Cold Store Panels Retaining Moisture

Here is an infrared photo from a thermographic survey we did for one of the largest dairy companies in the world.

Thermal imaging cameras are an excellent tool for detecting moisture ingress into cold store panels.

We were recently hired to detect any signs of water leaking into a building freezer cool room made up entirely of 150mm thick polystyrene panels (poly in the middle and a plastic skin on either side). Between each panel is a join as seen in this image below.

cold store panels leaking

(The darkest area is water under the sealant between the panels. The lighter shades is water under the panels)

In theory: The roof should be a uniform temperature across the entire surface, as there is no shade or obstructions that could cause a different infrared temperature reading in isolated areas. On this roof, there were thermal anomalies in several areas which indicates there could be moisture ingress inside the panels.

The reason we can detected these anomalies, is because the moisture inside the panels would heat up and cool down at a different rate to the rest of the panels where no moisture is present. Thermal imaging can detect such anomalies instantly.

Taking into account the cool stores are running below zero degrees, any water inside these panels will most likely freeze. Frozen water will lead to excess weight inside the panels, and will also cause loss of cold air by conduction.

Potential Danger: A large build up of ice inside a low pitch roof cavity which is only 150mm thick could cause the roof to collapse due to sudden increase in weight.

Time of Survey: Just as the sun went down to avoid reflection giving off false readings. We needed some daylight so we had a reference point in the still images. This infrared inspection should have been done from a cherry picker or helicopter for safety reasons, but the pitch of the roof was low and safe to walk on.

In summary: Further invasive testing should be carried out in random areas to confirm if moisture/ice is present, and to confirm the structural integrity of the roof area.

Electrical IR Survey on Siesmic Mapping Vessel

Our company continues to grow strongly in the electrical thermal imaging industry in New Zealand. We have imaged 1000’s of switchboards across NZ, namely in the agricultural, food production, cold storage, shipping and offshore oil sectors.

We were recently hired to complete the thermographic survey of a large vessel while in the process of siesmic mapping of the ocean floor off the east coast of the South Island, NZ in search for potential oil fields. For optimal results, all infrared surveys should be carried out under maximum load where possible, and in this situation the ship was in transit at the time of inspection. This also allows the ships engineers/electricians to switch over to back up systems so all associated electronics can be accurately infrared imaged during the same survey.

We are an experienced thermography company in NZ, qualified for infrared inspections on Switchboards and Mechanical Components in all types of facilities.

Here is a typical list of components we apply thermal imaging surveys to on ships, and all onshore operations:

  • Main Engines
  • Generators
  • Main Switchboards
  • Emergency Switch Gear
  • Main Propulsion Units
  • MCC Boards
  • Motor Junction Boxes
  • We carry out thermal imaging of all Distribution Boards, such as 24V, 230V, 400V, 440V… right up to 11KV and everything in between.
  • Infrared imaging of Transformers, Compressors, Automation, Motors, Propulsion Drives, Cabling etc.

If you are looking for a reliable infrared company in NZ with an excellent track record for providing prompt service at short notice, along with compliant thermal imaging reports accepted by insurance companies who now require AS/NZS 3019:2007 (electronic installations – Periodic Verification) standards, then call us today to discuss your project and a free quote over the phone based on requirements.

We are certified thermographers with current medicals, HUET, BOSIET and constantly updated infrared cameras and technology. Call today to find out more.

Inbuilt House Vacuum Cleaning System Leak

Some houses have an inbuilt vacuum cleaner system behind the walls, with the main suction unit in the garage or storage area. If the suction pressure of the vacuum cleaner falls away, how do you find out where the air is escaping?

Recently we were called out to a job where the contracted installers of the system had an air leak issue that they couldn’t detect, causing a reduction in suction and general performance of the system by 25%.

What other options did they try to find the leak before calling us?

• They replaced the original suction unit to make sure that wasn’t the problem, and the new one had the same fall in pressure.
• They stuck a snake camera right up the vacuum pipe to see if there were any screws or nails penetrating the pipe from a recent home renovation. The main issue with this option is you can’t get the camera to snake around every different pipe because there were offshoots of piping to each individual outlet off the main pipe.
• They had listened closely with their ear up against the wall in many areas to detect a potential ‘hissing’ sound where air could be escaping. No luck there either.

After spending literally hours in travel time, changing units over , hiring cameras to go up the pipe, lots of frustration etc, we came in with the thermal imaging camera and detected a ‘hot spot’ on the internal wall lining within 15 minutes.

How did we detect a hot spot when there is no hot air in a household vacuum cleaner?

We blocked all the vacuum outlet holes in each room, then pumped hot air into the network of pipes from the main suction unit. Due to the close proximity of the internal vacuum pipes to the internal wall gib board/plasterboard lining, it was easy to detect the hot air leak using our infrared thermal imaging cameras. This is because the pressurized hot air was coming out of the breach in the pipe and hitting the wall lining.

Our IR cameras are very sensitive and detect down to 0.10 of a degree, therefore where the hot air was hitting the back of the wall was a different temperature to the rest of the wall. Easy work for the infrared camera. Job done!

If you have an issue with a similar type leak, and there are no certified thermographers in your area

Cool Store Nitrogen Leak Detected with Infrared

We were recently hired to detect a nitrogen leak in a cold store using the infrared thermal imaging camera. The purpose of this cool room was to slow the process of fruit ripening.

How does the system work? They pump nitrogen into the coolroom which then pushes oxygen out to reduce the speed of the produce in the room ripening. These nitrogen levels are monitored daily to ensure there isn’t a drop in the amount of nitrogen required at all times.

Taking into account the oxygen is getting pushed out of the room at a very low temperature, we inspected the external walls from the outside (from an enclosed walkway area) , which allowed us to clearly see where the oxygen was escaping. The reason the infrared camera could pick up the leak so quickly, was because the cold air escaping was blowing onto a much warmer external wall.

It turns out some of the roof bracings which extended from the walkway roof across to the cool room roof were not sealed at the top of the coolstore external wall.

If you’ve been wondering how to detect a nitrogen leak without cutting holes in walls, or aren’t sure if there’s a breach in the pipe work feeding the room, give us a call. We have the right infrared cameras for the job, and can produce a report if required which would include all infrared images etc.

Insider Tips for Home Buyers & Sellers

Where are all the leaky homes located?

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We inspect homes everyday in NZ, and through experience we have learn’t all the strategies & tactics used in the property market. We see some really smart ideas used, and also some very borderline methods! You need to know.

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Why should you join NZ’s best home owners newsletter right now, for free:

  • To start with, you will get a $20 discount on your first inspection with us, PLUS valuable information about the 9 most common traits of a leaky home… we email this to you in the next 2 minutes.
  • We are working on the inside of the real estate market everyday, and get to see all kinds of ‘interesting’ things you probably don’t. You will get updates on anything interesting we come across! (Even the revealing stuff that will make you laugh… and learn from).
  • What are the common ‘pick up lines’ agents use? (Lines used to ‘pick up’ a deal we mean!)
  • We will update all home owners with cutting edge information to help improve the value of their home.
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Methane Leaks Detected Using Infrared Camera

Here are some sample photos we captured during a thermographic survey of a landfill site in NZ, in search of methane leaks and thin capping over the fill.

We were contacted by the project managers of the landfill to assist in detecting any signs of methane gas leaking through the surface of the capping over the fill. The compacted dirt capping is there to prevent oxygen being drawn into the fill from the suction of the well pipes. Oxygen can reduce the effect of processing methods when converting the methane into electricity at their onsite plant.

We also used methane detection equipment and a grid system for confirmation if the thermal imaging camera was seeing the methane gas leaks, or the breaches in the capping. (Detector provided by Envco Global).

In the image above, the yellow areas indicate a clear surface temperature difference (anomaly) when compared to surrounding ground temperature.

Due to the nature of the anomaly in this infrared image, it appears there is thin capping in this area over a wider area (When compared with the methane leak in the first image which indicates an isolated area).

In summary, the survey of the site was successful, with over 40 areas marked for further remediation work and thicker capping. The majority of the thermal inspection was done in the dark, starting at 5am in the morning when the air was coolest, therefore allowing the surface temperature where the gas leaks were occurring to stand out in the camera (Maximum Delta-T).

Our methane gas leak detection system using an infrared camera and methane gas detector is a simple and quick method to pinpoint any hot spots on the ground, even in areas where the grass or schrubs are over grown.

Give us a call today to discuss your project, and get a free quote over the phone.

Buying at Auction Costs & Tips

Are you buying at action?

Sadly, many people get ‘caught out’ at auctions in NZ because they don’t know what to look out for.

It’s almost sickening how many properties we end up moisture testing in NZ for clients who ‘just purchased’ at an auction, only to move into the house and find signs of leaks (most of which were hidden under carpet and behind furniture etc). Most of them ‘thought’ the house looked fine from what they could see… before they purchased the house. In addtion, they thought they got a good deal!! I wonder why?

Basic buying at auction costs and tips:

Is getting a thermal imaging leak inspection a cost, and money I could potentially loose before an auction ? Yes it is… but don’t miss this step! It’s AMAZING how many times clients say to me “We didn’t want to pay for an inspection incase we didn’t win the auction”. Just plain silly thinking don’t you think? Absolutely.

99% of my clients have it written into their property contract to get a building inspection and/or moisture test prior to buying the house, so why wouldn’t you do the same in an auction scenario?

What should you look for prior to buying at auction? (From a leak detective’s point of view)

  • Look for swollen skirting boards
  • Look for discoloured carpet grip in the corners under the carpet. This will most likely mean a leak is coming in from somewhere
  • Look for any visual signs of joinery failures
  • Look for any bubbling of paintwork under windows, on ceiling, in bathrooms and on just about every surface of internal and  external walls
  • Cracks in cladding and around windows
  • Lack of ground clearence
  • Any leaks around plumbing, such as under sinks and in the corners of shower screens.

These tips listed above are only a hand full of what to look for in your initial ‘visual’ inspection. The next step is to get an experienced thermal imaging company to take a look using infrared technology to detect issues you will not see, like these ones… coupled with experience in moisture testing nz houses.

Do not buy at auction until you are 110% sure there are no moisture issues in the house… and we say this with certainty after seeing so many home buyers getting caught out buying lemons. If anything, we can do a verbal inspection for you (no report), which is cheaper and will give you certainty when you buy. If you are happy with the inspection results and win the auction, you can then request a report for a small fee.

Infrared Electrical Inspectors – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch – NZ Wide

If you are looking for infrared electrical inspectors in NZ, we offer an experienced nationwide service by certified infrared thermographers. Our most popular inspection type (normally referred to us by insurance companies), is thermal imaging of electrical switchboard panels.

To date, our company has infrared tested 1000’s of switchboard panels both onshore and offshore in NZ. We are a trusted provider of electrical thermal imaging services nationwide. No client is too big or small.

Here’s some photo’s recently taken during an electrical audit of an oil company in NZ…

A: T2 crimp needed to be replaced. Hot spot detected at over 100 degrees on a mud pump blower, requiring immediate further investigation due to the cable not being rated to the detected temperature.

B: Rig Air Compressor. The white phase was running 50% warmer than the black and red phase under the same load. This should be a balanced load.

C: Drill Water Pump: T3 White phase running hot. Incoming and outgoing should be the same temperature in this situation.

D: Load not balaced when all 3 phases were running the same amps.

We offer a prompt, efficient service nationwide… with the best pricing and quality reporting guaranteed.

Infrared electical inspectors and thermographic survey companies: Ashburton, Auckland City, Blenheim, Christchurch, Coromandel, Dargaville, Dunedin, East Auckland, Gisborne, Greymouth, Hamilton, Hastings, Invercargill, Lower Hutt, Manukau, Masterton, Matamata, Napier, Nelson, New Plymouth, Nth Shore, Orewa, Palmerston North, Papakura, Queenstown, Raglan, Rotorua, South Auckland, Taupo, Tauranga, Timaru, Upper Hutt, Waiheke Island, Waikanae, Warkworth, Wellington, West Auckland, Whangarei

Internal Gutter Leaking

Infrared Thermal Imaging Clearly Identifies Leaking Internal Gutter

Insufficient butanol join overlap causes major headache for home owner!

One of the very common signs that you could have a leak or moisture in your ceiling space (normally flat roofs), is you can see signs of the gib board pulling back down over the screws that are holding it up. Have you seen small round marks on your ceiling the size of a screw head? That could be more than meets the eye.

One of the inspections we did this week detected the exact problem as outlined above, although the home owner had no idea what was ACTUALLY going on. They called us in because they had a damp smell in the room and couldn’t work out where is was coming from.

Here’s what we saw with the infrared leak detection camera the moment we walked in the room…

Those big black round marks are leaks detected as seen through the thermal imaging camera on the ceiling of the ‘damp smelling’ room… and the home owner has absolutely no idea these leaks even existed.

The home owners issue was solved within minutes… but finding the source of the leak in the butanol lined internal gutter was the next challenge. Well actually it wasn’t a challenge at all. Instead of using the standard 100mm overlap at the join of the butanol, the 45 angle in the corner of the internal guttering has caused the issue by flapping up slightly thanks to a shortfall in overlap on the join… not to mention that water that was pooling the area!

On the ceiling you could clearly see the gib fixing screw heads where the water had basically saturated the gib above and under the weight (and gravity) caused by high levels of moisture caused a slight sagging in the ceiling.  What to do next?

Step one is always to fix the source of the leak first. Then it’s probably best to cut the area open and pull out the wet insulation, otherwise all that trapped moisture could cause the ceiling to eventually sag right down and make a mess! It’s always good to have a visual inspection of the area in a situation where a roof has been leaking for some time, as mould growth could be taking place.

Here’s another photo of a leak at the top of a wall thanks to leaking internal guttering. The thermal image is over the top of the visual image how we see it during an inspection…

If you have any ‘visual’ cues that something isn’t right with your home, or an unusual damp smell has suddenly appeared that wasn’t there this time last year, then jump straight onto it and get a moisture ‘check up’ on the house.

Thermal Imaging Used to Detect Bracings and Fixings Behind Walls

Are you considering renovating your home, or trying to get a CCC and need a simple way to prove the appropriate bracings, studs and nogs are in place?

Using our infrared cameras is the quick way!

As you can see in the thermal imaging photo below, there has been alterations to this wall which the home owner didn’t know about. More importantly, you can see the builder has installed diagonal bracings behind the wall to strengthen the area.

There are very few techniques available that will give you such a clear picture of how your walls are constructed, without having to do damage. We have thermal imaged quite a few ‘granny flats’ and add-ons that were built without a CCC … and with our unique thermal imaging reports, we’ve helped strength our clients cases to get buildings passed through council without removing any sections of wall.

Just like a female goes to get breast thermography for pain free screening, or a dentist uses an x-ray machine to see what’s happening behind your gums before he/she operates… thermal imaging of NZ houses is the best possible way to detect leaking problems, building construction, moisture detection and missing insulation detection.

Get the visual facts about your house before making any structural or renovation decisions (or painting the house).