Thermal audit and thermovision inspection is an analytic and experimantal inspection of structures and systems for thermal losses.
Thermal audit is a part of energy audit.
Thermal audit can be made separately as well as with an energy audit.
It is carried out with the special equipment – thermal imager (FLIR T420).
Thermal imager observation is an effective non-penetrative mean of control for building condition. Imagers became one of the most valuable tools for structure diagnostics. Thermal imager helps to detect, record and solve the problem before they break down and take significant repair costs.
Thermal imager diagnostics helps to:
visualize the energy losses;
detect the insulation defects;
detect the air leak source;
detect the dampness in insulation, on the roof and walls of in- and outdoor structures;
detect the mould and leaky insulation sections;
detect the heat bridges;
detect the water leakage in flat slabs;
detect the hot water in-rush;
detect the structure damages;
monitor the building drying;
detect the water duct and central heating lines defects;
detect the electrical equipment defects.
Thermal imagers is a perfect tool for defect detection while they help to see what is invisible to the naked eye. IR image provide problem areas records in advance. The most defects can be seen with the thermal imager.
An accurate temperature image gives an important information regarding insulation, moisture penetration, mould formation as well as electrical equpment defects, heat bridges and HVAT condition to the construction specialist.
Thermal imager is such a valuable and multifunctional tool that is hardly impossible to name all fields were it is used. The use of thermal images is being developed every day.
Insulation and air leakage defects.
Thermovision inspection is a perfect tool for such defects detection, as lack of proper insulation, plaster exfoliation and condensation.
Frame construction. Many insulation sections are missing as indicated by the warm colours.
Structure with significant warm air leaks between the wall and foor. These joints should be sealed for energy saving
Glass roof over the atrium. It is waterproofed but not sealed. Warm air comes out because of excessive pressure. This problem can be solved with the glass roof sealing.
This building is warmer inside. It is a multilayered structure “concrete – insulation – concrete”. One of the sections if missing and is invisible to the naked eye from in- and outwards.
In order to find the areas with insulation and energy losses with the thermal imager, there should be in- and outdoor temperature difference not less than 10°C. This difference can be smaller if the imager has higher resolution and thermal sensitivity. In cold climates the constructions look back to winter months. In warm climates with proper building insulation for cooled air holding, thermovision inspection is best done during the summer months.
Wall part without insulation.
The picture shows the insulation defect under the window.
Air leaks increase the energy consumption and often cause the ventilation problems. Besides, they can cause condensation in the building that leads to microclimate deterioration. There should be in- and outdoor temperature difference and pressure fall in order to detect the air loop with thermal imager. The thermal imager can show the specific thermal image that occur when the cold air penetrates the unsealed struсture section, flows along and cools it. The thermal imagery inspection must be conducted from the negative pressure side. Air leaks often can be detected by water injection also called BlowerDoor test.
The picture shows the air leak between ceiling and window.
Moisture damage is the most common reason of building decay. The loop causes the condensate in the walls, floors and ceilings. The insulation dries slowly and becomes the major center of mould and fungoid growth in such way. Thermal imager scanning detects moisture, which creates a favourable environment for mould. You can smell it but have no idea where it grows. Thermovision inspection identifies the moist areas can cause a serious health problems.
Moisture is difficult to detect and temperature changing is one of the searching methods. Moist materials will be clearly seen because their temperature changes more slowly than dry materials temperature. While other tools measure temperature in one place, thermal imagers can scan the entire area.
The invisible to an eye penetration of the moisture into the floor is clearly seen to the thermal imager.
Thermal image of the one ceiling. In the left picture the room temperature was increased by heating and the humidity is clearly seen.
Another field of thermal imager use is heat bridges detection – places of energy loss.
Heat bridge is the area where the building has the smallest heat resistance. Its formation depends on certain structural features. Heat flows along the path with minimal resistance from the heated space to the outside.
Typical consequences of heat bridges:
The picture shows the heat bridge on one of the storeys.
The thermal image shows heat bridges between beams and mutual walls.
Sometimes the pavements and parking zones are heated in areas wich cold climate. District heating system distributes centralized heat (the steam is often produced) that is used for dwellings/living spaces and commercial buildings heating. Thermographic inspection easily detects the pipelines and underground heating systems defects. Thermal imager detects the accurate defect place and reduces the renovation scope.
Thermal imaging aerial survey detects the loop and insulation defects in the the central heating system.
Thermal imager can easily detect thу central heating defects.
Thermovision inspection detects the leaks in flat slabs.
Water saves heat longer than roffing material. Thats why the thermal imager easily detects it in the late evening or at night when the roof is already cool.
The reparation of leaks is more efficient than roof replacement.
Water leakage in flat slabs.
Thermovision technology is a simple and convenient tool for pipe leaks inspection. It is effective even if the water pipe is under the floor or plaster layer. The pipe heat radiates through the surface and the thermal image is easily recognizable with the thermal imager.
The themal image shows the leaks in the floor heating system.
Thermovision technology is also used for quality control and new building inspection.
While the structure drying, thermal images help to monitor the drying out and undertake its acceleration.
If you can make this process faster and prove with the building dryness with the thermal imager, you can easily release the building to the customer.
Thermovision gives an important information during building and monument restorations.The thermal image clearly shows the frame elements hidden under the mineral plastering. It helps to make a decision on the necessity of the elements exposure. Plaster separation from the wall can also be detected at the earliest stages, allowing to undertake the conservation.
The inner structures can be easily seen with the thermovision.
It is a perfect technology for detection of clogged and damaged pipes as well as other pipeline problems. The exact defect location can be determined even in underfloor and wall pipes – while turning on the hot water. The heat will indicate the problem area on the thermal image.
Thermovision helps to detect the pipeline defects.
HVAC system needs a detailed maintenance. It gives the air of necessary temperature and humidity level as well as filters air in the premises. Thermal imager helps to evaluate the efficiency of such systems. Their defects can cause the air quality deterioration in the premises.
Any building has many electrical elements. Thermovision can be used for inspection of the distribution cabinets, fuses, wires etc. Thermal imager detects all invisible for the eye defects and eliminates them. Unsolved eletrical problems can cause the temperature increasing. In addition, sparking is possible which can cause the fire.
One of the fuses is overheated, being a potential ignition source.
Solar panels transform the solar energy to electrical one, that costs some money. Solar energy can be a profitable investment. However, the high quality equipment is necessary in order to get the maximum return and high output capacity over the decades. Solar module is the most important part od the solar panel. It must be able to continuously generate electricity within many years. Thermal imagers help to ensure its reliable performance within its service life.
As fossil fuel reserves decline, coal and gas prices increase. Many people start to use solar energy that will never exhausted. Nevertheless solar panels can be used up. According to this, the construction specialists around the world use thermal imagers for solar panels inspection.
Thermal imaging of solar panels has many advantages. Abnormalities are clearly seen in the thermal images. Thermal imagers in their way can be used for solar panels inspection even when they in operation. Finally, thermal imagers can check big areas quickly.
They can detect and repair the problem area before damaging and malfunctioning. However not all thermal imagers can be used for solar cell panel inspection. Besides, some rules and recommendations are used in order to inspect and interpret their results.
There red dots specify the most heated elements thet indicates the joint defects.
This solar cell red dot indicates the solar panel defect.
Facade (roofing) <1000 m2 – 5 uah/m2 (with e-mail report), 4 uah/m2 (only imaging and briefing). Min 3000 uah.
Facade (roofing) 1000-5000 m2 – 4 uah/m2 (with e-mail report), 3 uah/m2 (only imaging and briefing).
Facade (roofing) from 5000 m2 – 3 uah/m2 (with e-mail report), 2,5 uah/m2 (only imaging and briefing).