Thermal Imaging True or False: What you can and can’t do with thermal imaging cameras

Thermal imaging is a valuable part of the toolkit we use to carry out inspections at Weather Tight Solutions. Most critically, it can be used to assist in identifying and the investigation of both moisture and insulation issues.

But there are some misconceptions out there too. We’ve rounded up some of the essential facts when it comes to what thermal imaging can do – and what it can’t.

Thermal imaging CAN detect the surface temperature of an area

As you would imagine from the name ‘thermal imaging’, the technology allows an inspector to capture an image of an area that indicates the varied temperatures of that surface. This in turn can be used to identify thermal anomalies like drafts, missing insulation i.e. cold areas. These cold areas can indicate the presence of moisture but the cameras do not specifically show moisture.

Thermal imaging CAN’T see moisture

Thermal imaging can play a part in identifying moisture issues, but it does this through specific temperature indicators, rather than a magic setting that immediately shows a leak issue. Colder areas can be an indicator of moisture – but that can mean other things too. Further investigation, such as non-invasive moisture readings and invasive testing, will be needed to get to the root of the problem.

Thermal imaging CAN’T see through walls

Contrary to what you might have been led to believe, thermal imaging isn’t an x-ray for moisture in your home. Different temperature readings may suggest that there is something amiss behind or within a wall – but the thermal imaging camera can’t see through the solid wall.

Thermal imaging CAN assess a home’s thermal performance

When there is poor-quality or missing insulation, or gaps where draughts are making their way into the house, thermal imaging is the ideal way to identify where the problems are, and allow us to work out a scope of works to ensure the issues are fixed correctly.

Thermal imaging CAN’T tell the whole story

Regardless of whether thermal imaging is being undertaken for moisture or insulation purposes, or for a general audit of a property’s condition, it’s still only one part of the whole picture. It can provide some critical information in the early stages, but it is only part of the investigation process.

In this era of leaky homes and wary lenders, many banks will request a thermal image survey of a property prior to approving lending. It is unfortunate that they do not understand what thermal imaging can and can’t do. It’s a way to get important insight into the state of your home (or your home-to-be) – whether that ultimately comes in the form of peace of mind or a reality check. But it is not the only diagnostic tool that we use. Do not rely on an inspector or a report that only uses thermal imaging.

Thermal imaging is a part of our arsenal at Weather Tight Solutions, and when combined with our other areas of expertise and specialist diagnostic equipment, the result will be a comprehensive specialist weathertightness building inspection and report. This will ensure you are fully informed as to the state of the property, including the requirements for needed repairs, maintenance and upgrading. Contact us today to book your specialist weathertightness building inspection and report.

Weather Tight Solutions NZ Ltd

Mark Waters – Senior inspector
021 1636 242


Weather Tight Solutions