Thermal Imaging cameras provide us with an image of temperature distribution on a surface or object. This is hugely useful when installing or maintaining heating systems, from a commercial to a domestic level.
You can pinpoint any irregularities in temperature distribution very quickly. Underfloor pipes or pipes behind walls can be located and leakages identified. Heating system performance can be assessed and radiator inefficiencies can be identified, among other things.
Amazingly, quite a lot of information can be gathered from the thermal condition of a heating system.
Below are some examples (Images from Intec Analysis Ltd. FLIR T450sc)
Radiator with trapped air.
Because air bubbles in the gas central heating system rise, you’ll find air collects at the top of radiators and steadily gathers, making your home colder as the problem worsens. So if a radiator isn’t heating up, or is cool at the top and hot at the bottom, you’ll need to learn how to bleed it.
Radiator with sludge build up.
Sludge is essentially dirty water. Particles of dirt from the water in the system combine with rust (iron oxide) from the inside of radiators, pipes and soldered joints. The older the system is, the more likely it is to have some heating sludge build up. Dirt and rust combine to make a gooey liquid. As this passes through the central heating components it deposits some of the particles. It can block pipes and radiators to a point where the heat is patchy on radiators, radiators don’t work properly or get to temperature, or they don’t heat up at all. It can physically block important components such as the boilers heat exchanger which is incredibly expensive to fix.
Thermal Imaging inspections are an important diagnostic tool to prevent leaks from heating systems becoming serious enough to cause significant damage to a property.
Below: A leak identified from a residential home (Images from Intec Analysis Ltd. FLIR T450sc).
This was identified in a residential living room ceiling. The yellow square from the thermal image represents the temperature profile from a water heater located in the cupboard upstairs. The dark area on the thermal image was wet. This was caused by condensation dripping from adjacent pipework on the water heater. Over time it had soaked part of the upstairs cupboard floor and had made its way through the living room ceiling.
Identified with a thermal camera and confirmed with a moisture meter. Note that no visible damage can be seen from the digital image. This was caught just in time and costly repair work to the roof was avoided.
For more information on home thermography inspection including related blog posts please click here.
Thanks for reading.