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  1. #1
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    Thumbs up Thermal imaging category

    I have been asked by many to start a separate thread to discuss the use of Thermal Imaging / Infrared / IR .

    Tonight another request came in so.... here it is!

    I hope this becomes a very useful category for all of you.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Sweet...Just wanted to be the first to post here. May as well post a few pics while I am here.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Check this out...this was a condo that I was doing. At the SAME TIME I was scanning the garage panel, the next door unit's water heater BURST!
    The moisture you see in the walls was warm which threw me off, pretty cool to see. What are the odds?

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Thanks Brian and nice images Marc, what camera/software are you using.

    I guess I'll have to stop by more often.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Thermal imaging may be great technology and creates pretty purple pictures, but Can anyone provide enconomic data on it's profitability and cost?

    Who really wants to pay money for this. - Most fees are in the range of $200.00 cause no home owner wants to pay for that $20K + investment. At those prices you'll never re-coup cost or make a profit.

    Can we really make any money with this?? How long does it take to pay for itself. Don't forget to include all the other gismo's, education, certification, calibration and other expenses necessary to keep the business going. Oh! and don't forget all the time and money it takes to try to market this product. Who really needs it?? Where is the demand.

    There just seems to be no demand from the public. I love the technology, but the more I get into it or investigate its feasibility - It look more like the the equipment manufacturers are trying to create "a market" for the public.

    If the public demanded the service we would all be doing it and making money at it. Unfortunately we've been subjected to the thero-imaging equipment manufacturers trying to create the demand from the home inspection industry, so they can increase their product and training sales.

    Unfortunately at the current cost and expenses it is seems like it is only suited for industrial or defense market. IMO.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Russell View Post
    Thanks Brian and nice images Marc, what camera/software are you using.

    I guess I'll have to stop by more often.
    Thank you.
    I have a couple, most of these images except for one or two were taken with the TI32 which i use for my HI's. My other camera is the TiR3FT flex for commercial. The software is their software the Smartview program. One thing I dont like is how the image distorts after you save it from the software. It looks so much more clear in the software program.
    I love the zinsco images, I must have hundreds of them.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Thermal imaging may be great technology and creates pretty purple pictures, but Can anyone provide enconomic data on it's profitability and cost?

    Who really wants to pay money for this. - Most fees are in the range of $200.00 cause no home owner wants to pay for that $20K + investment. At those prices you'll never re-coup cost or make a profit.

    Can we really make any money with this?? How long does it take to pay for itself. Don't forget to include all the other gismo's, education, certification, calibration and other expenses necessary to keep the business going. Oh! and don't forget all the time and money it takes to try to market this product. Who really needs it?? Where is the demand.

    There just seems to be no demand from the public. I love the technology, but the more I get into it or investigate its feasibility - It look more like the the equipment manufacturers are trying to create "a market" for the public.

    If the public demanded the service we would all be doing it and making money at it. Unfortunately we've been subjected to the thero-imaging equipment manufacturers trying to create the demand from the home inspection industry, so they can increase their product and training sales.

    Unfortunately at the current cost and expenses it is seems like it is only suited for industrial or defense market. IMO.
    I've been doing this since 2007. The work has more than paid for the camera and related expenses like insurance. I've made as much as $1200 in one day on a big roof inspection. Today, I'm scheduled for a roof and interior inspection on a GSA building and will make $900 in about 3 hours on site and another couple for the report. I guess some would consider that chump change but it's paying my bills pretty well.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Couple from today. BMP / TIFF / PNG looks like a far better file to save under, less distortion. Any of you guys know why this is?

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Looks like a circuit breaker. I can't tell if it's a problem because there is not enough info. on the image.


  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Thermal imaging may be great technology and creates pretty purple pictures, but Can anyone provide enconomic data on it's profitability and cost?

    Who really wants to pay money for this. - Most fees are in the range of $200.00 cause no home owner wants to pay for that $20K + investment. At those prices you'll never re-coup cost or make a profit.

    Can we really make any money with this?? How long does it take to pay for itself. Don't forget to include all the other gismo's, education, certification, calibration and other expenses necessary to keep the business going. Oh! and don't forget all the time and money it takes to try to market this product. Who really needs it?? Where is the demand.

    There just seems to be no demand from the public. I love the technology, but the more I get into it or investigate its feasibility - It look more like the the equipment manufacturers are trying to create "a market" for the public.

    If the public demanded the service we would all be doing it and making money at it. Unfortunately we've been subjected to the thero-imaging equipment manufacturers trying to create the demand from the home inspection industry, so they can increase their product and training sales.

    Unfortunately at the current cost and expenses it is seems like it is only suited for industrial or defense market. IMO.
    To answer the question it is marketing that will get you the pay back and that marketing will cost you a lot of money over time. Once you recoup the cost of the camera and then all the marketing to get the word out you will still have to continue marketing or you will never make any money with it.

    Dana appears to have finally hit a good market but what he is quoting is far from the norm. The vast, and I do mean vast amount of folks that get the camera, training, certification and then do all the marketing make about squat and wonder why they got into it in the first place.

    The amount of cameras out there compared to the amount of calls that there are for thermal imaging has a bit of a gap between it.

    You definitely have to build an entire business around it. I am not acting like I know, because I do not, how much of an initial and then ongoing expense Dana has but I would guess the initial was a goodly amount and the continued marketing has to be a bit as well. I would say it took him some time to pay back all the up front cost he had and then he started somewhere down the road making money. I would also guess that since 2007 he more than likely upgraded his camera. I do not mean to be talking for hm because I just do not know but that is the story from most of the guys I have talked to about it and again, most make nothing, if their investment back. Most and I do mean most just add it to the home inspection and razzle dazzle Realtors and clients from time to time with the pretty pictures and in most cases they saw a potential leak and or what ever before they pulled the camera out.

    I thought of getting into it and still may but would certainly have to figure out the perfect marketing (low cost) strategy before I do. I would not want to put out as much and maybe more than 20,000.00 to start making money. Not in this day and economy. A somewhat OK camera can be had for 5,000 but a really decent camera can be 15,000 or more depending on your needs. Then if you went by the way of taking an expensive class to get certified instead of going it on your own and then continuing ed or certs down the road you have to figure all that cost in.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Russell View Post
    Looks like a circuit breaker. I can't tell if it's a problem because there is not enough info. on the image.
    Most likely the breaker or the stab connection.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    To answer the question it is marketing that will get you the pay back and that marketing will cost you a lot of money over time. Once you recoup the cost of the camera and then all the marketing to get the word out you will still have to continue marketing or you will never make any money with it.

    Dana appears to have finally hit a good market but what he is quoting is far from the norm. The vast, and I do mean vast amount of folks that get the camera, training, certification and then do all the marketing make about squat and wonder why they got into it in the first place.

    The amount of cameras out there compared to the amount of calls that there are for thermal imaging has a bit of a gap between it.

    You definitely have to build an entire business around it. I am not acting like I know, because I do not, how much of an initial and then ongoing expense Dana has but I would guess the initial was a goodly amount and the continued marketing has to be a bit as well. I would say it took him some time to pay back all the up front cost he had and then he started somewhere down the road making money. I would also guess that since 2007 he more than likely upgraded his camera. I do not mean to be talking for hm because I just do not know but that is the story from most of the guys I have talked to about it and again, most make nothing, if their investment back. Most and I do mean most just add it to the home inspection and razzle dazzle Realtors and clients from time to time with the pretty pictures and in most cases they saw a potential leak and or what ever before they pulled the camera out.

    I thought of getting into it and still may but would certainly have to figure out the perfect marketing (low cost) strategy before I do. I would not want to put out as much and maybe more than 20,000.00 to start making money. Not in this day and economy. A somewhat OK camera can be had for 5,000 but a really decent camera can be 15,000 or more depending on your needs. Then if you went by the way of taking an expensive class to get certified instead of going it on your own and then continuing ed or certs down the road you have to figure all that cost in.
    You're correct...you have to create the need.

    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  13. #13

    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    To answer the question it is marketing that will get you the pay back and that marketing will cost you a lot of money over time. Once you recoup the cost of the camera and then all the marketing to get the word out you will still have to continue marketing or you will never make any money with it.

    Dana appears to have finally hit a good market but what he is quoting is far from the norm. The vast, and I do mean vast amount of folks that get the camera, training, certification and then do all the marketing make about squat and wonder why they got into it in the first place.

    The amount of cameras out there compared to the amount of calls that there are for thermal imaging has a bit of a gap between it.

    You definitely have to build an entire business around it. I am not acting like I know, because I do not, how much of an initial and then ongoing expense Dana has but I would guess the initial was a goodly amount and the continued marketing has to be a bit as well. I would say it took him some time to pay back all the up front cost he had and then he started somewhere down the road making money. I would also guess that since 2007 he more than likely upgraded his camera. I do not mean to be talking for hm because I just do not know but that is the story from most of the guys I have talked to about it and again, most make nothing, if their investment back. Most and I do mean most just add it to the home inspection and razzle dazzle Realtors and clients from time to time with the pretty pictures and in most cases they saw a potential leak and or what ever before they pulled the camera out.

    I thought of getting into it and still may but would certainly have to figure out the perfect marketing (low cost) strategy before I do. I would not want to put out as much and maybe more than 20,000.00 to start making money. Not in this day and economy. A somewhat OK camera can be had for 5,000 but a really decent camera can be 15,000 or more depending on your needs. Then if you went by the way of taking an expensive class to get certified instead of going it on your own and then continuing ed or certs down the road you have to figure all that cost in.
    Ted;
    My initial cost for camera and training was about 7K. Ongoing business owners insurance package package, including insuring the camera was about $90/month. I leased the camera on a closed end lease for three years at $300/month. My advertising is minimal cost since I do it all myself.
    I have two websites: www.magicleakfinders.com and Infrared Home which link together.

    If one watches the web like I do, there are lots of free advertising opportunities. I have used every one. So far the MLF.com site is the big producer of leads. When it rains here in SoCal, my phone rings off the hook.
    This last rain storm generated well over $4K in business. I just finished a nice job for the GSA and I have another job this afternoon. Every time I walk out the door it's $300 in my pocket, minimum.

    I'm still using the original Flir B-CAM that I bought. It's doing the job just fine. Sure, I would love to have one of those high res units but I'm not committing to $20-$25K for one unless I get a big contract that will require it and PAY for it. If I need a high res unit, I can rent by the week them easily and roll the cost into the fee for the job. A decent one runs about $600 or so for the week.
    The IR business has opened other doors as well. After doing an IR presentation to a large HOA, I pulled in a nice little side job of running their maintenance program for a $500 per month retainer. (paid in advance) And they pay my mileage portal to portal to run down there. SWEET

    Bottom Line; You can make money with a camera if you work it.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    I think that thermal imaging is here to stay and that it will eventually become a standard tool most professional full time inspectors own. As the technology develops and prices of cameras continue to drop it's anyone's guess how cheap these could become. I think the way to get into it is to buy one of the entry level cheaper cameras and wait for prices to go down in the future.


  15. #15

    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Thermal imaging is an investment and ongoing learning process. The sky is the limit. I charge typically charge $175 an hour with a 1 hour minimum for my services.


    Condensation from a clothes dryer vent leak above an attic hatch.

    Cold air migration

    Uninsulated attic hatch

    Last edited by Linas Dapkus; 01-08-2011 at 04:16 PM.
    www.dapkusinspections.com
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    Infraspection Institute Certified Level III Thermographer # 8510

  16. #16
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana Bostick View Post
    Ted;
    My initial cost for camera and training was about 7K. Ongoing business owners insurance package package, including insuring the camera was about $90/month. I leased the camera on a closed end lease for three years at $300/month. My advertising is minimal cost since I do it all myself.
    I have two websites: www.magicleakfinders.com and Infrared Home which link together.

    If one watches the web like I do, there are lots of free advertising opportunities. I have used every one. So far the MLF.com site is the big producer of leads. When it rains here in SoCal, my phone rings off the hook.
    This last rain storm generated well over $4K in business. I just finished a nice job for the GSA and I have another job this afternoon. Every time I walk out the door it's $300 in my pocket, minimum.

    I'm still using the original Flir B-CAM that I bought. It's doing the job just fine. Sure, I would love to have one of those high res units but I'm not committing to $20-$25K for one unless I get a big contract that will require it and PAY for it. If I need a high res unit, I can rent by the week them easily and roll the cost into the fee for the job. A decent one runs about $600 or so for the week.
    The IR business has opened other doors as well. After doing an IR presentation to a large HOA, I pulled in a nice little side job of running their maintenance program for a $500 per month retainer. (paid in advance) And they pay my mileage portal to portal to run down there. SWEET

    Bottom Line; You can make money with a camera if you work it.
    That is great Dana

    I will have to give you a call sometime and pick your brain cells with that fine tooth comb.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    You'll find that your camera will open more doors for you than expected. Now that # 2 oil is on the rise I've been getting calls for heat loss surveys. These pay more than a home inspection, take less time, and have less liability.

    Nice pic's. Linus


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Kudos and thanks to Brian, always forward thinking and bettering his site.

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

  19. #19

    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Russell View Post
    You'll find that your camera will open more doors for you than expected. Now that # 2 oil is on the rise I've been getting calls for heat loss surveys. These pay more than a home inspection, take less time, and have less liability.

    Nice pic's. Linus
    Just my luck! Out here we don't use that oil stuff, or wood for that matter. Something about the AQMD (air quality management district)
    We generally use that strange stuff called "sunlight" to heat.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    OK, I'm envious, 20F here this morning, wind chill factor makes it in the single numbers for the whole day.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by BARRY ADAIR View Post
    Kudos and thanks to Brian, always forward thinking and bettering his site.

    I agree Barry, I've been a member here for a long time but never posted much. Started to take another look and like what I see.


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Here in Greenville, N.C., the local utility has a couple and they have 3 or 4 guys certified in use and they do it for free. So not much payback for me.

    JLMathis


  23. #23
    Ken Bates's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    The average HI does not know how to interpret readings from his moisture meter. He may be reading another electroconductive material below the surface. Average inspectors are going to misinterpret the rainbow colors on their IR device.

    Infra red devices do not see below the surface. So that necessitates interpretations which rely on logic, education and a high score on the Stanford-Binet.

    I do put my infrared thermometer to good use for examining hard to reach stains and suspect surface anomalies that I can't easily get at with any of my moisture meters ( I own $2,000 worth of meters ) I can show my client the one to two (1-2) degree differential at an active stain/leak.

    Home Depot is actively advertising their rental of a low end FLIR. With the tanking of our economy more HI's will want to diversify and FLIR is tempting.
    I think it will mirror mold inspections. As Ken Amelin indicated, some will profit but most will not. Only a few ticket buyers win the lottery.


  24. #24
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Bates View Post
    The average HI does not know how to interpret readings from his moisture meter. He may be reading another electroconductive material below the surface. Average inspectors are going to misinterpret the rainbow colors on their IR device.

    Infra red devices do not see below the surface. So that necessitates interpretations which rely on logic, education and a high score on the Stanford-Binet.

    I do put my infrared thermometer to good use for examining hard to reach stains and suspect surface anomalies that I can't easily get at with any of my moisture meters ( I own $2,000 worth of meters ) I can show my client the one to two (1-2) degree differential at an active stain/leak.

    Home Depot is actively advertising their rental of a low end FLIR. With the tanking of our economy more HI's will want to diversify and FLIR is tempting.
    I think it will mirror mold inspections. As Ken Amelin indicated, some will profit but most will not. Only a few ticket buyers win the lottery.
    What are you talking about? I just won ......................................... 4 bucks on Wednesday nights lotto. After spending 3 to 6 dollars a week since my last win of 4 dollars ................................... 6 months ago


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    This is a great thread.
    We need to thank Brian for starting it!

    I have always had an interest in thermal imaging. The technology is fascinating and the imagery has a big WOW factor. BUT, if youíve read any of my past comments, you might have sensed that I have not embraced it for the home inspection industry, as it has just not been proven to be economically feasible for our profession.

    I agree with everyone that the technology is here to stay and that it can help in many ways. I believe it adds value and money can probably be made using it in other applications like energy evaluations, commercial roofing, electrical equipment maintenance and analysis, commercial moisture detection and maybe even in animal or human health diagnostics Ė BUT NOT IN OUR BUSINESS - HOME INSPECTIONS.

    Here are my thoughts on why it doesnít work for residential home inspections (only) and I open this up to anyone who wishes to add value or debate the subject.

    • The equipment, training and upkeep are expensive. If you use it, you want to get some sort of return on investment. I believe the equipment has a three year economic life span (technology changes). With that in mind, it would have to pay for itself in a year. What can you charge? Who will pay the price? We have a tough enough time to get anyone to pay the correct price for a home inspection, never mind trying to get someone to pay for thermography on their soffits. Do the math. It ainít gonna happen.
    • When I see those pretty rainbow pictures of leaking roofs or soffits, I know in the back of my mind, that they are really not much more than a WOW factor. With our trained eyes, years of experience and a moisture meter we can find 99.9 % of those leaks. We do it every day.
    • When we use this equipment we become forensic experts. Just think of the field day those lawyers will have with us if someoneís roof or toilet leaks two years down the road. Seriously, if we are going to use this equipment in home inspections we really have to come up with a standard of practice for it, a good contract and an increase our overall insurance coverage. That will cost more money. Whoís going to pay?? Do the math. It ainít gonna work!
    • Hereís the best one. If we carry these things to inspections with us, how do you think the realtorís are going to react to them? Do you think that theyíll be referring someone who uses forensics, because now they can really blow the deal?? It ainít gonna work.
    Iíll save my next thread for energy evaluations Ė stay tuned!

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Ken,I can post at least a hundred images of shower pan, bathtub drain, water piping leaks. None of these leaks showed any indication of leaking I.E. stains, actual moisture etc... They were found just by sheer accident with the use f the IR camera. If you were to physically test every inch of the underside of a tub enclosure, pan or whatever you would likely be there for hours. I have found a Zinsco panel that was on the verge of fire,in which case I had the sellers electrician thanking me.
    I too have many moisture meters, just one of which is upwards of $4500. But unless you know where to look you may as well check the whole house. IR is a tool that allows you to see anomalies and it's then, that you use tools such as moisture meters etc... I use this camera in only two places for our residential inspections, SEP and under bathrooms. That's it. Now our IR company will do flat roofs, moisture intrusion etc... And trust me, there is a great deal of money to me made there. I do agree with your point about individuals not wanting to pay for extras. Which is why we do not market to the inspection clients or try to "upsell" them
    The wow factor wore off a couple of years ago for our agents and now our agents refer us over others because we provide an overall better product that others without it. As far as them having issues with IR, that is their problem. I (the house) blow deals all the time. If they are more concerned about "the deal" than their clients, and stop referring us, there is always someone to replace them.
    We do pretty well with IR and it complements our inspection. If anything, it minimizes our liabilities by finding things that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.
    With respect to being an expert during Home inspections, I never claim to be an expert in IR, so I won't have that problem. It's used an a tool only.

    -Marc


    The MAZZA INSPECTION GROUP
    www.mazzainspections.com
    Level III Thermo-picture-taker-er...er

  27. #27
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    This is a great thread.
    We need to thank Brian for starting it!

    I have always had an interest in thermal imaging. The technology is fascinating and the imagery has a big WOW factor. BUT, if youíve read any of my past comments, you might have sensed that I have not embraced it for the home inspection industry, as it has just not been proven to be economically feasible for our profession.

    I agree with everyone that the technology is here to stay and that it can help in many ways. I believe it adds value and money can probably be made using it in other applications like energy evaluations, commercial roofing, electrical equipment maintenance and analysis, commercial moisture detection and maybe even in animal or human health diagnostics Ė BUT NOT IN OUR BUSINESS - HOME INSPECTIONS.

    Here are my thoughts on why it doesnít work for residential home inspections (only) and I open this up to anyone who wishes to add value or debate the subject.
    • The equipment, training and upkeep are expensive. If you use it, you want to get some sort of return on investment. I believe the equipment has a three year economic life span (technology changes). With that in mind, it would have to pay for itself in a year. What can you charge? Who will pay the price? We have a tough enough time to get anyone to pay the correct price for a home inspection, never mind trying to get someone to pay for thermography on their soffits. Do the math. It ainít gonna happen.
    • When I see those pretty rainbow pictures of leaking roofs or soffits, I know in the back of my mind, that they are really not much more than a WOW factor. With our trained eyes, years of experience and a moisture meter we can find 99.9 % of those leaks. We do it every day.
    • When we use this equipment we become forensic experts. Just think of the field day those lawyers will have with us if someoneís roof or toilet leaks two years down the road. Seriously, if we are going to use this equipment in home inspections we really have to come up with a standard of practice for it, a good contract and an increase our overall insurance coverage. That will cost more money. Whoís going to pay?? Do the math. It ainít gonna work!
    • Hereís the best one. If we carry these things to inspections with us, how do you think the realtorís are going to react to them? Do you think that theyíll be referring someone who uses forensics, because now they can really blow the deal?? It ainít gonna work.
    Iíll save my next thread for energy evaluations Ė stay tuned!
    Most inspectors do not care Ken. The absolute vast majority of home inspectors are throwing in the service for free to get the home inspection just like every inspector that has a tech license for termites. It is either absolutely free of charge for the termite inspection or a very small fee. Not one is thinking of liability, the extra insurance, needed hours every year to keep that tech license. The companies they have their tech license under do not care because they either made their fee for literally writing up the hours for the inspectors to get their tech license and hold them under their licenses.

    The IR camera is a give away. Some say the IR in limited when used on a home inspection and for a full fee they will scan the entire home. I say that they are wide open for not =scanning the entire home because they already pulled it out and showed pictures of leaks and miss one 5 feet away that has been rotting out a wall.

    Free 90 day warranties, free IR, free termite, free 90 day termite warranty etc etc etc etc etc. This is becoming a pimp service not a professional home inspection service.

    I am about to start naming names openly for all the folks giving it all away. I got so ripped at losing business (one because I was sick off and on for over a year) I sent out to a few Realtor offices where I always get the comebacks that the Realtors inspector or so and so will do the inspection for x and they give all this free stuff away. Time after time it was the same offices that were involved. I sent out retarded prices that I thought tht no one would beet to see if I could stir things up a bit. Guess what. I was not retarded enough. I was still getting beet.

    Enough of the rant.

    It is time everyone started charging living prices for home inspections. having to do 8 or ten a week is insane to make a living. Yes some make a good living but are working 60 hours a week so they are really making poor money. I have now refused to go lower than my minimum for the smaller homes and I am now losing deal after deal on price alone and my work has cut in half again.

    I won't kiss up to Realtors and I hold my own. The clients are very happy. I am happy and about broke.

    I did a few inspections where other inspectors would have but could not have or were away. The first thing I got at the inspections was Realtors attacking me on how their normal inspector says this this way and does not say that and everything is to be expected and everything is grand fathered. I actually got out of those home as quick as I could and in one home missed a couple items but followed up and added them to my report.

    Rant, rant, rant, rant. To late on a Saturday night to rant.


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Here are just a few images over the last few days of inspections. Based on these few images qualitatively, how can you say these images are for the "wow" factor only.

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  29. #29
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M
    Here are just a few images over the last few days of inspections. Based on these few images qualitatively, how can you say these images are for the "wow" factor only.
    Marc,

    I appreciate the pictures, but there's just not enough information there to tell me there's a problem. I see pretty pictures and it looks like some areas are warmer than others, but there's no scale or reference to temperature. Wires under load heat up, that's physics. This just goes to show that the tool can misrepresent a problem.

    BUT don't get me wrong! I DO like the technology and I wish I could somehow justify the cost of ownership for use on a home inspection. Can you share some economic data with us on the purchase and income? That information would be most helpful. After all, We're in the business to earn a living.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Ken,
    I will concede to the fact that on their face, they do look pretty and you are correct, I do not have a temp scale in my images and in many cases, an IR image can misrepresent the issue. However, these are qualitative evaluations. Comparing apples to apples. If I scan 4 similar pillow blocks, I may not know the temp rating of the object, but I do know that one being hotter is atypical. With industrial, we will usually have an escort who will decide that and perform test etc...
    In my case, I have conducted enough scans and while working in close relationship with electricians to know what were looking at is in fact faulty. I can tell the difference between heat being generated by a condenser as opposed to what a Zinsco main breaker looks like when fused to the bus. Or the hundreds of challenger breakers which I've found to be inherently defective. But like I said, you are correct, the IR image only tells part of the story. It takes experience to understand the images and the objects which you are scanning. The camera is only as good as the user, like everything.
    These images show what the electrician found after the scan.
    As far as economics; I do not charge for residential. I don't even offer the cameral as a service. I'm not into the Whole house rating gimmick. I will advertise that I have it and will use it on inspections but we do not charge. Like I said, in residential inspections it's only a tool for me to limit my liabilities.
    For industrial applications, I have a separate IR company which we have contracts to scan roof tops both annually and bi annually. The roofs range from 10K SQ ft to over 100K sq ft. We also have contracts to scan assembly line components and electrical, for various industrial manufacturing clients as part of a preventative maintenance program. Which I offer as a package and includes documented historical data on every component scanned.. Last year in industrial scans we grossed 45K. This year so far in the last two months we've added 10% more in clientele to our base so I'd like to see us do at least 30%-50% more in revenue. But we'll see. the clients we have see (and experienced) the advantages of this tool.
    But again, I will agree, the average client buying a house wont (usually) pay for this service. At least not here. They are not really "wowed" by it anyhow, because most of our clients watch Homes on homes and he uses it all the time.
    Not to digress, but as a matter of fact...there is a company that has patented the process of using an IR camera during an HI, and is now suing HI/IR users across the US. Here

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    Last edited by Marc M; 03-06-2011 at 09:50 AM.
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  31. #31
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Ken,
    I will concede to the fact that on their face, they do look pretty and you are correct, I do not have a temp scale in my images and in many cases, an IR image can misrepresent the issue. However, these are qualitative evaluations. Comparing apples to apples. If I scan 4 similar pillow blocks, I may not know the temp rating of the object, but I do know that one being hotter is atypical. With industrial, we will usually have an escort who will decide that and perform test etc...
    In my case, I have conducted enough scans and while working in close relationship with electricians to know what were looking at is in fact faulty. I can tell the difference between heat being generated by a condenser as opposed to what a Zinsco main breaker looks like when fused to the bus. Or the hundreds of challenger breakers which I've found to be inherently defective. But like I said, you are correct, the IR image only tells part of the story. It takes experience to understand the images and the objects which you are scanning. The camera is only as good as the user, like everything.
    These images show what the electrician found after the scan.
    As far as economics; I do not charge for residential. I don't even offer the cameral as a service. I'm not into the Whole house rating gimmick. I will advertise that I have it and will use it on inspections but we do not charge. Like I said, in residential inspections it's only a tool for me to limit my liabilities.
    For industrial applications, I have a separate IR company which we have contracts to scan roof tops both annually and bi annually. The roofs range from 10K SQ ft to over 100K sq ft. We also have contracts to scan assembly line components and electrical, for various industrial manufacturing clients as part of a preventative maintenance program. Which I offer as a package and includes documented historical data on every component scanned.. Last year in industrial scans we grossed 45K. This year so far in the last two months we've added 10% more in clientele to our base so I'd like to see us do at least 30%-50% more in revenue. But we'll see. the clients we have see (and experienced) the advantages of this tool.
    But again, I will agree, the average client buying a house wont (usually) pay for this service. At least not here. They are not really "wowed" by it anyhow, because most of our clients watch Homes on homes and he uses it all the time.
    Not to digress, but as a matter of fact...there is a company that has patented the process of using an IR camera during an HI, and is now suing HI/IR users across the US. Here

    So, what are they saying mark. They hold a patent on Home Inspection IR imaging so no one else can????????

    That sounds like a quick burn out. I use a small Milwaukee battery operated screw driver. If someone gets a patent on using battery operated drills on home inspection then they can sue me???????

    I read all that. It pretty much covers the use of an IR camera, a termitrac (motion sensing, moisture meter blah blah blah.

    That is a joke Marc. They have about any use at all covered. That is an impossibility to find anyone that is doing the same thing but at the same time puts about anyone out of the thermal imaging business in Home Inspection. It will be fought in Federal Court and the patent office will remove all patents for the use of a IR camera for this particular company. That is like saying the removal of wheels of a car is patented by Ted Menelly and if you use an air controlled device to remove wheels from cars then you will be sued.

    If you do these steps. Determine the size of the lug nuts on the wheel. Go to tool box and pick up air gun. Attach air gun to hose. Put socket on end of air gun. Proceed, one at a time to remove lugs. After lugs removed then remove wheel and tire and set it on the tire mounting machine. If you do those steps you will be in violation of federal law.

    Pretty funny huh.

    I know folks that use a Termitrac and IR cameras and moisture meters and visual to find termites. For one, in this state you cannot tell someone that there are termites in a home by the use of electronic equipment such as a termitrac or IR. You can say there is a possibility and further testing (boroscope) is needed to determine if they are in fact in the wall.

    Last edited by Ted Menelly; 03-06-2011 at 02:57 PM.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Marc,

    Thanks for the input. It sounds like you've come up with some creative ways to make money using the product commercially. I'm going to do some marketing here and see if there is a use for same, but I'm pretty convinced - I won't be using it for home inspections.

    And that patent is pretty funny. Amazing what lawyers will do to make a buck. They must have convinced the Inspection company that it would hold up in court. Now just wait until that company has to defend itself. That lawyer will get rich.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Amelin View Post
    Marc,

    Thanks for the input. It sounds like you've come up with some creative ways to make money using the product commercially. I'm going to do some marketing here and see if there is a use for same, but I'm pretty convinced - I won't be using it for home inspections.

    And that patent is pretty funny. Amazing what lawyers will do to make a buck. They must have convinced the Inspection company that it would hold up in court. Now just wait until that company has to defend itself. That lawyer will get rich.
    Good luck to you Ken. the money is out there, trust me. At first we did quite a few freebies to get them on board, but like everything, it's all about relationships. And yea, I wouldnt waste too much time in the IR/HI trying to make a bunch of money at it. They want if free anyhow. Go where the need and $ is.
    Yea, about that patent I guess it's the real deal. They have been filing cease and desist orders to HI guys from other forums, mostly IR forums. Crazy!
    Here is a thread that is pretty interesting.

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  34. #34
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Here is a house that I scanned today. Notice there are no stains under the bathroom, for now. But then, whatever conditions at present at the time of the inspection is what's important.
    I suppose until the client calls to claim how I should have caught this because (by now) theres a clear stain indicating a leaking "whatever"...

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  35. #35
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    Wink Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    You're correct...you have to create the need.

    Well said.


  36. #36
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc M View Post
    Couple from today. BMP / TIFF / PNG looks like a far better file to save under, less distortion. Any of you guys know why this is?
    JPG is a compressed format to lower the file size.


  37. #37
    Binford Tools's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thermal imaging category

    Wow cool thread .

    I've been on the fence about these, and I better get out of this section before my wallet gets thinner.


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