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Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared video and still cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the video or film record the temperature variations of the building’s skin, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly. For more on how infrared imaging works, check out our Energy Saver 101 infographic on home energy audits.

A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy auditor decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a building does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.

Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building shell. Such air leaks appear as black streaks in the infrared camera’s viewfinder.

Thermography uses specially designed infrared video or still cameras to make images (called thermograms) that show surface heat variations. This technology has a number of applications. Thermograms of electrical systems can detect abnormally hot electrical connections or components. Thermograms of mechanical systems can detect the heat created by excessive friction. Energy auditors use thermography as a tool to help detect heat losses and air leakage in building envelopes.

Infrared scanning allows energy auditors to check the effectiveness of insulation in a building’s construction. The resulting thermograms help auditors determine whether a building needs insulation and where in the building it should go. Because wet insulation conducts heat faster than dry insulation, thermographic scans of roofs can often detect roof leaks.

In addition to using thermography during an energy assessment, you should have a scan done before purchasing a house; even new houses can have defects in their thermal envelopes. You may wish to include a clause in the contract requiring a thermographic scan of the house. A thermographic scan performed by a certified technician is usually accurate enough to use as documentation in court proceedings.

Moisture Detection

Life without moisture is scarcely imaginable. Even inside your home, it’s inevitable. Running baths, boiling water, breathing and even the materials comprising your house combine with outdoor air to create humidity — a measure of moisture contained in the air. Proper building practices are intended to prevent moisture infiltration inside your walls, however. The exterior walls are covered with a moisture barrier and siding, while the interior generally features another moisture barrier underneath the sheathing. In most cases, it’s enough to keep the water from soaking the wall material. If there’s a leak, however, the water can quickly saturate the wall and breed mold or rot.

Excess moisture in your home can cause mold to grow. Mold can grow in or on almost anything in your home, including paper, carpet, wood, dry wall, insulation, mattresses, and shower curtains. Mold also can grow in improperly maintained air conditioners, humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Excess moisture provides a good environment for bacteria, cockroaches and dust mites.

Moisture in your home can cause other problems. Too much moisture can cause wood to rot, which may weaken the structure of your home. Moisture can cause peeling, chipping or cracking paint, which, if your home was built before 1978, may contribute to high levels of lead in household dust.

This is why it is important to check on the moisture levels in your home since this way you reduce the possibility of mold and other germ growth and keep your enviorment healthy. For more info feel free to contact us.