Water Damage Restoration: FAQs

Water Damage Assessment

Water damage events such as floods, sewage backflows, and plumbing failures not only reduce building performance but also dramatically affect the health and well-being of building occupants. Water damage assessment includes techniques such as a building walk through, moisture testing, infrared thermography, microbial sampling, and remediation planning. Our services are particularly relevant for situations requiring stringent documentation such as contaminant exposures, building remediation, insurance claims, or litigation. Our aim is to accurately assess  damages to minimize assumptions regarding moisture transport and the resulting risks to property and human health. 

Our staff maintains certifications by the Institute of Inspection cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the industry's in water damage restoration and microbial remediation..

Infrared Thermography and Water Damage Assessment

Using infrared thermography to address, assess and remediate water damage claims is one of the most effective ways to minimize costs, maximize dry-down effectiveness and provide thorough documentation of the damage caused by water loss.

Thermography —or infrared scanning— measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras that see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video or film record the temperature variations of the building's skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas.

A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The thermographer decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.

Infrared thermography can help address water damage claims effectively and efficiently when coupled with the accurate use of moisture meters, digital photographs, diagramming and thorough note taking. A trained thermographer using infrared thermography to assist in documenting and assessing large water loss claims can be one of the most effective and efficient ways to mitigate water damage of commercial/residential buildings.

The use of thermal imaging devices can save many hours of labor and help to allocate drying equipment more effectively, resulting in cost savings. Thermal imaging is also a very effective tool to diagram the dry down process or map the affected areas. This detection of water intrusion using infrared thermography allows for the timely placement of drying equipment. A trained thermographer using infrared thermography to assist in documenting and assessing large water loss claims can be one of the most effective and efficient ways to mitigate water damage.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "In addition to using thermography during an energy assessment, you should have a scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes. You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings."

FLIR Systems

Water damage assessment is far easier with today’s current availability of infrared imaging. What could take several workers a day to assess, can now be completed in a matter of hours if not minutes. The thermal imaging device is simply directed at the surface and an image is immediately presented to the thermographer InfraMation 2006 Proceedings ITC 115 A 2006-05-22 in the viewfinder. As with any tool it is always prudent to support your findings with other tools such as moisture meters, diagrams/mapping, hygrometer and digital photographs.

Once areas of water damage have been detected, taking an infrared picture as well as a digital picture from the same vantage point are key elements to proper documentation. Once areas of water damage have been located by use of your thermal imaging device (often times by a general walk through prior to beginning the documenting procedure), use of moisture meter is always a good way to support your findings.

The thermographer will want to spot check areas where thermal anomalies are present to accurately record moisture percentages. This will typically be checked throughout the course of drying down the affected area to accurately determine moisture percentage decrease.


Use of handheld thermal imaging devices has changed the way the restoration industry does business. Walking into a 20 story high rise is no longer as much of a daunting task as it once was. Using the thermal imager during a general walk through the thermographer is able to locate affected areas without content removal or lift systems. Inspection of difficult to reach walls or ceilings can easily be observed. Infrared thermography helps facilitate the placement of drying equipment at the most appropriate (affected) areas. A 20 foot ceiling over a large stairwell, creating an almost impossible place to reach. With the use of a FLIR 983 camera, the extent of damage can be seen within seconds.

Moisture Mapping

Moisture mapping (thermal and digital images showing affected areas) is an extremely valuable procedure for many clients affected by water damage. Moisture mapping provides conclusive documentation of affected areas. This process documents effectiveness of the dry down process and provides effective proof that the site was dry when the job is completed helping to release you of liability. Moisture mapping provides additional documentation to prove whether materials are dry, whether to add additional equipment or if removal of affected material is needed. By careful use of noting your vantage point, images can be taken to show your client the dry-down process during each inspection. Using a good frame of reference the thermographer can usually take images from roughly the same vantage point, creating a great summary of the dry-down process.

Note Taking/Documentation

Good note taking is the key to providing a good report. Taking note of the indoor/outdoor temperature, outdoor conditions during the time of inspection, moisture meter readings and thermal/digital image numbers are all useful pieces of information for your report. Using a moisture meter will help substantiate the findings while using the infrared imaging device.


Being able to diagram what areas have been affected by water is another useful way to provide documentation. If you are fortunate enough to obtain a copy of building blue prints, it can make the mapping process that much easier. However, in many cases when called to a large loss claim in the middle of the night, it is sometimes impossible to get blue prints or maps on the spot. In these cases a hand drawn map will suffice. Providing a map/diagram of findings can not only be useful when providing a report to the client but also helpful to the inspector. Taking note of your image numbers and the areas of the building to which they correspond, can provide a clear overview of the project.

With proper documentation procedures and infrared training, our ability to assess and remediate water loss projects is only a push of a button away. Water detection is one of the simplest applications of thermography when coupled with training, experience and use of other tools to help substantiate our findings.

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