Drone Building Inspections with Thermal Imaging

In a broad range of environments, thermal imaging cameras are extremely necessary. Thermal imaging enhances the variety of tasks a robotic system can perform in high-risk environments or during emergencies. So let us first understand what thermal imaging is?

What is Thermal Imaging?

To analyze conditions in a better way, thermal imaging cameras efficiently convert heat – that is, thermal energy – into visible light. This makes them very flexible. Living objects and mechanical equipment put out heat, making them visible to thermal devices even in the dark. Such cameras can be very accurate, needing only a small amount of heat to operate efficiently.

How Does Thermal Imaging Work?

For humans and other animals, visible light is incredibly useful, but it’s only a small part of the electromagnetic spectrum. Infrared radiation, the kind produced by heat, in the spectrum takes up more “space.” What thermal imaging cameras record and measure are the interaction of heat being absorbed, reflected, and often even transmitted.

The level of thermal radiation emitted by an object is called its heat signature. Hot objects leak more radiation into the environment. The thermal imager can differentiate heat sources and very small differences in thermal radiation. This data is compiled into a full “heat map” differentiated by levels of heat.

What is Thermal Imaging used for?

Since the Korean War, thermal imaging cameras have been used and were initially used at night for scouting and combat. They have since been improved to be used in crisis zones by firefighters, electricians, law enforcement officials, and rescue teams. They are also commonly used in the inspection, repair, and optimization of buildings.

Electrical maintenance in buildings: – There are many uses of thermal imaging for electrical maintenance. For example, thermal imaging is used by power line technicians to identify and pinpoint joints and parts that are at risk of overheating because they already emit more heat than the stronger sections. With the help of thermal imaging, it is very easy to find loose connections or devices that are faulty or malfunctioning.

Plumbers: – It is very easy for plumbers to detect any leaks through walls and pipes with the help of thermal imaging. They can easily reach those parts that are hard to detect and pose safety issues to workers.

Mechanical and building construction technicians: – Imaging is used to rapidly detect leaks when dealing with thermal insulation, which is critical for maintaining effective temperature control in a house. They can examine the construction of a building at a glance, and spot faults. Heat loss from walls, HVAC systems, doors, and windows are typical thermal performance problems that a thermal imager can easily pick up.

Animal and Pest management: – It’s an area in which thermal imagers have a surprising number of applications. Without having to climb up to find them, thermal imaging can help spot rodents or animals in dark roof areas, and they can detect possible termite activity.

As technology has advanced today we have drones that make thermal imaging of buildings and their rooftop very easy to inspect. Before drones, people use to perform thermal imaging by climbing the exterior wall or dropping down a scaffold from the top of a building. Roofs can be especially dangerous to inspect because they have a variety of elevations which require that an inspector climb multiple areas, quickly adding both time and cost to the project. When the building designs are complex, it becomes more difficult and costly to inspect the structure.

Before drones, it was difficult to inspect every corner of the house in detail as it was not possible to reach every part of the corner due to complex architecture. Even if the exterior of a building looked okay, there could still be moisture present, causing hidden damage.

The use of drones for construction inspections is equal and better than conventional methods of surveying a building in many respects. The accuracy of drone-captured photographic images makes it a worthy alternative to use drones for property inspections. A building inspector or engineer can see the current conditions through a thorough inspection in their office using high-resolution imaging techniques, rather than meeting daunting conditions while conducting a site inspection outdoors. Furthermore, drones will enter areas and locations that were previously unreachable, collecting data, and delivering high-quality images for later study.

Drones may also render 3D models of a building or space using various technologies, and point-cloud technology allows the images to be stitched together to form a 3D object or space.

Using drones for exterior inspections of high-rise buildings and thermal imaging of roofs


Using drones for exterior inspections

To determine the location of any problems that need to be fixed, manual inspections of roofs are no longer required. A drone is flown in a predefined pattern during an exterior inspection, taking photographs of every inch of the structure. An engineer, site manager, or building inspector, who is safely placed in an office, analyses these photos. Also, the photographs provide the owner of the building with a record that records the condition of the structure at the time of inspection. This is an incredible asset for insurance and future comparative study. The location of the structure is precisely documented using photos taken by the drone. As part of the metadata, each photograph contains a GPS location. When photographing large spaces, this knowledge is particularly useful. Problem areas can then be effortlessly recognized by someone well-oriented with the project viewing surrounding features in the photographs.

Full 360º Degree View

Using drones helps you to quickly get a complete 360° degree thermal view of your building. For a comprehensive report on your building, evaluate the condition of exterior walls, windows, and rooftops in a timely and cost-effective manner.

Thermal Rooftop Inspections using drones
Prevent Problems Before They Get Worse

Easily test the rooftop’s condition with thermographic imaging. Drones can easily fly over your rooftop and capture high-resolution, high-detail infrared images. With drones, you can even spot those hidden problems in the areas that are not easily viewable with naked eyes. Spot anomalies and detect water damage, heat leakage in the rooftop, or other possible issues. Many rooftop problems can get worse and more expensive if left unchecked, causing leaks, mold, and rot. A cheaper, safer, and more time-efficient way to capture the valuable data you need is to conduct rooftop inspections with drones. A drone will fly at a lower altitude at a fraction of the cost and time and capture more granular detail, without putting staff at risk in the process.

HVAC systems of the building

For any household owner or any building manager, it is always important to know the condition of their HVAC systems. Using drone building inspection you can easily carry out proactive maintenance checks to keep heating and cooling costs down in the long run.

Equipped with a drone and a thermal sensor, inspection teams can detect problems easily from a safe distance, and in the shortest possible time frame get systems up and running again. Thermal images using drones can locate leaks and insulation problems that make air ducts less effective, spot debris that causes problems, detect coolant leaks, detect bad connections or blown fuses in electrical systems, and all of this can be achieved while reducing risk to the workers.

Solar panels on the rooftop

Today many of us use solar panels in our building. Solar panel inspections have been performed manually in the past. To get a closer look, maintenance teams climb up ladders and climb dangerous rooftops. With the introduction of drone technology, this time-consuming, risky, and ineffective approach has been turned on its head. Thermal images will help crews locate module defects, problems with wiring, and fuse failures.

Bottom line

The combination of thermal imaging and drones is here to stay. If you are interested in drone building inspection with thermal imaging then you can reach us as our inspection costs are lower and we perform inspections faster, and more safely than traditional methods.

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