How to Use Thermography to Inspect a Building

Thermography of a building in Montreal

Thermography, also known as thermal imaging, has proven to be very useful for building inspections. We will explore the details of using this method in the following sections.

What Is Thermography?

Infrared thermography is a technique that uses an infrared camera to examine a component operating under normal conditions for abnormally hot or cold areas. This is a useful non-destructive evaluation technique for the characterization of corrosion in metallic materials and is the most basic of all methods of thermal inspection.

Thermography is beneficial for detecting corrosion or erosion damage in installations operating at high temperatures. Furthermore, it can also be used to check for internal fouling or clogging in piping systems and to monitor the quality of refractory linings. This technique is applicable for composition changes, disbond detection, and leak detection. Thermography is commonly called thermal imaging or infrared thermography.

The Use of Thermography in Building Inspections

A building, whether residential or commercial, is not immune to disasters or anomalies. Problems arise in any home or place of business, whether the building is old or new: mold, insulation problems, issues with water or air infiltration, vermin, etc. Most people are unaware of the existence of these problems. One’s greatest fear when purchasing a new home or commercial building is that there will be hidden defects. In case of unpleasant surprises or major anomalies, it is vital to contact a professional company specialized in infrared thermal inspection such as ScanPlusTech. With the help of an infrared thermal camera, this specialized inspection will detect anomalies which cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Our thermography experts will inspect your building to determine the extent of the damage and the potential causes of the anomaly, and implement corrective measures. The inspection of a building will allow you to conduct your future renovations, sale, or purchase of a building in an efficient way. This accurate and efficient method can save you time and money.

We can identify the deficiencies, such as subsurface water leaks, that affect the value of your real estate investment and jeopardize its integrity. Thermography will allow us to identify water leaks and any other problems. Here are some of the other tasks for which thermography can be used:

  • Energy loss assessment of a building
  • Inspection of the roof as well as the internal structure
  • Thermal bridges identification
  • Inspection of air ducts
  • Building envelope inspection
  • Pest detection
  • EIFS inspection
  • Structural concerns identification
  • Checking for ventilation issues
  • Building inspection before and after renovation
  • Damaged or malfunctioning heating system detection
  • Identification of broken seals and double paned windows
  • Detection of insulation problems
  • Exterior sidings inspection
  • Air conditioner compressor leaks inspections
  • Inspection of energy loss that occurs because of structural defects such as missed or loose framing members
  • Detection of water and moisture intrusions near penetrations and in building envelopes and foundations
  • Inspection of overloaded or undersized circuits and breakers that need to be replaced immediately
  • Detection of leaks in the flue pipe that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Detection of pest infestations which are revealed by the energy loss of the shelter tubes caused by insects that damage the wood
  • Detection of mice and rats inside the building structure based on the thermal signals of these pests

Benefits of Using Thermography for Building Inspections

The principal benefit of infrared thermography compared to destructive testing techniques is the ability to scan large areas quickly and without the need to destroy them during the test. In this way, significant savings are made in terms of time, labor, and machinery.

Furthermore, there are other advantages of thermography compared to the other non-destructive techniques. Infrared thermography device has no risk, since it does not transfer any radiation; the infrared radiation emitted by the material under assessment is the only thing recorded. Besides, most of the other non-destructive methods are either point or line testing, where infrared thermography is an area-investigating technique. In addition, infrared thermography inspection can be performed during both daylight and nighttime hours.

Another advantage of infrared thermography is that it can also be used in condition monitoring. In condition monitoring, infrared thermography can easily detect thermal anomalies, mechanical problems, heat-related problems, etc.

Thermography, because it uses infrared technology, does not allow penetrating in important depths. This is one of the principal limitations of this technique. Environmental conditions such as cloud cover, solar radiation and wind speed also play an important role in outdoor infrared thermographic studies using the passive approach.

Infrared thermography inspections use the distribution of the surface temperature of an object. When the surface temperature is uniform, without temperature variations, no indication of a problem is present. Therefore, it has limitations for some applications.

Here are some benefits or key highlights of using thermography:

  • During the production, the inspection can be performed
  • Inspection doesn’t require physical contact
  • Information is digitally recorded
  • Low costs


Infrared thermography is a safe, clean and fast technology that can be used in a wide range of applications. The essential theoretical background in non-destructive and temperature measurement testing have been examined. This background information can help beginners to be better informed and to better utilize and understand this technology. In addition, recent work on these subjects has been discussed and reviewed.

Within a relatively short period of time, infrared thermography has evolved significantly. Significant improvements have been made in various areas. However, there are several limitations that must be considered. Infrared thermography is extremely dependent on the selection of the sensor and the experimental setup. It can be affected by the environment and the instrument. These problems can be minimized, but only with proper configuration and testing procedures, which depend primarily on the skills of the operator.

Looking for more information on infrared thermography? We’d be happy to provide you with more information upon request!