Thermal imaging, also known as thermographic inspection, uses a special camera that "sees" heat via the reception of infrared radiation, in the same way that a traditional camera, or your eye, sees light by the reception of the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. What makes the technology useful in a home inspection is that the camera can detect very small differences in temperature between surfaces.
Many such temperature differentials occur in a properly functioning house; hot and cold water supply lines, hot air supply ducts, cold refrigerator doors, etc. It's when these differentials exist where they are not expected that thermographic inspection pays big dividends. A temperature anomaly is not visible to the eye, but stands out boldly in an infrared image. The reason for the temperature difference can be confirmed through further inspection and measurement with other tools, such as a moisture meter.
Thermal imaging of your home entails a combined visual examination and infrared scan. I received my thermal imaging training from a recognized expert, John McKenna, and I'm proud of the Infrared Certified logo displayed here. If I am performing a home inspection for you, the thermal imaging will be included in the home inspection at no charge and I will include relevant thermal images in the report. If you hire me to do thermal imaging only, I will prepare a detailed report on my findings.
When performed under the right conditions and when carried out by a trained thermographer, thermal imaging can detect the following deficiencies:
Moisture presence in flooring, walls, and ceilings.
Defective weatherstripping around doors and windows.
Locations of heat loss in building structure.
Missing or displaced insulation in walls and ceilings.
Overloaded electrical circuit breakers.
Loose or corroded electrical connections.
Short circuits in electrical connections.
Blocked hot air supply ducts.
Blockages in plumbing drain lines.
Condensation on air conditioning supply ducts.