Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

What is Thermography?

Posted on Tue, Nov 25, 2008 @ 10:01 AM

Many restoration contractors will use a thermal imager following a water loss to determine the damage sustained to a property structure. Thermography, the use of a thermal imager or infrared (IR) camera to capture an image of the surface temperature of objects, is used in a variety of industries to detect problems that show up as temperature differences.

First of all, it is important to understand that an IR camera is not a moisture meter. It is a thermal-imaging camera that detects temperature differences. Where there is elevated moisture in or on interior building materials, there is usually evaporative cooling. If necessary, the building can be modified to enhance evaporative cooling. Since evaporation lowers the temperature of wet surfaces, the IR camera can easily and quickly locate suspect areas needing further investigation. Both the IR camera and the moisture meter are needed to perform a building moisture investigation. So, after the IR camera locates an anomaly, a contractor can verify the presence or absence of moisture with a moisture meter.

A trained thermographer can scan a room and check questionable areas more timely than using less effective techniques. Water damage calls for fast responses, especially when dry downs are an operation. Using an IR camera significantly reduces inspection times, resulting in reduced labor costs. The same thing applies to monitoring the drying process. It would take a lot of time to check every square inch of an area you are drying and you can easily miss areas of moisture. On the other hand, the IR camera can quickly show an individual the progress of the restoration and where to focus your drying efforts.

Insurance companies are always focused on keeping their customers satisfied to ensure policy retention . When property claims are made, insurers are concerned about paying a fair and equitable price for the work that needs to be performed under the terms of the policy, which is good business. Insurance adjusters are charged with having to determine how coverage applies to each loss. Generally, they are not experts in the field of restoration.

Insurance carriers rely on good documentation to establish the scope of the loss and the appropriate need for equipment and labor. One of the many benefits of IR technology for the insurance company is pictorial documentation covering the scope of the loss and the need for equipment. The restorer can document when the property is dry and remove equipment at the appropriate time. That documentation can then be submitted to adjusters to document their file, allowing them to close files faster and only pay the appropriate amount for restoration.

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