Infrared thermography is a method for detecting infrared energy emitted by an object, converting it to temperature, and displaying a temperature distribution image. Thermographic inspections have been used for over thirty years as components in both preventive and predictive maintenance programs. As a result, thermal imaging can be used to identify flaws in different products that include electrical systems, mechanical systems, and building structures.
A thermal imager, in the hands of a skilled and professional operator, can provide a wealth of knowledge that can help increase performance, productivity, and safety. There has never been a better time to take advantage of an infrared inspection program.
Characteristics of Infrared Thermography equipment
It records the temperature distribution on a surface and displays it as visible data. Without touching an object, the temperature can be measured from a distance. Temperature can be measured in real-time.
Uses of Infrared Thermography
Infrared thermography has a wide range of applications. Preventive maintenance, predictive maintenance, condition monitoring, forensic investigations, research and development, and quality assurance are only a few examples. In short, thermography can be used in any situation where understanding thermal patterns across a surface can provide useful information about a structure, process, or product. Infrared thermography is a rapidly evolving field with new applications being created all the time. The application of thermography is often limited only by the user’s imagination.
Common Thermography Applications
Thermography can be used on a broad variety of systems, objects, and structures, as described previously. The most common use of this technology is in residential and commercial building inspection.
What infrared imaging reveals during inspections
Moisture is a major problem that thermal inspection exposes, including hidden mold origins, roof leaks, and plumbing leaks. Electrical issues, heat and energy loss, foundation cracks, structural hazards, missing insulation, ventilation issues are all detected with thermal imaging inspection.
Let’s go through a couple of typical problems that can be found with thermal imaging, which can save you a lot of money.
Thermal imagers today are powerful, simple to use, and far more affordable than they were even a few years ago. They’ve evolved into a viable option for routine electrical maintenance. Under similar loads, look for connections that have higher temperatures than other similar connections. This may mean a corroded, loose, or over tightened connection with increased resistance. Broken or undersized cables, as well as faulty insulation, can also be detected with thermal imaging.
When we use thermographic inspection for walls, floors, and ceilings, we find temperature and conductivity variations that reveal hidden structural systems and damaged parts of these components. Thermography can also find missing insulation in a building structure.
Humidity, condensation, pipe leaks, rain and snow, and even people and animals breathing are all sources of building moisture. A low level of moisture is usually good, but leaks or heavy condensation may be problematic. While a thermal imaging camera cannot “see” moisture in walls, it can detect subtle temperature variations and patterns that indicate the presence of moisture.
Tools used for thermal imaging
Thermal imaging cameras are the tools used for thermal imaging. Thermal imaging cameras are advanced instruments that process and display the captured image on a screen. These images can be used for immediate diagnosis or they can be processed with advanced software for further analysis, precision, and report generation. Thermal imaging cameras take temperature measurement to the next level; instead of a figure, you get an image of the temperature variations across a surface.
How Do Thermal Cameras Work?
The science of infrared energy (also known as “heat”), which is emitted by all objects, is the basis for thermal imaging. This energy is also known as an object’s “heat signature,” and the amount of radiation released is usually proportional to the object’s overall heat.
Thermal cameras, also known as thermal imagers, are advanced instruments that use a sensitive heat sensor to detect minute temperature variations. They will begin to map out a picture based on the variations and inflections of the temperature measurements when they collect infrared radiation from objects in a specific environment.
Thermal images are typically grayscale, with white indicating heat, black indicating colder areas, and different shades of grey indicating temperature gradients between the two. Newer versions of thermal imaging cameras, on the other hand, add color to the images they generate to help users better distinguish between objects – using colors like orange, blue, yellow, and purple.
The value of thermography
Infrared imaging systems used by Certified Thermographers are an essential part of robust Predictive Maintenance Programs. Thermography allows for non-invasive study of a wide variety of facility processes by passively detecting the thermal signatures of problems before they become failures. Infrared thermography programs that are regularly used reduce downtime by avoiding unplanned shutdowns and streamlining repair and maintenance preparation.
The time needed for inspection
Thermographic inspections do not take much time. This is a time-saving process. The time needed for the inspection depends upon the area where the inspection will be conducted as well as the issue. At Thermo Elite Inc. we try to get most residential inspections completed within 1 to 2 hours. Commercial of course takes longer with many varying factors.