Florida residents are now assessing the horrendous damage to their homes and property wreaked by powerful winds and torrential rain. Hurricanes Charley and Frances brought devastation to the “Sunshine State”, with around 40,000 people fleeing to emergency shelters and leaving up to two million homes without power. Estimates put the combined damage caused by Frances at a possible $34 billion.With so many properties to be assessed and with limited resources, investigators are now looking to employ practical technology to accurately survey as many residences as quickly as possible. Experts in Florida are using the VisIR® Ti 200 infrared camera to inspect houses and businesses for evidence of rain water penetration and damage to houses hit by hurricane Charley, Frances and Ivan.
The VisIR® Ti 200 can pinpoint the site of entry and damage to insulation and drywall by the change in temperature which occurs in floors, walls and roofs when water penetrates the surfaces. Identification of the entry points for water damage and early remedial work to repair the damaged structures are vital factors in preventing further deterioration and widespread growth of mould which flourishes in the hot humid Florida and Southern US climate if left untreated. With costs running into tens of thousands of dollars to remove and replace floor coverings, flooring, boarding and trusses once mould has taken a hold, early identification and rectification can save huge sums for home and business owners alike. Insurance companies regularly stress the importance of taking the initiative to prevent mould formation after water damage.
Thermal imaging with a VisIR® infrared camera assists property owners in taking the most effective and prompt action to save 1000’s of $$$ in costs and the possible destructive reparations to the buildings. Infrared thermography has long been recognised as the most reliable and cost-effective method of determining moisture levels in buildings. Alternative methods are much more time-consuming and can generally test just small areas of a building at a time.
VisIR is particularly suited to the task of building inspection as it features simultaneous infrared and ‘real visual’ display, making identification of damp areas straightforward. Patches of moisture change the thermal properties of the material that they are affecting and show on a thermal image as being darker and apparently colder than the rest of the picture.
Although thermal imagery must be interpreted by an experienced thermographer, this simultaneous display feature means that pictures taken during a survey are easy for homeowners/laypersons to understand.
Thermal imaging is a truly non-destructive technique and does not require further invasive action. Other methods take much longer and sometimes require further tests which need additional patching and sealing.
Figure 1 – Thermal and Visual Imagery taken with VisIR Ti 200 showing water ingress on an external door. From Sanibel Island residence, Florida following the hurricanes.
Figure 2 – Thermal and Visual Imagery taken with VisIR Ti 200 showing water ingress on an external door. From Sanibel Island residence, Florida following the hurricanes.