Infrared Building Surveys – What’s Included?

Are you considering hiring a professional infrared building survey company?

What’s included in the quote?

One of the common questions people will ask when calling for a free quote, is “What do you do during the infrared building inspection?”.

You will see exactly what’s included on our ‘contact us’ page, but before that, it’s also important to know what the purpose of an infrared building inspection report is, and why you actually want to get it done in the first place… because most people just hear about thermal imaging, and go with the flow without understanding what it’s actually about and how infrared cameras work to benefit you.

When you walk into a house and look at the ceiling, what do you see? You most likely see some gib board and lighting… and that’s all we would see also. Using an infrared camera, this is what we see (that dark spot is a hidden leak)….

ceiling parapet leak

What about when you look around the walls of the home during your initial visit to the home? You see windows and walls… that’s about it. During an infrared thermal imaging building survey, this is what the walls look like…

Infrared Building Wall Frame Image

How’s the house looking for insulation… how do you know if there is insulation in a wall or ceiling space of a house? Here’s what we see in your potential future house…

See how the external wall is a different temperature to the ceiling? No ceiling insulation.
See how the external wall is a different temperature to the ceiling? No ceiling insulation.

These pictures taken in NZ houses demonstrate how the infrared camera gets a completely different ‘view’ of the house to what standard building inspection survey companies will see.

Our infrared house inspection surveys will detect all kinds of annomalies behind walls that are impossible for the human eye to see… and we also deploy back up moisture testing methods during our building survey to achieve the best possible results we can without needing to put holes through the wall.

Read more about what’s included on the contact us page.

Infrared Electrical Surveys – 2000+ Switchboards Imaged

Our company has successfully conducted infrared electrical surveys on 1000’s of switchboards in NZ.

With more and more insurance companies referring their commercial clients to us, infra red electrical surveys are quickly becoming the most requested service we offer… all over NZ. Infrared thermographic imaging allows us to quickly and easily determine if an electrical fault is ‘in the making’, allowing you to make a targetted repairs without causing further faults in the system down stream.

If you’ve never had your company switchboards imaged with an infrared camera, then now could be the time. The other advantage to our service, is that we can see if the boards have been neglected, dusty, rats living inside etc etc… all the potential fire dangers that you may not have thought of. Rats like to chew the insulation off wiring, so we’ll keep an eye out for those types of small issues on the way around your switchgear as part of the service.

We are a preferred supplier of thermographic infrared electrical surveys all over NZ, so we can certainly service your company with our accurate service and reporting standards which will comply with insurance company requirements. Read about the types of companies we already service here…

Locating Leak Damage on Wall Frame Stud

Moisture or leaks infiltrating your wall frame studs can cause problems, regardless if the timber is treated or not.

One of the most common questions I get asked when someone calls me for a pre purchase thermal leak inspection, is “Should I worry about getting a leak/moisture test because the timber is treated?”. YES!

For example: Lets say the home is only 4 years old (Built to the new building code… treated timber on external framing), and there was a window joinery failure from day 1. If the window has been getting hit by wind driven rain on a regular basis, then ‘gradual leak damage’ could occur on the timber framing if the water didn’t get out through the cavity. The same scenario would apply  for pre 1992 built homes… in fact, the timber framing will rot no matter when the place was built if enough water gets to it.

Here’s an infrared thermal imaging leak photo of a wet wall stud in a home with treated timber…

The darker wall stud is a different temperature... couldn't be seen on the wall as indicated in right hand image
The darker wall stud is a different temperature... couldn't be seen on the wall as indicated in right hand image

Locating a leak in one section of a wall can be simple with the right leak detection equipment. If you have any doubt at all in the home you are buying… get it checked for leaks, because the home owner may have fixed the source of the leak, but not the damage it caused along the way.

The benefit of our thermal imaging camera, is that ‘tricky’ vendors who paint over walls and ceilings in an attempt to hide leak marks will get caught out, because if there is moisture on the gib at the time of inspection, no paint will hide it, as it will be a different temperature… which is exactly what our infrared camera will detect and locate.

Thermal Imaging of Computer Data Centres

Do you have  a computer data centre that your company relies on to make money? 

Having access to your data is absolutely critical, and the last thing you need is a shutdown due to an overheated component. Periodic thermal imaging inspections of your data center should be seriously considered in your regular maintenace scheduales.

As of late, some insurance companies are now insisting on thermal inspections of data centers to reduce their chances of having to pay out on a claim due to failed equipment and lost data.

What type of potential issues are we looking for?

Most data centers and computer systems work in such a way, that if one component fails, then all other components relying on that one failed component will most likely fail also. When we conduct the infrared inspections of your computer systems, we prefer to start at the original source that is powering the whole system, then work our way back towards the computer. The inspection needs to be conducted during business hours to ensure maximum power load is being drawn through your system (There’s no point inspecting a data centre running at 50% capacity, as a vital fault area could be missed).

We will also check any back up generator systems that the data center is connected to. Again, we need to have someone on site who has the knowledge of how to switch the system over to back up so we can test it under load.

Step 1: We check out the main switchboard which feeds your computer system for loose connections, hot spots, faulty switches etc.

Step 2: Your UPS (uninterruptible power supply). We conduct a thermal scan on all terminals, inverters (where capacitors and fuses are housed), and input connections.

Step 3: Your system should have a battery section. We check to see how fast they heat up and cool down. Batteries that may need replacement will  generally heat up and cool down quickly (the cells have failed).

We take several other steps as we head ‘downstream’ towards the server racks and beyond.

At the end of the day, your company and customers need a reliable computer system to avoid financial loses. Most of the companies who set up and maintain large data centres are usually on the ball… but they won’t see what an infrared thermal imaging camera will see. Too many companies get caught out with electrical failures because they don’t check in advance before they happen. Does your company? Once you see how our thermal camera detects faults in computer systems, you’ll quickly see why insurance companies are taking advantage of our service.

If you’ve never had a thermal imaging inspection as part of your computer data centre preventative maintenance scheduale, then give us a call for a free quote! We’ll get the job done, and provide you with a written report with all infrared images taken during the inspection.

How Much Does an Infrared Building Inspection Cost?

Are you paying too much for your building inspection?

The reason I decided to write this article, is because a real estate agent who was present with me during a recent infrared building inspection made an interesting observation.

She said “How much do you charge for an infrared building inspection?”

I gave her the figure based on the size of the house we were inspecting at the time, and to my surprise, she said “That’s half the price of what some other companies are charging for a similar inspection!”. Now I can’t speak for other companies and how they operate, but she said my inspection is very similar to what most other companies do… and she has obviously seen plenty of pre purchase moisture tests over her 27yrs in the business.

There is no set inspection price to charge clients in our industry, and what you get for your money can vary… so make sure you do your homework.

How much does a building inspection cost?

Generally, it’s based on the size of the house and what you require. For example, if you don’t require a written report (verbal inspection), then our company charges less because time has been saved not having to put the report together.

Be sensible before making a decision on which home inspection company to use. Take a look at the company testimonials, check out their ‘about us’ page, make sure they specialise in what they do, and take a good look at example of their work. AND… make sure they don’t offer further services to fix the problems once they find them… because some companies may have a cheap building inspection fee up front, then sell you services to fix the leaks, or sell you whatever else they can to make more money out of the job.

An example of what I’m talking about here, is a home I inspected in Mt Roskill recently which had signs of two leaks under each end of a single window. Instead of doing an invasive test first (logical way to go), some local builder came around and told the home owner he will need to take out ALL the windows around the whole house and install sill flashings. Hmmmm.

Make sure you get multiple quotes for any type of remedial work that needs doing on your home… prices can vary wildly for the exact same job.

We quote you a fixed price over the phone… and it doesn’t change once we get there!

Thermographic Survey of Electrical Systems – NZ

Here is exactly why a regular thermographic survey of company electrical systems is so important.

I inspect switchboards for many different private, commercial and insurance companies right across NZ, but the latest infrared electrical inspection in particular was quite interesting… for all the wrong reasons (In my opinion).

When you have a 24/7 operation, a thermal imaging survey every 6 months should be strictly enforced… not every 9 or 12 months. Recently, I was called out to an oil rig that had just experienced a fire in one of the main switchboard rooms nine months after the first thermographic inspection was carried out. If this company had maintained a strict policy for every 6 months, then this hot spot/fire hazard would have been picked up well in advance. To make matters worse, it was at 1:00am in the morning when the alarm went off. The crew of 40+ workers woke up to a fire on a ship full of oil. Not good. Put yourself in that position!

Upon the re-inspection of the surrounding switchboards in the same electronics room, I found another huge hot spot caused by a loose connection on the back of a sea water injection pump. The temperature at the connection was 167 degress! Here’s the photo…

Hot Spot Caused by Loose Connection
Hot Spot Caused by Loose Connection

This was a large offshore operation, so it was easy enough to shut this pump down and switch to the back up pump. It didn’t end there…

Next… I was thermal imaging a lighting panel in the engine room, and suddenly a glowing 92 degrees hot spot was coming off a 20amp breaker. Further testing showed 27 amps running through. It turns out the breaker and cables were under rated. One fire and two potential fires found within 3 weeks… this is not a record to brag about… but it can happen to any company who turns a blind eye to the importance of electrical system faults.

Remember, it only takes one hidden loose connection to potentially ‘bring the house down’. This is why some insurance companies now require thermal imaging prior to issuing a policy.

If you are considering a thermal imaging thermographic inspection, then now is the time. As the above company recently found out, it can turn out to be very expensive if you just ‘hold off’ for a few weeks or months… or not at all.  More electrical fault photos here

Swollen or Bulging Skirting Board? Leak

One of the most common indicators of a leak is a swollen skirting board.

Commonly referred to as a ‘blowen skirting’.

The key is to find the leak source before it gets to the point of doing damage, but that’s not always possible. So where is it coming from in the first place?

The following thermal imaging photo shows you what I found during a house inspection in Sumner, Christchurch. In this case, the skirting was actually in tact and not showing any signs of swelling due to mositure , yet the thermo camera picked up the problem right away….

Dark area indicates hidden leak
Dark area indicates hidden leak

Wouldn’t you prefer to know this before buying the house!

This particular leak was actually coming from the roof, and running down the side of the window frame and showing itself at the bottom of the wall/skirting area. There was a cladding detail running around the perimeter of the house that was flat of top, so the water had no way of running off. The cause of the leak was a crack in the polystyrene cladding above this detail just below the roof line.

We find leaks and moisture… that’s all we do.

Infrared Building Inspections – NZ’s Biggest Infrared Website!

Before purchasing a home in NZ, especially in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch, an infrared building inspection should be considered.

Is someone trying to offload you a lemon?

On this website, you will find many photos of problems we’ve found in houses when conducting infrared building inspections.

Infrared allows us to see potential issues that alot of building inspection companies may not see. Because thermal imaging works on heat, it’s impossible for the human eye to see these hidden problems. There have been many occasions when we’ve identified leaks with the infrared camera that haven’t yet penetrated the surface, thus allowing the new home owner to get a good feel for what they are really buying into.

Not sure if you should get an infrared moisture inspection? – READ WHY HERE .

Still not sure?… take a look HERE

We insert infrared photos into the building inspection report that we provide you as part of your pre purchase inspection.

Hidden Water Leak Found Under Window

Have you ever heard the saying “What you don’t know won’t hurt you“?

The home owner of this Glenfield (Auckland) home below no longer agrees with the above statement.

On a routine home thermal imaging inspection yesterday, we uncovered a huge water leak around a window that certainly wasn’t visable to the human eye.

window leak thermal imaging

The only hint we had of potential moisture ingress in the area, was a small piece of paint that had slightly changed colour at the bottom of the wall on the bottom floor. This particular leak in the photo was originating from around a second floor window directly above the front door.

You will notice that in the righthand side of this picture, there is absolutely no sign of a leak? If you’ve been considering getting an infrared thermal imaging inspection, then this photo is a classic example of why you should get it done sooner rather than later.

Are you considering buying a home? This photo certainly demonstrates why you should get a moisture inspection in addition to a building inspection prior to handing over your hard earned dollars.

Here’s another window that leaked not long after being fixed in a North Shore home, as seen through our infrared camera…

The dark area in the centre of the image is water below the window.

Contact us for a free quote!

Infrared Thermography Service – Thermal Imaging New Zealand

Are you considering utilising an infrared thermography service for your home or business?

Infrared thermography can solve a range of problems fast.

Through feedback from our residential and commercial clients here in NZ, the priority of getting an infrared thermography inspection as a first step to solve and fast track potential problems areas such as moisture & leaks in homes, and electrical issues in commercial operations, is at the top of their list in the future. Once you experience the time and money a thermal imaging inspection can potentially save you (i.e. Buying a home that leaks like a sive), it’s only then you’ll realise it’s a logical first step for any future related applications.

A classic example is an apartment we inspected in Auckland yesterday… a plumber had gone into the apartment and completely ripped off the gib board surrounding a water sprinkler that he suspected the leak was coming from. The apartment owner was not happy after coming up dry, as the leak entry point was no where near the sprinkler! The owner of the property will have to pay for the repair work out of her own pocket. We found the leak source elsewhere using our infrared camera.

Here’s some examples of what we use infrared thermography for – ‘Thermal Imaging Applications’