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Old 12-13-15, 10:20 AM   #1
Piwoslaw
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Default How to make the most of thermographic camera?

Yesterday I found out from my brother-in-law that his workplace has a higher-end thermographic camera, and that he may be able to borrow it, free of charge!!

I begged him to do so, but I would like to make the most of this chance to see how leaky our house is. So what should I pay attention to when taking a thermo-pic of the house?
  • I assume the when taking the shots I should not stand near any heat sources, nor should there be any close to the line of sight.
  • Shooting when it is really cold will give better contrast.
  • Should I bump the house's indoor temperature a degree or two to get even better contrast?
  • Does it matter whether it is night or day (as long as there is no direct sun)?
  • How far from the target should I be?
Anything else?

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Old 12-13-15, 12:24 PM   #2
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When the energy auditor came over for a door test, he used a scanning device around the house to check for leaks. He called a day before and asked us to move all the furniture away from the exterior walls, for the scan.

When he was here, he found most of the leaks on the top of each door frame inside the house and of coarse on the exterior walls. He said that he hasn't been inside a home yet that seals that part up well enough. Some of the doors with adjustable sill plates were leaking until I raised them up.

He did find one wall between the garage and the house that had missing insulation when he scanned it.

Do you have a crawl space? I would love to see how much heat is lost from the floor.
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Old 12-13-15, 12:54 PM   #3
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No crawlspace - unheated basement + garage under the house.

No attic either, so I would love to get a picture of the roof. I've wanted to add some additional insulation to it for years, but Dad-in-law (who built the house almost 50 years ago) says that the roof is not leaking heat. I guess that taking a pic of the roof while standing on it may effect the quality? I'd see how much we're losing through the hatch and especially through the ventilation chimneys.
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Old 12-14-15, 08:32 AM   #4
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If it were me, I would take pictures of everything...
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Old 01-01-16, 08:16 PM   #5
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A good related post on another site I frequent.
Thermal Imaging to Help be Green | Hearth.com Forums Home
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Old 01-02-16, 07:24 PM   #6
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Turn all your exhaust fans on to put a negative pressure on the house. You'll see any cold air leaks very easily with the camera. No need to bump the heat up.
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Old 01-12-16, 07:56 PM   #7
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Default Measure everything.

The more inside/outside differential temperature,
the more resolution you get.
I'd measure both inside and outside. Otherwise,
you have to guess the leakage path.
Windy day can give you even more info.

I had my house weatherized. Then I went around with a
caulking gun. The "after" blower door test determined that
the ventilation was below standard for the structure.
I live alone and don't cook much, so it's not unsafe,
but it does get stuffy enough in mid winter that I built
a heat-recovery ventilator and stuck it in a window.
Makes a big difference in the stuffiness.

I second the turning on the vent fans while leak testing.
The vent over my stove can pull a 5 Pascal
vacuum at the other end of the house.

If it's winter, I'd suggest turning the heat up to high,
wait a couple of minutes, then see what heats up.
Crawl around in the basement with the camera.
Might show leaks in the air handler.
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Old 01-13-16, 01:05 AM   #8
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I just found out that this weekend I'll be able to borrow the thermographic camera, and luckily the forecast shows colder weather then, so here is my plan:
  • One late afternoon I'll set the house's temp a bit higher (to the joy of my family), wait 1-3 hours until evening and then get some pics from the outside. I'll try to get both images of the house as a whole (from a distance) and up close pics of any parts that show potential issues. Then I'll turn on the kitchen fan and shoot a few outside pics to see if anything changed.
  • In the wee hours of the morning, when it is coldest outside and when everyone is asleep, I'll turn off the heating and wait for the radiators to cool down (don't want them spitting photons). Then I'll take indoor images - first a general sweep of each room, then closer inspection of places with leakage. The basement and garage are not heated, but will get covered also. By this time the family will be getting up, so I'll have access to the upstairs bedrooms. Will try the kitchen fan again to see where cold air is entering.
  • If I get a moment I'll climb up onto the roof, close the hatch, wait 10 minutes for it to cool down, and get images of the roof and chimneys. While I'm up there I might get a sweep of the neighborhood to see which houses have the best/worst insulation.
  • If we visit my Grandma then I'll get some shots of her uninsulated, overheated house
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Old 01-14-16, 02:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
I just found out that this weekend I'll be able to borrow the thermographic camera, and luckily the forecast shows colder weather then, so here is my plan:

Sounds like a great plan!

Please share your photos.

-AC
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Old 01-17-16, 12:52 AM   #10
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So I got the camera from my brother-in-law on Friday evening, but some things changed: I had to give it back on Saturday, as his company needed it before Sunday. Also, the cold spell turned into snow, and falling snow will skew the outdoor images. I had to wait for the snow to cease. Instead of temps of -15C we had -3C, and we had a black-out at night, so the heating system did not turn on and the house started to cool down. The result is that instead of a temperature difference of over 30C, as planned, I had less than 20C. Also, the snow cover made it pointless to go on the roof. With the black-out I could not turn the kitchen fan on.

Still, any thermal images are better than none, and I learned a lot from what I got. I even made a trip to get pics of my Grandma's house before returning the camera.
I've started a new thread with the results, so that this one doesn't go OT.

But here's a spoiler:

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