Imagine being able to see problems behind walls, ceilings, and floors. Energy and electrical auditors can do this today with the help of infrared thermography.
The auditor uses specialized thermal imaging equipment to find these problems. They are able to do so with the help of infrared light. Its longer wavelength remains invisible to the human eye, so a trained inspector is needed to use the equipment and explain the findings.
How Does The Equipment Work?
Infrared devices measure surface temperatures. When conducting infrared thermographic inspections, auditors use these tools to see light in the heat spectrum.
When they find temperature variations behind walls, ceilings, and floors, they figure out where additional insulation is needed. White areas on the device show warm areas in the building, while black areas on the device indicate cool areas. The auditor may use the same tool to ensure insulation has been installed correctly.
As the auditor uses the device, the infrared still or video camera creates thermograms. These images show heat variations. They are useful for finding hot electrical components and connections, heat caused by excessive friction, and more.
Business owners may request this inspection if they are trying to figure out where their buildings are leaking air or letting heat escape. Changes can then be made to correct these problems and increase the energy efficiency of the building. They may also request this inspection to learn the status of their electrical system.
How is This Inspection Completed?
The auditor determines whether they should conduct the inspection indoors or out. Weather conditions might play a role in which option they choose, but indoor scans tend to be more common.
Auditors prefer them because when warm air makes its way out of a building, it may not take a straight path. As a result, when the device picks up heat loss outside, it may be hard for the auditor to determine where it is coming from inside.
Furthermore, windy conditions may affect the readings. Temperature differences are not easy to pick up when it is windy outside. Interior inspections are usually more accurate because there is less air movement.
When using the thermographic inspection to check an electrical system, the scan is completed indoors. It may be done at any time. Air movement is less of a concern when the scan is used for this purpose.
The Benefits of a Thermographic Inspection
Many people call for an energy assessment to learn whether they need more insulation in their home or business and where the insulation should go. Angi.com reports drafts in a home are a sign of inadequate insulation, and the same would hold for a business. Other signs of inadequate insulation include high energy bills and varying temperatures throughout the building.
A scan may also be done to determine if a roof is leaking. Wet insulation conducts more heat than dry, so the leak can easily be detected with this scan. Business owners might also wish to have an assessment done prior to buying a building to learn about any problems with the thermal envelope.
Business owners are frequently calling for thermographic inspections because they want to ensure their electrical systems are in good working order. The scan can help them identify loose connections, circuits that are overloaded, and open circuits. The scan is also useful for picking up unbalanced loads, defective equipment, and other issues. The owner can then have repairs made to increase the safety of the building and its occupants.
At a minimum, the electrical system should be inspected, as any problems within this system are a safety hazard. They need to be addressed immediately. Once these issues have been addressed, an additional scan may be conducted to look for problems within the thermal envelope. With the help of these scans, the business owner can have peace of mind, knowing they have done everything possible to protect their assets and their workers.