Advice on Using Infra Red & Thermal Scanners for Tracing Heat Loss
THERMOGRAPHY IR Infra Red & THERMAL SCANNERS - CONTENTS: Thermal scanners or infra red IR scanners and thermography cameras ease finding points of heat loss or air infiltration in buildings. Air Leak Detection & Energy survey tools. Tools for "House Doctors" survey buildings to find and fix energy losing air & heat leaks
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Where to buy infrared scanners & thermography equipment: This article discusses sources of thermal scanners, IR scanners, thermography cameras and other tools used for the detection of heat loss or air infiltration in buildings.
Suppliers of IR InfraRed Scanners, Thermography, Thermal Scanning Equipment
The accompanying text are reprinted/adapted/excerpted with permission from Solar Age Magazine - editor Steven Bliss. The question-and-answer article below paraphrases, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.
Information on Thermal Scanners
I would like some information on the AGA 782 thermal scanner shown on the opening page of "House Doctors with Better Medicine" (Solar Age 9/84 p. 27.) Are there many other companies that sell thermal scanners? -- Leon Grant, Dover NJ
Swedish-based AGA Infrared Systems AB was [in 1984] the world's oldest and largest manufacturer of infrared scanning equipment. In the 1980's the top-of-the-line Model 782 cost around $32,000 and had many features. The hand-held AGA model used by PEP and described in
HEAT LOSS DETECTION TOOLS cost (in 1984) $12,500. In the 1980's Inframetrics also produced hand-held thermal scanners in the U.S.
Currently and for some time we (DF) have made extensive use of a non-imaging low-price, small hand-held IR scanner provided by Exergen - a device costing less than $1000.
FLIR Thermography - produces IR cameras and scanners
SeeTHERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHYfor complete details about buying & using thermal imaging, training, and equipment sources including recent innovations that add smartphone attached thermal imaging cameras as well as larger commercial thermal imaging equipment. There we include a complete list of sources of thermal imaging, IR and related equipment.
Advice on Using IR Infrared Scanning Equipment for Building Surveys
We have made regular use of small hand-held IR or thermal scanner equipment in building inspection surveys for nearly twenty years. The two most common uses we've made of the equipment include: [-DF]
Heat Loss: Surveying buildings for variations in temperature, indicating areas of heat loss: air bypass leaks, missing insulation. In addition to spotting specific "cold spots", if there is a significant temperature difference between indoors and outside, thermography can quickly identify compare temperatures on interior partitions with exterior walls.
Leaks: Surveying buildings for evidence of recent leaks, wet insulation in building cavities. Be careful: an old leak into a building cavity may have completely dried out, producing no IR detectable information, but problematic mold, rot, or insect damage could be present. Visual evidence of building leak history and a recording of building details likely to have led to leaks or water entry are important.
Electrical overheating: a number of home inspectors have successfully used IR and thermography to identify overheating electrical components at electrical panels, electrical switches or receptacles, at wiring serving electric heating baseboards, and where aluminum branch circuit wiring is installed. Overheating electric motors, compressors, and even blower fan bearings can be observed using these methods as well, provided that you have a baseline of normal temperatures.
Readers wishing training on use of thermography, IR or infra red equipment, for building surveys or other applications, should also contact the Institute of Infrared Thermography.
The question-and-answer article about sources and use of infrared thermal scanners and heat loss detection equipment, quotes-from, updates, and comments an original article from Solar Age Magazine and written by Steven Bliss.
The link to the original Q&A article in PDF form immediately below is followed by an expanded/updated online version of this article.
"Toxic Black Mold Scanner": We investigated in detail a case of ineffective mold remediation at a property in which the mold remediation company used an IR scanner to "tell the building owner where the mold was". This was as unreliable and nonsensical as the window replacement company salesmen who used to use a camera light meter (which pegged its needle whenever exposed to brighter light at any building window) to identify "leaky windows".
See MOLD SPRAYS, SEALANTS, PAINTS for details about this case. Like some other practices of questionable honesty, there was an element of truth to the remediator's pitch: if indeed there had been a recent water leak into a building cavity, the IR scanner should be expected to pick up a temperature difference at that location. And since a water leak into a wall can cause mold, there might be a mold risk. But
numerous other building conditions produce temperature differences without growing toxic mold
a prior leak may have dried, producing no thermal evidence
other conditions may have produced a problem mold reservoir without any thermal evidence
In fact there was a problem mold reservoir in the building, but it was nowhere near any of the locations where the remediator had, based on his thermal camera results, poked tiny holes and sprayed "mold killer" into the building walls. Also see MOLD KILLING GUIDE for an explanation of the compound error of using an unreliable (but quick and easy) camera to scan for mold combined with spraying to try to kill it.
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Solar Age Magazine was the official publication of the American Solar Energy Society. The contemporary solar energy magazine associated with the Society is Solar Today. "Established in 1954, the nonprofit American Solar Energy Society (ASES) is the nation's leading association of solar professionals & advocates. Our mission is to inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy. We advance education, research and policy. Leading for more than 50 years.
ASES leads national efforts to increase the use of solar energy, energy efficiency and other sustainable technologies in the U.S. We publish the award-winning SOLAR TODAY magazine, organize and present the ASES National Solar Conference and lead the ASES National Solar Tour – the largest grassroots solar event in the world."
Steve Bliss's Building Advisor at buildingadvisor.com helps homeowners & contractors plan & complete successful building & remodeling projects: buying land, site work, building design, cost estimating, materials & components, & project management through complete construction. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines. He worked in the building trades as a carpenter and design/build contractor for more than ten years and holds a masters degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Excerpts from his recent book, Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, Wiley (November 18, 2005) ISBN-10: 0471648361, ISBN-13: 978-0471648369, appear throughout this website, with permission and courtesy of Wiley & Sons. Best Practices Guide is available from the publisher, J. Wiley & Sons, and also at Amazon.com
Paul Probett, Clinton Craig, Blake Probett, Incodo Ltd, 4/511 Cameron Rd, Tauranga NZ, Email: Paul Probett, email@example.com , Tel: 027 28 000 36 (Mobile) Website: http://incodo.co.nz/ Mr. Probett and his firm Incodo have contributed technical & forensic engineering content & critique to InspectApedia including their research into micro-drilling for in-situ timber & beam rot & damage assessment - WOOD STRUCTURE ASSESSMENT, Paul Probett, Ph: 0064 7 578 7499 - Office, Post: Incodo Ltd, Box 8202, Cherrywood, Tauranga, New Zealand, is a building expert who has also addressed building moisture investigations, UFFI insulation, and urea formaldehyde outgassing in buildings - FORMALDEHYDE HAZARDS. Also see THERMAL IMAGING, THERMOGRAPHY.
Thermography - Infra Red Inspection Equipment, temperature, heat loss, active leak detection, moisture investigations - Equipment Suppliers
AGA Infrared Systems, 550 County Ave., Seacaucus NJ 08094. Here is a general product brochure from AGA (minor edits),
History: the AGA Thermovision 750 was produced in the 1970's and was the first individually portable thermography system to reach the market. Here is the AGA Thermovision 750 operating manual from AGA. A used AGA Agema Thermovision 880 800 Infrared Camera Sys FLIR might be purchased typically (2010) for around $2000.
Warning: looking for information about AGA will trip up readers whose web searches will find the American Gas Association AGA. AGA Infrared Systems AB [ca 1981] was a member of the Pharos Group, manufacturer of a complete range of thermal measurement systems, with subsidiaries worldwide.
Headquarters: AGA Infrared Systems AB, S-182 11 Danderyd, Sweden
Canada: AGAtronics Ltd., 5230 South Service Rd. Suite 125, Burlington Ontario L7L 5K2
United States: AGA Corporation, PO Box 721, 60 Chapin Rd., Pine Brook NJ 07058
West Germany: AGA Optronik GmbH, Zimmersmuthlenweg 40, D-6370, Oberursel/T
Exergen Corporation, portable infra red scanners, 400 Pleasant St. Watertown, MA 02472, 1-800-422-3006 617-923-9900 Fax : 617-923-9911
Inframetrics Inc., hand held thermal scanners, 25 Wiggins Ave., Bedford Mass, also available from Hughes Aircraft, El Segundo, CA.
The Institute of Infrared Thermography (IRT) is an organization dedicated to providing Infrared educational programs, seminars, consulting services, program development and support, as well as, research and development to individuals and companies worldwide.
The original training organization, the Academy of Infrared Thermography began operation in 1984 in Kamloops BC Canada. The Academy was the largest independent infrared training organization in the world. Today, the original owner, Mr. Ron Newport provides global infrared thermography training under a newly structured organization: The Institute of Infrared Thermography. The head office remains in Canada but there are now branch offices in the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, Singapore, China, as well as trainers in 4 other countries. IRT provides training in infrared thermography as it applies to the electrical industry, petrochemical, automotive, plastics, steel, electronics, energy conservation and savings, building energy conservation and building audits, building facades, roof thermography, water leak detection, security, medical and many other applications.
Imaging Systems Inspection Equipment Inc. - 323 Andover Street - Wilmington, MA 01887 [focused on electronics and semiconductor placement systems, not building heat loss/IR thermography for general use]
FLIR Thermography manufacturer of infrared cameras, thermography testing equipment, and thermal imaging cameras. FLIR provides infrared software as well as infrared training and support
Asia Pacific: FLIR Thermography Support & contact information:FLIR Systems Co., Ltd.
Asia Pacific Head Office, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2792 8955
United States: FLIR Thermography Support & contact information: FLIR Systems,
America's Main Office, USA
Boston, MA Tel: 1-800-GO-INFRA (464-6372) or 1-978-901-8000
Canada: FLIR Thermography Support & contact information:FLIR Systems Ltd.,
Canada's Main Office,
Europe: FLIR Systems
International Main Office, Sweden
Tel: +46 (0)8 753 25 00
FLIR Thermography Support & contact information:FLIR Systems Latin America, Sorocaba, Brazil, Tel: +55 15 3238 8075
FLIR offers this comment on use of infrared for building diagnostics:
Thermal Cameras for Building Diagnostics: the building sector offers the largest single potential for improving energy efficiency.
Infrared thermography is the easiest and quickest method to detect energy waste, moisture and electrical issues in buildings. An infrared camera shows exactly where the problems are and helps focus the inspectors' attention allowing him or her to properly diagnose areas with energy loss.
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume I, the Passive Solar Handbook Introduction to Passive Solar Concepts, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v1.pdf
Passive Solar Design Handbook Volume II, the Passive Solar Handbook Comprehensive Planning Guide, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v2.pdf [This is a large PDF file that can take a while to load]
Passive Solar Handbook Volume III, the Passive Solar Handbook Programming Guide, in a version used by the U.S. Air Force - online version available at this link and from the USAF also at wbdg.org/ccb/AF/AFH/pshbk_v3.pdf
"Passive Solar Home Design", U.S. Department of Energy, describes using a home's windows, walls, and floors to collect and store solar energy for winter heating and also rejecting solar heat in warm weather.
"Solar Water Heaters", U.S. Department of Energy article on solar domestic water heaters to generate domestic hot water in buildings, explains how solar water heaters work. Solar heat for swimming pools is also discussed.
"Heat-Transfer Fluids for Solar Water Heating Systems", U.S. DOE, describes the types of fluids selected to transfer heat between the solar collector and the hot water in storage tanks in a building. These include air, water, water with glycol antifreeze mixtures (needed when using solar hot water systems in freezing climates), hydrocarbon oils, and refrigerants or silicones for heat transfer.
"Solar Water Heating System Freeze Protection", U.S. DOE,using antifreeze mixture in solar water heaters (or other freeze-resistant heat transfer fluids), as well as piping to permit draining the solar collector and piping system.
"Solar Air Heating" U.S. DOE also referred to as "Ventilation Preheating" in which solar systems use air for absorbing and transferring solar energy or heat to a building
"Solar Liquid Heating" U.S. DOE, systems using liquid (typically water) in flat plate solar collectors to collect solar energy in the form of heat for transfer into a building for space heating or hot water heating. The term "solar liquid" is used for accuracy, rather than "solar water" because the water may contain an antifreeze or other chemicals.
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones