thermal imaging

Infrared thermography is the process of acquisition and analysis of thermal information from non-contact thermal imaging devices (cameras). Thermography means “writing with heat”, just like photography means “writing with light”, the picture that is created is called a thermogram or thermal image. Infrared is what makes it non-contact. Thermal science or thermography is the knowledge of how to take thermograms and analyze them. This includes the operation of the camera, and the understanding of heat, temperature, and heat transfer. A thermographer is trained in Camera Handling, Thermal Science, Radiation Science, Analysis Techniques, Applications and Inspection Routines and Report Writing.

Thermography can be used to monitor the condition of:

  • Electrical and Electronic Systems
  • Mechanical Systems
  • Building Envelopes and Structures
  • Roofing Systems
  • Automotive Applications
  • Medical and Veterinary Examinations
  • Environmental Applications

There are many more , limited only by the imagination of the thermographer. It is non-invasive, non-destructive and completely safe. Thermal radiation is always emitted from the surface of an object, so although no we cannot see “through” things with a bit of work and skill we can actually locate faults beneath or behind a surface. Infrared applications have been used to locate low intensity sleeper forest fires, lost people, and locate people in burning buildings

At Home-Chek our inspector is a trained and certified Level 1 Thermographer. We are mostly concerned with building issues such as thermal heat loss, air infiltration, moisture infiltration, structural issues, missing or poor insulation in buildings, or roofing issues. However we are open to any and all investigations which may come up.

Thermal imaging may be added to a regular home inspection at a cost of $110, separate or specialized inspections are available, cost will depend on time and depth of inspection, call us for a quote.

an infrared image

For those who have never seen an infrared image before, here is a quick explanation to help you understand what it is.

The darker areas on the image indicate less thermal radiation. This generally means those areas are cooler. The brighter areas show more radiation and are typically a warmer target.

What does this image tell us? Well, we can actually learn a lot about the target that the visual image does not tell us. It looks like the headlights are on or were recently switched off. The vehicle has not been driven lately because the tires are cool. The pattern on the windshield tells us that the is or was on, and also how even the heating is. Notice the wispy pattern indicating air movement. The motor is running or has very recently been turned off, because the radiator is warm behind the grille. Notice the hot spot near the rear of the vehicle, this is likely the exhaust pipe.

The camera gives us information, notice the cross in the middle of the picture has a spot in the middle. In the upper left hand corner of the image the camera is giving us the temperature in that spot of the image, this may or may not be the actual temperature however a skilled thermogapher will know how to make the necessary compensations to make this very close to the actual temperature. This spot can be moved to any location on the object and also the camera can be set to read the highest, lowest and average temperatures of the image. The scale on the right give us the rage of the temperatures being recorded.

From this it is easy to see the value of thermal imaging and that in the hands of a skilled thermographer the potential of thermography as an in inspection tool is immense.