By Scott McFadzen, Master Water Restorer
The thermal imaging camera is fast becoming an important tool for professional restoration companies. These cameras allow us to see what the eye cannot, and provides an insight into what is happening behind that wall, which is wet from a recent rain event or a burst hose in the bathroom wall.
Take this picture for example:
The building assessor had been in two hours before me and said to the insured that the wall was okay, nothing was of concern and that only some painting was needed.
However, this picture shows the moisture behind the plasterboard between the sheet and brickwork.
If this was left, it would have been a perfect area for microbial growth to start and then cause secondary damage.
These cameras have for many years been very expensive and out of the reach for smaller companies due to their cost. But as times change, prices have lowered.
Does this mean you don’t get a great product anymore? Absolutely not! The latest in thermal cameras goes way beyond cool and is not out of reach for restoration professionals.
Today’s IR camera’s offer Wi-Fi and touch screens. It also comes with Moveable two temperature points on the screen, so you can get comparison temperatures on the building materials at two different points.
The Wi-Fi is my favourite and is a great marketing tool with my clients and the assessors that you may meet on the job. The Wi-Fi allows you to download an app and connect with IOS on any of your mobile devices.
This allows you to give your iPad to the insured and they can see exactly what you are seeing. I have done this onsite on some of my claims and it works. The insured can see what is going on behind the wall or in the ceiling. The assessor can also see why you may have removed a ceiling panel or have channelled off your dehumidifier into a cavity space.
The cameras also have video capabilities and picture in picture. This allows you to take real time photos and then send them to the assessors when you return to your office. It is also great for your records and file keeping.
Our team uses the thermal camera to check if the dry air is being processed onto wet areas or in hard to reach areas. Remember though, this does not replace the moisture sensor or hygrometers that you are currently using. This is another tool for your tool box as a professional restorer.
…Or an expensive stud finder!