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High-tech home inspections

Infrared heat sensorInsurers are using high-tech tools to find hidden problems before they become big losses. Fireman's Fund is among companies that use infrared cameras to scan high-value homes and historic buildings as well as homes with art collections. The cameras use thermal imaging technology, which lets inspectors "see" hot and cool spots under floors, behind walls or above ceilings. A hot reading might indicate an electrical hot spot - a potential fire hazard - and a cool reading may indicate a wet area from a leaky pipe.

"People with older homes are really interested in the service, but we've also seen scans of some brand-new homes showing insulation that's missing," Neis says.

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