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Water Damage Mitigation Tools - Thermal Imaging Cameras

In the disaster restoration industry, we work on all types of buildings. Most of the time we restore your typical, run-of-the-mill residential homes and commercial properties. But there are times when we are called to mitigate water damage at a building that contains some unique features like textured walls, vaulted ceilings, or ceilings with decorative elements. It's during these situations that we need to open up our toolbox in order to mitigate the water damage quickly and efficiently.

What is a Thermal Imaging Camera?

A thermal imaging camera uses infrared technology to detect temperatures. The temperature is shown on the camera's display in colors ranging from purple to red. Red, orange, and yellow represent heat, while purple and blue represent cold temperatures. Thermal imaging technology is used in a variety of professional industries such as firefighting to uncover hot spots after the main fire has been knocked down. These cameras are also helpful in locating missing people, like hikers lost in the woods. In the disaster restoration industry, we use thermal imaging cameras to help us detect water damage. Often times a wall or ceiling may look dry to the naked eye, while the internal materials like insulation are harboring moisture.

Why do we use Thermal Imaging Cameras for Water Damage Mitigation?

  • Speeds up the claim process.
  • Used along with moisture meters for greater flexibility.
  • Allows project managers to provide photo documentation of affected areas.
  • Helps measure drying effectiveness as the job progresses.
  • Allows us to reach difficult areas like high ceilings.
  • Water damage hidden in walls or under multiple layers of flooring is easier to identify.

Our project managers may use these cameras, along with physical moisture meters, to determine the appropriate course of action for water damage restoration. Paired with years of experience, the technology is another tool that helps us identify wet areas that could lead to mold growth if not mitigated. The photos also allow us to document the water-damaged areas, speeding up the claim process and getting you back to normal faster. We keep the costs down by not removing materials or placing equipment that is not necessary for the drying process.

Using Thermal Imaging Technology in the Field

Commercial Restaurants

Our team helped a restaurant affected by water damage from a water heater burst. The water heater on the third floor above them let go, leaking water down through the ceilings and walls to the units below. There were many layers of flooring and drywall that made proper drying difficult. Since the source of the loss, the water heater, did not belong to the restaurant that hired us, we were only allowed to do so much without the consent of the other property owner. The thermal imaging photos helped us to persuade the other owner that their floors (our client's ceilings) were saturated with water in the subflooring and needed to remove in order to be completed dried. An additional issue was the tall, decorative ceilings. The thermal imaging camera enabled us to easily get a moisture reading from a distance and without damaging the ceiling. 

Thermal imaging Thermal image machine Reconstruction Thermal image machine


Owner and project manager, Bill Sweeney, conducted an inspection for water damage remediation at a local church in Lancaster, MA. The church's sprinkler head pipe had burst, causing water to rain down on the meeting rooms below. You can see the water damage indicated by the purple in the photos below where the moisture had wicked up from the floor into the wall and wooden studs. These quick readings gave Bill all the information he needed to pair with his extensive knowledge and provide a recommendation for water damage restoration to the church's insurance adjuster for approvals. These time-saving efforts help to get the building back in business quickly and prevent further water damage.  

  Thermal image

Commercial Property Management

 A final example of how we make water damage restoration easier with the use of thermal imaging cameras is this roof leak in a multi-unit apartment building. Some of the units had recently undergone kitchen remodels with new granite countertops and tile backsplash. Tile naturally has a higher moisture content than other building materials and could potentially give a false moisture reading. In order to avoid destructive testing measures, the project manager used the thermal camera to measure the water damage. The kitchen wall was saturated and needed to be removed in order to properly dry. Our technicians were able to remove the drywall in the hallway behind the kitchen, saving the new countertops and tile. 

Thermal image Thermal image of a kitchen Drying machines Hallway drying

When you have a water damage loss, you can count on ServiceMaster Dynamic Cleaning to bring the technology and the expertise to get you back to normal fast. Our highly trained project managers are on the job within hours to inspect the water damage, answer all questions, and make sure you are completely satisfied. Call (800) 865-5157 or contact us now and we'll be there to help 24/7/365.