Do-It-Yourself Home Energy Inspection with Thermography
There is no reason to hire someone to use a thermal imaging camera. You can learn to use a thermal camera in minutes! Call us for details!
With a thermal imaging camera, it's easy to identify ways to improve home energy efficiency. This home inspection tool quickly detects heat loss and air leaks. Rent a FLIR E40 infrared camera to do your own home energy audit. Our thermal camera rentals provide you the best professional-grade thermal imaging equipment at a fraction of the cost of ownership.
Using a thermal camera has become much more user friendly and inexpensive in the past 10 years. You don't need to have any technical knowledge or experience to operate the camera. It just takes a few minutes to learn how to use a thermal camera and identify energy inefficiencies in your home. Air Tightness and Thermal Imaging testing are important quality control measures when building or renovating a house. Heat losses in buildings can account for up to 50% of the total energy consumption and comes from air leakage through chimneys, attics, wall vents and badly sealed windows/doors, etc.
How Much Money Will You Save If You Make Your Home More Efficient?
Your home may be less efficient than you think. With a quick and easy thermal imaging inspection you will know definitively whether or not you are wasting money every month. It only takes a small energy inefficiency to cost you thousands of dollars every year. You may also find other problems like mold or moisture build-up that could be unhealthy for your family.
There are a number of federal tax credits and rebates for making your home more energy efficient. Check out the links below.
- U.S. Department of Energy
- U.S. Department of Energy Tax Credits, Rebates & Savings for Energy Efficiency
- Federal Income Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
Detection and Visualisation of Air Infiltration and Exfiltration
Adequate air exchange is essential for the occupants’ health and safety, but most buildings have a far higher rate of air exchange than is necessary. The root cause is often poor design and/or construction which allows air leakage from the inside of outside of the building, or the opposite. The leakage pathway is often complex and, without thermal imaging, extremely difficult to visualize. This also allows contractors to quickly identify and repair problem areas to stop the energy loss immediately.
How Does Thermography Work?
Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video or film record the temperature variations of the building's skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.
A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy auditor decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.
Thermography uses specially designed infrared video or still cameras to make images (called thermograms) that show surface heat variations. This technology has a number of applications. Thermograms of electrical systems can detect abnormally hot electrical connections or components. Thermograms of mechanical systems can detect the heat created by excessive friction. Energy auditors use thermography as a tool to help detect heat losses and air leakage in building envelopes.
Infrared scanning allows energy auditors to check the effectiveness of insulation a building's construction. The resulting thermograms help auditors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.
In addition to using thermography during an energy audit, you should have an infrared imaging scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes. You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings.
The energy auditor may use one of several types of infrared sensing devices in an on-site inspection. A spot radiometer (also called a point radiometer) is the simplest. It measures radiation one spot at a time, with a simple meter reading showing the temperature of a given spot. The auditor pans the area with the device and notes the differences in temperature. A thermal line scanner shows radiant temperature viewed along a line. The thermogram shows the line scan superimposed over a picture of the panned area. This process shows temperature variations along the line. The most accurate thermographic inspection device is a thermal imaging camera, which produces a 2-dimensional thermal picture of an area showing heat leakage. Spot radiometers and thermal line scanners do not provide the necessary detail for a complete home energy audit. Infrared film used in a conventional camera is not sensitive enough to detect heat loss.
How to Prepare for a Thermographic Inspection
To prepare for an interior thermal scan, the homeowner should take steps to ensure an accurate result. This may include moving furniture away from exterior walls and removing drapes. The most accurate thermographic images usually occur when there is a large temperature difference (at least 20°F [14°C]) between inside and outside air temperatures. In northern states, thermographic scans are generally done in the winter. In southern states, however, scans are usually conducted during warm weather with the air conditioner on.