Many times you will see on a TV show like HGTV, or in a news article someone using infrared to find issues. But what do all those red and blue blobs mean exactly? And is thermal imagig something that is important to have done - especially during a home inspection?
The short answer to the second question is yes - thermal imaging is very important during a home inspection. Thermal imaging doesn't see through walls or give anyone x-ray vision. But what it does do is allow its user to see temperature differentials in surfaces.
And that is exactly what those blue and red blobs are on the camera. Blue is typically cooler areas and red is typically hotter (relative to the surface temperatures around it). That may not sound like much at first glance, but this allows a trained user to find electrical issues that can't be seen with the human eye. It makes leaks more apparent - because as the moisture evaporates, it creates "blue blobs" on the IR camera.
These are just a couple of examples of why thermal imaging is important - especially on a home inspection. It is far more complex than that though, so be sure to hire a qualified thermal imaging inspector.
Flashing - we likely hear people talk about it, know that it is important, and know that if we don't have it then we have an issue.
Flashing is typically a thin sheet/strip of water-resistant material (usually metal or plastic) that's installed at key areas of your home to keep water out. Examples of this are roof intersections, penetrations, valleys, and more. It is also used around things like windows and doors, where roofs meet your home's walls, in key areas around stucco, and along foundation walls. All of this so that it can do one essential job: direct water away from the home.
Flashing guides water away from the home in critical areas. Without proper flashing, our homes would be lost to the elements. Knowing this, when hiring a contractor to build or repair a home, be sure to ask about their flashing methods and what materials they will use. Also, be sure to ask your home inspector about the condition of your home's flashing. Because while not always seen, flashing is one of the big "Heros" of your home!
Mike McFadden, Certified Master Home Inspector in Orlando, FL