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Thermal Imaging

Thermography measures surface temperatures by using infrared cameras. These tools see light that is in the heat spectrum. Images on the display screen show the temperature variations of the home surfaces, ranging from white for warm regions to black for cooler areas. The resulting images help the auditor determine whether insulation is needed. They also serve as a quality control tool, to ensure that insulation has been installed correctly.
 
A thermographic inspection is either an interior or exterior survey. The energy auditor decides which method would give the best results under certain weather conditions. Interior scans are more common, because warm air escaping from a home does not always move through the walls in a straight line. Heat loss detected in one area of the outside wall might originate at some other location on the inside of the wall. Also, it is harder to detect temperature differences on the outside surface of the building during windy weather. Because of this difficulty, interior surveys are generally more accurate because they benefit from reduced air movement.
 
Thermographic scans are also commonly used with a blower door test running. The blower door helps exaggerate air leaking through defects in the home shell. Such air leaks appear as black streaks in the infrared camera's viewfinder.

The photo to the right was taken during a home energy assessment by ERS OF NC of an infrared camera displaying the heat loss at a client’s home around the back entry way, where weather stripping had deteriorated and was no longer providing an appropriate seal.