Thermal imaging is a technology that aids in the detection of hidden moisture behind walls, ceilings and floors. It also helps diagnose a variety of other home-performance problems such as missing insulation, air leaks or thermal bridges.
Used by the military for surveillance purposes for many years, thermography has also been used by firefighters, airport personnel, and in the detection of breast cancer.
Infrared thermography is the art of transforming an infrared image into a radiometric one, which allows temperature values to be read from the image. Every pixel in the radiometric image is in fact a temperature measurement.
That’s why you can see our dog’s warmth in relation to his environment in the image below.
Until recently the general public has had little access to this technology. Many home inspectors and mold remediators will thermal image a home for an affordable fee. Our family has made use of this service several times in recent years – most recently before a home purchase.
In August 2014, FLIR ONE debuted its Thermal Imaging device designed for iPhone 5/5 selling for $199. They also offer a Spot Thermal Imaging Camera for $399. (Find both on Amazon here.)
When it comes to hidden moisture, the imaging technology is detecting the cooler wet spots behind a wall. The coldest spots help locate the source of the problem. This is far more effective than tearing out walls, which can result in the release of hazardous substances.
Here is a peek at a small bit of moisture damage in our former rental home. The purple indicates the moisture behind the wall.
This water damage was due to water splashes from the shower. The problem was abated once splash guards were installed, but you can see moisture remains.
Thermal imaging will not tell you the species of mold. When there is a mold issue it is best used in combination with proper testing, moisture meters and reliable remediation. For more see “A Beginner’s Guide to Toxic Mold”.
FLIR ONE’s latest technology is one more way to remain proactive when it comes to the hazards of water damage.
(Note -I have no financial ties to FLIR ONE. I share this information in an ongoing effort to help others avoid the health hazards associated with hidden water damage.)