Infrared camera recommendations for general contractor use

Hi, I believe I have searched and found little recent discussion on recommendations for IR cameras.  Hopefully the topic is inbounds.  Anyway, some background: I work for a general contractor in the SW Minneapolis metro area.  This contractor builds a couple of new infill homes per year, and does a lot of remodeling.  Nothing out of the ordinary, well designed aesthetically and a bit above code in the insulation and air sealing area, but not passive houses by any means.  I'm a mechanical engineer that has spent some time in the EE field (doing non-BPI certified pre and post testing in conjunction with EE work) after a corporate career in HVAC/R product design.  Anyway, I'd like to be able to do pretesting and take some IR photos of the before and after on remodeling work we do as we've done some pretty nice overlays on story and 1/2's and other homes.  So, we'd like to buy a camera that we (mostly me) can use to diagnose home performance and other issues.  From what I've read and observed we need to go above phone based models, but not sure how far/high $$$. 

Anything stand out for us to look at?  I've used several FLIR's in the past when they cost 8K, have seen some recommendations for the E6 but open to input.  Won't be used everyday, but probably every month anyway.  Want to be able to have the feature to pull the trigger and get a pinpoint temperature.  Yes, I know I need to get some training as well.

I appreciate your thoughts and if you can direct me to other forums as well, thank you.

Views: 164

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The real question is what are you going to do with the camera.  Does it need to take pictures that you will used in documents? I use a Flir F7. It was about $4000.  The new ones are the E4, E5 and E6 look good. The E6 looks like a big improvement for a few hundred bucks.  Honestly to get something this functional for $1200 bucks is great.  If you are using this in a report and Powerpoint slides, I would spring for the E8 at $3000.  I would measure things in paychecks. I wouldn't spend more than a paycheck or 2 on the camera. There is renting and leasing and used.  Flir like to control their product. Their service people are good. They have options with possibility for upgrades.  Not to be a sales pitch. 

Mick, thanks for your input and questions.  Where I used to work as part of a report we'd include a visible light photo next to the IR shot, so yes pictures in documents or at least to be displayed in an organized manner on a screen would be useful.  So how much resolution is required for that would be helpful.  I've also heard that BPI requires or may require a minimum resolution.  I haven't looked into that myself but I can.  If you have input on that pls share.  Appreciate your advice and recommendations on Flir.

You might be able to get a distributor to demo their cameras for you, so you can see what level you want to buy at. I went with 320x240 resolution and would want to do that again, but if you can be happy with less it will cost a lot less.

David, good idea on the distributor, I know one of our local shops doesn't stock product so will pursue some others.  Appreciate your recommendation for 320x240 (i.e. E8) where the E6 is only 160x120.  Also looking for easy download for storage purposes, etc.   

If you are a casual user, and have been trained on operation of IR technology, I would not walk past the Seek line of products.  I know most go to Flir and Fluke, which I've used in past work, but for my personal use, for the dollar, this product has a lot to offer.  The portability and case packaging allows it to stay in my brief case, and is always available.  It has 206 by 156 resolution, and their new product is 320 by 240.  For 1/10 the price.  And the app is pretty good, merging high res camera picture with the IR picture.   And does video.  And the temperature range up to 600F allows use with some process work, like thermal forming or oven analysis.  

As I'm sure most know, the key to IR is being trained and understanding the technology behind the product, avoiding the pitfalls of pretty pictures that show false data.  Usually a weeks class and a lot of use before becoming proficient.  But the low cost tools, for the money, are something I recommend for every maintenance department I visit.  Even panel scans or roof leak searches, or finding plumbing in the walls, things that are qualitative rather than quantitative, can use these lower cost tools.

And for hunters, in some states, helps you know what you will see at sunrise:)

PS.  I have not affiliation, just a humble engineer.

Contact (Snell Infrared) in Montpelier, Vermont. They are the world renowned leaders in infrared thermography training and application. They have some white papers on their website that could help you choose. Even better would be to spend the money and take one of their Level I courses, where you can try out several different cameras. They are an unbiased source of information on various cameras and brands.

I have a degree in Physics, but I took their Level I course and never regretted it. Infrared analysis is not just point and shoot. Images are very much dependent on environmental parameters and are subject to interpretation.


Forum Discussions


Started by Jerry Needham in BPI. Last reply by Dave Taylor on Thursday. 6 Replies

Mini split air conditioners and ceiling fans

Started by Beverly Lerch in General Forum. Last reply by Daniel Baur-McGuire on Monday. 4 Replies

DIY Filter Solution for an Evaporative Cooler, anyone?

Started by Leslie Jackson in HVAC. Last reply by Daniel Baur-McGuire on Monday. 6 Replies

Apply now for the Jon Siemen Memorial Scholarship!

Started by Diane Chojnowski in General Forum. Last reply by Quinn Korzeniecki Aug 9. 1 Reply

Latest Activity

Brett Little posted an event

Green Rater LEED Credential Online Training at Online

September 5, 2018 at 12pm to September 6, 2018 at 5pm
With over 450,000 LEED® for Homes™ spaces worldwide, LEED is the international rating system to…See More
Michael Schettine commented on Michael Schettine's video

AccuFrame Water Test

"The Like button doesn't work on this site..."
Franco Oyuela commented on Mike Muras's blog post "Practical Standards to Measure HVAC System Performance" Rob "Doc" Falke 04/17/2006
"It's important to evaluate and inspect a system regularly to make sure it's at optimal…"
Seventhwave posted an event

HVAC technology enhancements for energy conservation at The Marq

October 4, 2018 from 8:30am to 4pm
Join us to learn how to get the largest energy savings in your commercial buildings. HVAC as a…See More
Peter Krych replied to Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
"I agree, it is wasteful to remove and dump old insulation. I still does its job. Air sealing is…"
Michael Schettine commented on Michael Schettine's video

AccuFrame Water Test

"With the conversion rate that- air is 800 time LESS dense than water at sea-level…"
Michael Schettine posted a video

AccuFrame Water Test

In this short video, water is used to visualize air leakage sites that are present in the majority of framed walls in the US. New regulations require better ...
Sam Feder liked Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
Chris Stratton liked Don Fugler's discussion Choosing a range hood
Dave Taylor replied to Jerry Needham's discussion VERY TIGHT HOME WITH OVER SIZED AC
"Jerry, you should look at" High Mass Walls" 105 paper for more…"
Jill Lindman's 3 events were featured
Jill Lindman posted events
Diane Chojnowski posted videos
Don Fugler replied to Don Fugler's discussion Choosing a range hood in the group Kitchen Ventilation
"Has anyone installed a range hood in an older home with the ducting down to the basement and out…"
Profile IconEileen Kraus-Dobratz, VENI MITTAL and Mark A McCrumb joined Home Energy Pros Forum
Brian Robinson replied to Dav Camras's discussion Adding blown insulation to poorly installed batts?
"YES, YES, & YES!!! Bat droppings, mouse droppings, dead mice, nuts, seeds, acorns, lack of…"
Matt Peterson posted a blog post

The Importance of keeping Professionally Trained Gas Line Installation Technicians happy and loving their jobs!

Our company is very much a family to us, we strive to bring in and develop great people into great…See More
Profile Iconyanky fogel, Kathleen Krebs, Nicholas Rubenstein and 3 more joined Home Energy Pros Forum
yanky fogel liked Home Energy Magazine's video
Franco Oyuela commented on Shawn Weeks's blog post How Homeowners Can Keep Electricity Costs Down in Summer Months
"Cutting back on air conditioning is also good for the environment because it reduces carbon…"


  • Add Photos
  • View All

© 2018   Created by Home Performance Coalition (HPC)   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service