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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.
Basements and every sleeping room should have at least one emergency escape-and-rescue opening. Such openings should open directly onto a public street, public alley, yard or court.
The emergency escape-and-rescue opening should be operational from the inside without the use of tools, keys, or special knowledge.
Basement egress windows have special requirements. Since you’re below ground, you have to make sure that the window can still fully open without obstruction. Make sure the basement window well has enough area to move around in and if the well is especially deep, make sure you have a ladder attached to it for an easy getaway. Also, if the well is under a deck, make sure there is enough space between the deck and the window. In other words, give yourself enough room to escape. These specialty windows don’t do anybody any good if there are other exterior obstacles that may end up trapping you.
A typical basement walkout is a below-grade entrance to a basement. There should be a set of stairs and a landing at the bottom of the stairs. The walls and steps of a walkout are commonly made of concrete, but can be made of a variety of materials, including wood. A walkout may be covered with a permanent roof structure, or it may be open. The walkout may have a cover that can be opened or removed.
Structurally, for houses, the basement walls typically form the foundation. In warmer climates, some houses do not have basements because they are not necessary (although many still prefer them). In colder climates, the foundation must be below the frost line. Unless constructed in very cold climates, the frost line is not so deep as to justify an entire level below the ground, although it is usually deep enough that a basement is the assumed standard.
Basement floor drains need to be filled regularly to prevent the trap from drying out and sewer gas from escaping into the basement. The drain trap can be topped up automatically by the condensation from air conditioners or high-efficiency furnaces. A small tube from another downpipe is sometimes used to keep the trap from drying out. In areas where storm and sanitary sewers are combined, and there is the risk of sewage backing up, backflow prevention devices in all basement drains may be mandated by code and definitely are recommended even if not mandated. A blocked floor drain can cause water damage and possibly even mould if not inspected and repaired.
This first unfinished design, found principally in spaces larger than the traditional cellar, is common in residences throughout America and Canada. One usually finds within it a water heater, various pipes running along the ceiling and downwards to the floor, and sometimes a workbench, a freezer or refrigerator, or a washer/dryer set. Boxes of various materials, and objects unneeded in the rest of the house, are also often stored there; in this regard, the unfinished basement takes the place both of the cellar and of the attic. Home workshops are often located in the basement, since sawdust, metal chips, and other mess or noise are less of a nuisance there. The basement can contain all of these objects and still be considered to be “unfinished,” as they are either mostly or entirely functional in purpose.
Finished basements are always suspect for water and moisture problems which can sometimes be hidden from view. The Barrie Home Inspector uses moisture meters and thermal imaging cameras to detect otherwise hidden moisture issues.