A leaky roof can be one of the more difficult problems in a home to identify and repair. One thing that can make finding the solution easier is using a thermal camera to pinpoint exactly where the leaks are located. Here, you'll learn a little about using a thermal camera to find the problem and begin planning for repairs.
How does the thermal camera help?
Reading the temperature of the roofing material can identify areas that have become damp. This happens because as the sun heats the roof during the day, the moisture absorbs the heat slower than the dry materials.
So, as you view the roof through the camera, you'll see areas that are substantially cooler than the surrounding materials. That's where you start the inspection for what's causing the leak.
Why choose a thermal camera inspection?
Using the thermal camera reduces the time it takes to identify leaks and makes it possible to find them before the material is saturated and rotting.
Using this process also helps to keep you out of the attic as much as possible. Nobody likes crawling around in that insulation. Instead, the entire roof can be inspected from the exterior.
Note: If a leak is found, an inspection of your attic space will be needed. If the roofing trusses have become damaged, or the insulation wetted, further repairs will be needed.
Do you need a professional to complete the thermal camera inspection?
The truth is, you can rent a thermal camera from your local hardware store, but a professional inspection will take the question out of what you're seeing.
To do it yourself, you'll need some chalk, a ladder, and shoes with good traction. Climb up onto the roof and begin at one end and work your way across. As you find varying temperatures, use the chalk to mark it—maybe even draw a circle around the perimeter. Once the chalk is in place, you'll be able to see if there is a pattern to the leak. Is the water making its way under the shingles from one area, or is it caused by several smaller leaks?
Take pictures of what you find so that you can more easily consult with a roofing professional about repairs. They will want to perform a full inspection to ensure nothing is missed, but using the thermal camera on your own will give you a good idea of what you're in for when it comes to repairs.
A roofing professional is your best bet. Missing a leak and allowing it to continue will result in a much higher repair bill in the future.