Tips to keep your home healthy

Is the electrical wiring in your house safe?


Most likely it is but if your home was built tween approximately 1965 and 1973 you have aluminum wiring.  Aluminum wiring was often substituted for copper branch circuit wiring in residential systems.  This was due to the sudden rise of the price of copper.  Aluminum is a good conductor, and at the time seemed like a reasonable choice.  Unfortunately homes built with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely than those with copperAluminum Wiring

Aluminum Wiring is it dangerous to havewiring to overload and increase the possibility of a fire due to the inherent qualities of the metal.  This risk increases every year.  Last year more than 24,000 home fires were caused by faulty electrical wiring.




What to Watch For

The potential signs of electrical overheating to watch out for are:

  1. Flickering or dimming lights: If you notice this this could be a sign that there is a problem with electrical wiring including a loose connection from aluminum wiring or the overloading of your circuits.  Every year we get more and more electrical devices which puts a larger burden on your electrical system.  Having aluminum wiring makes this even worse.
  2. Burnt or discolored outlets: If you notice outlets that are burnt or discolored this could be a another sign of the problem with electrical wiring and should be checked.  A wire to the outlet could be loose or shorted.  While usually this would cause your circuit breaker refused to trip, sometimes it is just low enough not to.
  3. Unusual odors: If you detect a burning smell then you should immediately turn off the circuit if possible and contact an electrician.  This, as always, would be a good time to remember your smoke detectors.



Aluminum Wiring Arcing

Aluminum Wiring Arcing


Some of the risks of aluminum wiring include:

  1. Overheating: Aluminum wiring is a higher rate of expansion and contraction than copper wiring which can cause the wiring to become loose over time.  Loose connections can lead to overheating and arcing which can cause electrical wires
  2. Oxidation: aluminum wiring is more prone to oxidation than copper wiring which can cause the wiring to deteriorate over time.  As it does to be more prone to overheating and fire risk
  3. Flexibility: aluminum is not as ductile or flexible as copper wiring hence is easily cracked and will not give a good connection. This creates a higher resistance which can again lead to overheating
  4. Incompatibility with some devices: some electrical devices such as switches and outlets are designed for use with copper wiring and may not be compatible with aluminum wiring.  Using these can also increase the risk of overheating and create a fire risk
  5. Difficulty in repair and maintenance: repairing and maintaining aluminum wiring can be more challenging than copper wiring as it requires specialized tools and techniques.  Aluminum is soft and highly sensitive to compression.  After a screw has been over tightened on lumen wiring the wire will continue to deform which can cause a loose connection and increase electrical resistance in that location.  If aluminum wiring is damaged or needs repaired is important to hire a qualified electrician to do the jo
  6. Contractors: The engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections work with some great contractors.  Here is out list  Contractor List
Burnt Outlet

Aluminum wiring can cause overheating


Is my House Unsafe?

Having aluminum wiring does not mean that the house is at a medically unsafe as there are many ways to mitigate risks associated with aluminum wiring.  If your house has aluminum wiring it is recommended to have inspected by qualified electrician determined if any remedial actions are necessary.

  1. Installing copper pigtails: Copper pigtails can be installed at the ends of the aluminum wiring and connected to the copper wiring in the switches, outlets, and other electrical devices. This can help to reduce the risk of overheating at the connection points.
  2. Installing specialized connectors: There are connectors called “CopAlum crimps”  that are specifically designed for use with aluminum wiring. These connectors can help to ensure a secure and safe connection between the aluminum wiring and the electrical devices but require a special tool.  Anti-oxidant paste is also required.
  3. Replacing the aluminum wiring: In some cases, it may be recommended to replace the aluminum wiring with copper wiring. This can be a more expensive option, but it can provide greater peace of mind and reduce the risk of electrical fires.
  4. Make sure GFCI and AFCI up to date:  As with any type of wiring make sure that you are fully protected.  Even they were not required in 1973 you should make sur that you have GFCI and AFCI protection.  We even have a blog –   Arc Fault
  5. It’s important to note that any remedial actions should be undertaken by a qualified electrician who has experience working with aluminum wiring. They will be able to recommend the best course of action for your specific situation, and ensure that the work is done safely and up to code.


CopAlum Connectors

CopAlum Connectors

CopAlum Connectors installed



Identifying Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wires are a silver-ish color and shiny.  Copper wiring has an orange-ish color.  Crayola calls it copper .  Often the word” aluminum” or the letters “AL” may be embossed or printed on the wire insulation.  If your house was built between 1965 and 1973 there is a very good chance you have aluminum wiring.

Aluminum Wiring Label

Aluminum Wiring Label



Breaker with aluminum wiring

Breaker with aluminum wiring




Circuit panel with aluminum wiring

Circuit panel





Having aluminum wiring in your home does not necessarily mean that you will have a fire, but you should be aware, check, and prepare.  The inspector engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections are InterNACHI Certified and can quickly let you know if you have aluminum wiring.


Aluminum Wire Compare

Aluminum Wire Comparison

Avoid These Mistakes New Home Buyers Often Make

happy family on new house lawn

happy family on new house lawn

Owning your own house is a wonderful thing.  It is a place where your family can live and create a perfect life.  It gives you sense of security while building financial equity.  But there are a few things should consider and mistakes to avoid.


Not considering the location

The area of a home can affect its value and livability. Homebuyers should consider factors such as the proximity to schools, shopping, and transportation when choosing a home.  Middle Tennessee has some amazing small towns and communities for your family to grow in.  There are always family-friendly events in great neighbors.


Not getting a great Realtor

Middle Tennessee has an abundance of realtors.  Most are very willing to guide you through the difficult process of finding the perfect home, then making it yours.  Each will have their own personality and experiences.  The Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors is a great resource.  Most area realtors, mortgage lenders, and we as inspection engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections, belong to this organization.  They can help ensure that you get quality professionals.  Talk to the local Chamber of Commerces as well.  We are members of both the  Tullahoma Chamber of Commerce and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage

Not getting pre-approved for a mortgage before shopping for a home can put homebuyers at a disadvantage. It can limit the homes they can afford, and it can make the home-buying process take longer. It’s important to get pre-approved for a mortgage so that homebuyers know how much they can afford to spend on a home and can make an offer with confidence.


Not getting a home inspection

First Time Home Buyer Friendly

First Time Home Buyer Friendly

Skipping a home inspection is a big mistake that many new homebuyers make. An experienced home inspector can identify any potential issues with the property, such as structural problems, electrical or plumbing issues, and pest infestations, that may not be immediately visible. This information can help the buyer to make an informed decision about the property and to negotiate any repairs or price adjustments.  Getting the right inspector is crucial.  Look at their credentials, experience, and involvement in your new community.  Middle Tennessee Inspections is active here and a member of two Chamber of Commerce.  We live here.



Not checking for mold

Mold can be a serious issue in homes and can cause health problems. It’s important for new home buyers to not make the mistake and not check for mold during the home inspection and to have any mold issues addressed

Mold and Radon Inspector

Mold and Radon Inspector

before closing.  The inspection engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections are certified by the international Association of Certified Indoor Air Consultants.  In most cases the mold that we find, often in a crawlspace, is very minor and we will usually  recommend better ventilation such as a fan or dehumidifier.  Rarely is it more.  Radon is usually not an issue in South Middle Tennessee and the state does offer a free test kit.  While we are certified to lab test for radon we recommend using the free test first.  Our reports are concise; a sample is Your Report




Not considering the cost of repairs

Some homes may require significant repairs, such as a new roof or furnace. Even cosmetic repair expenses such as painting, new handles, door locks, and carpet can add up quickly.  We always recommend replacing all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors as well.  It’s important for homebuyers to consider the cost these repairs and to factor them into their budget when making an offer on a home.

Indoor Air Quality Inspector

Indoor Air Quality Inspector



Living in this area has awesome advantages.  Watching your family thrive in this community is a great feeling.  Just do it correctly.  There are many resources such as your realtor, bank, churches, and community organizations which can help guide your purchase.  And of course, an experienced and professional home inspector.




Certified Healthy Home Inspector

Certified Healthy Home Inspector

Prepare for a Home Inspection

You’ve prepared and listed your house with a realtor, and they have found a great buyer.  The price of the sale has been agreed upon.  Although the sale of your home is almost finalized, your buyers will usually request a home inspection before you can start packing your belongings.  Knowing how to prepare for home inspection can ease your and the new potential owners minds, and will get you that much closer to the final closing.

The home inspection takes place in a normal real estate transaction after the buyer has approved a purchase agreement but before the actual closing day. Most buyers decide to make the closing conditional on the outcome of the house inspection, giving them the option to back out of the deal if the inspector uncovers a major defect and the seller refuses to fix it or reduce the asking price to reflect it.  The inspection is typically paid by the buyer.


What does a home inspector do and who are they?  We are not “code inspectors” but rather are highly trained, experienced, insured, and certified by the state.  The engineers at Middle Tennessee Inspections have years of experience and training and have passed the National Home Inspectors Examination.  We are members of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and licensed by the State of Tennessee.

We will look

What we check

Prepare for your inspection What we check

over from top to bottom during the inspection, with particular attention paid to assessing the roof, walls, foundation, plumbing system, electrical system, and HVAC system. Inspectors will also look for  leaks, mold, mildew, and other indications of water damage, as well as the functionality of installed devices like carbon monoxide alarms and garbage disposals.



As the seller, you want the home inspection to go as smoothly as possible, and there are a few simple items that can help you ensure that it does.


  1. Provide open and clear access to areas that need to be checked.

Quite often we have to simply disclose an area or item as an unknown if we cannot access it.  I have had blocked attic doors, shelves in front of electrical panels, locked doors, in even areas where pets such as dogs were kept.  While part of the selling process is to clean and move items out of the way, please make sure we have access to important areas.  This includes basements, attic doors, electrical and plumbing access, and very importantly under kitchen and bathroom sinks.

  1. Clear the exterior perimeter

Inspectors will examine the foundation and area around the structure.  Before the inspection please trim growth from around the structure, and make sure the area around your water faucets and heating system are clear.

  1. Roof and Gutters

Make sure that your gutters are clean and in good condition.  If you have debris, moss or algae growth on the roof, which is quite common in middle Tennessee, try to get these cleaned.  Trim tree branches.  A major part of our inspections is to check these components by latter, walking on, and by drone.  It is much better, and economical for you, if you take care of it before the sale.

Prepare for a Home Inspection

Check your gutters

  1. Keep a Clean House

Selling your house can be exhausting.  Keeping it clean and tidy before a showing (especially if you have kids) can wear you out.  But please do keep it clean, and remove before before the inspection.

  1. Replace light bulbs

A blown bulb can mean one of two things to a home inspector: either the bulb is broken or there is a problem with the wiring of the fixture. Either the inspector will have to spend time evaluating whether a fixture is inoperative, or they will simply record that a potential fault exists.  While our engineers will make every attempt to verify the fixture is working sometimes we cannot.  By making sure that all of your bulbs are in good operating order, you can prevent both of these situations.

  1. Fix cabinets

Cabinet doors can easily become mis-aligned, even when new.  My kitchen is only a year old and I have already had to readjust the doors.  Spend a few minutes making sure all doors and drawers operate the way that they should.  And obviously fix or replace those that do not.

  1. Make sure that your toilets flush, and sinks drain

Does your toilet keep running after you flush it? When you deal with a problem on a daily basis, it becomes simple to ignore it, but you don’t want the house inspector to discover it.  It is a quick and easy fix.  Here is a great article  Fixing a running toilet  Make sure that your sinks drain properly.  And please flush the toilets.  Yea, I’ve seen that.

  1. Prepare for a Home Inspection

    Dirty Filter

    Look for leaks

Leaks and spills happen.  Fix any water-related problems before the inspection.  We search for leaks and water damage visually and with

InfraRed Sensors and moisture sensors.  Check under sinks, around faucets, at the base of bathtubs and/or showers, and under any potentially leaky equipment, such as refrigerators and dishwashers.  Don’t forget to look for leaks or water damage on the outside of your home.

  1. Replace your furnace filter

Part of preparing for a home inspection is to change your furnace filters.  They are an integral part of your homes environmental well-being.  Take a few minutes to replace your filters.  While I do not report that as a ‘defect’, the picture of a very dirty filter reflects negatively.

  1. Check doors and windows

Make sure that all doors and windows close properly.  Homes settle with age.  A simple readjustment of a door or window will eliminate a possible ‘ding’ on the report.  Clean sliding door tracks and replace window screens if necessary.  Remember to check your attic door

  1. Electrical

A common issue is broken or missing switch or receptacle faceplates.  These can be replaced for less than one dollar.  Make sure the electrical panel is easily accessible and the circuits are labeled.  We at Middle Tennessee Inspections almost always remove the front panel to check the integrity of your electrical system.  And if you see outlet boxes coming out of the wall – fix them!

Outlet falling out of wall

  1. Pests

Middle Tennessee is a wonderful place to live.  We all love it, but so do pests.  Before your inspection it is advisable to make sure these are minimalized.  If found we report on rat traps and poison, wasps and bees, termites, and any other ‘critters’ that we find evidence of.  If you do have pest treatments, which many of us do, leave the contract or schedule out and we will document that in our report.

  1. Inspection Day

Breath.  You have a great house and excited buyers.  Soon the paperwork will be finalized and you can start your new adventure.  Do a final check, make sure your pets are confined, dishes are put away, toilets flushed (thanks), and nothing is in the oven (I once found a batch of newly baked brownies – I did NOT try them but they smelled awesome).  Your realtor will have already provided me on how to enter your home, and I always will try to text them and the buyers agent when I am complete.  As a professional, I will always treat your home as I would want someone who comes into mine.  I have “inside” and “outside” shoes, and a mini-vac id needed.  Many home owners prefer to stay and I do not mind whatsoever.


This should help you prepare for a home inspection.  Thank you again allowing me into your home, and great success in the future.


Contractor List

Updated 05 April 2023

Whether you are buying a home, renovating it, or preparing for a sale ( check out our Blog   –> Pre-Listing Inspections ) you will most likely need good and trustworthy contractors.  This can be difficult especially if you’re moving into a new area.  Reputable contractors have a large following which means a large waiting list.  They are often very hard to schedule, and sometimes this will be months.


We have often been asked for recommendations and there are numerous ‘lists’ out there; many are outdated.  We at Middle Tennessee Inspections have combined several of these lists, cleaned out the obsolete and defunct companies, and attempted to personally contact every contractor.  Just like Google does we look at a contractor’s references, feedback, and associations such as the Tullahoma Chamber of Commerce and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce


This list is not an endorsement of any contractor and you should always contact several before you start your project.  As engineers accuracy is essential, but information does change.  This list is also very dynamic and will periodically be updated.  And of course if you have been fortunate enough to find a great contractor not on the list please let me know so I can add them.  Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising and feedback.  And if you have a bad experience please let me know as well.  Feel free to download and share with your friends (and clients).

The list —>  Contractor List

Trees can be a Wonderful Thing


Trees are a wonderful addition to any home because of the many benefits they offer.  The production of oxygen and shade, and of course the enhancement of the home’s aesthetic appeal.


If you have a small yard and are looking for the right tree for the job, a shade tree might be the best option for you to go with. An excellent shade tree can make your outdoor space feel 10-15 degrees cooler. This is what differentiates heat that can be tolerated from heat that is just miserable. Here are some of the recommended and best suited trees for Middle Tennessee.

Red Maple

Red Magic

Red Maples have smaller leaves than most maples, but they are a thick and full tree that can compete with the best trees for shade coverage. Although their leaves are smaller, red maples are one of the best shade trees. When fully matured they can reach heights of 65 feet, making it an excellent addition to any yard and providing beauty throughout the year. Because of the breathtaking display of dark and light reds that they put on in the autumn, the area is known as “Red Magic.”

Sugar Maple

The sugar maple is the most well-known and widespread member of the maple family. They are not only one of the best and easiest to care for shade trees you can get, but they are also well-known for their ability to produce delicious maple syrup. Sugar maples have the potential to grow to heights of more than 80 feet and can cast a shade of up to 60 feet, making them an excellent choice for the area around your deck or patio. They will take your breath away with their brilliant yellow, red, and orange tones during the fall season.


Bald Cypress

Bald Cypress Tree

This is the classic tree of the Southern swamps’ but can be planted in most Middle Tennessee homes with the right soil.  It can grow to a height of between 50 and 70 feet and has a spread of approximately 30 feet. Its natural growth form is a conical shape with horizontal branches. Because the bald cypress is a medium-sized tree that grows between 13 and 24 inches per year, you need to ensure that it has plenty of room to grow and spread out.


Weeping Willow

weeping willow

weeping willow

The weeping willow is one of the most regal-looking species of tree you will ever come across. It can reach a height of 30–40 feet and a width of 35–40 feet during its lifetime. At any point during the day, a canopy of shade is produced by the long, drooping branches of this tree. If you have a yard that is relatively large, you should consider planting this tree. Because of the potential for the tree’s roots to cause significant damage to nearby structures, you should take care not to plant this tree in a location that is too close to your house, pool, or septic tank. If you want to get rid of that pool of stagnant water that just won’t go away, planting weeping willows next to a pond is a good idea because they are native to wetland and swamp environments and grow naturally there.



When it reaches its full maturity, this colossal tree can reach a height of up to 100 feet. It produces fruit in the summer and fall, which draws in a large number of different kinds of wildlife, and it blooms with bright red flowers in the spring. The sycamore tree is a fast-growing species, capable of gaining up to 1 meter of height per year. The sycamore tree should be planted at a distance from other trees due to its height and rapid growth rate. It has the potential to become taller than most trees and consume all of the available sunlight.




Eastern White Pine

When fully mature, eastern white pines can reach heights of up to 80 feet and spread out to an incredible 40 feet across. This makes them one of the evergreens that are likely to grow to be the tallest in our recommendations. It does best in soils that are either acidic, moist, well-drained, or dry, as well as in full sun or partial shade. It has some drought tolerance, but you shouldn’t let it go for too long without getting a good watering. The needles of an Eastern white pine can grow to be as long as 5 inches and are distinguished by their length and slenderness. They have a natural tendency to grow in a pyramidal shape and are favored as a food source by a great variety of birds and other animals.

Eastern White Pine

Eastern White Pine

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

Japanese Maple

This is one of my favorites.  They prefer ‘dappled sun’ which is perfect for our yard with limited sunlight.  It’s bright red leaves give nice contract to the darker plants around it.

Littleleaf Boxwood

This little shrub grows leaves that are dense and oval-shaped all through the year. It is ideally suited for the climate of Tennessee, which allows it to thrive here. Littleleaf boxwoods thrive best in soil that is moist, cool, and well-drained.  It does well with pruning and does will require full sun. It is also resistant to damage caused by rabbits and deer. Small white flowers that bloom in the spring produce a scent that is fleeting but pleasant, and these flowers are a welcome sight.



There are several types of trees that are not well-suited to have in your yard for many reasons.  They include:

Bradford Pear Trees

In the spring, this gorgeous tree is covered in flowers but all of this beauty comes at a cost.  It smells like the putrid odor of rotting fish.

Black Walnut

The black walnut tree emits a chemical known as juglone, which causes some plants to die and deprives other plants of their nutrients. Because of this, the tree is an unwelcome neighbor for vegetable gardens, especially ones that contain potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes.

Norway Maple

This invasive species casts a thick shadow, which prevents other plant species from receiving the sufficient amount of sunlight they require. In addition to this, this tree has fibrous roots, which are capable of absorbing all of the nutrients in the soil before any other plant has the opportunity to feed.

Sweetgum Trees

Because of the tree’s unusually large surface roots, your home’s foundation may be in jeopardy if it remains in this location. Anything that is in close proximity to a sweetgum tree, including your lawn, pool, and patio, is at risk of being damaged.


There is a wealth of resources out there including


Red Maples

Red Maples



Tree limbs that are too close to your home can cause damage to the rooftop and other parts of your property. Branches scraping against roof shingles on windy days can strip off layers of asphalt. Also, leaves that fall directly into the gutter can clog it, leading to premature deterioration, mold growth, and even leaks. That is why you would want to avoid having tree branches hit your roof. Here are a few tips to prevent damages.


Trim all tree branches that come within 6 feet of your roof. We recommend that you hire a professional arborist to get rid of overhanging branches, as they will be able to protect your roof as they work. Making a wrong cut could cause a branch to fall, leading to expensive and extra repairs to your roof, siding, windows, and even your car.


Pruning is an excellent way to control shrub and tree growth. Thus, avoiding the branches from reaching your roof. The general rule of thumb is to make the cuts just outside the branch collar to avoid damaging the trunk and compromising wound responses. Eliminate branches that show signs of damage first.


Cutting tree limbs over your roof is a dangerous task, and mistakes can cost you more money than expected. That is why we highly recommend hiring a certified, insured, and experienced arborist to perform the task. Professionals in the field know how to correctly trim the tree and remove branches while keeping your home intact.

Cutting tree limbs will not only avoid costly damages to your roof but will also prevent small animals from gaining access to your roof to try to intrude your home for spring nesting.


Give the engineers and inspectors at Middle Tennessee Inspections a call for more ‘tips’ and let to let us check the integrity of your roof.  Keep your home happy and dry!


Original post by  Secure LawnRoof inspector logo Drone Pilot Training logo



Whether you’re looking to sell your house or just want it to look like a million bucks lawn care and landscaping is a great way to add curb appeal to your property.

The most obvious benefit of lawn care is that you’ll get to enjoy your lawn in its most beautiful form. A great-looking lawn can be an awesome gathering place for friends and family. Perhaps a more enticing benefit for some is the promise of a higher property value. A great-looking lawn is the first impression for potential buyers. This can help you move your house off the market faster, and ideally at a higher price.


There are many tips to keeping your lawn looking great, and one of the biggest ones is maintaining your trees and shrubs. To further increase the resale value of your home, consider adding trees and shrubs to your yard. When well maintained, this type of greenery can increase your property value by up to 15%.

Maintaining this greenery is essential to keeping your yard looking great. One of the more important landscaping tips you can get is to keep your shrubs and trees pest-free. Managing these pests can take stress and pressure off of trees and let them look healthier and more appealing to your potential buyers. Giving your shrubs and trees and healthy environment to thrive is one of our top landscaping tips.

Professional Lawn CarePlant a tree

These days, everybody is busy. After a long work week, the last thing you want to do is spend hours tending to your lawn every weekend. Instead, let professionals take care of it so that you get all the benefits of a beautiful yard without the hassle of doing it yourself. Professional, licensed lawn care technicians are able to care for your lawn all year long so that come summer, it looks as good as it possibly can.

Coming home each day to a well-manicured lawn is about more than that feeling of pride of ownership. When it comes time to find a new home, a healthy lawn will make your property more attractive to potential buyers by adding curb appeal.

Increase Property Values

A professionally maintained lawn does more than just attract interested buyers. It can also increase the value of your home. And it’s a good investment, too. It has been estimated that lawn care provides a 300% return on your investment. How is that possible, you may ask. Consider the selling price of a nearby home similar to yours, but with a poorly maintained lawn. Now take your lawn care cost, triple it, and add it to your house price. You’ll see the price of your house, considering your beautiful landscaping, is definitely worth it.



Because IR cameras help inspectors rapidly and precisely find and document faults, thermal imaging has become a crucial tool for the engineers and inspectors at Middle Tennessee Inspections. Infrared thermal imaging cameras detect slight but significant temperature changes in various sections of a home, indicating problems that the human eye would never notice and that a visual inspection might only guess about. Its capacity to read heat as color and show that information in an easy to understand way for homeowners. Many full color IR photographs will be included in your Middle Tennessee Inspections inspection report.

Moisture is a major concern that these examinations identify, including hidden mold sources, roof leaks, and posts that indicate termite nests. Electrical issues, heat and energy loss, foundation fissures, structural concerns, missing insulation, ventilation issues, and rat infestations are all uncovered. Let’s go over a few of the most common camera issues we encounter, which might save you a lot of money.

William Herschel, the British astronomer best known for discovering Uranus, discovered infrared light almost 200 years ago. After World War II, IR pictures were utilized by the military as a reconnaissance tool, with cameras attached aboard planes collecting photographs. IR technology had advanced to commercial and industrial applications by the time of the Vietnam War. The practical uses of thermography have constantly risen as the technology has evolved and become more portable and less expensive. Thermal imaging has become highly popular for building inspections because it can find and document faults in ways that provide more data and accuracy than many of the more traditional equipment and procedures.

During an inspection, thermal imaging is mostly employed as a non-contact temperature measurement method. This method of measuring temperature differences allows for a fast assessment of huge areas. During building inspections and energy audits, infrared cameras can be used to discover problems by observing temperature changes, which the camera interprets as infrared radiation and displays as gradient colors. Infrared radiation is emitted by all objects, which is invisible to the naked eye but detectable by thermal imaging. Inspectors can use this information to uncover flaws that would otherwise be more difficult and time-consuming to locate. Understanding the data displayed by the camera is critical to properly exploiting IR technology to its full potential.

Infrared cameras are mostly employed in the inspection business to determine what is known as “apparent” temperature. Because of the varying levels of emissivity of different areas and objects, as well as other factors that can affect data, such as wind and weather conditions, determining the e

xact temperature of an anomaly with infrared alone can be difficult, which is why the most common use of thermal imaging in inspections is to locate and document problems.

A dark region in the thermal image of a ceiling, for example, could suggest moisture above it. A moisture meter can be used to confirm moisture penetration once this has been seen. The wet spot’s pattern can be recorded with the camera, and the region above the ceiling can then be studied with infrared to try to figure out where the leak is coming from. Many moisture meter readings and infrared photographs will be included in your Middle Tennessee Inspections report.

In a situation like this,  when infrared is frequently employed in inspections, the precise temperature measurement — the quantitative value — is irrelevant. What matters is that the apparent temperature difference alerted the inspector to a problem location that could be reported and investigated further. As a result, IR camera examination is a qualitative rather than a quantitative measurement. Thermal imaging is used to find abnormalities in the form of temperature variations,

evaluate the patterns, and document the problems.

In most inspection reports, thermal pictures are utilized to visually document faults discovered on site. The ‘visible-light snapshot’ as well as the IR picture are included as a background in the FLIR IR cameras utilized by Middle Tennessee Inspections, along with a description of the issue that was detected. Because it displays any clear, visible problems, the addition of standard, digital photographs makes side-by-side comparisons easier for both inspectors and clients to understand. IR, on the other hand, does not stop at the obvious. The infrared image accurately depicts a fault that the digital camera was unable to capture. For example, a digital image may show a dried water stain at a wall-ceiling junction, whereas an infrared image may show a black spot in the same location. While the digital image appears to show an old stain, the IR image reveals that moisture is still present, necessitating more study to discover and repair the problem.

Middle Tennessee Inspections’ engineer inspectors are InterNACHI Infrared Certified.



Recently I inspected a property here in Coffee County, TN with a newly installed attic hatch. At Middle Tennessee Inspections we always take a lot of InfraRed (IR) pictures and I’m glad I did here. The attic was insulated, but the door was not. It lacked a ‘weatherstrip

Attic Door IR

Attic Door using IR Camera

ping seal’ to close up the gap between the door and the frame. A quick trip to Lowes or Home Depot might save a lot of money for the homeowner.

Attic hatches have a hidden issue in that they may look to be in good working order but actually still leak a lot of energy. Even if the woodwork and paint on an attic hatch are immaculate, it can still be a gigantic heat leak. Although your attic is probably insulated, there’s a strong possibility your entrance hatch isn’t.  In the Summer, it will radiate heat into the home, and in the Winter, it will release heat and let warm air out. Despite the fact that attic hatches can be the source of massive air leaks and radiant heat loss, they are rarely repaired.

Here are two suggestions for saving energy and you some money. Increase the thickness of the insulation on and around the door itself. Then, and this is frequently the most important step, close the space between the door and the hatch to prevent air flow and heat loss. For this example, we’ll utilize a standard plywood hatch with finish molding over the rough-cut hole.

Fiberglass insulation on the top of the door will help, but a better long-term option is to construct a box out of solid insulation that fits over the framed opening of the door, as well as any folded steps if you have them. Rigid insulation is more effective than fiberglass in terms of sealing the box. Plus, when you open the hatch, none of that fiberglass will fall into your house. There are commercially available alternatives. For attic stair insulation, your local hardware store has everything from ready-made reflective foil tents to complex covers manufactured from thick expanded polystyrene (EPS).  You can also readily purchase pre-cut kits at hardware stores or on-line. They come in a number of sizes to fit a variety of attic door styles. Over time, that initial investment will save you a lot of money.

The weather-stripping on the hatches is frequently missing or insufficient. Even if it was fitted, there’s a good chance it’s been damaged as a result of use over time. When they dry out, they lose their effectiveness as well. Examine the weatherstripping and gaskets surrounding your attic hatch’s opening. If they appear to be damaged or dried out you should consider replacing them. It’s possible that they’ll simply rip away from the frame but if the weatherstripping was fastened with nails or screws, simply pull them out with a screwdriver or plyers.  A wire cutter works to remove all of the fasteners as well.  Two inch wood stays should be installed all the way around the opening if the attic hatch sits directly on the molding. These stops allow you to apply fresh weatherstripping with more ease. Hook and loop fasteners are a great idea to secure your door and hold it close to the weatherstripping.

After removing the old weatherstripping, or if there was none to begin with, you’re ready to install new weatherstripping. Cut it to fit snuggly on all four sides along the bottom edge of the trim as well as the other three edges. It’s much easier to use self-adhesive weatherstripping.  When finished, completely close the door/hatch and press down on the gasket to create a complete seal.

Let the engineers and inspectors at Middle Tennessee Inspections assist you in minimizing your heating bills. We have the experience, knowledge, and equipment necessary to quickly diagnose problems and save you money.

Check out this great article for more information and some tips –

Attic Door Frame

Attic Door Frame with no Weatherstripping