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Charlie R

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If I was was going to purchase the equipment and add this to my home inspection business, what are the steps you experienced people think I should take? And what equipment do you recommend? Thanks.

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Considering using it as a tool to go with my home inspections, not a separate thing. Reading the postings here I am impressed that inspectors are spotting roof leaks, and possibly plumbing leaks. As for equipment, right now I have and use a Aquant moisture meter, but that's about it. Rely on the eyes (which get older each day) to spot leaks but if this could confirm leaks, I think that would be good. Who hasn't found stains in the attic and couldn't tell if they were new or old? Or that stain on the drywall ceiling right below the bath tub, is it active or just water the kids splashed out? Maybe something like this could help? Thanks.

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Flir has three cameras under $2k, and some really stellar devices around $5k. The cheap one is only 60x60 resolution and probably a waste of money, but the top of the line 'Tool Box' cam is a pretty good place to start. There is free training online and a user forum, but I haven't used either so... Go to the Flir website and see if there is an Open House event near you.

I haven't looked in a while, but I would imagine that Fluke has something competitive.

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Re the IR and moisture meter, I view it the other way around--the meter confirms moisture if/when an anomaly is seen with the camera. I am a regular user of IR and find that to get consistent results you have to inspect at a specific time and sometimes have to "prep" the house by overheating it, running water, etc. I have taken my camera out many times and seen nothing because conditions were not right (inadequate delta T inside to outside, solar loading on the walls or roof, too much furniture in the way, etc). A really stellar way to use IR is in conjunction with a blower door, you can do before/after scans and often find a lot to look at. I would not expect to take IR to every inspection and get useful images, and it can take a fair amount of time to really look at a house of any size.

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Charlie,

I will give you a tip, take it for what it is worth.

I have been a home inspector for 15 years, have personally performed over 7000 inspections and I have zero law suits. The point of all this is based on some things I learned day one from my mentor. (peter walker)

He told me to stick to the standards, the minute I exceed them, I open up my liability. It wasn't that I shouldn't own a moisture meter but not to let anyone ever know I had it and to never put that in a report that the Moisture Content was xx etc..The moisture meter in all purposes often confirmed what I already knew. The minute you exceed the standard, it will be expected that you have all the magic tools and of course utilize them on every inspection....Think of what opposing counsel will ask you in the court room.

Now with that said, to incorporate IR into the Home Inspection can yield the same result...this of course is a magic tool. I am actually teaching at the 2011 NAHI convention and also the 2012 ASHI conference on the topics of infrared and one of the things I profess is the Risk needs to equal the Reward. If you are getting $700 minimum for a home inspection (avg) then maybe your business reward has value in including IR...if not, then you could ulitimately hurt yourself.

I started in 1996 doing Home Inspections (www.inspecdoc.com), wrote my business plan on IR in 1999 however it took till 2005 for me to actually take the plunge in IR (www.socalinfrared.com). I made this decision early on to create IR its own business as I knew it could stand on its own, plus it was easier to diversify the business and look at things like horses (money making opportunity). I am now principal of the largest IR firm having 170 thermographers having gone through our network and I continue to preach the same thing. Keep in mind 70% of our thermographers are Home Inspectors.

Why separate?

Home Inspectors job is to report the stain and recommend further review. Why not offer the service to figure that out for additional fee rather than give it away.

For reference, I have other inspectors that work for me so my companies still are going strong and IR has equated to over 50% of the monies I made in 2010 and continues to rise making about 75% of income in June 2011.

A point to start if you want to separate business: www.unitedinfrared.com

Best of luck

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