Get paid like the big guys, with respect.
It’s like having your own AR department, without the payroll expense.
I was on a mission when I met up with Stuart Levine from DriRite in Winter Garden, FL, I wanted to know what he thought about an interesting new tool I had come across. Stuart has been a water damage restoration professional for over 25 years so I knew he would be just the guy to speak to regarding the new Flir One personal thermal imaging camera. When I asked Stuart why he thought the Flir One would be such a game-changing device he said, “In today’s world a professional restorer needs a thermal camera. When I can show a homeowner the water damage that can’t be seen, it makes my job that much easier. Having the right tools shows a higher level of professionalism and dedication”.
Stuart wanted to give the Flir One a run through its paces to see how it compared to the $9000 camera he usually uses on the job site, so we left the DriRite office and headed out to a large category three loss that work had begun on two days prior. Stuart was immediately impressed with the design of the Flir One unit. Weighing in at only 4 ounces, the Flir One is the smallest professional grade thermal imaging camera on the market. The unit is actually two parts, the first a simple but sturdy phone case and the second a slide on attachment to the phone case. The camera unit and housing are sturdy, well-built and designed for years of use. The two cases interlock to create a very solid feeling and secure unit, at no time did it feel like it might slide off or otherwise get damaged.
As we looked around the job site with what felt like super powers straight out of a comic book we were able to test a few of the features the Flir One has to offer. The Flir One is actually a powerful combination of hardware and software. The Flir One thermal imaging camera is powered by one of the Flir One apps. Currently there are five different Flir One apps you can use, the standard Flir One app, the CloseUp add, the Paint app, the Timelapse app and the Panorama app.
Each of these unique Flir One apps can power the camera with different unique features and allow a variety of settings choices. Users can choose the palette that best suits there needs, including iron, contrast, arctic, grayscale, hottest, coldest and rainbow. Stuart explained, “For water damage restoration we usually stick with grayscale or the blue-red as these are generally the best option for providing clear images showing the moisture in a wall or other unseen area.”
Stuart has been using a variety of IR (infrared) cameras since the 1990’s but none of them have been as portable and affordable as the Flir One. The quality build and ease of use make this an easy tool to pick up and almost immediately master. Moisture that cannot be seen with the naked eye is made clearly visible with the Flir One. Stuart explained that the usage goes even beyond moisture, “With an IR camera you can even see mold growth underneath surfaces and even find weakened grout lines, which can allow moisture through to sub surfaces.”
An IR camera is an essential tool for the professional water damage restorer, a tool that is now far more affordable and within reach for even the smallest of water damage restoration businesses.
As Stuart and I walked through the property enthralled with the Flir One we found ourselves marveling at the quality and ease of use. “This has a clear picture and the resolution is fabulous. This will take things to a whole new level”, Stuart said as he zoomed in on problem spots with amazing clarity.
Built into the Flir One software is the ability to turn on a temperature spot meter giving you an on-screen temperature reading of whatever object you have the camera pointed at. Stuart explained to me that this type of feature was usually only found in high-end thermal imaging cameras. From within the Flir One app we were able to take photos and videos with ease. The photos and videos are saved to the Flir One app and also to your phones photo gallery. The Flir One actually takes two images, one regular photo and one thermal, it combines this information to make the final Flir One image. From within the Flir One app you can simply pull down on an image to reveal the traditional photograph.
Each image taken with the Flir One saves the name of the palette used, the temperature range of the objects in the image and is geo-tagged. The images can be shared from within the Flir One app by email, SMS, Twitter or Airdrop. You can also hop over to your cameras internal gallery and share them anywhere you would share a traditional photo taken with the internal phone camera.
We noticed after about an hour that the Flir One did not seem to be having an affect on the battery life of the phone. This is because an internal battery powers the Flir One unit itself. Using the included USB cable you can easily charge the camera unit for about 2 hours of solid usage. Stuart commented, “I like that there is no excess drain on the phone, mine is always ringing so it really helps”.
The Flir One is ready to go right out of the box. You install the easy to use case and then launch the app, as simple as that. All of the Flir One apps are available for free from the Apple App Store. The Flir One currently only works with and fits the iPhone 5 and 5S. Keeping it simple the Flir One only has a single slider on the front that provides all the required mechanical controls. Stuart was amazed at the thought that went into the design of this product, “They really made this a simple easy to use product that even my less than tech savvy team members can pick up and use right out of the box. No more flipping through menus to get a center-point temperature reading or bulky carrying cases”.
As our time on the job site ended Stuart and I found ourselves both impressed with the product but also a bit blown away by the quality of the build. The Flir One has proven to be a valuable tool in any water restoration professional’s arsenal.
If you want to learn more about the Flir One you can head on over to the manufactures website and try out the very cool simulator. The Flir One is available now online at the manufactures website and soon at local Best Buy stores. For less than $350 you can have a high quality, professional thermal imaging camera that will add value to your water damage restoration services and help you stand out in your field.
The Flir One also works great for outdoor enthusiasts and home improvement fans. The possibilities for use are truly only limited by your imagination. So check out the Flir One today and find out what it’s like to have real super powers.