Your house or office may have leaks that are not so obvious. Wouldn’t it be great if you could take a photo and it would show you where you are losing valuable heating or cooling. Thermography may be just what you need.
Thermography has been described as the art and science of detecting, displaying and recording thermal patterns across the surface of an object. An infrared camera detects infrared energy and converts it into an electrical signal which is assigned a color, displayed on a screen and temperature calculations are done by the software in the camera. IR surveys are a fast, non-invasive, non-contact and safe way to locate and pinpoint problem areas, determine the severity of the problem and help establish a time frame in which the problem should be corrected.
After some recent correspondence with the IR Guy, David Day with www.thermalviewpoints.com, I have come to understand how important this technology is. The recent winter is a great example of how important saving energy can be, both for the pocketbook and for the planet. The image that thermography generates can tell you precisely where you are losing heat. You can then take measures to prevent that heat loss by insulating etc.
David also stated that some of the many uses of infrared thermography are weather satellites, injuries in horses and other animals, search and rescue, aid in the detection of breast cancer, military and law enforcement, night vision, monitoring oil spills, studying volcanic activity, wildlife counts, testing automotive components and it has many uses in commercial and residential settings.
Its biggest use in commercial applications is for electrical surveys, all the way from the power plant to the consumer. Faults can found in transformers, circuit breakers, bus ducts, switch gear, lightning arrestors and any device that carries current. Electrical components often rise in temperature before failure. This increase in temperature can easily be seen by a thermographer and his equipment, sometimes even weeks before a failures occur. The benefits to the company are: reduced down time and injury to personal, energy savings and makes it easier for maintenance to schedule repairs during off hours. Most large industrial plants have bi-annual inspections done as part of their predictive-preventative maintenance programs (PPM). It is also used to find leaks in flat roofs, insulated pipes and underground pipes and in the identification of overheated motors and bearings. These are just a few of its applications.
Residential and Commercial Application
In residential and commercial settings thermography is used to see how well the building is insulated and for locating air leaks, leaks in pipes behind walls, to check in-floor heating systems and even locating the framing members like wall studs and ceiling joists. Thermography can seem like magic sometimes but it’s just science and does have its limitations. Cold areas and wet areas can have the same look to them in an IR image and the imager can’t tell the difference. It’s the thermographer’s experience and knowledge of how to interpret the patterns in the image and of the system being surveyed that makes the difference. Cellulose insulation can settle, some spray foam insulation can shrink or crack, If not properly installed air can flow around fiberglass batt insulation. Rodents and bugs can compromise insulation. There are times when more invasive measures have to be employed to find out what is really going on but thermography is a fast non-invasive and non-destructive way to see a lot of what is going on with your house and can save you a lot of money and headaches. Contractors can miss areas like above or below windows and sometime even whole walls. Heating accounts for about 45% of your utility bills and with energy cost always rising, we all should be doing what we can to cut our expenses.