The Value of Thermal Imaging in Your Home Renovation

Since its development in the late 1950’s for military purposes, the thermal imaging camera has evolved and adapted and is currently used in many other fields. The technology is commonly used for surveillance, medical screening and research. Firefighters use the cameras to see through smoke and locate hot spots of fires (and people). Power line maintenance technicians can use overheating joints and parts to eliminate potential failures. Law enforcement uses the technology to conduct surveillance, locate suspects, investigate crime scenes and conduct search and rescue missions. Car manufacturers are starting to install them to identify hazards before they are visible to the eye.

The home building and renovation industry has also embraced this valuable technology. Thermal imaging is an outstanding tool used to locate building defects such as missing insulation, delaminating render and condensation problems. KLC is fortunate to have our own “thermal imaging guru” on staff. Don Koppin, Project Developer, is trained in using a thermal imaging camera for condition monitoring and predictive maintenance applications.

Thermal Imaging-Patio Door-Before
To the naked eye, this patio door appears to be in good condition.
Thermal Imaging-Patio Door-After
The thermal imaging camera showed large amounts of air leakage.

During a site visit, Don can use his camera to pinpoint exactly where cold air is finding its way into a home during the cooler months and how/where cool air from air conditioning units is being lost outside during the summer, which is a critical first step in saving money lost to heating and cooling costs. Areas like these can be impossible to detect by viewing or by touch alone and this is where a thermal infrared camera can play an important role. Don can detect drafts and cold spots in a home where insulation may not be at its optimum to retain heat or cold air inside the home.

Thermal imaging can detect areas where squirrels or other critters are nesting, find leaky heat ducts in concealed spaces and locate water leaks (which can lead to mold). Furthermore, thermal imaging can detect stud locations, analyze in floor heat to detect potential problems or map out where the pipes are.

Thermal Imaging-Before-Squirrel
This wall appears to be in good condition and problem free…
Missing insulation-squirrel
Thermal imaging revealed squirrels had taken up residence in the insulation.

“The information obtained can be used in a number of ways,” says Don. “If our client is planning a home renovation it is used to identify trouble spots that need additional work in order to include it in the initial scope of work instead of finding it after the project is started and running into unidentified extra costs and possible delays. Or it can be used to plan on how to add additional insulation, or to remedy a heating problem.”

DC_0299
Another example of the power of thermal imaging. This bedroom appears issue free.
Thermal Imaging-After-Moisture
Thermal imaging revealed a wet spot behind the drywall caused by an ice dam.

An energy audit with a thermal imaging camera allows our clients to understand where they are using energy at home, where there are problems areas and where savings can be made. Fortunately, making your home more energy efficient is not overly difficult. Additional air sealing is a simple fix that can be done to stop costly heat loss, which is a very inexpensive fix. And as Don advises “It is always better to identify problem areas before starting a renovation than stumble across them after the project has started. The worst thing would be to do a renovation and never identify the problem.”

For more information on how you can benefit from thermal imaging during your next home renovation project, don’t hesitate to contact us or stop into our Lakefield office for a chat!