In 2010 an international television celebrity declared himself guru of the home inspection industry in North America, and because of his popularity, launched a television series promoting the same. There is an old business strategy, “Make yourself different from the others so you stand out.” In this case, he proved the strategy correct when he chose to promote infrared cameras as a major home inspection tool. Along with sci-fi type support from movies and forensic science television programs that focus on entertainment with little concern for facts, he was well on his way to bringing something different to the viewing public. Overall, it was an extremely effective and successful business strategy, which in this case, resulted in a successful TV series for him and a dramatic increase in sales for the manufacturers of infrared imagery equipment. Yes, very successful for Mr. TV Celebrity, his sponsor and the infrared industry in general; however, not so good for the trusting public or the home inspection industry.

Yes, I.R. imagers are an excellent diagnostic tool having many applications. However, they cannot see through walls, they can’t see through anything, they can’t see water, and they can’t see mold, all they measure is the infrared energy (a type of temperature) of a surface. Further, in order for them to provide any useful information they require a very controlled set of conditions and operating environment, which typically are not available at the time of a home inspection.

Some inspectors will try to convince you that owning an I.R. camera makes you a good inspector. The truth is that a fancy camera does not make up for education, training or experience. Just because you own a stethoscope doesn’t make you a doctor!

And no, I do not have an I.R. camera.

"Chatham-Kent's Registered Home Inspector (RHI)"
Wood Energy Technology Transfer