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Light is basically divided into two categories for the purpose of thermal imaging, visible light and invisible light. There is an almost infinite range of light beyond human range of vision. Light, as described in physics, is an electromagnetic wave that propagates through space at a fixed speed. This wave is further identified by its wave length, frequency and energy. As displayed below the actual wavelengths visible to the human eye is quite small.
Human eyes only see light in the wavelength range from 400 to 750 nm (nanometers). X rays and Gamma rays were initially thought to be particle rays rather than light rays, hence the terms rays. Radio waves are an example of low-energy light waves, and they are often described in terms of their frequency.
Sir William Herschel way back in the 1800’s discovered the presence of the invisible spectrum by using a prism and thermometers. He called his discovery thermometric spectrum, later this came to be known as infrared.
Although un-able to detect the volume of air leakage in a building the infrared device can identify the area of leakage. This is a quick and reliable method for testing the building envelope for leaks or failure of systems. Cold areas are quickly detected by using a infrared camera in the hands of an experienced professional. Prevention and detection are the two main uses of Thermal Imaging.
The main benefits of using an infrared camera are these; investigating air leakage areas prior to enclosing a structure which can save both time and money. Preparing structure for more exhaustive testing if any problems are detected during thermal imaging scans; Finding areas of air movement or moisture penetration which may cause damage or failure to the building products. Potentially protecting you from future expenses and repairs; Any exterior air pathways through the building envelope can also allow moisture to penetrate which can then be protected once identified. Failure to find these deficiencies can lead to rotting or material and mould growth; Professional inspectors who perform Energy Audits use blower doors to create a negative pressure in the home. The infrared camera can then identify all areas of air passage in the home. This can save time and money and ensure all defects in building envelope are identified and corrected.
During home inspections the infrared camera can be used to find hidden water leaks, missing insulation and leaks in window and door areas. The Barrie Home Inspector has been using the Thermal Imaging camera on home inspections for the past eight years and was the first to use this technology in Simcoe County.