I plan on renting a thermal camera to detect heat loss (e.g., missing insulation, leaks in HVAC) and water damage. Outside temperatures are getting down to freezing at night but are mid-40s during the day.

What steps should I take to prepare for this to maximize the use of the camera? Some thoughts I had:

  • Turn the heat up several hours beforehand to maximize the temperature differential between inside and outside
  • Ensure the heat is running while imaging to better detect leaks in the ducts (is this at odds with the first point?)
  • Make sure it's not raining or snowing

Anything else

2 Answers 2


Started as a comment but became two long; No privacy problems you don’t have to join to use the FLIR one that is the main objection I am aware of and I have not joined. I have the pro model and to tell the truth I would do nothing different , you want a constant temp for an extended time if changing temps that can create shadows in concealed spaces that may show issues if a constant temp. You can find leaks in the ductwork but the system needs to be running in some cases to identify leakage from duct works, running the hot / cold water for a couple can help identify bad insulation on your pipes. You may also identify roof leaks in the attic , water running down is cooler and I have found some I could not see. Another thing you can do is look at your breaker panel and outlets. A loose connection can really heat things up ( I use my unit at work to find electrical problems and bearings that are running a little hotter than normal) , so you do want the forced air system running small leaks spear as pin holes or long straight lines at leaking ducts. Rain will cool the roof and make leakage show up plus as I mentioned leaks you may not have found may be spotted. I have used FLIR cameras for quite a few years , I no longer pay for an annual evaluation at my plant saving $ and I find motor problems prior to failure in some cases.

  • You have the FLIR pro phone attachment or standalone? Dec 10, 2019 at 23:58
  • 1
    I have had 2 FLIR cameras, the first was a std model, the 2nd is the pro after comparing my photos to a very expensive pro FLIR and renting a model that was not much better than my now pro model , I do monthly surveys, the cost , well we find problems that develop 3 to 4 months after the pro survey and we passed our insurance binder , if this FLIR pro one camera holds up as well as my last camera it will save my company thousands, I have suggested each electrician have a pro, I don’t have any interest other than having good results.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 11, 2019 at 1:07

Last time I looked at renting a FLIR camera it was a joke how much they wanted. How much is the rental?

I bought a FLIR attachment for the iphone and while it isn't as accurate as the higher end one it does a good job. The flir attachment was ~$250. Buy it and then you can take your time.

I think there are two parts:

  1. Insulation Issues

Take thermals from both inside and outside for insulation.

  1. Air Sealing

When you go to do it, try for a high differential but also turn on all your fans - make sure your gas appliances are off so you don't back draft CO. You might then want to plug the chimney or seal the appliance room so that the make up air has to come in the smaller holes.

  • Rental is $50 for 4 hours or $75 for the day. I've seen those phone attachments, but it seems there are some pretty major privacy issues with them - not to mention they're 4 to 5 times as much as the half day rental
    – mmathis
    Dec 10, 2019 at 14:43
  • What's the privacy issue? It puts pictures on your phone. $75 still seems pricey but I suppose if you don't plan on following up to see if you've fixed the issues and have no reason to use one in the future it is a little cheaper. Typical rent to own ratios are more like 1/4 price for a month of rental but $50 to play seems like a reasonable price. It can only be so low. Dec 10, 2019 at 23:58
  • There are comments of privacy issues with the FLIR brand phones , but if you don’t join they still work fine ! Have a pro now after a couple of years good service from the base model. Will buy again and suggest each electrician at my plant should have one.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 11, 2019 at 1:12

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