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  1. #1
    Michael Koser's Avatar
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    Default Infrared Cameras

    I was just wondering how many inspectors out there have invested in an “Infrared Camera.” They are anything but cheap and seem to me to go beyond typical inspection standards of practice. It comes down to that they are very expensive toys. Don’t get me wrong I love toys. I see these cameras advertised in all the tool magazines and now even see infrared camera classes. Just wondering what everybody’s thoughts are on this technology.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Koser View Post
    I was just wondering how many inspectors out there have invested in an “Infrared Camera.” They are anything but cheap and seem to me to go beyond typical inspection standards of practice. It comes down to that they are very expensive toys. Don’t get me wrong I love toys. I see these cameras advertised in all the tool magazines and now even see infrared camera classes. Just wondering what everybody’s thoughts are on this technology.
    I look at them like a notebook computer. 5 years ago it was difficult to find a good notebook computer for under $3,000. Now you can buy them all day for under $1,000. The IR camera is doing the same exact thing. 3 years ago you could not find one for under $10,000. Now they are down to $5,000 to $7,000 and dropping.

    If I was in the market for an IR camera, and I'm not. I would head to EBay and look for one. I have observed that over the past few years many newer inspectors bought into the IR craze and those are the guys who are going out of business. Keep in mind that their equipment might be old by today's standards if they bought it a couple of years ago, but they still want to recover the money they waisted them. So you might be better off buying a new one that is still under warranty.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    I got my first standard sony camera $ 750.00 bucks. 13 photos to a flopy disk that was some 8/9 years back. but that camera did get me out of a law suit! worth it ? yes. I got my first FLIR B2 INFRARED CAMERA last year From a new inspector that was getting out of the inspection service. That was a $ 12,500.00 camera new. I got it for a 3rd of that. I've been inspecting for alomst 30 years. For me They are A BIG HELP! I like what i find with IR. When i got my sony i was the only Inspector around with photos in my reports. Most of the old school inspectors were not going that way. Now 8 years latter the cost of my new sony camera is $ 90.00 And i think almost every inspector today has photos in there reports.
    I do charge for the IR as an add on. My FLIR B2 camera paid for its self 4 months.

    Some day i will bet almost every inspector will have one. And some wack jobs will not charge for the service and there you go. FREE is FREE.

    My 2cents

    Best

    Ron

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    Last edited by Ron Bibler; 04-18-2008 at 08:33 AM.

  4. #4
    Greg D. Dames's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Infrared Cameras

    Scott is correct the prices do seem to be declining and you can find deals out there from folks who purchased the cameras for perhaps the wrong reason. Some of the ones on the market employ both the IR and digital camera formats so you can superimpose what the IR is picking up. My camera cost me $14,000 but I don't do the same work that you fellows do. However I will say that training is the key and suggest that you get your Level I and also take the Building Science course it will open new doors for you....Good Luck

    Greg D. Dames
    Pacific Mold Assessment
    National ThermoGraphic Inspections


  5. #5
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    I've had my Fluke TIR camera for a little over a month now and it is paying off indirectly. Since there are only a few home inspectors in this area that have one and many Realtors don't know about this type of camera; I give a little 15 minute presentation, then show them some interesting things the camera can do (have a little fun with the Realtors), then answer any questions. I have gotten a few jobs from Realtors just from this presentation already (cheap advertising).

    The IR camera does make looking for moisture, missing insulation, electrical problems, etc a lot easier. About a week ago, I was doing a quick scan of the basement when I found at water leak at the corner of the finished basement wall. I tested with the moisture meter to confirm and with the IR camera, I was able to include that picture in with the report. The moisture meter & IR camera showed the moisture but visually there was no evidence of a problem. After showing the client and their Realtor that area with a moisture meter and the IR picture, they had no doubts that a problem existed.

    Is a Infrared camera needed to do home inspections? NO. Once you have one and start using it, you will be telling stories like I just am.

    In my opinion, cost is the only thing holding home inspectors back from buying one. Once the cost drops enough ($4,000 is not bad for a tool you can write off on your taxes and maybe save you from a lawsuit), then you will see most home inspectors buying one and talking great things about it.

    For me, the longer other home inspector wait to buy one, the more I can take advantage of this technology when it comes to advertising.

    If you can afford it, buy one!


  6. #6
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    [quote]
    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I have observed that over the past few years many newer inspectors bought into the IR craze and those are the guys who are going out of business.
    Do you think them buying an IR camera is the reason they went out of business? Or is it more likely they went out of business because they found that doing home inspections is harder, more time consuming, not as profitable and/or more costly to operate then expected.

    So you might be better off buying a new one that is still under warranty.
    I would buy new.

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  7. #7
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    [quote=Kevin Luce;44268]

    Do you think them buying an IR camera is the reason they went out of business? Or is it more likely they went out of business because they found that doing home inspections is harder, more time consuming, not as profitable and/or more costly to operate then expected.


    I would buy new.

    No! The ones that are out are out because of a cash flow problem. Bottom line in any type of work. No work. Im picking up more then $ 2,000.00 a month with Infrared bottom line it work for me. and as kevin stated having some fun with the realtors. Now i have had a few realtors just get flat mad like i have never saw before. just blow a gasket along with the seller of the home. the buyer and his agent were just loving what was now visible from the Infrared camera. The selling agent got in her car and by by she was gone the seller was sanding out in the back yard.

    Looks like we have 2 side of a fence.


    Best

    Ron


  8. #8
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    I agree that cash flow is likely the main reason why people are getting out of doing home inspections at this time. For newbies, like Scott mentioned, it maybe a combination of cash flow and some of the other items that I listed. I was told (I don't know how true the % is but I know it is a lot) that over 80% of the home inspectors in this area are part time home inspectors. The full time job to pay the bills and home inspections for extra cash or just can't afford to do home inspection full time yet. There are two guys that work for this one home inspection company that only do home inspections on weekends.


  9. #9
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    Cool Re: Infrared Cameras

    First and for most home inspections are visual and not technically exhaustive. When you bring in technical equipment to find problems, that places you under a whole different inspection realm. I believe if you find a problem with something other than visual and there develops other technical problems in any other area such as low freon on the A/C unit, you could be sued for not being technically exhaustive in all areas of your inspection. If you want to use IR cameras, moisture meters, gas detectors, a/c gauges, duct cameras and the like you should become a technical inspector and leave the visual home inspector trade. I believe if someone used a IR camera on my house and found areas that were not insulated and I lost the sale I could own that home inspectors company, simply because efficiency's are not apart of the home inspection process. Second if you say that your IR camera found moisture on some part of my house that showed no signs of moisture without tearing out something. The buyer then insisted that the sheet rock be removed and I did it and found nothing once the damage was done and they still did not buy my house, I will own your company. Taking home inspections to a new level, that is way above the norm or SOP is not in any ones best interest. That's my rant, I'm greased and ready. Tony M.


  10. #10
    Ron Bibler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    I understand your points tony. this is going to be one big issue over the next 5 years so. if you are correct about owning another inspectors company you may want to start buying and selling home. may make a few extra bucks that way. Its going to get sticky any way you look at IR.

    Best

    Ron


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Tony,

    I agree with most of your statement except the part of the insulation being found.

    and owning someone's company for finding it.

    I do agree with you that if someone called something out and found latter that it was not there such as a moisture problem, mold or something like that I could understand someone taking legal steps if they lost the sale.

    The only thing I personally see an issue with these cameras is the lack of experience one may have before they get out there in the field and start calling out things.

    Greased and ready you say. Good lord man, what have you got planned this evening? LOL

    rick


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Rick,

    The only way Tony, or any other home inspector for that matter, can do a purely "visual" inspection is to *take no tools* with him during the inspection.

    The home inspector would need to walk in, hands in pockets, and "*LOOK* around". That's it, nothing more.

    Beyond that, the home inspector begins to get "intrusive" (a word some like to use), and from that point on to carrying the greatest and best tools becomes a personal decision that the individual home inspector must make in defining "visual".

    Here is a challenge for all home inspectors on this board: define what you consider to be your "visual" inspection. What will you use and still fall in your definition of "visual" and what will you not use because you would fall outside your definition of "visual".

    Anyone willing to contribute to the definition of "visual"?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Visual = able to be seen. That's as far as I want to go.

    Like Jerry wrote, hands in the pocket unless you are taking off a cover to something like an electrical box.

    Why can't an infrared camera help with a "Visual" inspection without taking it beyond the norm? I turn it on, I point it in a direction and I visually look at the information on the screen just like you would visually look at the information on the wall with your own eyes. How much more visual is that?

    When it comes to training (I like using the word education and this definition "The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process." which can be formal or informal), there will always be a learning curve. There will always be people saying that more education is needed.

    I asked these questions which helped me determine my liability for using the camera.

    *Am I experienced in using the IR camera at this time? NO
    *Do I use the camera only to determine if a problem exist? NO
    *Can I educate myself when problems are seen? Yes (Example: Clearly see moisture running down a pipe and then check with the IR Camera to see what it looks like.)
    *Is formal training available and is it needed? Yes
    *Does I have to rely only on the camera to determine if a problem exist? NO
    *Can I charge extra for using an IR camera? Not at this time

    Change is always occurring and this includes the way home inspections are done. Look how much change has occurred from 30 years ago when it comes to doing home inspection (a lot more training available, the opportunity to do enough home inspections to support a family, report writing has become more complexed, expectations from the home inspectors are much higher, etc.)

    The 45 minute inspection with writing a few problems on a blank piece of paper is over.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Rick,

    The only way Tony, or any other home inspector for that matter, can do a purely "visual" inspection is to *take no tools* with him during the inspection.

    The home inspector would need to walk in, hands in pockets, and "*LOOK* around". That's it, nothing more.

    Beyond that, the home inspector begins to get "intrusive" (a word some like to use), and from that point on to carrying the greatest and best tools becomes a personal decision that the individual home inspector must make in defining "visual".

    Here is a challenge for all home inspectors on this board: define what you consider to be your "visual" inspection. What will you use and still fall in your definition of "visual" and what will you not use because you would fall outside your definition of "visual".

    Anyone willing to contribute to the definition of "visual"?
    Let's not make up fancy definitions of "visual" to suit ourselves. The term "visual inspection" in plain English (the language our clients use and understand) simply means to examine something closely using your eyes. Here are some of my thoughts on this subject that I posted on The Inspector's Journal forum a couple of months ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew @ TIJ
    We (home inspectors) need to stop calling what we do a "visual" inspection. It may have been a visual inspection at one time, but the standard of care that is routinely set by many inspectors goes beyond being a visual inspection.

    I'll use the moisture meter as an example since we are all familiar with its use. If I see something that looks like a water stain or some other sign of a current or past moisture problem, or even a bad flashing job on a roof, and then I use the moisture meter as a tool to provide more information to me about the thing that I observed, then I think we are still in the realm of doing a visual inspection. But if I start routinely scanning the walls below windows or the floor around toilets in the bathroom with my moisture meter, because this is where I find a lot of leaks at houses I inspect and not because I observed something at this house that lead me to believe there may be moisture present in these locations at this home, then I'm no longer doing a visual inspection.

    Here's another example. When I open up an electrical panel and report my findings, I'm doing a visual inspection. When I stick a three light tester into a receptacle and report my findings, I'm not doing a visual inspection on this portion of the electrical system. If, instead of using the tester, I remove the cover plate and report on how the receptacle is wired, I'm doing a visual inspection. In this case, the cost of the tool is cheap and it speeds up my inspection process, because I can use the tester to decide which cover plates I want to pull for a visual inspection, instead of pulling every one of them or relying on a "representative sample".
    The point I was trying to make up above is that I think you can use tools and still call it a visual inspection if you are only using those tools to gather more information about conditions that you originally observed with your eyes. Once you use the tools as the primary or initial inspection device (instead of your eyesight), it's no longer a visual inspection. I'm trying to be generous and stretch "visual inspection" as far as I can. I could easily be convinced that any use of a tool that doesn't involve eyesight, like a moisture meter, no longer qualifies as a visual inspection. Also, once you use senses other than your eyes ... touch, smell, sound ... it's no longer a visual inspection.

    If it's not a visual inspection, then what is it? I continued the discussion on this subject in another post at TIJ:

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew @ TIJ
    I'm leaning toward noninvasive or nondestructive. Noninvasive has a good parallel to the medical field, and I think more and more people are becoming familiar with that term and have an intuitive grasp of what it means -- to examine without breaking the skin or penetrating a body cavity. Nondestructive is similar but not quite the same, and comes from the engineering world.

    When you go to the doctor, the doctor wants to learn as much as possible about you without causing damage to your body. The doctor runs you through a battery of noninvasive tests and examinations: looks you over, pokes and probes, measures your temperature and weight, listens to your heart and breathing, measures your pulse and blood pressure, looks in your ears and throat, checks your vision, tests your reflexes, etc. Beyond that there are a whole host of noninvasive diagnostic tools available for use: x-ray, ECG/EKG, MRI, radiology, ultrasound, and yes, infrared imaging. The doctor might order some minimally invasive tests such as drawing blood, a biopsy, or even a colonoscopy -- although those who have had that last one might disagree that it is "minimally invasive"! Thankfully, technology has pushed "let's grab the scalpel and see what's going on in there" way down the list!

    Over in the engineering world, many of those same techniques and technologies are being used on physical objects in a process called NDE or nondestructive evaluation. NDE refers to methods used to examine and evaluate an object, material or system without impairing its future usefulness. A small amount of damage is permissible as long as the usefulness is maintained.

    A house is a bunch of objects and materials that are assembled into various systems. I think nondestructive is better than noninvasive as a description of the kind of inspection that HIs do. It's that "examination without impairing future usefulness" part that is the key. Using a pin-type moisture meter, probing for wood damage, or dismantling equipment in order to get a better look are all invasive methods but they are still considered nondestructive techniques.

    When I am working to define and shape the client's expectations of the inspection, I don't say "I'm going to do a limited visual inspection of the readily accessible areas of the home". I say "I'm going to spend several hours here trying to find out everything I can about the condition of this home without damaging it." Then I'll mention some of the things that might limit my inspection (e.g., not visible, not accessible, not safe).
    IMO, the appropriate technical term for what we do is a nondestructive inspection. Visual is a misnomer. Noninvasive is closer to what we do but still not accurate. Some of our tools and techniques involve poking, probing, and minor disassembly, which are invasive techniques, but I think everything we do is with the objective of it being nondestructive.


  16. #16
    Patrick McCaffery's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Just a few comments around infared cameras. I was a diagnostic technician for a large manufacturing company. In that capacity I did vibration analysis of rotating equipment, infared thermography on electrical equipment and ultrasound on various equipment. These technologies are considered no-evasive and in most cases the equipment does not have to be shut down for inspection.
    I do not use Infrared cameras in my Home Inspection business, because I am still building my business and cannot afford the cost of even the most inexpensive cameras.
    I believe an infared camera would be a good tool, if you see a moisture stain and would like to determine if it is a past stain or a current problem. Another opportunity is the inspection of an electrical panel. Loose wires or other problems would show up during the investigation. With proper training roof inspections would also be another area of additional business. However, when I received the training, most roof inspections were conducted at night when the temperature cooled down and the moisture could be spotted.
    I currently use my infared thermometer for investigating water spots and electrical panels.
    I agree that as the price of these cameras come down, they will become another tool for the property inspector.
    And yes I was taught that a good inspector only needs a piece of paper, pencil and a flashlight for doing inspections.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    Let's not make up fancy definitions of "visual" to suit ourselves. The term "visual inspection" in plain English (the language our clients use and understand) simply means to examine something closely using your eyes.
    Which is why I've been saying, for the last 18 years or so, that home inspectors do not do "visual inspections".

    IMO, the appropriate technical term for what we do is a nondestructive inspection. Visual is a misnomer. Noninvasive is closer to what we do but still not accurate. Some of our tools and techniques involve poking, probing, and minor disassembly, which are invasive techniques, but I think everything we do is with the objective of it being nondestructive.
    While we do not do "destructive testing" in the engineering sense of the word, we do sometimes do "destructive things" in order to determine whether or not we are on the right track in our thinking. This includes probing things, and, in the process, we are doing something destructive.

    It is not "destructive" in the sense that probing "destroyed" the wood, but in the sense that it now looks destroyed.

    That is but one example of what I am referring to.

    Thus, to me, saying the home inspection is nondestructive could come back to hurt us, and it is not technically correct either.

    I would go with noninvasive before nondestructive, acknowledging that neither is technically correct.

    That said, saying that home inspectors only do a visual inspection is being outright untruthful.

    It may sound good when one gets into court and tries to convince the judge that 'I only did a visual inspection' when refuting that it did not leak at the time you were there because you used a moisture meter ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  18. #18
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Which is why I've been saying, for the last 18 years or so, that home inspectors do not do "visual inspections".

    While we do not do "destructive testing" in the engineering sense of the word, we do sometimes do "destructive things" in order to determine whether or not we are on the right track in our thinking. This includes probing things, and, in the process, we are doing something destructive.

    It is not "destructive" in the sense that probing "destroyed" the wood, but in the sense that it now looks destroyed.

    That is but one example of what I am referring to.

    Thus, to me, saying the home inspection is nondestructive could come back to hurt us, and it is not technically correct either.

    I would go with noninvasive before nondestructive, acknowledging that neither is technically correct.
    I have a while to go in this biz before I can match your 18 years.

    Nondestructive is the technically correct term. The layman may be more comfortable with noninvasive, because they are familiar with its use in the medical profession. Which one will HIs embrace, if either? Time will tell.

    From my post:

    Over in the engineering world, many of those same techniques and technologies are being used on physical objects in a process called NDE or nondestructive evaluation. NDE refers to methods used to examine and evaluate an object, material or system without impairing its future usefulness. A small amount of damage is permissible as long as the usefulness is maintained.
    The techniques I am referring to include doing things that many home inspectors may do during their "routine" inspection like: measuring temperature and moisture content, using electrical testers, infrared imaging, gas detectors or analyzers, etc.

    I use pin-type moisture meters and probing with an awl for wood rot as examples to illustrate the difference between noninvasive and nondestructive inspection techniques. Both are invasive because they penetrate the surface of the material being examined. Done properly, both are considered nondestructive inspection techniques, as that term has been defined and used for many years in the engineering field. NDE explicitly recognizes that a minor amount of damage to the material being examined may occur during the process of examining it. That damage is allowable (and still considered nondestructive) if the object, after examination, is still suitable for the use of which it is intended.

    Note that many objects have an intended use that involves appearance as well as function. Thus an HI claiming to do a nondestructive inspection could not go hog-wild with his awl or pin-type moisture meter and poke little holes all over the house. There's more to doing it properly than just performing the test. You must carefully consider where to test and how many tests are needed in order to give you the information that you need to form your opinion and make your recommendation.

    NDE of the home is what the vast majority of inspectors are doing during the inspection process, if they are doing anything more than walking through the home with their hands in their pockets. Whether the HI profession will come to realize this and decide to call what they do "a nondestructive evaluation of the home" or something else ... your guess is as good as mine.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Brandon Chew View Post
    Nondestructive is the technically correct term.
    Which is why I stated "While we do not do "destructive testing" in the engineering sense of the word,", then based my use of nondestructive in that non-engineering context.

    Done properly, both are considered nondestructive inspection techniques, as that term has been defined and used for many years in the engineering field.
    "as that term has been defined and used for many years in the engineering field" which is the definition I was trying to distance myself from.

    An example of destructive testing in the engineering field is coring a concrete sample and testing it to find out at what psi it breaks. Or, taking a prim and testing it. Or testing a beam under load to see at what load it fails. All of which are aimed at finding the failure point at which something fails, and then comparing that failure point to the specified requirements for that 'something'. (Stated in layman's terms, of course.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Jerry,

    You've completely lost me on why you are trying to distance yourself from the use of the term "nondestructive".

    Yes, as you described, there are destructive testing and inspection methods and techniques that are used for evaluating materials and components and systems.

    There are also a whole host of other methods and techniques that are used for evaluating materials and components and systems that are formally classified as "nondestructive evaluation"; terminology that is currently in use by practicing professionals and that has been in use for many years.

    Some nondestructive methods and techniques are invasive, and others are noninvasive.

    Please note that I am purposely using the word evaluation and not the word testing. Testing a material, component, or system is just one way of evaluating it. As applied to the process of inspecting homes and producing a report, the home inspector is evaluating the condition of the various materials, components, and systems in the home. Testing is only one piece of the evaluation process.

    During the course of a routine home inspection, most practicing home inspectors that I know personally and have come to know through their message board postings:
    • Definitely do something more than a "visual inspection"
    • Definitely do something more than a "noninvasive inspection" if they do things such as probe for wood rot, use a pin-type moisture meter, or pull the deadfront cover off the electrical panel
    • Do not intentionally cross the line from a "nondestructive inspection" to a "destructive inspection", as those terms are used by practicing professionals in the field.
    Destructive inspection techniques are pretty much off-limits during a home inspection. You need special permission from the owner in order to destroy a small piece of their property (example: to open up a wall). Those who cross the line and do something destructive (examples: indiscriminate probing of finished surfaces or tearing out handfuls of wood rot) during the course of a routine home inspection usually wind up having complaints filed against them with their licensing board and are paying out claims on their general liability insurance (or wallet).

    As I pointed out earlier, nondestructive does not mean "without damage". It means, literally, "without destroying", and practically "without impairing its future use", or in layman's terms, "putting things back the way you found them".

    If you (or anyone else) can come up with a better term to call the thing we do, I'm all ears. Noninvasive comes close but I think "nondestructive evaluation" or "nondestructive inspection" hits the bulls eye.


  21. #21
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Michael,

    Sorry for the thread drift. This subject often comes up during discussions of using IR cameras during home inspections within the context of: "if I use an IR camera am I still doing a visual inspection"?

    Brandon


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    The cost of the camera is only part of the bill. It cost $1500.00 a pop for each class to learn how to use the thing. Also does the unit need calibrated each year and what does that cost............

    Mike Schulz License 393
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Jerry...

    Get over it....in NC we do visual inspections! Again you are being silly by not as acknowledging that fact. It is in the NC SOP I posted in another thread. You're interpolation of visual is irrelevant!


  24. #24
    John McKenna's Avatar
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    The cost of the camera is only part of the bill. It cost $1500.00 a pop for each class to learn how to use the thing. Also does the unit need calibrated each year and what does that cost............
    It does not cost that much for training. Calibration depends on what you
    are using the camera for. To the home inspector, it does not matter what
    the temperature of the wet spot is. What is said about calibration in
    public by the camera manufacturers, may not be what is said in private
    by the IR instructors.


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    in NC we do visual inspections!
    Apparently you have not been following the threads on HIs doing, or not doing, "visual" inspections.

    Regardless what you state calls it, it is not a "visual" inspection. When you get to court, you will find what a "visual" inspection is.

    Out of curiosity I have to ask ... does the NC licensing law have any definitions, and, if so, what are they and how many are they?

    Thanks.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    John, I stand corrected, Flir training center charges $1750.00 per class.
    Level I Thermography Training?

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  27. #27
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Sorry to repeat myself as I stated pretty much the same thing yesterday. Everyone is worried about E&O insurance, getting sued and so on, you might want to think about this.

    Once you take out your new camera and "see through walls", almost literally, and you find anything with that camera and report on it, somene, and it will only take one someone to call you on it, correct finding or not, after they find something else you did not find, you will be paying for it with out a perfect signed contract on just your IR cameras use and what you can be and cannot be heald liable for.

    If you use it even as a totaly separate inspection then you will be heald accountable for anything someone might find or not find after the fact. Water behind a wall, no water behind a wall, insulated or missing insualtion. Someone is going to call you on it someday. If you use it for "just an evaluation' and your evaluation is wrong, you will be paying for it some day.

    This is my opinion and my opinion only not matter how many people have agreed or not agreed with me. All the rest of you folks that do not agree with me I am not trying to irritate or agrivate or say that you are wrong in any way. This is just my opinion and I think it is something to be well thought out before you spend the thousands on this new toy.

    Home inspection limits have to stop somewhere or stop nowhere. The way it is going we are all going to get to the point where one inspection will last all day and we will have to get signed documentation from the seller of the home to tear anything apart that we have questions about to make absolutely sure that we find everything in the home and between the walls.

    Yeah Yeah, I know, mister pesimist. Not true at all. Home Inspection is not brain surgeory and lets try not to turn it into such. Using a moisture meter because we feel moisture or see a stain is one thing. Using probes on suspect areas of a stucco home is one thing. Pulling the front cover off of an HVAC unit or electric panel is one thing. Telling people the pictures they see with the IR camera are suspect areras and that they need further evaluation or investigation, please, it is not like any of the above mentioned. You might in fact be right, you might infact be wrong. Either way it can and will in some cases cause no more referrals from that agent if you are wrong or you paying for the wall being torn apart, or possibly missing something that someone finds after the purchase is done and remodel starts and you did not see some major goodies because you did not inspect every suare inch of every wall.

    Oh my is where I will end this.


  28. #28
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Oh yeah, Commercial work, yes, I know people who use it for certain applications for commercial work and it is great for those applications.

    Just my opinion.


  29. #29
    Kevin Luce's Avatar
    Kevin Luce Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Menelly View Post
    Once you take out your new camera and "see through walls", almost literally, and you find anything with that camera and report on it, somene, and it will only take one someone to call you on it, correct finding or not, after they find something else you did not find, you will be paying for it with out a perfect signed contract on just your IR cameras use and what you can be and cannot be heald liable for.
    If anyone tells somebody else that they can "see through walls" or "find anything with that camera" they should be sued. That's like a home inspector telling the buyer that they find all problems with a house from a 2 hour home inspection.

    When it comes to classes, Caplan has a class on the internet for $699.00.
    Restoration Consultants will give $700.00 off the class if you buy an IR camera from them. I heard good things about these two places and how they focus on IR and home inspections.


  30. #30
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
    Brandon Chew Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    It all comes down to clearly spelling out the scope of work in your contract and then communicating clearly with your client to ensure you are on common ground about what you will do and not do. Trouble brews when the client has one set of expectations and the inspector delivers something else.


  31. #31
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    I wish to convey a thanks for not getting beat up to much on my post.

    You are right Branden. You must spell out everything in writing. Anything said by mouth to your client means absolutely nothing. I know people that use a termatrac for detecting termite movement inside walls. I also know for a fact that do not find everything because they have had spot treatments for not finding them. It uses micro-wave technology to find the movement. In such they are seeing through walls to a certain extent. If they did not inspect every square in of wall they would not have found that movement. Hence, paying for spot treatments. The IR is doing the same thing. You might not literally have ex-ray vision but you are showing them pictures of the concerns which may or may not be right no matter how much training you have.

    I just watched nachitv's clip on a man pushing the wonders of IR. He continuously said that you could not have seen or known this concern with out an IR.

    Again, my opinion. Isn't home inspection getting past the point of an Honest man making an honest living with out going into greater depth and tremendously great liability and I really do not think any of you want to pay for anyone else's remodel job. The cost factor for such will be greater than you are going to want to pay. Remember the nachi sales clip. "You would not have seen or known this concern without the IR. To me he sounded like the snake oil salesman telling you of the wonders of his toy not matter how much sense he sounded like he was making. It was like you simply cannot live with out it. Of course, he makes money training and or selling the bill of goods.

    Time, serious amount of money, serious amount of possible liability. Good luck if it works for any of you. But I certainly do think it goes to far. Again, Home Inspection is not brain surgery and lets keep it like that.


  32. #32

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Schulz View Post
    The cost of the camera is only part of the bill. It cost $1500.00 a pop for each class to learn how to use the thing. Also does the unit need calibrated each year and what does that cost............
    Calibration is only required if you are doing non-destructive testing or PM work where the actual temperature is important. for HI work, the temperature difference is important, not the actual temperature unless you want to get fancy and work with the "dew point" sensor that some have built in.
    Dana

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

  33. #33
    john thurmond's Avatar
    john thurmond Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    IR camera's are a great benefit to the HI industry. If you can afford one, you should not even hesitate to add one to your arsenal. Any tool used is only as good as the operator. An IR camera is a very sophisticated tool and you must drop the coin to take a training course to interact with proficient instructors to learn how to thermally tune your pictures. In thermography you never assume! You identify potential concerns and then verify or disqualify these concerns by using other tools (ie: moisture meters, voltage meters, borescope etc...). If your using IR and including those pics in a report without confirming conditions by using other tools! You are leaving yourself wide open for litigation in this litigious society we live in. This is something they drill in your head if you drop the money to be properly trained. I owned my camera 6 mo and used it on most inspections during that time frame. Realtors & Clients were all intrigued and I never pissed anyone off. I also explained to them it would be another year before I could charge for my service because I lacked proficiency and a Thermography Cert. They appreciated my honesty as I explained I was using the camera to become familiar with it and that any anomaly found, I would explain or verify by using another tool to backup my suspicions. Having knowledge of how a house is built behind the drywall should also be a prerequisite for any HI. I swear there are some HI's that used to be in charge of fixing the Slurpee Machines at 7-11's. If you use IR in the HI business, take a building science course and it will shed some light on what you may be seeing with your IR Cam. I saw a previous posted pic of a thermal image that appeared to be lack of insulation at a sill plate & wall cavity and not moisture damage. Calling that out as moisture with-out confirming moisture presence with other tools, will get you in trouble if you lack proficiency & training with your IR Cam. Skeptics of IR technology are missing endless possibilities and direction that can be taken with their business. I read that an IR Camera is an expensive toy. It’s not a toy if you use it properly as a tool to benefit the person paying you to do your job! I would urge all HI to become familiar with this technology. With the world turning GREEN, it will become SOP on GBHomes in the very near future. So get on the bandwagon, the world is changing and HI’s need to stay cutting edge. (I still own my Wiggy) sshhhhh ! Don’t tell…


  34. #34
    John McKenna's Avatar
    John McKenna Guest

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Example of IR expense = $4500 infrared camera.
    IR Training = $500
    TOTAL = $5000

    You can pay for that in 3 mths if you add $150 per inspection for an IR scan.
    When you factor in the new business you will pick up, it's a no brainer.

    Finding more defects reduces liability. Simple.

    Last edited by John McKenna; 05-30-2008 at 03:54 PM.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    so so, California
    Posts
    1,720

    Default Re: Infrared Cameras

    Of all the IR cameras, which is most popular with you guys and why? I have seen them for $2999 to 10K. Happy new year!


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