Restorer’s Perspective: The Value of Thermal Imaging
Advances that allow IR cameras to attach to smartphones have made the technology more accessible, affordable for Vancouver-based Malkin Cleaners.
Malkin Cleaners (Vancouver, BC) has been in the restoration industry since 1923. But despite its lengthy tenure, it has only recently begun to appreciate the benefits of having one important tool in its repertoire when it comes to water damage restoration – thermal imaging cameras.
According to Nigel Malkin, owner, about a year ago the company acquired several thermal imaging cameras, some of which are hand held and some which integrate directly with technician iPhones. The investment has already paid big dividends when it comes to several different aspects of the job.
“The biggest benefit is being able to show a homeowner where moisture is so that we can come up with a drying plan,” Malkin says. “Anything that we can do to build confidence with a customer and show results is a huge benefit. Since using thermal imaging cameras, I have had far less resistance to installation of equipment. When you can show the homeowner what is dry and what is not, then move equipment to the wet area and have it dry promptly and prove it to them – it pays for the cameras in no time.”
In addition to detecting water detection on water damage jobs, Malkin says his company also uses the technology to spot leak detection through work it does with roofing and plumbing companies.
Other benefits, he says, is streamlining communication with insurance adjusters. Specifically, Malkin notes that they send adjusters images often on projects to prove where the water is and justify the necessity of certain drying equipment. He says the compact units that attach to the iPhones are ideal for this, as they are able to send out e-mails conveniently and promptly.
“I waited far too long to adopt this technology,” Malkin says. “With the lower-cost units that attach to smartphones, it makes so much sense to buy one, use it, then upgrade to a professional unit once you’ve seen the benefits.”
That’s not to say that other equipment isn’t still necessary. Since thermal imaging cameras only work with temperature difference and can give false positives and negatives, moisture meters continue to be a necessity. But to help in building customer confidence and aide a company in doing the job properly, Malkin says thermal imaging cameras have already been worth it.