In the building sciences, low range thermal imaging is used to detect heat differences within structural components as opposed to high range use in detecting mechanical and electrical failures. In building structures, temperature differences occur when environmental temperatures change after sunrise and sunset or when the temperatures in a commercial/institutional building are manipulated. Different building materials heat up and cool off at different rates.
An excellent example the placement of two pots on a stove top—one with nothing, one with water. As burners heat up, the metal pot with nothing reaches temperature faster than the one with the water. Eventually, the water will reach the same temperature as the pot. Basically, it takes longer to heat the water in a metal pot than it does the metal pot alone and the thermal difference between the two is considerable. This principal extends to building materials. As temperature rises, dry sheetrock and wet sheetrock will develop a thermal difference at some point in time prior to the temperature of both becoming the same. The objective is to identify that time at which the thermal difference is its greatest, or the thermographer may miss the boat and fail to properly identify the problem. In the building sciences, experience and planning is critical.
Thermal imaging may be used not only to identify wet building materials, but building defects, inadequate coverage of wall and ceiling thermal insulation, plumbing leaks in the wall and in some cases in the foundation, and building air leaks. Outside the building sciences, high range temperature thermal imaging is used to determine electrical discrepancies and pending mechanical failures.
We have a Certified Level II Thermographer
BUILDING DEFECTS AND SUBSEQUENT LITIGATION CAN RESULT IN INCREASED TIME, COST, AND AGGRAVATION
We have projected our sights to the future and has actively pursued means for better assisting its clients in effectively identifying causes of moisture problems that ultimately result in mold growth and moisture damage to building components. Thermal imaging has only recently been found useful in performing non-destructive testing within the building sciences. Destructive testing is no longer the sole means for locating moisture sources. Our principal is a Certified Level II thermographer with AutoCAD expertise for identifying problem sites on architectural drawings.
The structural integrity of buildings may be compromised in newly constructed buildings as well as older building. The cause may be due to any of a number of failures, or it may be multiple causes. They may be the result of poor construction methods, inadequate/poor architectural design, plumbing failures, poorly designed/installed/maintained HVAC systems, and generally poor workmanship.
IR image of water intrusion in a 20-foot high ceiling, over a swimming pool an area not otherwise accessible and not discoverable.
Design vs. Construction
Architects, interior designers, general contractors, building trades, and building maintenance may all acknowledge a moisture problem, but the “cause and source” remains unclear. Who is the ultimate responsible party? And who is going to pay the price for rectifying the problem? The cost can be in the hundreds and thousands of dollars, approaching the hundreds of thousands of dollars in commercial buildings.
IR image showing plumbing leak in foundation, floor tile overlay. It would not have been discovered without thermal imaging.
Oftentimes, expensive engineers and building experts speculate, investigate, and perform destructive testing of the building components in an effort to properly identify the cause and source. This process not only bears a costly price tag, but it is time consuming and involves considerable destructive testing. Additionally, the price tag escalates over monetary costs in terms of time, bad customer relations, discontented building occupants, strained relations between all parties concerned, and possibly bad press.
IR image showing water damage in new construction in area that appeared to be dry and was not suspect by the owner.