle.

What can thermal imaging show you?

To reveal structural defects, thermal imaging can scan the following, among others:

  • Brickwork deterioration
  • Concrete spalling
  • Support beam and foundation damage

Moving into a new home in NYC

All of the above are undeniably crucial factors to keep in mind when moving to a new home. Whether for safety or cost, buyers need to ascertain their new homes are in pristine condition and worth the price. Thus, given how family moves may trend upward this year, only thorough inspections can ensure your safety at home. That, coupled with finding professional yet affordable movers, can help you have a relocation at a reasonable price while not compromising safety.


To summarize, home inspections are a wise and often legally mandated choice toward ensuring personal well-being and avoiding property damage. They may reveal issues with insulation, plumbing, electrical systems, and even structural integrity that one should not leave unchecked. Fortunately, using thermal imaging in your home inspection offers a non-invasive, efficient way to do so with quick, reliable results.