Infrared Thermography Inspections


Infrared thermography uses a sophisticated (code for expensive) camera to detect, measure, and take pictures of heat from objects.  A thermographic image, when captured and interpreted by a trained thermographer, can detect problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye.  Infrared thermography can reduce the need for contact with components that are dangerous to touch or are in areas that are difficult or dangerous to reach.  Infrared thermography can reduce the need for costly invasive or destructive testing and can more accurately locate problems so that corrective measures can be effectively targeted.

Infrared thermography is not like an X-ray.  An infrared camera cannot see through objects.  The camera sees heat from an object and sees the differences in heat between nearby objects.  The camera may also see heat from other objects that may be reflected off the target object.  Reflected heat and other thermal anomolies can produce false readings.  That is one reason why training is required to properly capture and interpret thermographic images.


Infrared thermography has several applications in building inspection and building defect identification.  The most common applications include:

  1. Energy efficiency inspections.  These inspections can locate absent and improperly installed insulation.  They can locate air infiltration around doors and windows, around wall and ceiling penetrations (such as around light fixtures and electrical receptacles), and inside walls.  When combined with a blower door test, infrared thermography is a powerful tool for targeting energy efficiency efforts.
  2. Moisture intrusion inspections.  These inspections can locate water leaks behind or in walls, floors, ceilings, and roof coverings.
  3. Electrical safety inspections.  These inspections can locate defective or improperly installed circuit breakers, switches, receptacles, and other components before they overheat or arc and cause a fire.
  4. Structural defect inspections.  These inspections can locate certain structural defects in exterior walls.  Examples of such defects include absent support beams and headers, absent supports for beams and headers, and absent structural steel in masonry and concrete walls.


A certified thermographer is a person who successfully completes a recognized infrared certification course.  This course usually includes several days of classroom training, a proctored written examination, and completion of a practical infrared field assignment including production of a written report.  As is true for most professions, third-party certification is an assurance that the person has, at least, been trained and has demonstrated the ability to put that training to practical use.

Anyone can buy an infrared camera and offer thermography services.  Anyone can wave an infrared camera around, take some pictures, and call it an infrared thermography inspection.  These cameras are difficult to use and the thermographic images are difficult to interpret without proper training.  Thermographic images must be taken under the correct conditions and must be interpreted based on those conditions.  Only those with proper training can plan and execute a valid infrared inspection.  Anything less than a professionally planned and executed thermographic inspection is likely to produce invalid results.


When we perform a thermography inspection with a home inspection, our professional fee is $100 per inspection type for most homes.  For example, the professional fee for an energy efficiency and an electrical safety inspection would be $100 for each inspection ($200 total) when performed with a home inspection for a home under 2,500 square feet.

Certain thermography inspections produce better results when performed at a specific time.  For example, moisture intrusion inspections should be performed after a rain event for best results.  During the spring and fall, it is sometimes impractical to schedule an energy efficiency inspection with a home inspection.  This is because there may not be enough difference between the indoor and outdoor temperatures to achieve an accurate thermographic scan.  When performed without a home inspection, our professional fee is $100 per inspection type plus a $75 trip charge for most homes and for most locations.

Please call our office to discuss your infrared thermography needs and our professional fees for this specialized service.


When you hire Dream Home Consultants you expect through and professional inspections.  Thorough and professional thermographic inspections require time, training, and professionalism.  They required time, training, and professionalism to plan and conduct the inspection, to analyze and interpret the inspection results, and to produce a written report of any findings.  They also require time, training, and professionalism to know when NOT to perform a thermographic inspection.

It’s easy to wave an infrared camera around and appear to conduct a thermographic inspection.  You may find something worth reporting.  You may also miss conditions worth reporting because the inspection was not performed under the proper conditions or was not performed using the proper infrared inspection techniques.  You also run the risk of reporting false positives (conditions that appear as problems but are not problems).

As the consumer of professional inspection services, the choice is yours. Choose wisely.