Mark Lapka’s thermal-image camera can quickly and easily profile the energy use of a building.

Mark Lapka’s thermal-image camera can quickly and easily profile the energy use of a building.

New camera spots invisible problems

Mark Lapka’s thermal-image camera can quickly and easily profile the energy use of a building.

Part of Mark Lapka’s business at MTM On the Level Contracting is to ensure condo buildings remain in good repair, that they don’t leak, are properly ventilated and heated, and don’t have the odd surprise of a rat’s nest or beehive tucked away in hidden places.

So in December, Lapka went high-tech and spent $9,000 on a Flir M-485 thermal-imaging camera and saved a lot of time and money.

The camera can detect temperature changes and  show where cold drafts enter a building, or where insulation is failing, or water is leaking, or where a rodent is living.

“It’s non-destructive testing. You don’t have to tear anything apart.”

Lapka said the camera recently found a water leak in a condo, for a fee of about $600. Another contractor had wanted to take out the drywall to locate the leak, at 10 times the cost.

“Insurance companies love it,” he said.