From testers to drones My tool bag
Understanding my tool bag, Not all tools are used at all home inspections. The thermal and moisture meter are used when I am attempting to determine if a moisture stain, moisture damage is still active. Use of the drone has limitations: Too windy, rain, snow, too many trees, flight restrictions due to air ports, no fly zones (military). Also use of a drone will not be feasible if the roof is covered in snow / ice.  If I can, I will walk a roof. These limitaions would be noted in the inspection report as all other limitations are noted.
As of 2016 I have incorporated a tool that has proved to be of great value. A drone. A home inspector is not required to physically access a roof if that roof is deemed too steep, too high, too old, too wet, ice, snow or even too new. If the inspector decides that any of the previous reasons fit, then they stay on the ground - thus limiting the inspection of the home. But the inspector must state why they did not access the roof and how if at all inspected it. Why I use a drone - I don’t have to worry about falling from a roof, or damaging shingles. It enables me to provide my client with a complete inspection without potentially damaging shingles or injury to myself. There is no additional fee for using the drone. The drone I previously used and sometimes still do is the Mavic 2 Zoom - great drone. I have added another drone to my inspection process - that is the Mavic 3. Supper great drone with dual cameras and the zoom is incredible, better than the Mavic 2 Zoom.
Mavic 2 Zoom
Mavic 3 Pro
At left: Flir MR176 Imaging Moisture Meter At right: Flir C2 Thermal Camera
Thermography - also known as thermal imaging or infrared imaging - What it is and is not -
It is specialized equipment used to measure temperature anomalies. By measuring these variances in temperatures, possible hidden trouble areas are exposed that are normally invisible to the naked eye.  A wide variety of manufactures, labs, hospitals, etc. use thermography to trouble shoot an area of concern, it is used along with maintenance schedules in preventing major shut-downs of  production lines, fire hazards, health hazards and a score of other benefits.  Including money that is saved by preventing and averting major problems. It is also used by Military, Law Enforcement, First Responders  -  but that is another topic of use. This is Not or intended to be an Energy Audit. Nor do I perform energy audits. Primarily I use this tool to show the client of overheating of electrical outlets and switches as well as the breakers at the service panel if evident at time of inspection. It can be used to show and or confirm insulation installation in wall / ceiling applications. Thermal  Imaging is also a great tool to use to find or verify wet areas where water has leaked in or in broken plumbing  (this is still limited). Thermal Imaging does not find water leaks.  It only shows temperature differences of  surface areas. Service Panels / Breakers: It is important to understand that breakers have a certain amount of load bearing and temperature operation. Example; if a breaker is operating at 50% load or less and operating temperature is reaching its maximum or above - then there is a potential problem that needs to be further looked into. Suspicious wet / leaking: A dry surface will have a different temperature than that of a wet or damp area. If I am scanning an area that may indicate a moisture issue, then an additional tool is incorporated, it is a Moisture Meter. Using both tools together is the best way to determine if there is a problem aside from basic visual. And sometimes just a visual can be misleading or not detected at all. As with a “normal” home inspection, Thermal Imaging is still limited, using Thermal Imaging only enhances the inspection by providing more detail and to confirm a suspect area as a potential problem or not. Notice: Disclaimer This is not an Energy Audit and is not to be considered, intended, implied, inferred, or represented as such. There are other companies that do Energy Audits. Offering what many don’t My main focus is at Electrical Panels (service panels), then if the need warrants it I will check switches and outlets. There is no charge for this added service if I initiate it. If it is requested then there is a charge. This process is time consuming and requires various adjustments to acquire accurate and consise readings. Caution ! Don’t be fooled or misled  Thermal Imaging is NOT a Moisture Meter, it simply identifies thermal anomalies and aids in further inspection of the area(s) in question.  It is NOT X-RAY vision, you can not see through walls etc. Again it identifies thermal differences at or very near surfaces. It is NOT that Silver Bullet solution, but when used properly and or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools and technologies, thermal imaging has helped to identify issues that are rarely found if ever during the limited visual home inspection until it’s too late and damage is too obvious. Which simply means it will more than likely cost more money to repair.
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