You LOVE it! It Impresses Client! We can see through walls, right?

Infrared cameras are not widely used for 2 reasons.

The first is cost. They are a big-ticket item. You have to have a need or market for it to take to plunge.

The second is litigation, supervised training and litigation, and IR photo miss-interpretation and litigation. Oh, and did I mention litigation.

Most people, your clients, the majority of realtors and at least half of the inspectors out there DO NOT UNDERSTAND the technology and ARE NOT AWARE OF how badly the photos can be miss interpreted.

Some people actually think they are seeing into the walls, etc. like X-rays. They are not seeing anything more than surface temperature variations.

They do not see water or cold air. They see surface thermal changes that could be caused by what is behind the wall, but they can also are affected by what’s going on in front of the wall.

Calibration; every time you set up a shot for the IR camera it has to be re-calibrated for multiple factors (ambient temperature, exterior temperature, and output colour frequency range, an infinitely variable range, to name but a few.

Heaters, other people, incandescent bulbs, cooking and exhaust fan usage in proximity to the photo can slew results. (add tree shade, lawn sprinklers and passing vehicles, for exterior shots.)

Of the shots that I’ve seen published many can just reflect the normal wall/ceiling temperature variations under the correct conditions.

Interpretation; It all depends on the temperature range selected in the camera. A 2-degree spread in the 70s F is not significant. A 10-degree difference in the 40 to 60 range is. But the IR photos will look the same.

This is where training and correct interpretation is paramount. This is usually more expensive than the cameras themselves.

The cameras should have the capability of including a graph of all the settings, included in the photo – usually along one edge. This is permanent and is reproduced every time the photo is printed, copied or viewed.

IR Photography used for documentation (such as inspection reports) and forensics must have this feature in use.

Verification; Even with good calibration and experienced careful interpretation the suspect condition should be verified, by any means practical (small hole and probe scope if no other access is available).

Errors in calibration and failure to verify equals litigation

User beware!




Original blog post on ActiveRain: Link to Blog Post