Energy is an integral part of any home. In particular, electrical energy is essential in a home if the home is to be cozy. It is needed for heating, cooling, cooking, entertainment, and many other needs. As such, it is important to ensure the electrical system in your home is always in good condition. You also need to ensure electrical energy in your home is used efficiently.
One of the most effective ways of ensuring energy efficiency in your home is infrared inspection. Infrared inspection is a method of inspecting your electrical systems and appliances to ensure they are working properly. Infrared thermographic inspections have gained a lot of tracking in the inspections industry in recent times. What’s more interesting is the fact that you can do the inspections yourself if you have the right tools.
In this piece, we are going to delve deep into the relationship between the energy efficiency in your home, and infrared thermographic inspections. We’ll first try to understand how the technology works, and then see the benefits of being able to conduct these inspections from time to time.
Let’s get started.
Thermographic Infrared Inspections
Whenever infrared radiation is mentioned, you should know that the conversation is more than likely about heat and temperature. Thermographic infrared inspection is a method of inspection that is based on temperature differences or heat movements. Science dictates that when there are is heat flow or temperature changes, there must be an emission of infrared radiation. The radiation’s intensity depends on the levels of temperature and how rapid the temperature change is.
Thermographic infrared inspections are conducted using special cameras known as infrared thermographic cameras. These are cameras that can capture the said thermographic radiation. The camera captures images of different objects and displays them in their respective shapes, but with different colors depending on the amount of infrared emission on their surfaces or temperature.
That means that surfaces with different temperatures appear with different shades on the camera’s screen. Different colors indicate different temperature levels. For instance, red indicates that a surface is extremely hot.
So, what do the emission of infrared radiation and hot surfaces have to do with energy efficiency in homes?
As we mentioned earlier, this technology is used to inspect electrical systems and other systems in the house and ascertain whether they are in good condition. In the sections below, we are going to explore two systems of the house that should be inspected regularly to ensure energy is used properly. They are;
- Electrical Systems
- HVAC and Insulation Systems
We need to revisit how important the electrical system in your house is. It is arguably the backbone to everything you do in the home. As such, you need to ensure that it stays in good condition. Thermographic infrared inspections are very effective when it comes to investigating the condition of the electrical system. The best thing about this form of inspection is that it is able to catch impending faults even before they occur.
So, how exactly does the inspection work?
We’ve already mentioned that thermographic inspection cameras are used for the task. The inspector, or yourself, will scan every inch of the electrical system using the camera. It is best that you have a map of the electrical circuit in your home just to ensure you scan every part of it.
What is observed during a thermographic infrared inspection?
You will observe all the electrical components of the circuit on the camera’s screen. They will appear in different colors depending on their surface temperature. Usually, any object that appears too hot is either faulty or under stress. That’s usually what you would be looking for as an inspector. Hot objects will show any shade between orange to deep red.
Keep in mind that the circuit has to be live for this inspection to be possible. There’s no need to worry about getting dangerously close to live electrical circuits because you don’t have to. You can scan everything from a distance. In fact, most of the components and conductors will be behind walls and hidden from view. That does not mean you have to dig into the walls in order to access them. The infrared camera can scan them through the walls and provide the results you are seeking.
How exactly does this inspection, or its results help improve energy efficiency?
It goes without saying that a faulty electrical system will be wasting a lot of energy. If your electrical system is laced with stressed and faulty components, you will be incurring huge electric bills month in month out. Periodic inspections will help you identify any component that might be causing energy loss and replacing them to make your circuit a lot more efficient.
The components need not necessarily be damaged. They can be in good working conditions but still, be not ideal under certain circumstances. Thermographic infrared radiation will help identify components that are not ideal for your circuit, and you can replace them to ensure your energy is used up in the best way possible.
We could go on and on about how infrared inspections can help improve the efficiency of your electrical circuit, but it should be quite clear that it is a superior inspection technology in the front. Next, we are going to explore how the same technology is used to inspect HVAC and Insulation systems, and how these systems are connected to energy efficiency in your home.
HVAC and Insulation Systems
Everyone would want to sit in a cozy and warm living room or bedroom. In some places where the weather conditions can get out of hard, these perfect living conditions have to be provided artificially. That is where the HVAC and insulation systems come in. HVAC systems help to provide the ideal conditions in the house, while insulation systems help to ensure that these conditions are maintained. Keep in mind the HVAC systems use electric energy. As such, you need to ensure that these systems are using the available energy in the best way possible. Among the best ways of doing that is infrared inspections.
Infrared thermographic inspection cameras are quite effective when it comes to investigating the condition of HVAC and Insulation systems. As we’ve said, these systems main work is to control the temperatures in the house. They, therefore, deal with the flow of heat inside and outside that house. That makes it quite easy as certain their condition using infrared thermographic inspections.
How is that so?
HVAC systems are of different kinds, but the basic working principle is the same. They either heat the air in the house when you need it to be warm or pump in cool air from outside when you need the house to be cool. While inspecting the HVAC systems, you need to scan the whole system using the infrared cameras, especially the air vents.
If the system is leaking air at some point, it will not be providing the optimal conditions, and it will be wasting some energy. The infrared cameras have the capacity to show temperature differences in the air. If air is leaking from any point on the air vents, it will show as a jet stream of differently colored air coming from the vents.
Strong infrared cameras are able to measure the exact surface temperatures of different objects. Such cameras would make your work a lot easier when inspecting HVAC systems. They would be able to measure the amount of heat being emitted and help you determine whether your systems are working optimally.
As mentioned earlier, HVAC systems work hand in hand with insulation systems. Insulation is what maintains the optimal conditions that are provided by the HVAC systems. As such, all the work that the HVAC systems do would be in vain if your house has a faulty insulation system. Insulation is placed all over your house to ensure that heat is not lost from your house when it’s needed, and it does not come in when it is not needed.
How do you ensure your insulation is working properly at all times? By inspecting it using a thermographic infrared camera?
Insulation prevents heat from going through it. If it is letting heat pass through at any point, it is easy to catch that using an infrared camera. Picture this; If it is cold outside you need your house to be warm, so you’ll turn up your heater. If it is hot outside, you’ll need a cool atmosphere inside the house, so you will need to turn down the heater and possibly switch on the fan. In both of these instances, electric energy is begin used up. If your insulation starts working against these systems, it means a lot of energy will be going to waste.
Inspecting the condition of your insulation is quite simple though. There just needs to be a significant temperature difference between the air inside the house and that outside. You’ll have to scan the insulation from both outside the house and inside. Any parts of the insulation that are leaking will clearly show on the camera’s screen. While scanning from the outside, more attention should be paid on the upper side of the building, because that’s where warm air is more likely to be coming out of. In the same way, while scanning from the inside, more attention is paid to the bottom side of the house, where cold air is more likely to be coming in through and leaks that might be there.
There is one more thing that could be causing energy wastage in your house. That’s leaking pipes or a faulty roof. How? You might wonder! Below is a brief description of how that happens.
Leaking pipes, whether water pipes or drainage pipes, will cause water to accumulate somewhere in your house. It might be on the walls, floors, or inside the ceilings. This water tends to absorb heat from the surroundings and causing a cool and humid atmosphere when it is not needed. Such wet patches anywhere in the house will take away some of the heat being generated by your heating systems. If the roof is faulty, it might be letting in rainwater and causing the same effect. In both instances, the result is wastage of some of the heat being generated.
These issues can be caught through infrared inspections. As mentioned above, any wet patch of water accumulation absorbs most of the heat in the surroundings. It, therefore, tends to be warmer than any other object or surface that is its vicinity. This distinction is clearly caught by an infrared camera. Such patches should be dried up immediately they are found, and the leaking pipe or roof repaired immediately. At times, these faults might seem subtle, but the kind of energy loss they cause is quite significant.
At this juncture, it is quite clear that infrared inspections are quite essential when it comes to preventing heat loss from the house and saving energy. We’ve seen that this inspection technology has applications in almost every aspect of a home. The benefits of using infrared inspection over the other methods of inspections are immense. There is no surprise in the fact that most of these traditions inspection methods have become obsolete. Thermographic infrared inspections are the real deal. Ultimately, these inspections will help you save money and avoid serious damages.
Today, thermographic infrared inspections need no introductions. They have taken the center stage and are increasingly become a standard in the inspection industry across the world. Many local governments that are in charge of inspecting the condition of buildings and homes are making it mandatory for property owners to conduct thermographic infrared inspections on their properties from time to time. It is easy to understand why. Before you purchase any property, it would be smart to have an infrared inspection done to ascertain whether everything is in good condition, and how energy is used up in the home.