We were first certified by FLIR back in 2007 as a thermography. Our focus at that time was to conduct thermal imaging of commercial equipment and rooftops. We had purchased FLIRs top of the P-60 high resolution thermal imaging camera. This camera's resolution was 640 lines and considered worlds best at $ 50,000.00.
Our projects were to rent helicopters, strap me in to the passenger side with the door off, hover above commercial rooftops to scan the roof looking for water leaks or above land masses to look for underground steam and water leaks. The thermo camera could see temperature differences which would indicate water that was settled beneath membrane roof sheeting. In addition we would also scan large electrical motors, electrical panels, ammonia refrigeration systems, etc.
Thermography can be a bit tricky to the end user and clients if you are not certified or have been trained. In the image above it looks like air leakage to most people. However this is thermal conduction above the window. Heat being transferred through the cladding, framing & drywall of the home that is not insulated. This may look severe but it is not.
We look for air leakage, thermal conduction, Delta T in electrical wiring and equipment, thermal transfer to provide better answers. What may look bad could be very simple or minor. Always investigate, thermography is a tool to begin with!
The image of the motor above: 500 HP electric motor located in one of the buildings for the City of Salem. This motor supplies fresh air to the building. Motor specification operating temperature is suppose to be at 140 degrees. However this motor was at 197 degrees. Not this image but in a different image. This would be an expensive motor to replace.
Approx ten years ago I use to market our services to commercial building owners. Electrical inspections and rooftop inspections. Back then you could almost bet I was in a helicopter at least once per week. Passenger door off, seatbelted in with my feet resting on the landing gear. We would hover approx 75 feet off the roof taking imagergy shots from all sides moving around the buildings roof in a circular motion. You had to have Flirs top end high res camera to do this. 640 X 480 res. Back then this camera cost us 50K. And today around 35K. If you knew what you were doing you could tell the difference between water and air under the membrane surface.
During this time we were being hired to look for underground steam leaks, water leaks, buried electrical lines. So now when I see these inspection companies advertising to find deficiencies in walls I have to laugh.