Professional pest inspection company, Termite Solutions is using FLIR thermal imaging cameras for termite inspections of buildings. Specialising in
termite inspections and treatments since 1996, the Queensland company started
utilising FLIR thermal imaging cameras in 2005.
Termites that attack houses are almost exclusively subterranean species
that need to maintain very specific environmental requirements. Termite
Solutions proprietor Mal Brewer explains that termites, after entering a
dwelling rapidly humidify the galleries they inhabit and actively regulate the
temperature. FLIR thermal imaging cameras are used to detect this temperature
differential. The FLIR E-Series, for example, has suitable resolution and
thermal range to detect even very minor temperature differences.
Depending on atmospheric conditions, termite infestations can appear as
hot in winter or cold in summer, spring and autumn. Termites can go undetected
on the concealed wall framing for months, causing significant structural
damage. Australians spend millions of dollars each year treating termites and
repairing the resultant damage. Detecting a termite infestation before serious
damage is caused can potentially save homeowners thousands of dollars.
Mal explains that he first heard about the use of thermal imaging
technology for termite detection in 2004 from interstate pest inspectors. He bought
his first thermal camera in 2005 and was able to quickly establish a marketing
advantage with the camera serving as an invaluable detection and diagnostic
tool. With the ability to spot termite issues left undetected by other
inspectors, he was able to convince clients about the professional quality of
his services, quickly recovering the financial outlay for his first FLIR
camera. He also found that the use of thermal technology led to greater
acceptance of quotes.
According to Mal, they always try to involve their clients at the start
of the inspections to show them the visual advantage of using thermal imaging
technology. Termite Solutions also uses thermal imaging for condition
monitoring by checking current images against those taken on previous
Mal uses FLIR Professional Reporter and FLIR Tools software on his office
computer, FLIR Viewer on his iPad and FLIR Tools on his smartphone. Describing
the reporting software as comprehensive, he says that the finished reports look
great and images can even be emailed directly to the client using the Apple or
Android device from the job site.
The Wi-Fi capabilities of FLIR thermal imaging cameras are also helping
Termite Solutions when inspecting investment properties for interstate or
overseas clients. Mal comments that the images can be saved onto the camera,
uploaded to the Cloud or emailed directly to the client, allowing them to serve
clients who may be thousands of kilometres away.
Mal Brewer finds the FLIR thermal cameras very easy to use, with only
some basic training required before utilising the camera for the first time. Mal
however, advises operators using the camera for commercial purposes to get
trained in interpreting and describing the images correctly in reports.
Mal Brewer completed the Level 1 Thermography course at Melbourne
University in 2004 followed by the Melbourne FLIR course for Pest Managers a
few years later, and also attended a Building Science Thermography course in
2013. All of Termite Solutions’ technicians have attended FLIR courses and are
trained in the use of cameras and creating thermal reports.
Pest inspectors at Termite Solutions are equipped with a torch,
binoculars, tapping tool and moisture meter. They look for damage with the
torch, check the visible timber with the tapping tool for structural integrity
or soft spots, and use the thermal imaging camera to detect small temperature
differences caused by termites, leaks, moisture issues, rodents or insulation
anomalies. Mal states that FLIR thermal imaging cameras can find low levels of
termite infestations, often much earlier than their presence can be detected using
conventional methods such as tapping tools and moisture meters.
A thermal camera allows inspectors to scan buildings quickly, and areas
that are out of reach of the inspector such as high ceilings. Termite
Solutions’ inspectors can each inspect as many as five houses a day.
Termite Solutions has purchased four FLIR cameras since 2005 including
a B2, an E300, an E60Bx and an E8, all still in good condition and functioning
well. Mal prefers the E60Bx due to its high resolution and ability to record
digital and thermal images, and video.
Mal trusts the durability and reliability of FLIR thermal imaging
cameras for their excellent video speed, resolution and battery life.
Mal’s team has also discovered maintenance issues during pest
inspections while using the thermal imaging camera, including electrical problems
in buildings that could have had serious consequences.
Termite Solutions has therefore, expanded its service offering to also
include building inspections, and diagnosing building faults such as leaking
showers and roofs, moisture and waterproofing issues, and insulation
The use of thermal imaging cameras not only allows Termite Solutions to
save time on the job but also saves their client the expense of termite damage
repair by accurately detecting termites before they can do too much damage.
Termite Solutions’ investment in the FLIR cameras was quickly offset by the
increase in business they generated, and the increase in the number of
buildings the technicians could now complete in a day.