Thermal Imaging: Uses for Restoration Professionals February 22, 2018 – Posted in: Blog, Industrial

In the modern world, new technologies are making all sorts of tasks that once were labor intensive far more efficient and easier to execute. New technologies are touching the restoration industry, too, including thermal imaging for leak detection, moisture detection and many other uses.

What exactly is thermal imaging for restoration, though? How does it work, and how can a restoration professional harness its power for maximum benefit?

What Is Thermal Imaging?

In decades past, the best way to find moisture in a home was to rip into drywall or to pull back flooring. This, of course, was an invasive way to find leaks and standing water.

Today, restoration professionals can often use an infrared camera for water leak detection. Thermal imaging is basically using a tool to detect slight temperature differentials inside or outside of a home or business. The infrared camera used for thermal imaging creates a visual map that allows the user to pinpoint the exact location of leaks and moisture.

Uses for Thermal Imaging in Restoration

The uses for thermal imaging in restoration are plentiful. The primary use is during inspections when a restoration professional is first assessing a property and developing recommendations for the client. Again, in years past, an inspection might have called for a little bit of guesswork and even the need to pull back flooring or to cut through drywall. This was an intensive but necessary way to confirm whether or not there was moisture under flooring or inside of walls.

Restoration professionals today are often able to use thermal imaging for moisture detection and roof leaks. Rather than creating a mess during an inspection, professionals can simply use a handheld tool to search for signs of moisture and leaks.

Drones equipped with infrared equipment are making thermal imaging for restoration easier to scale as well. Add an infrared camera for water leak detection to a drone, and you can take readings from places that were once impossible to access. While it is important to follow Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and to ensure the safety of all involved, drones can make it far easier to get your work done — or to take on jobs that you previously had to turn away.

Tips for Using Thermal Imaging

What is the best way to harness the power of thermal imaging for moisture detection? Here is a look at some best practices and useful tips:

  • Receive the Right Training: Make sure you get the right training before you use thermal imaging technology. To the untrained eye, thermal imaging readings may be confusing and difficult to interpret. In time and with some training, however, you will be able to use thermal imaging for water leak detection effectively — allowing you to do your best work and deliver the best results for clients.
  • Consider the Weather: One of the biggest mistakes new users of thermal imaging technology make is letting the weather confuse their readouts and results. When you are using an infrared camera for water leak detection consider the time of year and related temperatures. For example, in the summer the temperature of the water in the wall, ceiling or floor could be the same as the temperature of the materials, especially if it has been a few days since the damaging event occurred. Whereas during colder seasons it will likely be easier to see temperature differences. If you are concerned that the seasonal temperatures may affect the thermal imaging readings you might try waiting until evening, when the building materials have started to cool, as the moisture will hold the heat for a longer period of time and you will better be able to see the temperature difference.
  • Always Take Moisture Readings: Thermal imaging for moisture detection should not be a replacement for taking moisture readings. You should always take moisture readings, and then use those numbers to reinforce and further confirm what you find with an infrared camera. With all the tools and technologies available to you today, there is no reason not to use them all in your recommendations for your clients.
  • Follow Regulations: Always follow relevant government regulations in your area. This is particularly important when it comes to using drones for thermal imaging for roof leaks and for similar purposes. Just as you need the right licenses to operate your business and provide restoration services, you should follow local and state regulations when using drones and thermal imaging for moisture detection. Check with FAA regulations and your local government agencies to make sure that you can legally use drones before investing in and utilizing them.

When you choose thermal imaging for restoration, and use it following best practices for success, you set your business on a trajectory for growth and can deliver the best possible results for your clients.