The Reality of Thermal Imaging

The Truth about Thermal Imaging

There are many misconceptions about the use of thermal imaging and so I wanted to give you an overview of what thermal imaging actually is. What it isn’t and how it can provide value if the thermal scan is performed accurately.  

Thermal imaging is one of THE BEST ways to detect the number one cause of damage to a property – which is water. Water damage unattended can result in structural problems, mould, and more; leaving you with an unplanned costly repair. It is vital to detect any potential water problems as early as possible.

What is Thermal Imaging and How Does it Work?

Thermal imaging is the use of a thermal camera to capture images which show differences in surface temperatures. These differences are shown by different colours on a colour scale. Any small differences in temperature can be the indication of moisture levels. It’s a good idea to have all areas such as walls or ceilings near plumbing fixtures and areas around appliances scanned at a minimum. When a difference is detected, it can be measured with a moisture meter to see if there is moisture present.

Thermal imaging is not an invasive test, and does not allow you to see through walls. Since it only detects differences in temperature, it isn’t detecting moisture directly—which is why it’s necessary to further investigate differences with a moisture meter. Also, it is not useful for measuring insulation problems because the indoor and outdoor temperatures may be very similar. For example, if the temperature indoors and outdoors is -10 Celsius, it will not pick up any insulation problems because there is no temperature in-difference.

Question to ask your inspector:

  1. Are they FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) trained? FLIR is the world leader in Thermal training; secondly FLIR has come out with new technology that will visually detect moisture/coolness spots. The FLIR (MR 160) device has means for probes that can check for moisture underneath baseboards and walls without causing any damage.

In a recent study 75% of inspectors own thermal equipment; however, only 50% of inspectors use their thermal cameras on inspections performed and ONLY 5% of inspectors polled by CAPHI (Canadian Association Property Home Inspectors) were confident they were providing accurate information to their clients.

Wow! I was surprised to read those stats.

Choosing the right inspector will save you money!!


CBC News Release: 'Attic Rain' causes problems when cold snaps end

Attic rain more likely to affect energy-efficient homes

Attic rain can be more common in newer, energy-efficient homes that do a better job containing warm air and moisture, said Howells.

All it takes is a few holes around fixtures such as bathroom vents and lights to send warm air into the attic.

"We've seen it as thick as six to eight inches of frost," he said.

Darrell Paul, with Qualistat Building Performance Consultants, says the problem could be more noticeable this winter.

"If you've got a long period of time when you've got that cold and all of a sudden it warms up very quickly, people can have water dripping into their ceiling," he said.

"We've had, especially this year with all the cold weather we've had — extended cold weather — we've had a significant number of phone calls."

Paul says he hopes that new building code regulations will help address some of the design and airflow issues that contribute to attic rain.

Homeowners urged to inspect attics

Meanwhile, Lysack is still assessing the damage and whether repairs can be covered by insurance or his home warranty, but he has advice for other homeowners.

"I think you should go up in your attic to look around, especially when it's cold and see if you have problems like that."

Howells says homeowners can also look for signs like water streaks on the exterior walls of the home.

The dark blue spots in this thermal image show water pooling on the ceiling of a Calgary home. (Jeff Howells/Nu Level Inspections)

Shared from the CBC News

A home inspection should be a must!

January 8, 2017

Let's Skip the Home Inspection - what, are you crazy?

Karen Patterson on Jan 8, 2017 11:34 AM

Categories:Home Inspection, Why inspect your home, Condo inspection prior to purchase

“a full home inspection … is the best defense against future liability for the seller and the most assured way a buyer can feel comfortable with the home purchase”

- Tory Graham, CEO, Managing Partners at Weichert Realtors. Kansas, Missouri

Buying a home can be a very challenging and stressful time, especially when it comes to deciding whether to conduct a home inspection. As a professional real estate agent, my feeling is that it is part of the process, and shouldn’t be an option, regardless of the type or style of property being purchased. I feel so strongly about this topic that I decided to write about it, so that others can learn how important a home inspection is and why it is worth every penny.

Recently I had the good fortune to sit down with a professional home inspector based in Calgary and chat about what he does and how it is an important part of due diligence before waiving conditions on a home. Tyrone Mellon has a 19+ year background in residential and commercial construction, and has been a fully licensed inspector for several years in and around Calgary. I hope that this information adds weight to your decision to professionally inspect you investment. 

Why is a home inspection important to buying a home?

A home is most likely your largest investment in your lifetime. By having a bonded, insured and qualified inspector inspect the house components (roofing, structural, electrical, plumbing, cooling, heating, exterior and interior) will give the home seller the piece of mind and confidence when purchasing the home in question. This will also allow you and your family to sleep better at night knowing you have made the right decision.

Why is a home inspection important for a condo purchase?

Purchasing a condominium, ether brand new or resale, can have water damage or construction defects. These concerns can and will equal a future cash call that may not be on your radar. Understanding the facts and ages of the components (including the air conditioning units on the condo property) allows you to budget or negotiate the purchase price to factor any surprises.

Of course, a condominium document review is strongly suggested to compliment the home inspection, as a way of understanding the condo corporation and if any special assessments are on the horizon for the building and the workings inside and outside. I will address the condominium document review in a future blog post.

What are three issues that you see come up the most in home inspections?

  1. Settling concrete foundations (small cracks, large cracks)
  2. Poor moisture management in homes - i.e. possible mold in the walls/ceiling
  3. Older components in furnaces, hot water tanks, boilers, humidifiers, electrical panels (i.e. aluminum wiring, loose connections, etc.) all requiring long over due maintenance or replacement.

Home owners can also call for an inspector to inspect their home prior to listing, as a way of knowing what state the home is presently and to give a sort of heads up and knowing what might come up with the buyer’s inspection.

Stay tuned for part two when we look at what a person should look for in a home inspector and why. 

If you would like to book a home inspection with Tyrone Mellon, please contact him directly:

403.993.8006 or

If you have real estate related questions, please feel free to contact me directly, or 403.370.6442.

Thank you for your time and have a great day, stay warm! 




I read this uplifting article from CBC - Another positive for Calgary's Real Estate Market!

Calgary's housing market saw a much-needed boost in October compared to the same month a year before, according to numbers released Tuesday by the Calgary Real Estate Board.

There were 1,644 units sold citywide — marking a 16 per cent increase over October 2015. The biggest jump came from sales of detached homes valued between $300,000 and $400,000.

The move marked the first time in two years sales numbers resembled what officials call a "normal" level, but they aren't getting excited just yet.

Rather than signaling the bottom of a downswing in the housing market, the increase in sales is likely the result of new mortgage rules coming into effect, CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie said in a release.

"The combination of all these factors may have encouraged some purchasers to take advantage of the market conditions, particularly in the lower price ranges," she said.

"However, with several factors at play, the monthly shift in demand may be temporary and will need to be monitored over the next several months."

The new mortgage rules aim to make it tougher for buyers to qualify if they put less than 20 per cent down.

Before the change, an Alberta family with a household income of $80,000 and a minimum down payment of five per cent would likely have qualified for a $400,000 home. Under the new rules, they'll now only be approved for a $320,000 home.

Calling the sales uptick a "nice building block," CREB president Cliff Stevenson said consistent sales over the course of a few months are necessary before the growth can be considered a trend.

"This year has been a challenge for many sellers," he said. "When we have a rise in sales, it means more buyers got into the market and more sellers got out, which is a positive for consumers on both sides of the transaction."

Despite the positive numbers in October, total sales so far in 2016 are down 6.3 per cent compared to the same period last year.