IR, I see what others will miss

IR, I see what others will miss

Updated 12/26/17, more ceiling leaks from 2nd floor bathrooms.

Recently in New Hampshire we were hit with a couple back to back heavy rain storms, some areas receiving more than 6” of rain.  To make matters worse we had high winds knocking down trees, and damaging homes as well as automobiles.  In one case a house along a river was swept away.

As this was happening I was still performing home inspections. Three of the four homes I inspected had roof leaks. What makes this interesting is these roofs appeared to be fine. However, as you’ll see thermal imaging found water leaks that may have been missed.

Single family drone view on a 19 year old roof, looks satisfactory. 

Left rear bedroom roof leak just above 3 season room on a roof that’s 19 years old.  Two additional leaks were found in the garage.

Two days later, is a series of photos of a roof leaks found in a 3 story multifamily, one dropping 3 floors.

Multifamily 3rd floor bathroom

Second floor kitchen below a roof valley.

Second floor master bedroom opposite wall from kitchen…no water stains present. Only seen with thermal imaging and verified with a moisture meter.

First floor kitchen, same inside valley leak dropping down 3 floors.

As with most home inspections no one knows about the leak until it’s found.

A home inspector not using IR “might” get a pass if this miss goes to court because a home inspection in NH is a visual inspection.

Updated 11.27.17

Waterlogged water tank, only seen with IR.

Taken from the NH SOP

j) “Home inspection” means the process by which an inspector visually examines the readily accessible systems and components of a home and which describes those systems and components in accordance with these standards of practice.


(l) “Inspect” means to examine any system or component of a building in accordance with Home 600, using normal operating controls and opening readily accessible covers. (m) “Inspector” means a person hired to examine any system or component of a building in accordance with these standards of practice.


(p) “Readily accessible” means available for visual inspection without requiring moving of personal property, dismantling, destructive measures, use of a ladder, or any action which will likely involve risk to persons or property.  

The key to a thorough and complete inspection is having the correct tools for the job.  This includes thermal imaging, ladders and use of a drone on high roofs weather permitting.

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Submitted by StephenGaudet