Another Spectrum

By
Home Inspector with JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC HOI 394

Diversity in your business is really a must to longevity and survival. Similar to diversity in a species of animal helps it to survive adverse environmental conditions, so it is true of business. When the business climate changes those who have put all their eggs in one basket, may find nothing left to for breakfast one morning.

Years ago the real estate business was booming, houses were selling almost as soon as they hit the market with multiple buyers lining up to make offers. Ah yes the good old days. The prognosticators were saying in the midst of all this insane activity the market could not sustain it.

It seems few were listening.

Main electric switch in a commercial buildingThese predictions of doom and gloom were nagging at me. At that time I was doing home inspections and only home inspections. But what happens when the market takes a turn? To me the scene wasn't pretty. The answer to me was to look for other areas of business related to inspections.

What I found is the infrared camera.

I see that some home inspectors use these high tech devices for, what else; home inspections. Yet this instrument is itself diverse in its uses. One particular area the infrared camera excels in is electrical predictive maintenance. Since the infrared camera is an instrument that views the world in a light spectrum that can be simply termed heat and electrical components that are hot usually signal a problem, they are a perfect match.

Infrared image of main electical feed in a commercial buildingTake a look at the wires going to this main switch in a commercial building. Looks like nothing more than a bunch of fat wires. Next look at the same switch through the infrared spectrum. The center two wires, particularly the one on the right, are much hotter than the other wires. The higher temperature is an indication there is a problem in the circuit.

This type of inspection does not usually require shutting down machinery or any of the electrical circuits. It can be done, and is preferred to be performed, during the normal operating activity of the facility. This of course causes little disruption of the daily business. Once the problem areas are documented in a report, the maintenance staff can address the issues at an opportune time.

Like the infrared camera a wider spectrum in your business can reveal unseen opportunities.

 

 

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
2010 - 2011 SNEC-ASHI President
NRSB #8SS0022
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services. Learn more about our home energy audits, the Home Energy Tune uP®.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

Posted by

James Quarello
Connecticut Home Inspector
Former SNEC-ASHI President
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC

 ASHI Certified Inspector

To find out more about our other high tech services we offer in Connecticut click on the links below:

Learn more about our Infrared Thermal Imaging & Diagnostics services.

Serving the Connecticut Counties of Fairfield, Hartford, Middlesex, New Haven, Southern Litchfield and Western New London.

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Rainer
319,213
Peg Barcelo
Fluff My House! Home Staging Inc. 250.486.6369 - Summerland, BC
The FlufftasticStager from Summerland, BC

JQ, great tools! I love all the gadgets people have for their particular trades, some more cool than others! Or is it hot...

Jul 01, 2011 03:31 AM #4
Rainmaker
342,185
Julia Maher
Nestings: Connecticut Home Staging and Model Homes - Fairfield, CT
Connecticut Home Stager

I think we're all open to new and different opportunities as this market and economy plod along!

Jul 01, 2011 04:16 AM #5
Rainmaker
179,897
Jack Gilleland
Home Inspection and Investor Services, Clayton - Clayton, OH

James,  great photo showing one of the IR cameras most valuable uses.

Jul 01, 2011 06:54 AM #6
Rainmaker
1,846,740
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Instructive image Jim, and aren't they all?  Most people do not recognize IR cameras for the electrical abilities.  Like finding a hot wire inside a wall or a motor that is going bad.  They are great tools.  Good post.

Jul 01, 2011 09:00 AM #7
Rainer
407,873
Jeremy Wrenn
Winslow Homes - Youngsville, NC
C.O.O., Winslow Homes

Nice, James!  I hadn't thought of a preventative maintenance use for the IR camera.  Good idea!

Jul 01, 2011 10:01 AM #8
Rainer
107,314
Jay Lloyd
Cape Coral Florida - Cape Coral, FL
Allpro Home Inspection

Hi James, another AR home inspector (and new member James Russell from New Hampshire recently used his infrared camera to assist a homeowner in locating the electrical elements in a heated floor. Very interesting use of this technology. I have to admit, I haven't purchased a camera yet. the more I see the uses the more i'd like to own one. Enjoy the 4th! jay

Jul 01, 2011 10:34 AM #9
Rainer
329,276
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Great post. This is why i love active rain . . . . . I am always learning something new!!!

Jul 01, 2011 10:54 AM #10
Rainmaker
1,244,561
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

James,

Interesting photo. I am resisting on that one but I am pretty busy without the camera. I know there are some good uses for it.

Jul 01, 2011 11:10 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,560,731
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

Can you discern what those hotter wires might be coming from . . . what's using them?  Interesting, and sometimes I actually like new technology!  ;-)

Jul 01, 2011 11:19 AM #12
Rainmaker
809,919
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

James:

I am going to ask the property inspectors I hire if the have an infrared camera to detect electrical problems.  good information.

Jul 01, 2011 04:09 PM #13
Rainmaker
678,889
William James Walton Sr.
WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group - Waterbury, CT
Greater Waterbury Real Estate

This was a great analogy and application of such, Jim! Who knew? But you're right on both counts.

Jul 01, 2011 04:23 PM #14
Rainmaker
686,684
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Wayne, I think so.

Peter, Yes. I use the IR camera for energy audits by far the most.

Don, These surveys are to locate the potential issues so the company can perform maintenance before a break down occurs. I don't trouble shoot the issue, but the switch above is an unbalanced load.

Peg, Cool tools. I love mine :)

Julie, Which isn't a bad thing.

Jack, Yea that shot really shows what the cmera can do.

Jay, The potential uses are many, as we both know.

Jul 02, 2011 12:33 AM #15
Rainmaker
686,684
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Jeremy, PM is the main use for IR or had been until relatively recently.

Jay, Its a tool that can provide you with more business.

Donald, Glad you learned something from me :)

Steve, It all depends on what works for you. Maybe you could train Nutsy to check the live wires.

Carla, Yes, they can and will be traced.

Evelyn, I hope you find someone in your area.

William, Wow, right twice! :)

Jul 02, 2011 12:44 AM #16
Rainmaker
1,363,996
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
That is neat. I have not seen this done in my area outside the DC Beltway yet.
Jul 02, 2011 12:46 AM #17
Rainmaker
686,684
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Cheryl, I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Jul 02, 2011 12:53 AM #18
Rainmaker
1,376,017
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

James, great way to use your skills outside of the normal home inspection. I'm see more and more commercial inspections.

Jul 02, 2011 02:21 AM #19
Rainer
407,873
Jeremy Wrenn
Winslow Homes - Youngsville, NC
C.O.O., Winslow Homes

James, I had no idea that was the main use.  I came in late on the game for IR camera use.

Interesting!

Jul 02, 2011 03:18 AM #20
Ambassador
2,008,627
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

James -  I think diversity in business is important to survival, and my inspector seems to agree with you as he began using the same camera a few years ago.

Jul 02, 2011 12:30 PM #21
Rainmaker
1,244,561
Steven L. Smith
King of the House Home Inspection, Inc. - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham WA Home Inspector

Mr James,

You serioussly should think of the chimney sweeps thing too. Very good for me.

Nutsy

Jul 02, 2011 06:24 PM #22
Rainmaker
686,684
James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Michael, I hope to see more too.

Jeremy, It has been a main use for these devices for some time.

Christine, He sounds like a smart guy :)

Nutsy, I can't fit down the flue and I don't have a bushy tail.

Jul 03, 2011 03:09 AM #23
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Rainmaker
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James Quarello

Connecticut Home Inspector
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