What's the State-of-the-Art for Building Inspection vis-a-vis Gizmos?

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ZAFCorrection
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What's the State-of-the-Art for Building Inspection vis-a-vis Gizmos?

Post by ZAFCorrection » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:03 pm

I'm somewhat guilty of not having done a sufficient amount of background research before asking this question, but I figure a few comments might save me from wasting a ton of time going in the wrong direction.

I was eavesdropping on a conversation the other day, and it was mentioned that a cleanup company was bringing in an IR camera in order to determine if any moisture was left after a water leak in my building. It got me all excited because I like characterization gizmos from my work and I have also heard that IR cameras can also be useful for doing home energy audits. Turns out IR cameras can allegedly be used to determine all kinds of things and there are even classes/certifications on "thermography." Though the internet is also providing some negative opinions that the data is non-trivial to interpret, most users do not actually know what they are doing when interpreting the data, and IR cameras are mostly just a techno-fetishizing fad.

My guess is all the latter opinions are accurate to one degree or another, but I am wondering how far the building inspection scene has gotten. My background is in academic engineering research and I am wondering if there are any intersectional areas where building inspections could be improved by that background, particularly with the use of characterization gizmos like IR cameras and interpretation of the resulting data. Have the researchers already gotten their hands on this topic, or is there still work to be done? Or is being all hoity-toity with equipment not worth the cost in this case?

ffj
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Re: What's the State-of-the-Art for Building Inspection vis-a-vis Gizmos?

Post by ffj » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:24 pm

We use IR cameras all of the time in the fire service.

Basically they register heat signatures, and it's important to know their limitations. A common misconception is that you can see through objects which is not true, also you can't view through glass either as glass will act as a mirror. And if everything you are viewing is the same temperature, then it is very hard to distinguish certain aspects.

They are a great tool though as long as you don't over-rely upon them. Believe it or not, it is easy to get lost in a building with zero visibility if you are just looking through the lens of one of these cameras because you don't pay attention to details you normally would, plus it messes with your eyes as far as focusing when you look away, sort of like staring into a campfire and then looking into the woods because you heard a sound. So it is always a secondary tool when searching, but it's great when used properly.

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Re: What's the State-of-the-Art for Building Inspection vis-a-vis Gizmos?

Post by jacob » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:52 pm

My parents had a leak in the wall behind the shower a few years ago. Apparently a fancy IR camera was used to determine exactly where the leak was w/o having to break into the wall. That inspection wasn't cheap.

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Ego
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Re: What's the State-of-the-Art for Building Inspection vis-a-vis Gizmos?

Post by Ego » Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:28 pm

I keep a cheap pin type moisture meter in my desk and use it every so often.

https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electrical- ... 5yc1vZchjn

It is less accurate than the IR version and not quite as cool. Remediation contractors like the IR version because they drastically expand the supposedly affected area and can detect moisture even if it hasn't saturated the wallboard, whereas the pin type needs some measure of saturation to be detected.

So, I guess you'd have to determine the customer before determining the characteristics of the product.

Our place is mostly plaster which doesn't hold water well but a lot of it has been replaced with sheetrock which is like a sponge. The remediation companies typically contain the area with plastic sheeting, remove the soggy wallboard, cover the holes so that the air draws through the affected stud bays and then run the ducting for the hepa dehumidifiers.

There is a protocol for dealing with the waste to avoid cross contamination and another for mold. The EPA is the place to go for this. They have excellent resources and several certifications...

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality- ... ir-quality

Invent a cheap gun to detect mold without opening the wall and you will be both rich and reviled.

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