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Why You Want a Home Inspector Who Uses Thermal Imaging

Sometimes it seems like clients expect their home inspector to have X-ray vision during the inspection. It usually plays out something like this:

Client: “Uh… hello… you inspected the house I was buying 6 months ago and there are some things you missed.

Inspector: “Ok, can you give me some information on what you feel was missed?”

Client: “Well, we are having some work done and my contractor said that there was some damage you should have caught.”

Inspector: “Hmmm… how did the contractor find that damage?”

Client: “It was while we were remodeling the kitchen and they had pulled off the drywall.”

At this point the inspector tries to explain to the client that home inspections do not involve tearing out drywall, while secretly wishing for an opportunity to body slam the contractor. While no inspector has X-ray vision, there are ways to help reduce the number of unpleasant surprises caused by hidden problems in a home. The use of a thermal camera during a home inspection isn’t exactly X-ray vision, but it can go a long way toward catching problems that might otherwise go undetected.

Here is a prime example from a home inspection we did last year:

This bedroom looked fine – no problems, right?
Doh! One of our thermal cameras revealed a leak under the carpet.
Further investigation revealed the water entry point – due to missing kick out flashing.

The pictures tell the story of how a missing piece of flashing at the outside of the house was allowing water into the wall cavity of the bedroom. However, the leak and resulting damage would have gone undetected if our inspector had not been using a thermal camera. This is why we include a thermal scan of the house as a standard part of every home inspection we perform. If you use an inspector who does not use thermal camera then you don’t know what might be missed… until that contractor comes along with his crowbar!