What Is Thermal Imaging and How Does It Work?

A thermal imaging house/home inspection is also known as infrared imaging is an advanced, noninvasive service allowing home inspectors to give homeowners a closer detailed inspection of their home.

Typically thermal imaging is an additional feature of a standard home inspection for some home inspectors.

On this blog we’ll discuss some of the most common questions about thermal imaging home inspections.

Do home inspectors use thermal imaging?

Yes, some home inspectors use thermal imaging to check for energy loss, moisture intrusion, and any potential leaks. You’ll have to check with your local home inspector to determine what services they offer.

Is thermal imaging worth it for a home inspection?

ANY homeowner would benefit from having a thermal imaging inspection done. Detecting any possible moisture intrusion, leaks, and energy loss is important information for any homeowners so that the proper action can be taken.

How much does a thermal inspection cost?

The cost of a thermal inspection depends on your local home inspector. Our thermal imaging home inspections start at $75. A thermal inspection is an additional service that South Star Home Inspections provide in addition to our standard home inspection services.

What can thermal imaging detect in a home inspection?

Thermal imaging helps detect the difference between wet and dry areas. This helps your home inspector identify any possible areas where moisture, energy, and leaks exist.

In terms of energy loss, an IR camera can detect:

  • heat loss and air infiltration in walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors;
  • damaged and/or malfunctioning radiant heating systems;
  • air-conditioner compressor leaks;
  • under-fastening and/or missing framing members, and other structural defects that can lead to energy loss; and
  • broken seals in double-paned windows.

In terms of detecting moisture intrusion, an IR camera can locate:

  • plumbing leaks;
  • hidden roof leaks before they cause serious damage;
  • missing, damaged and/or wet insulation; and
  • water and moisture intrusion around penetrations and at the foundation and building envelope that could lead to structural damage and mold.

IR cameras are equally effective at locating hot spots in the home, including: 

  • circuit breakers in need of immediate replacement;
  • overloaded and undersized circuits;
  • overheated electrical equipment and components;  and
  • electrical faults before they cause a fire.

Thermal imaging does not predict future conditions in your home. 

A thermal inspection can only identify what is currently present. Any findings by your home inspector should be further investigated by a certified contractor to confirm findings.


Adding a thermal inspection to your residential home inspection can provide you the opportunity to make an informed decision when it comes to the home buying process. Thermal imaging inspections allow your inspector the ability to take a closer look at moisture intrusion, energy loss, and any possible leaks. It’s important to keep in mind thermal inspections do not predict future conditions.

Contact your local home inspector to find out if this is a service they offer. If you book with South Star Home Inspections, you can add thermal imaging to your home inspection services starting at $75.