Thermography - CLI Group 2017

Go to content

Main menu:

Thermography

Building Performance

Basement waterproofing can can both expensive and aggravating. Not only is it expensive, but it will be necessary to dig up flower beds, landscaping, etc. In some cases, there are no other options. However, it has been our experience that many waterproofing jobs can be limited or may not be needed at all.

The image to your left was made using infrared imaging equipment to fast and accurately find and assess thermal anomalies which could indicate a basement water problem. The darker (purple) areas indicate temperature differences in the basement wall. After careful inspection, we used infrared thermography and moisture detection equipment to determine that the home had a broken drain line below grade at the corner downspout. The cost to repair was approximately $300. The couple had a contract on the table from a waterproofing contractor for over $13,000!!

Repairing the downspout crock corrected the problem and saved the couple over $12,000!! We have had similar results on many projects. The average home or building owner does not have the equipment to assess what they are being told by a basement waterproofing contractor, they just know they want a dry basement. Our high tech basement moisture surveys can provide peace of mind by allowing our expert technicians to thoroughly evaluate your problem using state of the art moisture detection and other equipment to properly assess your problem and determine the best repair strategies.

As you can see from this page, infrared thermography is a valuable investigative tool for many types of building related issues. However, the use of thermography alone is not advised. An infrared imaging camera is only as good as the operator. Today, many manufacturers are selling low cost units which have made them available to anyone. This is both good and bad for obvious reasons. Not understanding thermography and misinterpreting the images could have disastrous results. For instance, an area with an elevated temperature at the surface may be interpreted as moisture when in fact it is the result of a ceiling heating unit below the roof. This type of misinterpretation could be very expensive to the owner. Also, a camera costing $800 does not have the same capabilities as a better unit which sells for $20,000.

     

The above images were taken during a commercial energy audit. In the above case, we traced the motor after discovering an overheated breaker in a sub-panel. The motor was also hot which indicated that it was misaligned. This misalignment was causing premature wear on the motor and was also creating a fire hazard. On this particular project, there were numerous other motors found to have similar problems. Correcting the motor alignment resulted in significant savings for the owner.

In addition to the issues discussed above, thermography is an excellent tool for use during energy surveys. The camera can be used with a blower door to provide an accurate map of unintentional air leakage in a building. This leakage has an energy penalty, but can also result in condensation issues, mold, de-pressurization issues and comfort complaint. Visit the Gallery Page to view additional infrared images taken during building assessments and investigations.



Roof Surveys & Scans

Roof leaks can cause financial devastation if not expected. Our roof inspection services can reduce your risks by evaluating the roof before you decide whether to repair or replace. Many leaks can be difficult to find and can leak for extended periods without showing symptoms indoors. In some cases patching the suspected area may be sufficient. However, it has been our experience that in many cases, the sources of the leaks can be difficult to find using conventional visual roof surveys. The same 90%/1% principle that is applied to both above and below grade waterproofing should also be applied to roof covers. Many roof leaks could be avoided through better quality control. This is why overlooking commissioning of the building envelope as part of your overall commissioning process could be a costly mistake.

Principle One: The 90%/1% Principle -  As much as 90% of all water intrusion problems occur within 1% of the total building or structure exterior surface area.

Principle Two: The 99% Principle -  Approximately 99% of waterproofing leaks are attributable to causes other than material or system failures.

By using infrared thermography to spot thermal anomalies in the roof, many leaks can be tracked, verified and repaired. The areas are marked with semi-permanent markings and we return during daylight hours for a more in-depth evaluation of areas that are suspect. This in-depth analysis includes taking core samples to verify composition and moisture content of the roof. The roof composition, moisture content and location is the marked on a roof plan. After completing the project, we will have the total sq. ft of wet insulation as compared to total roof area so that it can be decided if repair or replacement is more cost effective.  

By using infrared thermography to spot thermal anomalies in the roof, many leaks can be tracked, verified and repaired. The areas are marked with semi-permanent markings and we return during daylight hours for a more in-depth evaluation of areas that are suspect. This in-depth analysis includes taking core samples to verify composition and moisture content of the roof. The roof composition, moisture content and location is the marked on a roof plan. After completing the project, we will have the total sq. ft of wet insulation as compared to total roof area so that it can be decided if repair or replacement is more cost effective.   

Infrared Thermography Surveys


Infrared roof scans and surveys are all performed following ASTM guidelines for locating wet roof insulation. Surveys are performed to one of three degrees of detail:

  • Roof Survey with verbal report

  • Roof Survey with limited report

  • Roof Survey with detailed report


The detail of the report required for each project will vary dependant upon your particular requirements. Whichever type of survey that is chosen, we will perform all surveys to meet ASTM Standards.


Some Infrared Considerations


In order to provide the most accurate survey possible we try to schedule all infrared surveys when conditions are optimal. This is usually 2-3 hours after sunset. The conditions present at the time of the survey and the 24-48 hr. period leading up to the survey can all affect the accuracy of the survey and equipment. In order to expedite the survey, please have a scaled plan of the roof being surveyed for the technician as well as pertinent information about the building (e.g. size, current and past uses, leak history, etc.) if available.

Consider contracting with a company that is experienced with roofing materials and applications to perform your infrared survey. This will assure that your receive an accurate analysis of the membrane, flashing, insulation, etc.

Roof Surveys Include


  • BUR (built up roof)

  • Exposed felt at parapets damaged by UV rays.

  • Improperly installed flashing at walls, chimneys and roof intrusions.

  • Condition of protective coating.

  • Degraded roofing material at perimeter flashing laps.  

  • EPDM (single ply system)

  • Exposed membrane at parapets damaged by UV rays.

  • Improperly installed flashing at walls, chimneys and roof intrusions

  • Improper flashing of above roof line equipment.

  • Degraded roofing material at pipes and vents.

  • Loose Laid/Ballasted Systems   

  • Bitumen

  • Modified Bitumen

  • TPO

  • Urethane Foam

  • Metal Roofing

  • Horizontal Membranes (e.g. Plaza Decks, Parking Garages, etc.)


*Note: Not all roof types are ideal candidates for thermal roof survey




 
 
 
Back to content | Back to main menu