How thermal imaging can ensure a job is done better

Tue 25th Nov 2014 - 8:05am Energy and Heating How thermal imaging can ensure a job is done better
Benjamin

Benjamin Clarke

Thermal imaging is an excellent way to cut down on the time it takes to investigate a problem. It helps to provide an overview of the whole situation so the job can be done more efficiently and accurately. This, in turn, enhances the reputation of the industry and helps to drive business.

Thermal imaging is the most effective method of detection, whether a heating or plumbing problem is evidenced by unusual hot or cold areas. The single or composite images help the engineer to locate and diagnose the problem quickly by showing the heat profile of an area, system or building and puts the problem into context, seeking out the thermal fingerprint of every contributing element.

Increasingly present in an engineer’s toolbox is an infrared camera, and there are some important reasons for the addition of this piece of equipment. Massive global demand has arisen due to the huge potential that this technology offers the industry and this has meant that infrared cameras are being manufactured to a very high standard, but at a low cost.

What you can get for your money is improving with every new release and the features on thermal imaging cameras are now incredibly easy to use. An entry level camera now costs around 800 GBP and all an engineer needs to do is point, shoot and diagnose the problem.

The combination of visual and thermal imaging on the same unit is a typical example of a feature, once exclusive to high end models, now available on cheaper models. Improvements to image format have also been made with cameras now able to take fully radiometric JPGs. This allows all temperature data to be included in the image, making it easy to export into a report for the customer.

Wireless capabilities are now commonplace, meaning the thermal images can immediately be shared with others via email or visually onsite. Couple this with the increasing use of wireless meters and you have a situation where measurement data can easily be collected, increasing efficiency and diagnosis time.

Thermal imaging cameras have also become so popular because of the multitude of tasks they can perform. Among the issues it can diagnose are:

- Spotting faults in electrical control systems
- Visualising the flow and return on boilers
- Establishing if the pump is overheating
- Quickly tracing the source of underfloor leaks
- Spotting air leakage and moisture which can cause condensation on walls, floors and ceilings
- Locating ineffective or missing insulation
- Locating ‘thermal bridges’ (areas of less insulation due to the nature of construction)

Because thermal imaging cameras have so many different abilities, the potential for cost and time saving is absolutely massive. As engineers discover more and more issues that can be diagnosed through their use, the return on investment for purchasing a thermal imaging camera will keep growing and growing!

Article by Benjamin Clarke

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