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What is Thermal Imaging?
Thermal imaging is a non-invasive tool used in a wide range of building diagnostics and monitoring applications. Thermal imaging does not let us look inside walls. However, it provides information about the structures and properties of building materials. All building components emit infrared energy. Thermal imaging cameras make this infrared energy visible. Visualizing a building’s thermal properties aids in the identification of previously undetectable faults, often avoiding costly repairs and enhancing the energy efficiency of the home or building.
Thermal imaging is a valuable tool for meeting rising demand for energy efficiency in existing buildings. By identifying defects in a building’s thermal insulation and airtightness, thermal imaging can reduce heating and maintenance costs and improve the comfort of indoor environments.
What Can a Thermal Imaging Assessment Do?
Thermal imaging assessments focus on a building’s insulation and air sealing. These two characteristics affect many aspects of building performance including energy efficiency, ventilation, moisture intrusion, and general drafts and dampness. Thermal imaging is able to determine if insulation is in place and functioning properly. This is done by inspecting walls for characteristic thermal patterns associated with normal and reduced insulation performance.
Thermal imaging can also identify sources and paths of air leakage. Air leakage is an important consideration when improving home energy efficiency because it can reduce the effectiveness of insulation and significantly reduce the energy efficiency of your home through direct air intrusion. Even with the recommended insulation levels, air leakage can account for 50% of a homes heat loss. Locating air leakage sites can be complex. While windows and doors are often the focus of air sealing efforts, typical air leakage sites include plumbing, wiring, chimney chases, duct work, ceiling lighting, overhangs as well as knee walls and interior wall partitions.
Thermal imaging is also able to detect moisture, mould and water damages in roof, walls and facades. Although the camera does not directly detect the presence of mould, it can be used to find moisture where mould may develop or has already developed. Humidity levels above 50% can provide sufficient moisture to enable mould to grow.