Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner

1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Design Build
Joined
·
6,681 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We have been renting a nice home up here since we moved here 3 years ago to work in the PNW. The HO have closed on a sale and an inspector came out to do his thing on behalf of the buyers. He had a Fluke Ti55FT Thermal camera. What a cool tool that is. He showed me every stud...it was like being Superman with x-ray vision. It stores digital images of the scans so he can email them to the customers........all for only $25K for the camera and $100 per hour labor rate.

He made $250 on this home alone.

Cool camera. It shows moisture inside a wall as a different color; it shows where all the framing, electrical, and plumbing are (since they are all different temps)

I know what I want for next christmas - x-ray vision.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,379 Posts
Interior or exterior photos? What time of the day?

He did not make $250 on the job since is just what he charged for the job.

He had to pay for the $25,000 camera, travel to and from ($0.xx/ mile plus time) the job and them later interpret what the photos really mean, since the camera does not do anything but give images. The $25,000 camera may be obsolete in a year or two (like all electronics) and the better replacement will be cheaper - not like normal construction hardware and equipment.

Interpreting thermal images is not for amateurs. Different materials conduct heat at different rates and they really depend on the time the image was taken (especially for glass and brick veneer) depending on the orientation especially if you a fan of the short term pink panther R-value approach. Studs will always show the "thermal short circuiting" caused by the wood that embarrasses the pink panther's R-value claims for wall insulations. Framing around doors and windows and at corners will also be embarrassing.

Brick veneer on the outside of the thermal insulation will always show a false heat loss in the evening, but will look wonderful most of the time because they absorb solar energy. Windows are the most notorious, no matter how many panes and what gas is pumped in, but will always be worse in the evening on clear nights when the radiant heat loss is the greatest - that is why drapes or even decent blinds are a great help and do more good at night that glass and gas.

The interpretation and meaning of the images is worth more than the images. $250 could be a bargain or a waste of money depending on the quality of the image.
 
  • Like
Reactions: superseal

·
"Pro"
Joined
·
628 Posts
Fluke makes some nice/expensive test equipment, I heard they have an awesome warranty with everything too. Would be cool to have a thermal imager to see everything like Predator!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,379 Posts
Wallmax - Interior or exterior shots and what time of the day?

For real heat loss these are the long term factors that the pink panther likes to ignore because the entire sales effort is based on short term situations and not long term savings. Wood (and more dramatically steel studs) can skew the photographically depending on the short term photo timing. Even conduit and plumbing can cause short term images in lightweight construction (wood/steel framing) because heavyweight construction is not as sympathetic to short term situations.

Most home inspectors that just own a thermal camera may not be qualified for opinions. If that was a professional that had the qualifications to offer an opinion on the images. An amateur would not fork out $25,000 for camera without additional knowledge or credentials. $250 is a bargain or just cheap a Craig's listing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
838 Posts
Interior or exterior photos? What time of the day?

He did not make $250 on the job since is just what he charged for the job.

He had to pay for the $25,000 camera, travel to and from ($0.xx/ mile plus time) the job and them later interpret what the photos really mean, since the camera does not do anything but give images. The $25,000 camera may be obsolete in a year or two (like all electronics) and the better replacement will be cheaper - not like normal construction hardware and equipment.

Interpreting thermal images is not for amateurs. Different materials conduct heat at different rates and they really depend on the time the image was taken (especially for glass and brick veneer) depending on the orientation especially if you a fan of the short term pink panther R-value approach. Studs will always show the "thermal short circuiting" caused by the wood that embarrasses the pink panther's R-value claims for wall insulations. Framing around doors and windows and at corners will also be embarrassing.

Brick veneer on the outside of the thermal insulation will always show a false heat loss in the evening, but will look wonderful most of the time because they absorb solar energy. Windows are the most notorious, no matter how many panes and what gas is pumped in, but will always be worse in the evening on clear nights when the radiant heat loss is the greatest - that is why drapes or even decent blinds are a great help and do more good at night that glass and gas.

The interpretation and meaning of the images is worth more than the images. $250 could be a bargain or a waste of money depending on the quality of the image.
I want to say thanks for your post which is Very Well Said, as I have been to Thermal Imaging school-and was an Infared specialist at the plant I used to work at. The camera is just a tool & as you stated isn't for amuteurs. You can't just pick one up & use it & know what your seeing. Their is a lot more to it that meets the eye. It take alot of training to use the camera right & interpret the pic's as you stated.
You are also right about the $ part of it-including the camera. When I went to Infared school the cameras were 70 k's.
 

·
Spec-Pro
Joined
·
22 Posts
Interior or exterior photos? What time of the day?

He did not make $250 on the job since is just what he charged for the job.

He had to pay for the $25,000 camera, travel to and from ($0.xx/ mile plus time) the job and them later interpret what the photos really mean, since the camera does not do anything but give images. The $25,000 camera may be obsolete in a year or two (like all electronics) and the better replacement will be cheaper - not like normal construction hardware and equipment.

Interpreting thermal images is not for amateurs. Different materials conduct heat at different rates and they really depend on the time the image was taken (especially for glass and brick veneer) depending on the orientation especially if you a fan of the short term pink panther R-value approach. Studs will always show the "thermal short circuiting" caused by the wood that embarrasses the pink panther's R-value claims for wall insulations. Framing around doors and windows and at corners will also be embarrassing.

Brick veneer on the outside of the thermal insulation will always show a false heat loss in the evening, but will look wonderful most of the time because they absorb solar energy. Windows are the most notorious, no matter how many panes and what gas is pumped in, but will always be worse in the evening on clear nights when the radiant heat loss is the greatest - that is why drapes or even decent blinds are a great help and do more good at night that glass and gas.

The interpretation and meaning of the images is worth more than the images. $250 could be a bargain or a waste of money depending on the quality of the image.
I agree as well. There are many home inspectors who use those cameras and tell people they have "x-ray" vision. Unfortunately they don't know what they're looking at most of the time. A doctor can hand me an x-ray of my lungs but I wouldn't be able to tell you what I am looking at, but that is why that doctor goes to so many years of medical school.

Also, $250 is extremely cheap. Someone who really knows what they are doing, and are sought after for their expertise, are generally very busy don't give bargain priced inspection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,841 Posts
there are other FLIR technology devices that do just as well.

If you understand FLIR, its easier to understand the material sciences.

I've been debating getting one- as its extremely useful to also find things like leaks in the wall, out of spec wiring, squirrels in the attic....
 

·
Sean
Joined
·
5,519 Posts
MM - FLIR is another manufacturer of said infrared cameras. Basically all the infrared cameras are forward looking

If you are serious about getting into it I would look into taking a Level I class by the Snell Group to not only see what it can do, the limitations, but also to try out all the cameras before you decide to drop anywhere from a grand to 30 grand on them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
581 Posts
Several years ago the now ex-wife, or as i like to call her "She Who Shall Not Be Named" had on inspection done on the house we ended up buying.
The inspector called me into the guest bathroom and asked "what do you see", I replied a bathroom.... he then told me to look at ceiling over the tub and see if I noticed anything, I didn't.... he then handed me his IR camera and right there above the tub was an energized ceiling can that had been rocked right over and it was glowing as if there was a light bulb in it!
Pretty cool piece of equipment!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,271 Posts
while there may be some esoteric things that take some training to decipher I would bet there are obvious things revealed by a flir that could prove useful to almost anyone that has any interaction with actual wall construction
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
Top