Thermography

Trace Leaks to the Source

IBD can use several non-destructive ways to trace leaks to their source.  See below or download Trace Leaks to the Source.

 

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Leak source located at vent pipe using infrared .
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Two leaks located on ballasted EPDM roof using infrared
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Area of wet insulation as seen from below a metal deck on an EPDM roof.
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Locating where leak reaches the metal deck using infrared.
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Active leaks at fasteners on a metal roof using infrared.
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Leak traced to vent pipe using a capacitance roof moisture meter.

 

Thermography Brief – Moisture in Ballasted Roofs

Infrared thermography can be used to locate wet insulation in a ballasted single-ply roof system. The ballast stone does increase the challenge and may require waiting longer after sunset to start an inspection. A higher vantage point can help to pinpoint areas for closer inspection. The standards call for a large inside/outside temperature difference, but this is not always necessary. The main condition is that the ballast stone is spread evenly and has a uniform depth.


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The wet area is around the vent and extends diagonal toward the lower left of the thermogram. See next image for a more defined view from above.  Ballasted EPDM / EPS insulation / concrete deck. Outside temperature was 73F+/-.


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The above image shows the same wet area of the first image, but taken from a the vantage point of a higher roof level.  Ballasted EPDM / EPS insulation / concrete deck. Outside temperature was 73F+/-.


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EPS insulation wets (absorbs moisture) very slowly and a small wet area like this one only 1-2 feet wide will appear amorphous.  Ballasted EPDM / EPS insulation / concrete deck. Outside temperature was 73F+/-.


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A distinct board pattern extending from below a raised walkway on the right side. Ballasted EPDM / Polyisocyanurate insulation. Outside temperature was 34F+/-.

Download the PDF version of this Thermography Brief.

Thermography Application Courses

IR Inspection of Building Envelopes & Roofs is a two-day theory and application course for the use of thermal imaging to locate and evaluate energy loss and moisture problems within building envelopes and insulated roofing systems. This is a non-certification course that focuses on these specific applications. Course attendance may be applied to training requirements for thermographer certification.

This course covers infrared theory, heat transfer concepts, equipment operation and selection, standards compliance, image analysis and report generation.

Students are trained to identify and document thermal patterns caused by improper design, workmanship or material failure. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own imager for individualized training or to learn how to use it more effectively.

Course tuition includes all course presentations, Course Reference Manual and Certificate of Completion. Courses usually begin at 8 am on the first day and end at 5:00 pm on the second day.

Prerequisite: None

For fees and registration information contact us .

Certified Infrared Thermographer

Level I Certified Infrared Thermographer® is a five-day course for the application of qualitative thermal imaging for P/PM, Condition Assessment, Condition Monitoring, Quality Assurance, Forensic Investigations, and Building Sciences.

This course covers infrared theory, heat transfer concepts, equipment operation and selection, standards compliance, image analysis and report generation.

Students are trained to identify and document thermal patterns caused by improper design, workmanship or material failure. Specific applications include: electrical distribution systems, mechanical systems, steam systems, refractory systems, underground piping, active thermography, building envelopes and flat roofs.

Students are encouraged to bring their own imager for individualized training or to learn how to use it more effectively.

Course tuition includes all course presentations, Student Reference Manual, and Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer® exam. Certification card and diploma issued with passing grade of 80%. Course is approved by the InterNational Association of Certified Home Inspectors and meets the training requirements for their Infrared Certified professional designation and logo.

Classes begin at 8 am daily Monday through Friday. Class ends by noon Friday.

Prerequisite: None

For fees and registration information contact us .

Infrared Electrical & Rotating Equipment Inspections

Opportunities to improve system performance by reducing unplanned outages and repairs.

  • Identify and document exceptions in electrical systems that are caused by deteriorated connections, short circuits, overloads or other problems.
  • NFPA 70B recommends infrared inspections of electrical equipment annually Identify and document exceptions in rotating equipment that are caused by friction due to improper lubrication, misalignment, worn components or other problems.
  • Scan before shutdown to locate minor problems for timely repairs
Thermogram showing exception related to fuse box
Thermogram showing exception related to fuse box
Matching photo to thermogram of fuse exception
Matching photo to thermogram of fuse exception

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thermogram of electrical exception related to cabling.
Thermogram of electrical exception related to cabling.
Matching photo to thermgram of cable exception.
Matching photo to thermgram of cable exception.

 

 

Structural Inspections

Detect Structural Details

  • Roofing details
  • Wall details
  • Ceiling details
  • Floor details

Capabilities

Roofing Details

Depending on the construction, roofing details that may be viewable with an infrared camera include the placement of joist, insulation, fasteners, blocking, and others.

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Fastener patterns due to the minor amount of heat transmitted thru the fasteners.

Wall Details

Depending on the construction, wall details that may be viewable with an infrared camera include the placement of studs, insulation, fasteners, blocking, piping, reinforcement, and others.

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Locate or confirm the placement of reinforcing in masonry walls.

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Studs and bracing in wood frame construction.

Energy Loss Inspections

Opportunities to Improve Building Performance and Lower Cost

  • Missing insulation
  • Lack of insulation
  • Air leaks in or out

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This thermogram shows air leakage at the base of a wall.

 

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Image from a roof inspection showing heat loss through a open joint in a single layer of rigid board insulation.

 

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      Warmer windows are spandrel glass where the insulation has fell away behind them.

Moisture Inspections

Moisture Inspections

Opportunities to Improve Building Performance and Lower Cost

  • Roof inspections
  • Wall inspections

Roof Inspections

Quality assurance inspections

Performed during or shortly after the completion of a new roof or replacement roof project.  The purpose of the inspection is to show any of the hidden details that are viewable with the infrared. What is viewable depends on the type of roof, insulation and installation.  This type inspection should be planned in advance of the project.

IR_0610a
Fastener patterns due to the minor amount of heat transmitted thru the fasteners.

Preventative roof moisture surveys

A cost effective use of infrared in low-slope roofing.  Inspections are scheduled annual or biennial depending on the age of the roof and are started well before the expected decline of the roof system.  The first inspection serves as a baseline.  Minor problems are located and marked for repair, sometimes even before they leak into the structure.

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This small wet area was only 2 feet across, representing a minor inexpensive repair on this TPO roof system.

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This large wet area contained roughly 350 square feet, representing a major and expensive repair.

Inspections to pinpoint hard to locate leaks

Most leaks can be located and stopped without the use of an infrared camera.  There are some leaks though, that using infrared could be beneficial, even considering the cost. Those leaks are the ones that keep coming back, or maybe never leave.  The ones that several have looked at and it still leaks.

IR_0102a
Looking up at a steel deck, the cool (darkest) spot is where the leak first hit the decking. The rib that shows cooler than the decking is the one where the water is running

Pre-restoration/replacement roof moisture surveys

The most common type of roof moisture survey accomplished with an infrared camera.  The survey is performed before a roof is restored or replaced to determine how much, if any, of the insulation will need to be replaced.

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A clear distinction can be seen between the the wet insulation boards to the right and the dry to the left.

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Open flashing around this pipe was found to be the apparent cause of this wet area located on a MB roof system.


Wall Inspections

Locate moisture in EIFS

EIFS is everywhere and everywhere EIFS is moisture is also.  Most everything behind the surface is adversely affected by moisture.  It is important to stop moisture before it can damage the insulations or structure.  An inexpensive non-destructive infrared inspection once each year can help protect the investment of a entire building shell.

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Darker areas to the right contain moisture under the surface of the EIFS.

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Moisture appears to be penetrating along a crack in the surface.

Locate moisture in masonry

Masonry units that are sealed by paint may take on moisture through pinholes in the paint.  The moisture affects the surface temperature which is visible to the infrared camera.

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Moisture in this masonry wall shows as darker.

Trace leaks behind metal panel, vinyl and other thin sidings

Moisture on the back side of a thin panel will change the surface temperature and may be viewable by the thermographer.

Thermography Brief – Moisture in Metal Roof Systems

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Large cool (dark) area indicates moisture in the vinyl faced roof insulation. Green arrow points to apparent leak entry along rake edge of roof.  Red arrow points to single dripping location approximately 30’ down and 12’ over from entry point.

IR_0053_cap IR_0053_dp

Red arrow points to single dripping location from this large wet area. Cooler (darker) pattern indicates moisture in the insulation.

Additional Notes

  • This 20,000 square foot building had 10 wet areas totaling an estimated 1,255 square feet.
  • 7 of the areas were wetting the insulation but had not started to leak to the interior.
  • Best time to inspect and trace leaks to entry point is during or shortly after a rain.
  • Some insulations dry faster and patterns may disappear within a few hours after a rain.
  • Patterns often indicate the path and/or entry point of the leak.

Download PDF of Thermography Brief – Moisture in Metal Roofs