Infrared cameras make home inspections better (guest post)

At first glance, most people think that infrared cameras have super powers, offering the ability to see through solid objects, kind of like x-ray vision. But there’s actually a science behind it, and a fairly complicated one at that. It’s called thermography, or thermal imaging, and it is a subsection of infrared imaging science.

Infrared cameras play a huge part in all of this because they allow us to see an otherwise invisible light. Confused? Not to worry. In this blog, we’ll demystify the issue and explain how infrared cameras work in plain old English.

What Is Infrared Light?
In order to understand what infrared cameras do, you must first understand what infrared radiation is. Basically, infrared is just another form of light, except this one we can’t see. In the electromagnetic spectrum—which includes gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet light, visible light, microwaves and radio waves—infrared is located between ultraviolet and visible light. It has longer wavelengths and a lower frequency than visible light.

Infrared cameras are used to measure the amount of thermal energy, or heat, given off by different objects. At higher temperatures, atoms and molecules move around more, and so, they produce more infrared. In other words, the warmer the object, the more infrared it emits.

Whether you know it or not, you are exposed to infrared radiation every day. Just think about the heat you feel from sunlight, a fire, or a radiator—although you cannot see it, you can feel it as heat.

Seeing Infrared Light
If you want to see infrared radiation, you need an infrared camera. All objects emit heat, and infrared cameras are able to capture various temperatures in the environment and present them in a thermal image. Basically, they provide you with a visual representation of infrared energy (heat).

You see different temperatures as different colours in the thermal image. Hot objects appear in bright colours (red, orange) because they give off more heat, and thus, more infrared light. Cold objects appear less bright (blue, purple) because they give off less heat, and thus, less infrared light.

By taking infrared images of your home, for example, you can improve your energy efficiency by seeing where warm air is escaping in the cold, winter months and where cold air is leaking out in the warm, summer months. You can also identify any temperature abnormalities that indicate a problem like a leak, overheating of electrical wires, mold and moisture intrusion.

Uses of Infrared Cameras
Now that you know how infrared cameras work, just imagine the real-world applications of this technology. Industrial, medical, aerospace, military, and even residential uses of infrared technology are becoming more and more common. Here are just a few examples:

-Building envelope inspections
-Detecting heat and energy loss
-Moisture inspections
-Roof inspections
-Electrical inspections
-Mechanical and process inspections
-Night-vision devices
-Surveillance and other security uses
-Medical imaging and healthcare screening
-Search and rescue

Infrared Inspections for Property Owners
Infrared cameras offer many advantages to homeowners and other property owners looking to preserve the structural health and safety of their properties. A residential infrared inspection can pinpoint exact locations of heat loss, moisture intrusion (leaks, flooding, condensation), missing insulation, damaged roofing, bad electrical work, and foundation cracks. Infrared inspections are even great for finding hidden or hard-to-reach mold problems.

In fact, at Mold Busters, we use infrared cameras every day in our regular mold inspections. They’re fast, accurate and, best of all, non-invasive (non-contact) so no damage is done to your property.

As you can see, infrared cameras are no longer a distant technology reserved for military, industrial and medical uses. And they’re no longer just for superheroes in movies. Now more than ever, infrared cameras are more accessible and available to the average person. You can buy them, rent them or hire a professional to conduct a thermal inspection of your property—all at an affordable price.

This guest post was submitted by Srdjan Ward of Mold Busters.

Topics: Dehumidifiers and Air Purifiers, Energy Audits, Indoor Air Quality

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