Infa-red Building Thermography

  • How it Works

    Building Thermography is the term use for undertaking various forms of thermal imaging using specialist infrared camera technology. Typically within buildings it main use is in detecting building abnormalities that result in energy loss. Thermal breaches within the building envelope can seriously effect the heating or cooling systems performance and increase operating costs.

    By locating these areas with the infrared camera, and by taking the necessary action to rectify the defects, energy can be saved and fuel bills reduced. Colour is used to determine the various levels of heat escaping from the building, red and white areas depict high heat losses, and blue or black areas depicting cold or drafty locations.

     Below is a picture of a house, taken with an infrared camera showing in colour the areas of heat losses. (Image being updated at present, due Nov 08)

    If you requie more information about the range of our services please contact us.

  • Detection of Construction Failures

    Thermography, is a quick and reliable method of discovering construction failures in buildings. With our high intensity infrared camera we can locate and acurately pin point construction defects, escaping heat, or ingress of draughts, nothing escapes the thermography process.

    With the aid of our equipment, we can work with builders, to effect repairs to both old and new built properties that suffer from poor insulation levels, building defects, or abnormally high energy costs. The coloured monitor and temperature display combine to make the invisible, visible Heat losses, humidity and air leaks (both in and out) of the structure are made visible on colourful thermal images.

    Heat losses caused by undesirable draughts, and structural air leaks from poor air tightness can easily account for 30% of the buildings energy losses. Thermography will show where the warm air is leaking from the building, through construction joints, around windows, door frames, or escaping into the cold attic space through ill fitting loft hatches or poorly installed loft insulation.

    The process will also identify the presence of void spaces within the buildings external envelope, where insulation has been missed out, sagged or slumped within cavity walls, timber frame studs or roof voids, all can be accurately detected using an infrared thermal imaging survey.

    If you require further information and a quotation for a thermal imaging survey please contact us.

  • Leak Detection / Investigation

    Vertical-axis wind turbines, (VAWT's) are less common than the horizontal versions and are generally relegated to the small domestic end of the market place at predominantly less than 4kwp outputs. However, they are efficient and relativity quiet in operation and arguably  visually more attractive.

    The VAWT as its name implies has its main rotor shaft running vertically, rather like a spinning corkscrew in appearance. Vertical-axis wind turbines have blades that go from the top to the bottom and are usually wrapped around the central mast. The Turby VAWT from Holland has a distinctive design and has gained favour with many commercial institutions and local governments commissioning installations of units on top of office buildings and factories.

    To attain maximum performance from the VAWT it must be mounted as high as possible, low level installations below 20 metres do-not perform efficiently due to the lower wind speeds nearer the ground and turbulence that often occurs from surrounding trees, buildings and other geographical elements.

    The advantage of a VAWT is that the generator and its gearbox are located at ground level which make the structure much lighter and less costly as the pole does not have to support this additional weight or stress factors in stormy high wind conditions. The VAWT being multi bladed can catch wind from any direction which is of great advantage when there is no predominant or predictable wind direction. Also the huge energy losses often attributed to horizontal turbines "hunting" for the wind are removed.

    At the the top end of the market for vertical axis wind turbines, the British manufacturer "Quiet Revolution" produce a very highly engineered unit which is almost "art", unfortunately, its high capital cost and lower output, are set against the true beauty of the engineering.

    If you would like more information or a site survey to assess the possibilities of installing a wind turbine at your site please contact us.

  • Fir Protection

    The use of high quality infrared thermography, is of incalculable aid when there has been any form of fire within a chimney, flue or ventilation system as hot spots can be detected safely.

    With the use of our infrared equipment, incorrectly installed and leaking boiler flues, that potentially could emit invisible and fatal fumes from poorly sealed joints and incorrectly installed fittings, are highlighted. As, are incorrect fittings that have been "home made" or adapted in a botched attempt to rectify an installation defect. Plus faulty or failed flue liners that leak heat and fumes into ducts and boxing's. A thermographic survey could identify and highlight defects such as these.

    To easily determine the potential problem zones, the monitor uses colour to express the various ranges of temperature, white and red are the hottest areas, while blue and black are the coldest. With the aid of the infrared camera, defection of dangerous situations such as overheated flues, or a partially blocked chimney, which can ultimately cause dangerous chimney fires can be easily identified and remedial action taken before its to late.

    The danger and risk of fire caused by building with combustible materials to closely to boiler flues, or from solid fuel stove 's flue being incorrectly installed can also be recognised at once. Even sectional stainless steel flue pipes boxed in can be checked and any escape of hot flue gasses identified.

    The safety of electrical equipment and circuit boards can be monitored and any localised heat anomalies identified before either excess damage is caused or fire erupts.

    Thermography can also detect if a fire proof screed or fire door opening is performing properly and any air leakage is occurring which may prove fatal if and when the fire safety of the equipement is called upon.

    If you require a thermographic survey of a building or pieces of mechanical plant please contact us.

  • Air Conditioning Failures

    When checking an AC condenser with infrared, the coil image can tell you a lot about the condition and coolant charge. We know of no other way to detect coil restrictions. Most units have at least 6 sections, each fed by small (~1/8") tubes. Their size makes them vulnerable to clogging. If several become restricted, heat dissipation and efficiency are affected.

    A severe condition can result in liquid coolant re-entering the compressor, resulting in excessive wear and premature failure. This was reported with one of the units shown. (Note: Due to variations of condenser capacity, some manufacturers may not use every coil section, and one restricted section may not constitute a problem.)

    Some AC technicians have told us, they charge systems according to coolant line temperatures, rather than pressure. We often used a ΔT of the condenser coolant lines, along with heat rise, and a ΔT of the air across the evaporator coil to evaluate the operation of central air systems. We have also used this method on commercial chilled-water systems, and residential geothermal units. (Of course, copper is not a great emitter. Electrical tape or adhesive paper stickers are necessary for more accurate readings.

    If significant coolant leaks are suspected,the power to the condenser can be shut down to stop the circulation fan.The condenser is then observed with the thermal imaging camera while the system is still under pressure and the leak can be detected. 

    Please contact us if you have a project where you feel your air conditioning equipement is not performing as it should.

  • Building Air Tightness

    Building air tightness has until recently been somewhat overlooked or at worst ignored during the construction process, it has been common to see the external breather membrane fitted to the wooden shell of new build timber frame building just flapping in the wind with no effort put into sealing the joints or making airtight connections where the window and doors fit into the shell.

    If left unaddressed, once the building is completed, there is a very high possibility that the building will "leak" heat like a sieve, drafts will find there way through the poor breather membrane and simply blow the heat away, potentially, rendering the thermal insulation within the effected wall totally ineffective.

    Poorly sealed buildings are often very uncomfortable to live in, and difficult to heat, in winter on an average day without excessive wind they warm up reasonably well, however, as soon as the wind increases the draft increases and the heat from inside the building is lost. This usually means the building cools faster than anticipated and can often feel cold and uncomfortable.

    The increase in energy costs poor quality air-tightness causes can only be calculated on a building by building basis after testing using the very latest Thermography techniques. A thermal image of the building will identify any defect within the external skin of the structure, this non intrusive survey will guide the builders to the defective areas and speed up the remedial process. As the defects are pin pointed more accurately this also reduces the cost of the remedial action.

    Generally speaking, new buildings currently being constructed in Britain and Ireland will require an air-tightness test, these buildings must achieve an air test rating of 10 or less to pass. These new building air tests, are expected in some limited form are due to appear within the Channel Island building regulations sometime during 2009 we understand.

    In Britain, from 2009 these regulations require that a new building achieve a minimum standard loss of 8 or less, to be in compliance with the new standards.

    If you feel you may have a problem with general building air-tightness please look at the Thermal Image section of this web site and contact us, we are here to help.  

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