Detecting Water Damage With Thermal Imaging

Thermal Imaging using Infrared technology is a great tool in detecting and locating water and moisture in building materials, drywall, wood, window frames, baseboards, flooring and ceilings.

Drywall, Floor and Ceiling Water Damage

Infrared thermal imaging involves the use of cameras that see infrared light rather than light that is visible to the human eye. Since infrared light actually transmits heat (the warmth of the sunlight on your skin is the result of infrared light), when that light is not detected, or is detected in low doses, it is an indicator of a cool spot. Detecting water damage with thermal imaging is possible because that water damage will almost always be cooler than surrounding dry spots.

Thermal Imaging- Drywall and Ceiling Water Damage DetectionMost of us are familiar with infrared light and thermal imaging technology through the use of night goggles used to see in the dark. However, it can also be used to see the difference in temperature between different objects. Water tends to hold its temperature more consistently than other materials in the home or workplace. While it is always possible that the source of any water might be some type of heating unit (like a water heater leak), in almost all cases by the time that water seeps undetected into walls or flooring, it will have cooled significantly.

Wall, floors, or ceilings that are saturated with water can be easily detected in this way, using thermal imaging. Infrared thermal imaging can be directed towards suspected water saturated locations;the wet material will stand out in a thermal image against its background due to being of slightly cooler temperature than the surrounding materials. Water damage that is hidden from sight(in carpeting, floorboards, a ceiling, or behind drywall)will be seen with infrared cameras.

It takes a skilled professional to recognize the signs of water damage in these thermal images – don’t forget; cool spots behind a wall or under a floor could be the result of concrete or stone supports, nails and other metal joiners, or a host of standard building materials. Being able to detect water damage with thermal imaging is not as simple as being able to detect a cool spot against a warm background. Thermal imaging is simply one more tool in the arsenal of the professional water damage specialist, and will quite often be the quickest and surest way for that specialist to isolate potential water damage.