How the IAQ Industry Uses Thermal Imagery

How the IAQ Industry Uses Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging has been used by the military to detect and identify enemy personnel, equipment, and buildings for years. Helicopters, fighter jets and even some missiles use thermal imaging for targeting and reconnaissance. Law enforcement agencies also use this technology for everything from tracking criminals at night to rescuing citizens and pets.

In the building industry, thermal imaging has been used to find problems with building materials, such as hidden water leaks, HVAC leaks, missing insulation, and faulty electrical and mechanical systems. For example, thermal imaging can help you locate loose fuse connections and overheated breaker boxes, or determine if there is energy loss due to poor insulation, bad weather stripping around entryways or refrigeration units.

Energy loss in building
Energy Loss in Building

The IAQ industry has been using thermal imaging over the past 5 years for “vision” during environmental investigations. Now you can examine roofs, floors, and walls for moisture intrusion. This technology does not use x-ray capabilities. Instead, it uses the differences in surface temperature to pinpoint problems and presents the results in a colorimetric scale on screen. Infrared cameras cannot detect mold. However, it can detect the temperature differences of moisture often associated with mold growth and condensation problems. You need to use a moisture meter to confirm that the temperature difference is indeed moisture.

Cold zones around attic door
Cold Zones Around Attic Door

Infrared cameras can also be an asset to remediation and restoration contractors. If walls are not dried completely, microbial problems can continue to occur. The infrared camera can help you determine if a wall has dried properly after remediation, saving you time and money by avoiding revisits.

Moisture at baseboard
Moisture at Baseboard

Some thermal imaging cameras come with features such as viewing picture-in-picture, saving jpeg images, and downloading capabilities. Thermal imaging cameras are quickly becoming a common tool to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of IAQ investigations and home inspections.

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