John Cannamela holds a camera the size of a flashlight and aims at it at a wall. His goal is to see where hot air may be leaking into a building on a sweltering summer day.
The thermal camera lets Cannamela see differences in temperature – higher temperatures appear red; lower ones are blue.
Trained in HVAC systems, Cannamela started using infrared technology in 2001 to help homeowners spot poor insulation and increase energy efficiency. He can also detect water leaks and areas likely to have condensation.
With rising oil prices and public interest in “green” building methods growing, Cannamela hoped interest for his service would spike.
Calls have increased, but homeowners are reluctant to spend the $250 to $350 fee for his services, he said, adding “it's a real hard struggle.”
“I don't hope energy prices go up. I gotta eat. I gotta pay for gas too,” said Cannamela, owner of InfraredSurvey.com. “All I hope is people say it's worth investigating. I'm hoping that after people buy a home and have a home inspection, they have an energy inspection.”
Meanwhile, he's found a new niche, one he says is growing: taking thermographic pictures of horses for $100.
His photographs help veterinarians and others identify inflammation and other injuries. For example, a hoof with a rock stuck in it will appear warmer than the other three.