building valuations

 

Thermal Imaging

 

Technology

 

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Thermal imaging post-liquid nitrogen era

We have now moved from the days when you practically needed a Land Rover's worth of equipment to produce infra-red thermal imaging, to a very useable, while costly, large cameras. The skill levels to use them are still relatively high to get useable data and the interpretations of them are also highly skilled.

 

What do thermal imaging cameras do?

All objects above zero (minus 273°C) omit infra-red energy. This energy can be visualised and analysed through the use of thermal imaging equipment.

It has many different uses, from the most obvious being establishing heat loss to less obvious uses where the differential in heat omission that the thermal imaging camera can expose. It is used, for example, in the veterinary world who use thermal imaging technology on horses.

In most areas thermal imaging pictures can add information. However, thermal imaging isn't x-ray technology, although it can almost appear like it is sometimes.

 

 
A building without thermal insulation

Building thermography how you can use thermal imaging cameras

Here is a list of some of the applications that we have utilised thermal imaging for:

 

  Heat loss

  Air leakage

  Water ingress

  Electrical defects

  Roof defects

  Missing insulation

  Construction defects

  Air conditioning leaks

  Design faults

  Leaks to under floor heating or heating in general

  Floor damage assessment

 

Flood damage assessment

Thermal imaging has been used very successfully by surveyors to look at floor damaged property. It can establish just how far the flood damage has caused problems without opening up the structure. This is often the last thing the clients wants after going through the turmoil of having the property flooded. The non-destructive, non-evasive testing that the thermal imaging offers is very welcome and this is where thermography can appear to be x-ray vision. It needs to also be able to interpret what the images are saying.

 

Some things you need to know about thermal imaging

Environmental conditions have to be right to produce the best results. This can mean anything from the right time of day to ensuring there is a twelve degree difference between the internal and external air temperatures. This can be achieved by heating the property up or getting up very early in the morning, which means a 4 am or 5 am start in the summer; not ideal for everyone or their clients!
A double glazed window that has been fitted without being properly insulated around the edges.  

 

Heat loss calculations and building regulations requirements and house sale and letting requirements

A thermal imaging camera can help you achieve requirements of the Building Regulations or the thermal requirements in selling a property or letting a property. Although you still do need a blower door to put the property under negative pressure when testing.

 

The science behind roof leaks

The basic science behind a roof leak is that wet insulation or wet materials have a different thermal conductivity to dry materials, which the thermal imaging camera will see. It is important to get the environment right, as we have mentioned earlier. Therefore a dry day is best, but ideally, where it has rained or you have wetted the surface the day before and then a few hours after sunset when it is starting to cool down is the best time for viewing the roof.

With a thermal imaging camera you look for warmer areas of the roof. This is where the water ingress points are. As you are normally working in the dark, or semi-dark, you will need to mark the points you identify.

 
Checking a roof leak using a traditional Protimiter/damp meter

 

Thermal imaging surveys, when do people need them?

As surveyors the main time that we are called in is when someone is about to purchase a property, along with a building survey or structural survey this gives added information. In addition to this we have also been contracted to deal with persistent problems and we have also utilised it on properties where warranties are coming to an end.
Cracking within a wall
 

 

You may find this article about thermal imaging of interest:

 

Independent professional advice on property

If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a surveyor with regard to structural surveys, building surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, defects report, including things such as cracks, dampness, condensation, foundation problems, etc, dilapidations, home buyers reports or any other property matters please contact 0800 298 5424 for a surveyor to give you a call back.

 

Independent professional advice on commercial property

If you have a commercial property, be it leasehold or freehold, then you may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com .

 

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