Infrared thermography is a technique that produces video-quality images from thermal patterns. Temperature differences as small as 1/20 Fahrenheit may be viewed by sensitive thermal detectors. Radiant heat is then converted to electrical energy, which is amplified and viewed as a visible image. Under the right conditions, infrared thermography is a quick and cost-effective approach for assessing hidden water damage. Because the heat capacity of water-damaged material is greater than that of dry material and air, areas of high moisture content appear either warmer or colder than the surrounding infrastructure.
Infrared thermography enables real-time, non-destructive analysis of building envelopes, roofs, and HVAC systems. Specific applications include water intrusion, air leakage, insulation checks, condensation problems, roofing surveys, EIFS/Stucco problems, subsurface heat sources, verification of construction details, mold contaminations, and sick building syndrome.
Infrared thermography can be used as a stand-alone service or as an integral component of stucco evaluations, mold inspections, moisture testing, roof inspections, or virtually any application related to building forensics. In addition to being non-destructive, infrared analysis provides a cost effective approach for routine monitoring of building performance and early detection of construction defects. We recommend verification of thermal anomalies with moisture surveys of suspected substrates. Infrared reports should include thermal and visual images, comprehensive documentation, and recommendations. Examples of infrared capabilities are demonstrated below:
The above figure is a visual image of a suspect wall. Vertical streaks below the window (blue) indicate thermal anomalies consistent with water-damaged sheathing. Moisture probing confirmed the presence of elevated moisture content. Removal of the vinyl siding during a follow-up inspection revealed the extent of damages, which included fungal contamination and rot.