Our experience with IR cameras brought me to this discovery:
I needed to see through a wall to see the studs in a 100 year old plaster
and lath wall. It was easy.
Just put a radiant space heater on the other side to heat the wall. Then
after an hour or so, use an IR camera to view the wall. You can see the
studs and anything else that is inconsistent inside the wall.
Then I happened to glance with the IR camera at the wall where I had the
1500 W electric heater plugged in, and I could CLEARLY see the wiring in
3D. By moving the camera around I could see the hot wire in 3D and not
only see where it was, but how deep or, along which wall in the pocket it
I then went on an exploration mission in my basement to see hotspots in my
entire electrical system. It was an amazing color display liken to XMAS.
Then I noticed a large, unusually bright spot from the basement looking up
at the kitchen floor. I was concerned, since it should have been a part of
open floor and there should not be any heat source there unless it was an
electrical problem beneath the floor. I ran upstairs only to find a cat,
sleeping on a thick rug, on a ceramic tile, on a ¾” underlayment, on top of
an OAK floor, on top of ¾” tongue and groove subfloor.
That’s seeing a cat through 3” of solid wood, ceramic and a rug. Just
laying there burning up cat food.
I think these cameras are under $500 and even have APPS on cell phones that
can do it?
You wont be able to see though metal, but through anything else, maybe so.
In fact, to perfectly mark the hazy images where I wanted to drill the hole
to the stud, I used a small 1” square of aluminum foil. It has low
emissivity and always appears DARK against anything else that is warm
behind it. But also, notice that the aluminum foil is not only low-E, but
it is also IR REFLECTIVE. So it can look very hot (98.6F) if you happen to
be standing where the aluminum can reflect your body heat.