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Ask the Expert: Home Inspections and Infared Thermal Imagers

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The second major issue concerns electrical safety and fire hazard. Where allowed by local law, the inspector will remove the covers off main distribution panels, subpanels and any other major disconnects in order to perform a scan of the breakers, fuses and wires. To aid in loading the panel for a better assessment, the inspector will turn on as many high drain devices such as electrical ranges, ovens, hot water tanks, air conditioning systems and clothes dryers as possible and where it is safe to do so.

The inspector will then scan the panels to see if there are any breakers, fuses or wires that exhibit an anomaly indicating abnormally high heat. This thermal image will always appear in the inspection report whether there are any anomalies in the image or not. Where anomalies present themselves in this general view, the inspector will readjust his imager into spot radiometer mode and get right down to the individual component to measure the temperature. The inspector can then determine whether the electrical system is operating within normal parameters or whether an electrician should be consulted to evaluate the system fully.

The scope of the home inspection has not changed dramatically, however, new tools such as infrared thermal imagers allow the inspector to be better informed about latent problems that haven’t manifested themselves visually yet, providing a better deal for all.

Trevor Welby-Solomon is the Vice President/Technical Services & Support for Pillar To Post Professional Home Inspection.

For more information, visit www.pillartopost.com.

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