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Thermal Imaging

RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850
I'm thinking about getting a IR camera. One of my questions is if they work for identifying air infiltration / exfiltration areas to aid in sealing homes. If it would work, I was thinking about using it as a sales tool " Using IR camera, identify and seal and / or notify homeowner of areas of visible infiltration".  If it can be used for this, what would be the best way of doing it, indoors / outdoors, day / night?

Just brainstorming

Thanks for any input,



  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,493
    Yes…. and no.

    A good energy conservation contractor carries one with them, but in order for it to be able to "see" the points of infiltration, there has to be a BIG differential in air temperature between the inside and the outsides of the home. You also need a blower door to compound the infiltration in order for it to show. If the inside versus outside air temperature differential is zero, then you will not be able to see any thermal traces of where the infiltration is coming from.

    Just like you wouldn't be able to see any thermal leaking on the exterior of the building if it were 70 degrees F outside while looking at the exterior skin of the building.

    In order to SEE a difference, there has to BE a difference. The IR camera is only looking for differentials.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • earl burnermannearl burnermann Member Posts: 126
    Blower door first

    Just completed the BPI energy auditor/building analyst program last summer and I'd say that a blower door would be my first choice if I was looking for leaks in a home. If you know the formula, this tool will tell you exactly how much air is leaking into (and out of the home).

    Here's a link to the tool:

    Here's a link to how to use it:

    Thermal imaging cameras are great tools. but you are going to need a pretty good difference in temp from inside to outside for it to work. Blower doors work in all weather and can be used with the cameras to find leaks.
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!
  • Mark EathertonMark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,493
    Smoke stick versus IR….

    Having spent three days in a BPI class, I was exposed to the use of smoke sticks. They do work great for checking leaks around windows, doors etc. But to look at can lights on a vaulted ceiling, or something similar, IR stands out hands down.

    Maybe a remote extension handle smoke stick???

    Knowing how much infiltration is absolutely important information, but knowing WHERE it's coming from is important too.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    TI cams

    They are a great tool, I have decent cams so I can see a infiltration problems pretty well with out hooking up my door kit, when there is a good difference in ambient temps in vs out... My door was a couple thousand dollars, if you aren't getting crazy about energy audits spend the money on a better camera, you can get your positive/negative pressure from a simple Red Jetster, they are around $150, and you can get really fancy with a dual manometer if you like...

    As far as the camera goes they have many more uses than just the infiltration diagnosis, they can aid in diagnosing electric issues, hydronic issues, and They can show you if the dog has been on the couch, very handy, I never seen my dog on the couch but there would be fur in one spot, so one day I came home and had one of my cams in my hand, he like always greeted me at the door, I went and checked the couch with the cam and there was his bright white body imprint...

    But seriously they can show you burner motors that are going bad, clogged boiler sections, the issues you can diagnose with forced warm air are endless, clogged steam pipes and radiators, broken in floor radiant, they are very handy in the hvac field....
  • RobGRobG Member Posts: 1,850

    Thanks for the replies, I will use it as a tool, not a sales tool. I don't have the time nor interest to do blower door tests (I'll leave that to you BPI boys). I know I'm behind the pack on getting one but I have held off, call me cheap but it has always seems that when I am walking out of the store with the newest gadget a delivery guy is rolling in a handcart of newer, cheaper, better gadgets.


  • earl burnermannearl burnermann Member Posts: 126
    Think your stuck

    on getting that camera. I know the feeling, been there more times than I'd like to admit. That camera will help you find worn bearings on motors and even hot spots in electrical wiring. If I where you, I think I would recommend a company with bpi/resnet auditors to check out the tightness of your customer's homes. It's up to your customers to move on any reccomendations these companies may make on weatherproofing the home. But either way they will get a report that will show the tightness of the home and help you to decide on what needs to be done with the heating and cooling equipment.
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!
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