Thermal Imaging or ‘Thermography’ is a non-contact, temperature measuring technique and can be described as the ability ‘to see’ heat. By scanning buildings with specialist infrared camera equipment, (particularly housing stock with a known reputation for being difficult to heat – such as non traditional properties), the thermal energy emitting from these objects can be seen in the form of a picture or ‘thermal image’. From within this thermal image we can acquire and evaluate temperature measurements that can be used to identify potential problems. Any object above absolute zero (-273°C) has thermal energy emitting from it. Although this thermal energy is invisible to the naked eye, it is possible, by using specialist camera equipment, to see and measure it. Unlike normal cameras that transform beams of light into electronic images, infrared imaging devices can provide electronic images out of thermal emissions. These are called ‘Thermal Images’.
Conductive Heat Loss
Conductive heat losses are almost often due to missing, damaged or water saturated insulation within the walls or roof which will affect how well your property is insulated and how well it retains the heat within the building envelope. Almost anywhere within the building envelope i.e. doors, windows, chimneys or brickwork, there is potential for air leakage and thus heat loss. The amount of air leakage from a building is important to maintain comfort and the cost effective operation of the heating and cooling systems. Many factors can affect the air tightness of a property so, by identifying where air leakage falls outside the accepted range, it is possible to expose defects which can then be brought to the attention of the Local Authority / housing association / owner / landlord.
Current building regulations demand that all new buildings in England and Wales with a gross floor area above 1000sqm must be tested for air permeability. Amendments of Part L2 of Building Regulations recommend thermal imaging as a method of ensuring continuity of insulation over exposed building surfaces.
Why is Thermal Imaging so useful?
Thermal Imaging is done in real time. It allows fast scanning of subjects and produces immediate images that can be used for analysis. As Thermal Imaging is a non-contact and remote means of temperature measurement it can be used effectively, on both still and moving subjects, whilst at all times placing the person carrying out the survey in a safe position. We can measure temperature in two points or a hundred points in the same Thermal Image. A Thermal Image will show us where the problem is without having any prior knowledge of where temperature measurement should be taken.