INFRARED (THERMAL) IMAGING - APPLICATIONS

By
Home Inspector with Massachusetts Home Inspections MA. License#566

There are a host of applications for infrared cameras and there are many issues (throughout the average building) that can be easily detected through infrared imaging.

I'd like to post the many applications (one post at a time) that infrared imaging can be utilized in and then answer any questions you may have regarding these thermal imaging applications.

The first and most widely used application is... Energy Efficiency Inspections.

I know everyone works very hard for their money in order to pay the bills, but what you don't realize is how much of your hard earned energy dollars are actually slipping right through the cracks of your home. Keeping your home at a comfort level (by conditioning it) can be very costly. Wouldn't you like to reduce your energy bills in our freezing winter months and then again, in the summer cooling months? I'm sure your answer is "Yes". Well, a good place to start would be a professional infrared home-energy efficiency inspection. My infrared inspection can tell you where you are wasting your hard earned energy dollars, and then show you exactly where your costly energy dollars are being wasted.

There are many building envelope anomalies that can generate significant heat and air conditioning loss, which causes your energy dollars to be wasted in a not-so-tight home.

Sources of Air Leakage in a Typical Home

 

During a Re-hab, infrared imaging detects missing insulation above ceiling

 

My infrared camera allows me to perform a comprehensive energy efficiency inspection within your home and locating and pin-pointing those areas where unconditioned air is infiltrating your home. Most air infiltration areas are located at wall penetrations (such as windows, doors, vents, etc), and at transition areas of fully insulated walls, ceilings and floors. My thermal scan will identify the smallest of insulation breaches and fissures within the concealed cavities of your walls and ceilings. I will literally show you where you are wasting your precious energy resources and your hard earned dollars. My IR camera enables me to point out exactly where your costly energy dollars are being lost. I will then assist you in determining how to properly insulate those breached areas with minimum damage to your surfaces, so you can get the most out of your heating and cooling systems for many years to come.

An infrared home energy efficiency inspection can be used to verify problems caused by poor design, poor workmanship, or material failure. With the ridiculously high priced heating fuel today, my energy audit can pay for itself in as little as one year. This is the ideal inspection to conduct for numerous situations in a typical home...

1) Use my infrared services while I'm performing your Standard home inspection. This valuable option is not included in my standard home inspection fee.

2) You can hire me immediately after completion of your newly constructed home while the home or building is still under warranty with the building contractor. I can also scan your new home on construction stage inspections. (In many cases, those moisture stains on your basement walls are explained away by the builder as "during construction" moisture. It pays to confirm this before the builder's warranty expires.)

3) If you own an older home that is costing you too much in energy dollars due to excessive air drafts, I can pinpoint those problem areas where cold air is infiltrating your living space. Then, it's best if you contact a building contractor to upgrade those specific areas that I will be clearly identifying throughout your home. All efficiency information and pictures will be transferred onto a professional thermal report for your convenience.

4) An infrared energy inspection will easily locate any missing insulation behind your finished walls and ceilings. Then, you can contact an insulation contractor to upgrade the areas that I will be identifying throughout your home. These areas will also be clearly identified on a professional energy efficiency report. During this inspection, I can show you how you can insulate specific areas without removing walls or ceilings.

5) I am able to detect potential mold problems behind walls and ceilings. All moisture issues must be mitigated immediately. As I stated previously, infrared imaging does not detect the actual Molds behind your walls and ceilings, but it will detect the issues associated with Mold build-up.

6) Infrared Thermography provides you with a unique opportunity to assess the energy efficiency of your HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems, including the tightness of the ductwork that is located behind your walls and ceilings. In order to prevent deadly carbon monoxide poisoning, this inspection will also test for leaks throughout the vent pipes.

7) An infrared camera will locate those thermal panes that are at the beginning stages of leaking insulated gases. I am able to locate any broken seals in double/triple pane windows that do not visually show signs of condensation as of yet.

As you can see, having an infrared energy efficiency inspection makes it much easier to positively pinpoint problems throughout your home, instead of simply making an educated guess without the camera. This IR inspection also allows me to communicate my findings with greater understanding to you (the homeowner) instead of just "speaking another language." As one client had put it very clearly, "This inspection lets my eyes make sense of what my ears are hearing." Now that makes perfect sense, Right?

The dark blue areas indicate that there is "No Insulation" in this area

Thermal imaging pictures combined with digital photographs can greatly enhance your understanding of just what the problem is and how to go about having it repaired with minimum damage to the home. My final energy efficiency report will enhance your ability to deal directly with the contractors that may be performing the repair work for you. All you have to do is show your contractor the infrared energy efficiency report and they will fully understand your issues. After your contractor completes their upgrade, and before you make any final payment, you can then contact me to perform a final scan to verify that all work was performed correctly.

Looks great visually, until I detect insulation defects with thermal imaging

Comments (10)

Renee Adelmann
Marin Modern Real Estate - Mill Valley, CA
great post.   We sell a lot of Eichler homes that have infloor, hydronic radiant heat.   Since most of these homes are 50+ years old, there is always a concern about leaks in the pipes/slab which can obviously impact the ability to heat the home.      This type of technology presents an interesting, non-invasive way to detect potential leaks.
Feb 23, 2008 08:56 AM
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

Renee,

Infrared imaging will absolutely detect concealed radiant defects within a floor or ceiling.

Here's a radiant floor I inspected last week. It obviously has no issues...

Awesome technology.

Feb 23, 2008 09:22 AM
Chris Frantz
EDU Real Estate Group - Indianapolis, IN

David

Great technology, thanks for sharing the photos

 

 

 

Feb 23, 2008 09:41 AM
Anonymous
Richard Dunnagan

I am looking for a thermal image of an old sash and cord window which shows the heat loss in the weight pockets.  Need ASAP  Is there one available?

Jul 04, 2008 09:01 AM
#4
Anonymous
David Valley

richard,

 

I looked through my infrared files and all I can find is inefficient window images, but none of them  are showing the weight cavity at the side of the sash.

Sorry....

Jul 04, 2008 10:17 PM
#5
Jacques Mountain
Dream Home Inspections/203K Consultant - Fayetteville, GA
Inspector/203K Consultant

This is awesome technology but I am curious how many buyers actually use it?

Sep 07, 2008 02:27 PM
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

Robert,

I do not get many home Buyers using my IR technology during their actual home inspection. Most of my inquiries and Infrared bookings come from homeowners who have lived in their home for a while and realize that their heating bill is exorbitant and they would like to know where they can apply insulation in order to cut down on their heating costs.

A simple one hour infrared scan can save the average homeowner hundreds of hard earned heating dollars.

I had a strange call last month from a homeowner who wanted me to locate her cat with my IR camera. She called me crying and stating that her cat may have crawled inside a wall cavity from an upstairs closet. She hasn't seen her cat in 3 days. I told her that I would be there as soon as I finished my AM inspection. It turned out that the cat was not inside her walls and I told her that her cat must have exited to the outside some other way.

She contacted me a few days later thanking me for my assistance and stating that she concentrated her search outside with a humane trap after I determined that the cat was not inside. Her cat then showed up inside this humane trap within a couple days.

Sep 07, 2008 10:22 PM
Anonymous
David

I have been looking at three cameras all made by FLIR and wondering which would do building thermal envelope diagnostics applications.

http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b50-b-50-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_0-1563.html

http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b40-b-40-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_0-1562.html

http://www.aikencolon.com/FLIR-Infrared-Imaging-b60-b-60-IR-Thermal-Imager-Camera_p_0-1564.html

Thanks for any info in advance

Feb 01, 2009 02:08 PM
#8
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

David,

 

All B-Cams will perform very well in Infrared building diagnostics. Each camera has different options and different pricing, so looking at their specs should help you in making a firm decision.

 

I own the B-2 simply due to it's higher resolution.

Feb 02, 2009 01:25 AM
David Valley
Massachusetts Home Inspections - Methuen, MA
Massachusetts Home Inspections

David,

 

I have never experienced with the Fluke IR cameras, so I can not give you my honest opinion.

If you are going to be doing building diagnostics, I highly recommend you purchase an IR camera with better resolution.

Feb 02, 2009 01:54 AM