Our natural impulse, when faced with a consumer-type camera, is to say “cheese,” strike a pose, and admire images of ourselves. But the more technical camera systems also capture what is invisible to the naked eye—and by virtue of this, are in popular use in many industries, including in agriculture, defense, and astronomy.
An example of a more technical type of cameras is one that employs infrared camera technology. With its ability to detect infrared radiation, it can be used in applications that have to do with home safety and security.
How do infrared cameras work, what innovations increase their functionality, and what will they help you determine about your home? Read on for a quick and thorough review of the importance of infrared cameras in home inspections.
Infrared Cameras, Reading Heat, and Finding Patterns
To begin, infrared cameras, also called thermal imaging cameras or thermal imagers, serve the purpose of recording the infrared radiation from objects within their field of vision. Based on these, infrared cameras produce what are called thermograms or images of an object’s unique heat signature, as different materials exhibit different amounts of infrared radiation.
The images captured by an infrared camera typically display hues of red, orange, and yellow for warm surfaces, or blue, purple, and green for the cooler surfaces. All of these are possible to capture within seconds, or just about the amount of time that it would take for a regular photo.
Even if these devices are in no way complicated to use, a formidable infrared camera powered with a mini motor will serve the key purpose of accurately displaying the temperature signature of an object. Infrared cameras operate at a much higher wavelength than ordinary cameras, of up to as much as 14,000 nanometers (14 μm). Miniature motion control factors into this kind of device’s efficacy in the areas of detection accuracy, precision, and speed. As such, a house inspector, real estate agent, or concerned homeowner would want this kind of technology on their side in order to obtain a full picture of the condition of a property.
Uses in Home Inspection
Being able to determine all of these unique patterns in color, temperature, and radiation unlocks a many opportunities to improve the condition of a home. Images captured with infrared technology yield thermal patterns that can be read as normal or abnormal, and bring to light problems such as the accumulation of mold or moisture, air leakage, lack of insulation, or—worst comes to worst—any presence of electrical issues or fire hazards.
Home inspectors are constantly on the lookout for notable patterns as regards the following, among others:
Excess or lack of heat in a home based on the functionality of radiators;
Presence or absence of a proper insulation system;
How heat travels through the home’s ventilation systems;
Conspicuous stains on the home’s walls or ceilings;
Leakages or any potential cause of leakage;
Potential electrical issues from objects suffering overheat.
Professionals choose to utilize infrared camera technology because of its many advantages, not least because it’s a cost-efficient and accurate way to conduct a home inspection, as opposed to tedious and error-prone manual inspections of each area in the house. Precise readings from an infrared camera pave the way for quick and informed action to be made on the home, whether it be in clearing away stains and mold, repairing the home’s heating systems, or fireproofing it with better materials.
And the ideal that inspectors work toward, of course, is the assurance that a homeowner can safely and comfortably live their day-to-day lives in their residence. Infrared cameras thus provide a captivating glimpse of what “fires up” home life—in fascinating, and meaningful, shades of red, yellow, green, or blue.