Certified Thermography Building Inspections
Thermography can diagnose a variety of building defects to help determine a course of action for making necessary repairs and improving energy efficiency.
Do you feel a draft in certain areas of your home but can’t figure out the source of the cold air? Are your utility bills higher than you think they should be? Heat loss can account for up to 50 percent of your total energy consumption. A thermography scan can diagnose defects in your home and help you determine a course of action for correcting them.
What is Thermography?
Thermography, also known as “infrared scanning,” is used to detect thermal defects in residential and commercial buildings. A special camera is used to measure surface temperatures and create images called thermograms. Temperature variations are recorded in the thermograms and analyzed to identify exactly where problems exist.
Thermography is a nondestructive test and can be conducted both indoors and outdoors, though indoors is generally more common and accurate for most testing needs. Thermography is a quick and thorough scan capable of identifying building defects that are not visible to the naked eye. The accuracy of thermography reports enables you to make building repairs with minimal destruction.
What Defects and Issues Can be Identified Through Thermography
Thermography can be used to identify a variety of building defects. Some of the applications for thermography include the following:
Air Leakage. A certain amount of air exchange is essential for the health and safety of the occupants of a home or building. However, most buildings actually have a higher degree of air exchange than is necessary. A poor building design and/or construction can contribute to air leakage from the inside out or the outside in. Air leakage can occur in places such as chimneys, attics, wall vents, and poorly sealed windows and doors. It can also occur through wall penetrations such as can lights, electrical outlets and device covers, and plumbing as well as through HVAC penetrations. The pathway is not often direct, so without thermal imaging it would be extremely difficult to determine the source of the air leak.
Electrical Issues. Electrical components and connections get hot before they fail and problem areas are readily seen with thermography. Identifying these problems early can help avoid energy loss, fire, and costly damages.
Insulation Defects. Thermography can be used to identify areas of poor or inadequate insulation. It can also identify areas where insulation is missing altogether or is installed incorrectly.
Mold. Moisture intrusion, water leaks, and the presence of mold can ultimately contribute to the degradation of a home or building and pose health threats for individuals who reside or work within affected homes or buildings. These issues contribute to billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Thermography can be used to detect moisture intrusion that contributes to the growth of mold. In addition, it can be used to pinpoint areas in roofs that contain moisture. Making necessary repairs to weakened areas can extend the useful life of the roof and the building.
Plumbing and Water Issues. As with air leakage, the pathway of water leaks is often complex, making it difficult to determine the source of the leak. Thermography can identify the moisture initiation point, allowing you to make repairs with minimal destruction.
Radiant Heat. Thermography can identify radiant heat leaks in concrete floors (or even simply help determine the location of the pipes in case you need to drill into the concrete floor).
Structural Issues. Due to the varying thermal capacitance (the ability to hold or store energy) of building materials, thermography enables us to see the concealed structure of your home and identify potential problem areas.
Window Condition. Thermography can identify areas around windows that are allowing air to leak through. If you have argon insulated windows, it is possible for the gas to leak from the window, causing you to lose the insulation value you once had. It is nearly impossible visually to determine that the gas has leaked out unless condensation has started to form. Thermography can determine if the gas has leaked from the window or if the insulation value still exists.
Thermography and Energy Efficiency
Building defects that contribute to energy inefficiency can be costly. Even if you have installed a top-of-the-line heating and cooling system, if your home or building has efficiency issues your heating and cooling system will not be as efficient as it could be. Thermography is an excellent tool for determining where energy is being wasted and prioritizing your efficiency upgrades. Appropriate energy efficiency upgrades can save on your monthly energy bill. With building and energy costs on the rise, addressing energy issues is a good way to keep costs from getting out of hand.
Preparing for a Thermography Inspection
Prior to a thermography inspection, you will need to move all furniture away from the walls, leaving at least four feet of space between the walls and the furniture. All items attached to the walls (pictures, decorations, etc.) will need to be removed. For the most accurate results, there will need to be a stable difference between the temperature of your home and the outside temperature of at least 18°F for at least six hours before the inspection. If you have a fireplace, it should be clean and cool.
Your thermographer will be looking everywhere. We are focused on the health, safety, comfort, and energy efficiency issues in your home. We will be looking in all bedrooms, cabinets, closets, and pantries as well as other spaces around your home.
We employ the FLIR T640 for our thermography inspections. The FLIR T640 is top of the line among thermal cameras. It is capable of identifying a significant number of defects and issues within your home. The superior image quality and clarity ensure highly accurate results, and the thermal detail enables us to instantly recognize problem areas and defects.