Electric Cooperatives of Arkansas energy auditors use thermography, or infrared scanning, to detect thermal defects and air leaking in and out of building envelopes.
Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared still cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images record the temperature variations of the building's envelope, ranging from warm regions to cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor make varying determinations, like whether to add more insulation or caulking, to better seal air infiltration/exfiltration, if there is heat gain from appliances, and much more. Thermograms also serve as a quality control tool to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.
Thermographic scans also are commonly used with a blower door test. The blower door diagnostic test helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the building envelope. Such air leaks that are not visible to the naked eye are detectable in the infrared camera's display monitor.
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.
This photo and accompanying thermogram are of the ceiling located in the downstairs of the makeover house. The ceiling is a common 12" X 12" grid-tile installation, often installed as a "dropped ceiling" to hide an older ceiling. Upon further investigation and disassembly of the ceiling, we learned that heat gain caused by air infiltration and improperly installed and poorly performing fiberglass insulation caused the living room ceiling to reach temperatures of 104 degrees.
This photo and accompanying thermograms are of the ceilings located in the upstairs bedrooms. The ceilings were constructed of "tongue and groove" wood planks. Upon further investigation and disassembly of the ceiling, we learned that heat gain caused by air infiltration and improperly installed and poorly performing blown fiberglass insulation caused the living room ceiling to reach temperatures of 111 degrees.
This thermogram revealed the dramatic heat gain from improperly installed and poor performing fiberglass insulation. Temperatures of 124 degrees were measured at the downstairs ceiling.
This photo and accompanying thermogram are of the whole-house attic fan located at the top of the stairs. Heat gain from air infiltration around the homemade cover is reaching 123 degrees.
This photo and thermogram are in the location where the upstairs knee-wall meets the ceiling. Temperatures near 111 degrees are recorded due to air infiltration and no insulation in the wall cavity.