One of the perks of inspecting homes is the gadgets we get to use (and maybe
show off a bit). One of our favorites, which we began using this year, is a thermal
camera. With this special camera, we can detect heat patterns within the walls,
ceilings, and more. Most often what we see is minor issues such as low insulation, but
sometimes it identifies serious conditions like moisture intrusion (water reads cooler
than surrounding home components).
Another neat trick is looking at expansion tanks with the camera. Expansion
tanks for boilers and water heaters have an air bladder inside, which expands and
contracts as water heats and pressure rises. If pressure rises too much, the bladder is
broken. This way, the water stays inside the expansion tank instead of over
pressurizing the system and causing leaks. When we look at a new or properly
functioning expansion tank with the thermal camera, we can see that half of it is
cooler than the other half. However, if the whole tank is the same temperature, it is
indicative that the bladder has broken, and the expansion tank needs to be replaced.
For a more complete explanation on how expansion tanks work, go to:
To see our thermal camera in action, check out Ben on Instagram!