Using Drones for Thermal Inspections

November 29,2017

You’re wondering if the property you’re thinking of purchasing has any air or water intrusion issues and if the insulation is intact.


What do you do? How can you check the integrity of that roof or building?

Thermal imaging to the rescue … and better yet, using a drone to get the job done accurately, quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively.


Thermal imaging technology has been around for decades. The premise behind the technology is shockingly simple - all that’s done is measure temperature differences. The thermal camera literally reveals those discrepancies in colorized images, showing what the human eye cannot see.


How it’s done is also easy to understand. Let’s take a leaking, flat roof as an example on what occurs and how thermal works. During a sunny day, the heat of the sun “bakes” the roof, and once the sun starts setting, the rooftop emits the heat quickly. Yet, any water that is trapped between the roof layers retains that heat longer – hence, a temperature differential occurs between the roof and the water. The thermal camera easily identifies that discrepancy, if one exists … just as shown on the photo accompanying this article.

That same concept applies to checking a building envelop. See where the waste occurs, and with that knowledge you can determine next steps to stem the energy loss and “green” your structure.

Using a drone equipped with a radiometric thermal camera is a lower cost solution with safer execution. The drone flies above the building and snaps photos of the entire area at strategic angles to uncover any trouble spots – the flight takes little time with the drone crew safely on the ground. No need to engage manual labor to climb to the roof and either do:

  • Visual checks that detect the glaringly obvious problems and not the “hidden” ones
  • Thermal handheld inspections that use a sweeping approach in a narrow field – similar to searching for treasure at the beach with metal detectors. The downside with the handheld thermal device is that some areas may be inadvertently missed and that person is in harm’s way, as s/he roams that roof

Drone technology and thermal innovation have make such inspections available to more organizations and consumers than ever before. Be sure to find a company that is qualified – go with a pro, contact us today.