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There's an Easier Way to Find Hidden Water Damage

For many of us, the idea of infrared testing and inspections is primarily attributed to electrical testing. But if your brain doesn’t automatically associate these two fields with one another, you may already be ahead of the curve.

In addition to being able to detect hot spots in electrical systems, infrared testing is an amazing diagnostic tool for finding water damage. Today, we’re going to focus on one of the more difficult troubleshooting areas for most buildings: Roof Leaks.

Visual Signs of Water Damaged Roof

A lot of seemingly random leaks in your building could be caused by a significant leak near the roof. If you have been finding evidence of water intrusion after a storm, or excess moisture in areas that are typically dry, you may be in need of an infrared roof inspection.

Visual Cracks Caused by Water Damage

Insulation is a routine area that this type of inspection will target. Most insulation types are porous and can retain moisture for long periods of time. This may not seem like a big deal in comparison to everything else going on at your property, but trapped moisture can cause bigger problems than just mold or mildew.

First, the trapped moisture will allow water to pass through the interior of the building, causing damage and some "Gold Bond" level irritation for you, your employees, and tenants.

Second, trapped moisture can deteriorate the roof from the inside out, reducing the life expectancy and structural integrity of the roof system. And the last thing you want to see is any heavy piece of equipment seeming to sink into your roof.

So, how exactly will an infrared camera will help you identify water damage? If you’ve ever spent any time on a roof during the day, then you know that it has a tendency to heat up. When this happens, the trapped moisture in the insulation beneath the roof will also heat up. As a result, these sections of insulation retain heat longer than the dry sections. When evening rolls around, the dry insulation cools off, but the wet insulation continues to hold on to the heat of the day. Additionally, the trapped moisture reduces the insulating value of the material, allowing heat to escape easier through the roof.

What does all this mean? When we point an infrared camera at your roof during the first few hours of nightfall, we will see that the surface temperature of the roof has dropped, as expected. However, the damaged insulation beneath will still be warm due to the trapped moisture. This will cause a pattern to appear across the rooftop, outlining exactly where the damage is present.

Normal Dry Roof at Night
Moisture Trapped in Roof Retaining Heat at Night

These images expose the possible entry points for the leaks and help give a better visual scope of the damage. A trained technician will be able to identify what is acceptable heat where moisture is trapped, and what areas are your major problems. A full report can be generated to identify and outline all findings that ownership will be able to use to address the underlying issues. This report can also direct a qualified roofer to determine the corrective action required to remove the moisture, seal up the leak sources, and restore peace of mind while you deal with the problems downstream.

If you are experiencing water leaks during every rain, finding evidence of water intrusion, or just want to evaluate whether or not you have moisture eating away at your insulation, and compromising the integrity of your roof, then an infrared roof inspection is an inexpensive way to uncover the hidden damage in your building.

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