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Thermal Imaging: Everything you need to know

At APM, every building & pest inspection we do includes a thermal imaging scan of the property.  This is an essential part of the process as it is a useful tool for identifying whether there are any active termites hiding between walls.  It can also help identify if there is any issues moisture build up, ventilation or dampness.

 About Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging is a useful piece of technology that displays images in regards to heat levels of an area rather than visible light.  Physical inspections can only asses a structure by using a tapping tool to check if there are any soft spots present.   In comparison, thermal imaging allows us to non-invasively asses areas that would otherwise be invisible to the naked eye until severe damage was already done.

How it works

Thermal cameras work by visually showing us the differences in heat patterns of an area.   Inanimate objects like timber or dry wall show up as cool because they emit no heat.  Termites however, are living organisms that nest in groups and require dark, damp areas to build their mounds.  Due to the nature of their behaviour, they emit high levels of heat in comparison to the inanimate timber structures they like to reside in.  The cameras allow us to spot identify if there are any active termite issues within walls, ceilings or under floors that might otherwise look pristine.

Limitations

Although thermal cameras are an extremely useful tool during the building and pest inspection, they do have limitations which we always outline to our clients within our reports.  Because the cameras work based on reading heat levels, they cannot identify if there is structural damage present from a previous termite inspection.

 

Contact APM Solutions on (07) 3828 2020 if you think you have hidden termites on your property.

How to Avoid Termite Trouble

 

Termites or “white ants” are small insects that can cause quite a bit of grief for home owners. In Australia, there are over 300 species of termites but the Coptotermes is most dangerous in terms of home infestations.

What makes termites dangerous?

Often called the “silent destroyers”, you might be wondering what is it that make these tiny creatures so dangerous to our homes as opposed to other common household pests? The answer to this lies within their eating habits. Termites feed off cellulose, an organic compound found in plants and common human building materials like wood. They prefer eating wood to obtain their nutrients because they can breakdown fibres in wood that other organisms cannot. Thus, providing them with a food source largely overlooked by most species.

People fear them because most don’t realise they have a termite problem until major damage has already been done. Termites love to live in humid and warm places with plenty of wood to eat making most Queensland homes the perfect place for termites to set up camp. As the termites eat away at your home, they can cause serious physical damage that can compromise the integrity of your house and cost thousands in repair work.

How can I prevent termites?

The saying “prevention is better than a cure” couldn’t be more true when it comes to termites. To make sure you never have to feel the fear of a termite infestation, here is a list of things to keep in mind that can help prevent a termite infestation:

Physical Barrier

This is a physical layer of protection between the soil on the ground and your home. Generally, these are made out of a stainless steel mesh so termites have difficulty gaining access to the house. This in conjunction with a concrete slab under the house can help protect your home physically. However, because physical barriers won’t kill any termites that might be living in the soil they are not 100% effective.

Chemical Barrier

This is a chemical treatment put into the soil surrounding a home. While deadly to termites, the chemicals used are completely safe for humans, pets, native animals etc. The chemical barrier is slow acting and spread from one termite to another until the colony is fully eradicated. It is important to keep in mind that there are different chemicals that can be used for this type of barrier and it’s important to speak with a professional to find out what is best for your home.

Wood Waste/ Storage

Never bury or leave wood waste in your yard as it will attract termites. Also, try not to store things like timber or firewood close to your house.

Placement of Mulch

Mulch is like a buffet dinner for termites however is used in most home gardens. Instead of completely getting rid of mulch, be mindful of where you put it. Try not to use it anywhere that is directly adjacent to your home.

Control Leaks

Termites love humid, moist conditions so make sure to fix any leaks around your home and get rid of any stagnant water.

Heavy Plant Growth

Remove any dense plant growth near your house and move it to further away in the yard. The thick vegetation holds large amounts of moisture which will attract termites.

If you think your might have termites or want to prevent them, contact APM Solutions directly on (07) 3828 2020 for a competitive quote on an inspection or treatment.

5 questions to ask yourself before buying

When buying, there are many things you may need to think about.

When you’re buying a home, you (or your building inspector) will most likely identify something that you wish wasn’t there; damp wood, termites, leakage, or a frame with damaged structure. The simple fact is no home has a clean bill of health, especially if you’re looking to buy an 80-year-old Queensland home.

All properties have their own issues and a building and pest inspection will be able to measure the severity of them. A building and pest report will specifically outline any ongoing maintenance needed and a checklist of what to tackle in priority, should you go ahead and purchase the property.

Ideally, what you as a buyer wants from a building and pest report is for it to identify whether the property you wish to buy is better than/on par/worse than other properties in the area. For example, if you are buying an 80-year-old Queenslander, it will more than likely show signs of termite, borer and fungal decay damage and water ingress from aging roofs and bathrooms – where as a newly built home won’t.

Your building inspector will be able to identify whether there is any structural damage to be concerned about. They can also tell whether past damage has been rectified in an appropriate way; and how well the property has been maintained by its previous owners. Good building inspectors will meetnyou at the property so they can talk you through the inspection as they go. They will be able to identify the condition of the house on the spot; tell you how it stacks up for a property of its age and give you an honest opinion on the condition of the property.

Make sure you ensure the report you receive from your building and pest inspector is put into context. Don’t be scared of what is in the report but also don’t ignore it and go on to buy another property without engaging in a building and pest inspection. These reports are here to help you understand the condition of the property you are buying.

Still concerned? Ask yourself these 5 questions to help make your buying decision:

1.      How does this property compare to others of a similar age and style, in a similar location?
2.      What issues need to be dealt with before moving into the property?
3.      What is the likely cost of each issue identified in the building and pest report?
4.      Do you see any ongoing, costly maintenance issues?
5.      Would you let your son/daughter buy this house?

Termites. What attracts them to your home?

Is your home and surrounds the perfect environment for termites to move on in?

Queensland is home to summer storms, humid weather and wooden properties which are three perfect environments for termites to thrive. The condition and location of your property are two of the biggest factors which determine if they will thrive in your home. While you may not be able to escape Queensland’s iconic weather, you can ensure your property is maintained well enough to keep termites at bay.

Garden Beds

Having wood, plants or garden beds up against your property will make it easy for termites to get in from the ground. Termites like to feed and even nest in dark, moist areas and as Queensland’s summer is humid enough, try not to create another perfect environment for them to thrive.

Keep your gardens with a six-inch buffer from the walls or foundations of your property and avoid wetting the house when watering the gardens. This will keep the walls and foundations dry as possible and termites absent in the backyard of your property.

Walls and Floorboards

Once termites have set foothold in your property, they will head straight for the wooden walls and floorboards. Inside the walls and amongst the beams of your property is a popular spot, especially those which are adjoining to the kitchen, laundry, and bathroom (damp areas). Ensure all pipes, guttering, downpipes, taps and air conditioning units are in good repair and not leaking water.

Cellulose

Termites get their nutrition from cellulose which is the substance of wood and grass. Cellulose is one of the most common and durable substances on earth; hence it being hard to avoid and making termites a common factor in Queensland homes.

If you’re building a new home, use pressure treated timber or naturally resistant woods like redwood. Or you can avoid using wood altogether. If you’re living in an already established property; APM solutions can provide chemical treatments which create a barrier against termite infestations.

Do you have termites?

Warning signs to look for, include:

  • Floor boards that sound hollow when tapped, or holes in wood
  • Cracked or bubbling paint on the windows, skirting boards or architraves
  • Damp walls, in and around areas which have poor drainage during summer storms
  • Mud tunnels, on the exterior of the house
  • Termite droppings, which look like saw dust on the floor

If you have noticed any of the above warning signs in your Queensland property, contact APM Solutions today. If termites are present in addition to other pests such as cockroaches, mice or fungi; our pest inspector will go through your most suited solution to prevent any further damage including the installation of a termite barrier.

Termites love Brisbane’s weather

As much as Queenslanders don’t like the rain, unfortunately termites do. Which isn’t great news for home owners and investors, considering some parts of Brisbane had their wettest June since 1967 according to the Bureau of Meteorology. In fact, Alderley recorded nearly four times the average June rainfall.

Combine that with the warmer than average days and nights we’ve been enjoying recently and you have the perfect termite breeding ground, which is often invisible to the eye.

Therefore, homeowners are advised to be extra cautious coming into Spring and at the very least, remove all timber from around the house that is in contact with soil, any dead trees or stumps and fix any leaking pipes or systems running near the house.

Whilst this is a great start to prevent a termite attack, it won’t do much if they have already made their way into the valuable house.

The only way to find this out before the repair bill enters the thousands of dollars is to engage a termite technician to conduct a thorough inspection using thermal imaging cameras etc.

If you’re lucky enough to get the all clear, but live in a risky area, the best protection you can provide your house is a chemical soil barrier which will offer long term prevention.

However, if termites are present, you will need to eradicate them first before definitely installing a chemical soil barrier at a later date.

If you have any questions or concerns or you would like to book a termite inspection, please don’t hesitate to contact us.