Residential Thermal Imaging – Energy Loss

Residential thermal imaging is becoming increasingly popular in NZ… and it’s amazing what the infrared camera will find in the hands of a certified thermographer!

It’s eye opening when you walk into a multi million dollar home that the builders haven’t quite finished off as one would expect… especially when the home owner has absolutely no idea that a problem exists. Some of the issues are minor, and others major.

Residential homes should all be thermal imaged for leaks and energy loss at some stage in their life, just to stay ontop on maintenance if anything. Here’s an example of cool air entering a residential home in NZ around the door jamb…

Door Jamb Air Leak

The dark wispy pattern is cool air running up the wall at the top left corner of the door frame… completely invisible to the human eye!!

Infrared thermography in residential houses is a must if you want to know if your home is energy efficient and/or has an energy loss problem or not.

Thermal Energy Leak – Compare Wall and Ceiling Insulation

Many homes in NZ don’t have insulation in the walls and suffer heat loss in a big way.

Although there are now government subsidies to assist you with costs of installing insulation, most people don’t even know if there is insulation behind their walls in the first place.

If you live in a home built in the 50’s, 60’s and so on up to the year 2000, it doesn’t always mean the home has no insulation. In many cases, the home has been renovated and insulation batts or spray foam insulation has been installed along the way.

Here’s a thermal image of missing insulation in a wall, compared to a ceiling that does have insulation…

Darker Colour Walls is Cooler
Darker Colour Wall is Cooler

As you can see, the wall is cooler in this image and the ceiling is much warmer. When you have a clear surface temperature difference on the gib board wall like this house, it’s quite obvious there’s a lack of insulation. Climbing into ceiling space to install a thermal barrier like insulation is easy, but to insulate the walls requires more money due to the intrusive nature required to do such a job… and that’s why some home owners skip that step.

So how do you know if you have heat energy loss issues in your home?

Let me say this. I inspect and detect issues behind walls in many New Zealand homes… but I had no idea this home had no insulation behind the walls until I scanned it with the infrared thermal imaging camera… I then knew right away. As you can see in the above photo, there would be serious heat loss issues in this particular house.

Something else to consider when looking to install insulation, is how much of your wall do the windows take up? Some windows take up 80% of a wall is some cases, so if the window is single glazed, it’s almost pointless going to the expense of insulating the other 20% because the large cold window surface could knock out the effect of the insulation! 

Thermal imaging cameras are the tool of choice to see temperature differences of walls and ceiling… and lack of insulation. It’s simple, fast and no holes go in your walls!