Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

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In the process of detecting heat loss at home and searching for areas of ineffective thermal insulation, you can use a thermal imager. It is no secret that the efficiency of heating the premises of a house decreases, and its cost increases significantly if the building has heat losses. Today we will talk about thermal imaging inspection at home.

How heat leaks occur

Heat losses are possible both as a result of defects in the structural elements of the house, and as a result of errors in the construction of a building, installation of thermal insulation, laying of communications.

The main heat leakage channels:

  1. Building walls and roof:
    • heat goes outside due to the poor quality of wall insulation – this is possible when the insulation is damaged, installed in violation of technology, or is completely absent;
    • radiators of heating batteries or warm floors can be located too close to the walls, as a result of which the street actually heats up, and the coolant in the system is cooled much faster;
    • problems are caused by insufficiently tight joints between the roof beams and the insulation.

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

  1. Doors and windows:
    • one of the reasons for the decrease in room temperature and the appearance of drafts are cracks in the windows, which appear as a result of worn seals or poor installation quality;
    • a similar situation arises due to the presence of gaps between the entrance, balcony doors and their openings.
  2. Communications and hatches:
    • often heat losses occur when ventilation systems cannot cope with their function of removing polluted air from the room and only draw in cold air;
    • problems can be caused by hatches to the basement and to the attic of the building, mounting holes for air conditioners, other household appliances and equipment.
  3. Vulnerable zones and “cold bridges”:
    • when insulating the walls of buildings, the most important area through which heat losses occur is often ignored – this is the foundation of the house. The cold effect of the foundation is enhanced if the house has a basement, and the maximum heat loss in this case falls on the “warm floor”;
    • there are zones with initially low thermal resistance – “cold bridges”, allowing more heat to pass through. Usually these are concrete lintels, corners, joints of structural elements of a building, seams of brickwork.

Principles and Benefits of Thermal Imaging Survey

So, we have considered possible ways for heat to leave the house. To date, only one modern instrument accurately determines specific points of heat loss – a thermal imager. This device measures the intensity of infrared radiation. Heat losses, respectively, are displayed in the images in the infrared range.

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

Control over heat leaks using a thermal imager is carried out on a non-contact principle. As a result of shooting premises, an image is obtained in the form of a color gradient of hot and cold zones. The resulting graphic visualization of the temperature difference allows you to determine the exact locations of thermal leaks.

When inspecting a house externally with a thermal imager, heated walls and other structural elements will be painted in shades of red, which indicates a low degree of thermal insulation and the presence of significant leaks. On the contrary, the green and blue tones in the picture will make it possible to assert with confidence that the heat loss of the house in these areas is minimal..

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

The obvious advantages of a thermal imaging survey:

  • the remote type of check is safe both for the object itself and for a specialist;
  • the survey is carried out without any damage to structural elements, interference in the operation of systems and communications;
  • the thermal imager allows you to perform significant amounts of work in a relatively short time – for an area within a hundred “squares”, two or three hours are enough;
  • the device very accurately determines problem areas and has a high resolution;
  • the clarity of the method allows you to interpret the diagnostic results right on the spot;
  • found problems are often identified even before the onset of serious consequences, including accidents in heating networks.

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

What can be detected with a thermal imager:

  • the presence of cavities and crevices, wet areas and condensation (a consequence of poor waterproofing) in building structures;
  • errors in the installation of doors and windows;
  • absence or damage to thermal insulation;
  • “Cold bridges”;
  • incorrect operation of the ventilation system, leading to excessive or insufficient air exchange in the building;
  • problems with the heating system – the presence of air plugs, clogged pipelines, coolant leaks.

At the same time, the places of heat losses can be determined at any objects, and not only in residential buildings – these can be buildings with electrical, heat and power equipment, heating mains.

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

Preparation for work

To inspect a building with a thermal imager, a number of conditions must be observed. The first and most important is the presence of a difference in air temperature outside and inside the house within 15 ° C – thus, it is preferable to check the building for thermal leaks during the cold season..

In addition, you need to choose a day with certain weather conditions – direct or reflected rays of sunlight should not fall on the walls and roof of the building, and strong winds or precipitation are also excluded. There are also certain limitations regarding a number of models of thermal imagers that do not allow the use of equipment in severe frost..

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

If it becomes necessary to examine the building in the warm season, then in this case it is necessary to ensure the difference in temperature in the house and outside using a heat gun or air conditioner in heating mode. All rooms of the house must be heated before verification using a thermal imager for at least two days, so that the walls of the house have time to warm up.

Inside the house, you will need to do the following:

  • free window sills from foreign objects;
  • provide a line of sight to skirting boards adjacent to external walls;
  • similarly remove obstacles to the line of sight of the corners of the premises, which border the outer walls of the building.

Detailed requirements for the inspection of buildings and structures using a thermal imager are contained in the corresponding Russian GOST R 54852–2011.

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

How much does heat leak detection cost?

On the eve of a thermal imaging survey of a house, a natural question arises: what is better – to buy equipment, rent it or contact specialized firms that provide appropriate services?

The cost of a quality thermal imager is several thousand dollars. Although there are also compact devices, the cost of which is 20-50 thousand rubles.

Inspecting a home with a thermal imager: finding heat leaks

Currently, on the territory of Russia, surveys of houses for heat loss are widely carried out using thermal imagers. The cost of such services varies depending on the specific object being checked. So, for checking a house with an area of ​​up to 150 m2 you will have to pay an average of 4.5 thousand rubles, up to 350 m2 – already 6.5 thousand rubles, and up to 500 m2 – 8.5 thousand rubles. When examining an apartment, the costs of the owners will be from 3 thousand rubles for one room to 5 thousand rubles for five rooms.

In any case, the detection of the exact places of heat leaks will allow in the future to guarantee the elimination of such problems and achieve significant financial savings due to an increase (up to 70%) in the efficiency of heating the home. It should be borne in mind that the elimination of the detected defects in the building structure will increase the period of its trouble-free operation and, in the future, reduce the need for repair..

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