Today’s post comes from guest blogger Steve Parton of Spectrum Inspection Group. Steve is one of our go-to experts in home and commercial building inspection, including thermal imaging, radon and mold testing.
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They say that seeing is believing. When it comes to energy-saving home improvements, many people believe they are making the right decision for their family and their home when they see a benefit to their pocketbook or the comfort level of their home. Another way that you can literally see the benefit of energy-saving improvements is through the use of infrared technology, or “thermal imaging”.

Thermal imaging is the leading form of inspection technology available today. In the hands of a skilled technician (formally known as a “thermographer”), defects, flaws and potential problems in a home can easily be identified. After repairs are made, thermal imaging also allows you to see how the improvement is actually performing.

How does it work?
In some ways, infrared cameras used for thermal imaging are similar to a digital cameras; they use a lens and software to convert colors into an image displayed on a screen. With an infrared camera, the lens and software capture the energy (or temperature) emitted from the subject, assigns that energy a color, and converts it into a visual image on a screen.

The most common applications for thermal imaging is finding issues such as uncontrolled moisture and air, and missing insulation in buildings. More intense inspections such as finding electrical faults, subsurface moisture in a flat roof and problems with rotating equipment are other common commercial applications.

Thermal imaging is also a great tool for proving the effectiveness of insulation products. Many times, traditionally-constructed homes do not have continuous insulation on the exterior. This lack of insulation can contribute to tremendous energy loss, as well as comfort issues for the residents when inside the home.

When you don’t have continuous insulation in the walls of your home, heat can by-pass the insulation in the wall cavity and transfer right across the connected building components, such as wood or metal studs, drywall, fasterns and sheathing. This process is “thermal bridging”. Thermal imaging can actually reveal spots where thermal bridging is a problem.

As you can see in these thermal images, adding continuous insulation to the home’s exterior makes a tremendous difference, both in reducing energy transferred through thermal bridging, as well as reducing airflow.

Above: Taken in the winter, this image shows a lot of heat moving from inside the house to the outside. Notice the warm yellow studs and the red hot top of the wall.

Above: Taken in the winter, this thermal image shows a lot of heat moving from inside the house to the outside. Notice the warm yellow studs and the red hot top of the wall where energy is escaping.

Above: Here you can see that that thermal bridge has been halted by exterior insulation and the client is keeping more of the heat they paid for.

Above: After the addition of exterior insulation, you can see that that thermal bridge has been halted, and the client is keeping more of the heat they paid for. The cool blue/green wall shows energy is no longer leaking from inside the home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


If you are interested in seeing your home through the lens of an infrared camera, make sure that the contractor has at least a Level 1 certification from either an accredited training center or camera manufacturer such as FLIR, Fluke or Testo. This certification ensures that the user understands the basics of building science and how to properly interpret thermal images. Because of the expense that goes along with a good infrared camera and training, it also shows that the contractor is serious about their craft.

Steve Parton

About Steve Parton

Proper foundational training and a wide range of experience is integral to success, and this helps set Spectrum Inspection Group apart. I have achieved the proper education and certification from the leading bodies in each of Spectrum Inspection Group's core competencies. This, along with broad field experience and continuing education, ensures that you will receive the professional service you are looking for. www.spectruminspects.com
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2 Responses to What Thermal Imaging Can Do For You

  1. paul says:

    In a today’s technical era thermal imaging helps not only to identify the temperature of an object but also it shows the defect in the object. Many times when we are going to buy a new home we do not know about their material and about their internal defects so at this time thermal imaging help us to identify the defects.

  2. I totally understand that the Thermal imaging provides an additional tool for evaluation as a part of a comprehensive energy audit. And with a thermal imaging camera you can see the variance in temperatures that reflect possible problems in our house. For me, detecting the problems before it become worst will save a lot of money and time. MetalRoofSpecialties.com

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