Thermal Camera Inspections

Bugs or us Pest Control are able to use our Testo 882 thermal camera during a termite inspection or pre purchase timber pest inspection. This camera has a resolution of 320 X 240 which gives a camera over 78000 measuring points.  Realistically in our opinion this camera has a minimum resolution of a thermal camera that should be used during a termite inspection. When using a thermal camera on a termite inspection or pre-purchase inspection we are looking for thermal anomalies that can be detected by the thermal camera.  A thermal anomaly can be caused by several things such as moisture leaks,  termite mudding or a bibuac in a wall cavity or ceiling. When an anomaly is detected it is our job to then determine the reason for this, this may be done by a simple visual inspection or the use of other specialist tools and or a last resort, an invasive inspection.

What are the benefits of using a thermal camera?

The benefits of a thermal camera is that we were able to get a picture of the whole exposed wall or ceiling compared to someone using a moisture metre. An inspector only using a moisture meter will only get a reading on where it is placed, which is not all over the wall and very rarely on the ceiling. Water leaks on the roof can be detected after recent rain which becomes very relevant in a pre-purchase inspection and handy information for a general home owner having a termite inspection done.

It should be understood that a thermal camera is only one inspection tool, all tools they have their limitations but also their advantages and with the use of a quality thermal camera we can provide a broader more comprehensive assessment of the condition of the building we inspect.

What is the importance of resolution in a thermal camera?

The reason resolution is important he’s much the same as when you use a normal camera if you want to make a poster and you use a 12 megapixel camera you will get a very nice poster but if you only use a camera that has 3 megapixels the poster will look very blurry. This relates to a thermal camera as the better the resolution the better chance you have of detecting the slightest thermal anomaly.  An explanation of this would be that the camera we use has 78000 measuring points where someone may be using a camera that only has a resolution of 120 X  120 and will only have 14000 measuring points therefore it will require much more extreme differences for it to give an accurate image to the technician.

Is it more expensive to have an inspection with the thermal camera?

No Bugs Or Us Pest Control uses the thermal camera on all of our inspections as we feel it gives you a better job and result .

What about the Australian standards and thermal cameras?

Australian standards which have been recently updated and does recommend the use of a thermal camera if high moisture is detected. However there is no Australian standard to which the thermal camera should be used to. You should note that Bugs Or Us are not qualified thermographers but do have a general understanding of how to use the camera thermal camera to get the information we require during a termite inspection or pre-purchase inspection. We would expect that very few technicians or inspectors in the industry are qualified thermographers. We have been using a thermal camera since 2013 to help us detect termite.

Can you see the wall framing studs in a wall?

Unfortunately no while on some images we can see outlines of the wall framing or studs we do not actually see the framing. What we are seeing is the difference in temperature on the wall lining of the air and the framing material therefore giving us a picture of what looks like wall framing or studs. So when we are not getting very clean rectangular lines or uniform lines in a wall cavity and we may start seeing some round areas or unusual shapes this is what we would determine to be a thermal anomaly and therefore use other equipment to try and determine the cause of this anomaly.

Can the weather affect how effective the thermal camera is on an inspection?

Yes it does and it is up to the technician to determine what he’s actually looking for on the screen of the camera to determine the cause of an anomaly. An example of this would be on a very hot day the space in between the framing Timbers would be very hot and therefore if there  was termite mudding in this area it may come up as a cold area in comparison to the air but on a cold day there may not be a visual picture of the wall framing as the temperature of the air and the timber is very uniform and therefore the termite mudding would appear to be hot if it was present. If there has been recent rain or an extensive amount of rain sometimes a moisture leak in the roof may be able to be detected in the ceiling but obviously if there is a drive period of time they will not be any moisture in the ceiling for us to detect if there is a moisture issue.

Are Thermal Camera Inspections the BEST?

No. A thermal camera is only a tool to assist the inspector, while it is better to use one than not a thermal camera on its own is not the best option. If there is not large amounts of mudding or extensive activity it will not change the thermal image, therefore not giving us a reason to inspect further.

Thermal cameras are getting cheaper and cheaper so if you decide to use someone who is using a thermal camera make sure they have a quality camera and ask them about its resolution so you know they are not using a thermal camera with little benefit.

We find our termite detection dog and Termatrac T3i are of more benefit in detecting active termites during an inspection than a thermal camera. 

If you have any further questions regarding the use of our thermal camera for your inspection please do not hesitate to call or email us.

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