Rhinebeck Blogger Tony Salamone’s Infrared Diagnostics: Real Estate in Today’s Market

In today’s real estate market flush with foreclosures, short sales, and many home often left unoccupied for long periods of time, its never been more important for home buyers to exercise extreme caution and due-diligence before closing the deal.
 rotted wall3

To put this in perspective, I was inspired to write this post after reviewing an impressive looking 28 page home inspection report from a young family who just closed on their 1st house.  While painting their new living room, sadly discovered one of the exterior walls to be badly water damaged and deteriorated from an undetected leak. Without getting into the murky legal  aspects of the matter or the estimated $20,000 repair bill, I’m going to focus on how thermal imaging can help savvy home buyers locate hidden problems such as water damage, leaks, deficient insulation, and faulty electrical components.

To better understand how this technology works, all objects emit invisible infrared light (heat energy) in proportion to their temperature that cannot be seen by the naked eye. For example, in the case of a hidden leak or water damage, wet building materials will have a distinctly different surface temperature than their dry counterparts due to the high thermal capacitance of water and evaporative cooling. Similarly, areas with missing or damaged insulation can also be easily located as can electrical components on the verge of failure – all by virtue of their unique thermal signature.

In short, all homes and buildings regardless of their construction, age, or disposition can harbor many elusive problems that aside from tearing open a wall are impossible to detect. The great value of thermal imaging is it provides us with a completely non-invasive inspection technology that can not only detect these problem, but also produce vivid images that can help home buyers save thousands of dollars and avoid unanticipated repair bills.


Tony Salamone  Certified Level II Thermographer specializing in electrical condition monitoring and infrared building science.