The advanced and non-invasive technology of infrared thermal imaging reveals things about homes that the usual inspection methods won’t. Thermal imaging allows proper documentation of the problems in a home and their early correction. That’ll help prevent repairs that may later turn out to be very costly.
These days, infrared thermography devices are much more affordable than they were earlier. They offer the convenience of showing the results on a computer in a flash. Thermographic inspection must be carried out by a competent and experienced thermographer. We share certain tips on using infrared thermographic inspection for thermographers. These will come handy during home inspections.
Tips on Carrying Out Thermal Inspection
You are on an assignment at a home to carry out infrared thermal imaging inspection. The question is how do you go about it? Follow these useful tips that not only get you started, but they also help you come up with an effective report too.
Create a Definition of the Task
At the very outset, begin with an interview of the client about the state of affairs of his building. You might question him about there being any increase in energy usage recently, or if it’s cold inside the building, or if there’s a noticeable draft. Your next step is to check the temperature both inside the building and outside and ensure that there’s a sufficient difference in the temperature of at least 10°C. Such a difference in temperature is considered sufficient for the inspection to be carried out.
Start the Inspection from the Outside
You should start the inspection from outside the building. Spots where the insulation might have been missed or some cold bridges can be identified here pretty quickly. You must still take thermal images of areas where the conditions appear to be in order. It’s an effective way to gauge how serious the problems are by comparing the results found from areas with faults with those from areas that don’t show any faults.
Carry on to the Inside of the Building
You should now take your inspection into the building after a comprehensive preparation. You should take certain measures before starting the internal thermal scan that ensures accurate results. This involves moving certain pieces of furniture to other places and take off some drapes. You should do this at least six hours before you start with the inspection. This makes sure that there’s no influence of the insulating properties of the pieces of furniture on the readings taken by your thermal imaging camera. This helps in making sure that you can maintain the wide difference in temperature of 10°C between the air inside and outside the building.
Only after you’ve met these conditions do we advise you to start a thorough scanning in every room inside the building. While doing so, do maintain accurate notes of the spots where you took the thermal images. You can do so by making marks on a floor plan with arrows to show from which exact angle you took the images.
Conduct an Air Tightness Test
Even the smallest of cracks and crevices can result in a draft, a cause of much annoyance. This may cause a great deal of energy loss. Almost half of the energy used for heating can be accounted for by air leakage. This is where a ‘Blower Door’ test comes into the picture. This is an air tightness test that helps you spot even the smallest cracks. This is done with the test helping magnify the air that leaks through cracks in the shell of the building.
A calibrated fan, a device that measures the flow of the fan and the building pressure, and a door panel system are the three components that make a ‘Blower Door’ system. You are to use the door panel system and temporarily seal the ‘Blower Door’ fan into the exterior doorway. To create a small difference in pressure between the inside and outside of the building, you use the fan to blow air into the building. You use the fan also to blow air out of the building.
When the air outside is colder, use the ‘Blower Door’ to suck air out of the room. It makes sure that the outside air pressure is higher than the air pressure inside the room. The usual difference in air pressure is around 50 Pascal.
You can easily know that there are cracks after air outside rushes into the room through the cracks due to the difference in pressure. The air outside shall cause a cooling of the spots with the cracks. You’ll be easily able to see the difference in temperature on your thermal imaging camera where it will appear as a cold spot. Then you accurately map the air infiltration spots which reveal the cracks.
Preparing the Report and its Analysis
Finally, after you are done with your inspection of all the rooms, it’s time to head back to your office to analyze the images and prepare a report. You should take care to see that the report is user-friendly. Do provide the infrared images along with standard images so that your clients can comprehend your report. That gives the clients some reference points to understand the IR data. That helps identify the areas of improvements and repairs.
In this article, the tips mentioned show you how to make your test effective at every stage. Once you’ve defined the task of your inspection, follow our tips through the entire inspection process, beginning outside the building and then moving into it. We’ve given you tips on how you can effectively create the necessary temperature difference between the outside and inside of the house. We’ve also given you tips on how you can carry out the ‘Blow Door’ test and the way to create a user-friendly report. This article has given you all the information you’ll need to ensure an effective thermal imaging inspection of a home.