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Application Notes:

Infrared Inspecting for Building and Facilities Maintenance


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Surface temperature can tell you a lot about a building's structural elements, plumbing installations, and HVAC and electrical systems. Problems that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye are suddenly clear as day when you look through an infrared lens. Air leakage, moisture accumulation, blockages in pipes, structural features behind walls and overheating electrical circuits can all be detected and visibly documented with handheld infrared thermometers and thermal imaging cameras.


Simply point, shoot and read

Infrared thermometers measure the infrared energy emitted from surfaces and convert the information into a temperature reading. They are easy to operate; simply point the instrument at the target, pull the trigger and read the temperature value. Because you're measuring from a distance, instead of having to touch the object with a probe, you can check temperatures on operating equipment and in hard-to-reach spaces safely and without special setup.

More than temperature readings

The latest generation of infrared thermometers includes temperature comparison and documentation features to better support your inspection efforts.

Looking behind the scenes

Thermal imaging cameras are another kind of handheld infrared temperature measurement tool. These devices immediately show you the hot and cold spots in the form of thermal images.

Inspecting electrical systems

Locate overheating components safely in electrical systems, expressed as hot spots in thermal images. Regular inspections of electrical installations should be conducted at full load to identify potential problems, such as loose connections, load imbalance, and overloads, which, when not attended to, can lead to outages, equipment damage, and safety risks including fire.

Checking for missing and damaged insulation

Inspections both inside and outside structures show you the location, shape and intensity of insulation. Recent amendments to Parts L1 (Dwellings) and L2 (Non-Domestic Structures) of the UK Building Regulations, which came into force in 2002, place particular emphasis on insulation continuity throughout the structure.

Pinpointing air leakage points

UK Building Regulations also place emphasis on greatly reducing air leakage, or the uncontrolled movement of air into and out of a building, which can compromise the efficiency of building environmental systems.

Finding areas of moisture accumulation

Moisture intrudes through joints and cracks in roofs, ceilings and walls, and is trapped, resulting in structural rot and mold, some of which may represent serious health hazards.

Verifying structural elements

Thermographic inspections can help you quickly locate support beams, pipes, electrical cables, and flues in poured walls, floors and ceilings.

Evaluating building materials

Test the performance of interior and exterior wall surfaces, doors and windows under various environmental conditions to determine their ability to retain or reflect heat or cold.

What you need to get started

To perform your own thermal imaging inspections, you'll need: Thermal imager with fast scanning speed, sharp image quality, long battery life and on-board storage of several images to enable uninterrupted inspections in the field. In summary, there are a number of reasons why you should add temperature inspections to your building and/or maintenance inspection checklist.

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