After years of evolution, thermal imaging has established itself as a very effective technique used to detect the condition of new construction. You may carry out the thermal inspection yourself using your infrared camera or you may get into a contract with professionals offering thermal imaging services. Thermal imaging may very well decide how much excellence you achieve in new construction projects when it comes to locating leaks and building energy-efficient structures.
What is Thermal Imaging?
All objects are known to emit infrared energy which is referred to as its heat signature. An infrared camera is used to detect and measure infrared energy released by objects. Anomalies in the energy released, or the heat signature of any object indicates a leakage, which is shown through electromagnetic images. These images are presented along with digital images in a report showing where the faults lie in new construction.
There are various purposes that thermal imaging can be used for in new construction. The most common ones are:
- Detection of thermal insulation and HVAC issues
- Pinpointing any loss of energy
Thermal imaging is a non-invasive method used to assess moisture damage, issues in the electrical circuit, and the effectiveness of energy conservation in any new construction very fast and with great accuracy. Infrared cameras are very user-friendly and being light they are easily portable. With a good infrared camera, you can spot every problem, no matter how minute.
How Does Thermal Imaging Work?
Thermal imaging captures the difference in temperatures in the area being inspected. The common intention behind this is to locate moisture trapped in metal panels. To cite an example, a roof absorbs the sun’s heat. After sunset when the temperatures dip, any area which is wet on the roof releases heat much slower than the dry areas. It causes a difference in temperatures, which appears in an image in the form of color variations. This difference in temperatures indicates exactly where leakages are occurring with pinpoint accuracy.
While using thermal cameras outdoors, you should be mindful of certain factors in the weather that can influence surface temperatures in objects. It’s the degree of the temperature difference between the interior and the exterior of the area being inspected which decides how much temperature differential the infrared camera detects. The rate of change in the outdoor temperature before viewing the area through an infrared camera affects readings as well. You should also consider the solar loading amount and the wind speed.
Thermal imaging cameras don’t measure temperatures directly, they measure the thermal energy being radiated. The amount of energy detected gives us the temperature. Bear in mind that thermal imaging doesn’t give X-ray views and therefore, you aren’t able to see through objects.
How to Use Thermal Imaging
While carrying out thermal imaging of a roof, the best conditions to do it under are-
- The wind is less than 15 mph
- Before imaging, there should be a few clear and sunny days
- A fast fall in the ambient temperature just before you collect the images
During warm weather, you would do your best to inspect at dusk. When imaging during cold weather, your aim should be to create a large difference in temperature between the building’s interiors and exteriors.
Thermal imaging is also affected by the material the roof and other areas of the house have been made from. Composite boards, polystyrene, and organic fibers are materials that thermal imaging works well on. However, materials like gypsum, concrete pavers, and metal roofs with a high degree of reflection produce images that are hard to read.
The Uses of Thermal Imaging in New Construction
The uses of thermal imaging in new construction are many and effective uses of the technology helps in coming up with projects that don’t just meet quality standards, they exceed them. Here are more details.
Detect air leakages
Other than the roof, the areas around the windows, doors, and other openings may show differences in temperatures, which indicate air leakage. Similarly, temperature variations in an HVAC system are an indication of air escaping through it. It causes a rise in utility bills as you’ll be using more energy for the desired temperature.
Detection of electrical problems
Temperature variations are an indication of issues in the electrical system. Heating indicates overloaded circuits, issues in electricity distribution, motor bearing failures, and loose connections as well. Loose connections get dirty which causes resistance and the circuit starts to overheat. The house begins to heat up when a motor starts to fail. These issues may cause power failures or trigger fires if left unattended.
You should take the images when the equipment is running at its standard load. You won’t be able to form a good idea of how the electrical distribution grid is performing if the equipment isn’t tested under load.
Thermal imaging also proves handy when you check insulation or if there are any animal nests. It’s also good at detecting plumbing leaks. You can also spot areas that need immediate repairs. Timely maintenance helps you avoid downtime and prevent serious accidents. Thermal imaging also helps notice energy loss in buildings before the utility bills shoot through the roof.
Infrared imaging helps you spot issues through an image that can’t be articulated in words. Showing how money is being wasted due to leakages in the form of images creates a stronger impact and spurs people into action.
Thermal imaging, therefore, has a variety of uses in the inspection of new construction. Temperature differences captured by an infrared camera show you clearly where repairs are needed before things get serious. This ensures that you can prevent fires and power failures. Thermal imaging also helps check the quality of the insulation work. Infrared inspection, therefore, helps locate problems invisible to the naked human eye and carry out timely repairs to avoid costly repairs. It’s very useful in ensuring a high-quality standard in new construction projects.