Home inspector Garnett Shortt demonstrated the value of his $20,000 infrared camera in July, within a month of earning his thermography certification. While inspecting a Northern Virginia family room, his camera picked up a small temperature difference beneath the carpet. He traced the cause to a roof leak from which water was finding its way to a floor joist. "It was a fairly new leak," says Shortt. "If I hadn't found the wet spot, the floorboard would have started to rot. It saved them a lot of money. Instead of having to tear up the floor, they could just fix the leak and let the floor dry out."
Shortt, owner of Commonwealth Home Inspections Inc., is a state-certified home inspector who uses an infrared camera. He calls it "a powerful non-invasive means of diagnosing and monitoring conditions of buildings."
In fact, Shortt recently formed the National Association of Certified Thermographers (NACT) to set standards and guidelines. Shortt's thermography certification process included a one-week on-site building sciences thermography class. Adding infrared assessments to a basic home inspection by Shortt raises the cost by $100. An infrared spot check or inspection without the home inspection costs $125 an hour, he says. But catching an unraveling problem could save thousands in the long run. "I believe it's going to [become] the standard" in home inspections, he says. For more information, go to www.chinspect.com