Why use Infrared Thermography for Heat Loss Surveys
To find out what is inside a wall, we scan them looking for surface temperature differences. These differences in temperature indicate a difference in mass, since heat energy is gained and released at different rates from objects of different densities. Since we scan the walls with extremely sensitive infrared cameras, we can see the patterns as a ‘picture’ of the different densities. Wall areas that contain grout, insulation or are empty are displayed as a different color (or shade of gray). Since we can “see” all areas of different mass, we can immediately determine if there is a component misplaced, incomplete or missing. When deficiencies are found, we make a matching visual image with a high resolution digital photo camera for reference. The orientation of the building to the Sun, the weather – as much as 3 days prior to the survey, the type of surface, status of the HVAC systems and many other factors make the ‘window’ of uneven heat dissipation different for each building and building component. For this reason, surveying must be done day and night, under varying conditions.
Old-fashioned methods of testing (on-site testing companies, installing Inspection ports, performing destructive testing and X-raying) are generally ineffective and expensive. An experienced infrared thermographer can successfully survey just about any building, given proper thermal transient conditions. Infrared thermography can be used on the job site as an effective way to improve the quality of construction and the accountability of the contractors. This brings benefits to the building owner, general contractor, structural and thermal engineer and to the building industry in general.