Thermal imaging cameras are gadgets that convert thermal energy to visible light so as to analyse an object or scene. The devices were once popular in industrial and utility plants, but commercial building plants have recently taken to the trend, given the benefits that accrue from thermal imaging. The cameras use lenses that focus on waves generated from infrared energy, which is usually detected in all objects on an infrared sensor arrangement. The energy is converted into electrical signals, which results in the production of a visual image.
The images are used for immediate analysis or processed via special software for further evaluation. Warm spaces appear white, providing a distinctive appearance that is easy to identify. Note that thermal imaging cameras don’t measure temperature, they evaluate radiated energy from which temperature is derived based on the energy detected. Here are the main uses for thermal imaging cameras:
Identifying Building Errors
Thermal imaging cameras help builders determine costly construction mishaps such as air leaks, inadequate insulation moisture intrusion and others. Infrared imaging performs non-destructive inspections on structures by isolating warm and cold air so as to make necessary improvements that ensure energy efficiency.
To Identify Electrical Problems
Thermal imaging cameras also help determine electrical distribution problems such as loose connections that require appropriate corrective action to avoid overheating and other issues. The electrician or technician points the gadget at the suspected faulty equipment, scans the space for unusual hot spots, then squeezes the trigger to capture an image. After the inspection, the saved images are uploaded to analyse the problems in them exhaustively.
To Perform Energy Audits
Heat loss accounts for up to 50% of energy consumption of a building or household. Air leakages through chimneys, wall vents, attics, poorly sealed doorways and poor insulation are all aspects that cause heat loss. Thermal imaging cameras help contractors and inspectors to determine sources of poor insulation, equipment and HVAC air flow problems, as well as radiant heating malfunction. By detecting the location the sources of energy loss that is invisible to the naked eye, thermal images provide compelling evidence of the necessary repairs and improvements.
Identify Roofing Problems
Roof replacement costs as much as £ 8- £10 per square foot while premature roof failure accounts for billions of pounds each year. The primary causes of premature roof failure include undetected wet insulation and moisture intrusion. Thermal imaging provides a non-invasive technique for identifying wet areas and documenting the problem during roof inspection. Roofs absorb heat during the day and emit it when the temperature falls. Wet roof areas emit heat slower than dry areas. The infrared cameras inspect both low-slope and flat roofs to identify the wet and dry areas.
Investigate Crime Scenes
Law enforcement officers have also found thermal imaging cameras a useful tool in crime investigation. They can manage surveillance activities more efficiently than before, investigate crime scenes, conduct search and rescue operations and apprehend suspects using thermal imaging cameras. In fact, the law enforcement officers cite several uses of the technology as:
- Conducting fugitive searches where the technology provides a solution for using flashlights during a fugitive search. With thermal imaging cameras, officers can view the suspect’s body heat, thus identifying his location.
- Surveillance activities- tech-savvy criminals often conceal their activities by deactivating light-sensing technologies. They park their cars and switch on the headlights, thus disabling video cameras. However, officers who are equipped with thermal imaging cameras can look past the lights and identify the criminal’s activities.
- Investigating accidents- thermal imaging cameras also aid in accident reconstruction through the identification of the warmest marks and indicating those that were left recently, which yields more evidence to an investigation.
- Protecting officers- officers also use the infrared cameras when responding to distress calls, assaults or other violent scenarios. With the gadget, the officer scans the house at a distance, identifying anyone who may be waiting outside the residence or anything that threatens his safety.
- Identifying altered material- different materials absorb and release heat in a particular manner. Thus, painting or making repairs changes material’s thermal composition. A thermal imaging camera can quickly identify the change in the thermal signature, which allows officers to discover buried evidence.
- Locate evidence- infrared cameras also aid in finding weapons, drugs, or other potential evidence that may be difficult to explore using a flashlight or the naked eye. Officers scan the area of pursuit or the immediate vicinity around the suspect to locate evidence. Hotter items such as ejected shell casings, or fired weapons produce stronger thermal images.