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Thermal Imaging: Tips for Performing Outdoor Thermographic Inspections

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Outdoor thermographic inspections using thermal imaging cameras are a quick way to evaluate the insulation performance and spot problem areas. There are a few things you need to do to avoid inaccurate results.

Choosing the right thermal camera

When selecting a thermal imaging camera to perform an external thermographic inspection, there are many performance factors that you should consider. Your thermal resolution should be at least 160×120 pixels ( FLIR E6_XT, Testo 868), preferably 320×240 pixels ( FLIR E8_XT), as outdoor thermal inspections can cover large areas at once. A large 3.5-inch display is also useful for viewing thermographs in real-time. It can also view hot water pipes behind walls and similar patterns.

Weather Conditions For External Thermal Inspections

When performing thermal inspections outside of a building, it is important to consider the weather conditions as they can cause severe distortions or obscure thermographic information.

Winter is the best season to inspect a building’s insulation. Clear, cold days are ideal as there should be at least a 10-15@C temperature difference between the outside and inside of the property within the past 12 hours. Strong sunlight and rain will make it difficult to inspect the property accurately.

These rules are not universally applicable. First, cold storage facilities’ exterior shells such as grain silos must be inspected in hot weather, preferable in summer. Timber-framed buildings should also be inspected in hot conditions. The different building materials can cool and heat at different rates, which allows for more detailed inspection after sunset in the warm seasons.

What to Watch Out for in an External Inspection

For quick inspections of exterior walls, external thermal inspections are a great way to do so. This gives insight into thermal gaps, air leaks and insulation defects in a building shell. This is often shown as brighter colours at problematic locations.

For example, notice the area above the left-hand ground-floor window compared with the left-hand first-floor window in Fig 1. The heat loss from the former is much greater than the one from the latter. Similar patterns can be seen for many other issues.

Apart from these main applications, an inspection will reveal hidden structural defects or features in old and new properties. A visual inspection might reveal timber covered in mineral plaster or areas where the plaster has become damaged. An inspection may also reveal water damage.

The Shortcomings in External Thermal Inspections

External thermographic inspections can be very useful for assessing temperature conditions in a property. However, some limitations may limit their utility.

External inspections, unlike internal inspections, can only be done at specific times of the year. They are also subject to weather conditions and may be cancelled if conditions are not favorable.

External thermographic surveying is not suitable for roof assessments. It is hard to reach high enough to do a thorough inspection. A thermographic survey will not reveal heat losses directly released into the air when heat is lost from a defect. The same applies to ventilated facades.

Thermal Cameras – Test-Meter

A wide variety of thermal imaging cameras are available in our stock. They have the right specifications to be used for outdoor thermal imaging inspection in orlando. The entire range can be viewed.

We also have a variety of thermal cameras available for hire. These include entry-level and high-spec models.

Simplispect Home Inspection
13330 Hatherton Cir Orlando, FL 32832, USA


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