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Can a Thermal Survey save me Money?

What is a Thermal Survey and more importantly .....Can it save me Money ? A thermal imaging survey whether it be by the use of a Drone (UAV) or a hand held device uses an infrared camera to detect subtle differences in temperature. The same methods can be utilised for both residential and commercial buildings. Thermal surveys highlights areas of concern ie heat and energy loss, and allows for the collection of valuable date, information about a building’s performance, construction and condition. The data, information collected on these surveys will highlight some or all of the following issues.

Mitigating these issues will in turn save money for the owner, occupier of the property.

1. Heat Loss Knowing where heat is escaping means that a property owners can take immediate steps to prevent further loss. This can be by either improving insulation and or reducing air leakage. As Thermal surveys are non-intrusive it will allow the property owner to ensure that a building is energy efficient and adequately heated throughout. By finding and fixing the source of heat loss it may also result in a reduction in household energy bills.

2. Missing, Damaged or Non-Performing Insulation Insulation is essential in keeping heat or cold from infiltrating a building, it therefore has a large impact on energy efficiency. It is important to locate the areas where insulation is under performing or not performing at all. Insufficient or incorrectly

fitted insulation can be a result of many things including, failure to fit or damaged during construction, incorrect type of insulation used or damaged caused by the ingress of animals (Rats-Mice) nesting within cavity walls or by water leaking into the insulation.

3. Air Leakage Air leakage is the unintentional intrusion of air from outside into a building. This can occur when air enters through cracks or holes in the building fabric, which can lead to excessive heat loss. In the case of significant Air leakage it will have an impact on a building’s energy efficiency rating. Regular maintenance is important to fix these areas so stopping accidental cold air ingress. Thermal surveys can accurately locate areas allowing for repair and so ensuring thermal comfort throughout a building.

4. Water Ingress Water ingress occurs when water from outside makes its way into a building. The most common routes of entry are via damaged or deteriorating materials, meaning water is able to permeate through roofs or walls. It’s important that buildings are watertight. The first step to fixing water ingress is to identify the source of intrusion, this may not always be visible. Thermal imaging can accurately locate where water penetrates the building allowing property owners to carry out repairs.

5. Condensation Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with cold surfaces. This can create further issues, such as mould, staining, and damage to building fabrics so having an impact on a building’s performance. Inconsistent heating and poor ventilation are both common causes of condensation. Thermal imaging is a method for identifying areas of poor air flow and highlighting areas where damp can and does present itself, allowing property owners to adopt methods stopping condensation before it develops.

6. Mould Growth Mould, also known as mildew, is a fungal growth caused by excess moisture, affecting both new and older buildings. Exposure to mould can cause health issues including respiratory problems such as asthma. Generally, the existence of mould in a building is due to issues such as damp, and inadequate air flow.Thermal imaging provides an insight into a room’s temperature conditions, ideal for locating where mould is likely to develop. This includes areas of excess moisture, allowing property owners to make the changes needed to prevent further growth.

7. Thermal Comfort Thermal comfort is the thermal environment within a building. If a person is satisfied with their thermal environment, they do not feel either too hot or too cold. The human body is capable of detecting temperature differences as low as 1oC – it’s difficult to define thermal comfort as an exact temperature, because the level of ‘comfort’ varies between individuals.Thermal imaging can identify some of the causes of thermal discomfort, such as air leakage, drafts and cold spots, which allows property owners to make the improvements and so safe money.

Thermal survey
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