You know water is somewhere on the property, you can smell the mildew, but can't determine the source of the leak. So how do you find water that you can't see? As a water damage restoration company, one of our most important tools in our arsenal is an FLIR camera, or an infrared camera.
Determining the source of a leak is not as easy as you'd think it would be. The tricky thing about water is that it doesn't just sit in one place. Water likes to travel through the path of least resistance and through porous materials, such as drywall and carpeting.
For instance, just because you can see water dripping from the ceiling in your living room, doesn't mean that's where the source of the leak is.The true source of the water might be coming from a broken pipe in an upstairs bathroom or maybe a leak in the roof.
These cameras help detect water that's hidden and otherwise undetectable to the naked eye, but they don't actually detect moisture at all—they detect temperature. The camera picks up the temperature radiated from objects and turns them into thermal images.
Why use them if they don't tell you if something is damp? Well, water is extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations and the rainbow-colored images help identify cold spots. Because moisture cools the surface of nearby materials, water spots are often seen as dark blue spots on an IR camera.
However, depending on the location of the moisture and the nearby construction materials, the temperature readout might look different.
For instance, water trapped near the roof can show as a warm spot, as heat from the roof causes the temperature of the water to rise. Because there are many different factors to consider, only a skilled restoration technician should interpret the thermal images from an IR camera.
Infrared cameras help us restoration professionals track down the source of the water, making it easier to solve water damage mysteries.These cameras are especially good for finding water trapped inside walls, especially after pipes burst or freeze.
Texas isn’t known for its winters, but as a restoration company in Dallas, we’ve actually had to respond to a lot of emergency calls from homeowners who forgot to do their due diligence and let their pipes freeze.
With this equipment, we're able to determine the extent of the damage without having to rip out drywall or demolish parts of the property. This means we can speed up the restoration process and reduce the losses of home or business owners.
While these cameras are useful for locating hidden pockets of moisture in your home, they are just one of many tools that restoration companies should have in their tool belt. Moisture meters should be used in conjunction with IR cameras to confirm the presence of water, as moisture meters actually reads the moisture that's present in materials.