What is thermal imaging?
In a nutshell, thermal imaging is the method of translating thermal energy into visible light to produce an image. The image displays heat in a range of colours to signify hotter and colder areas.
Thermal imaging is used for a wide variety of reasons across many industries, but in plumbing it can be used to detect leaks, cold spots and areas of heat loss.
How do thermal cameras work?
These temperature sensitive cameras work by using thermography, a method of converting heat into light to allow the user to see and measure the thermal energy emitted from an object. They then display the image in a range of colours in order to indicate temperature, with colder areas showing in blacks, blues, and purples, and hotter areas being highlighted in reds, oranges, and yellows.
Unlike a spot temperature gun which relies on the user knowing the location of the problem first, thermal imaging cameras give a clear image of large areas quickly. They identify small changes in temperature across the surface of different materials, displaying warmer and the colder areas on the screen, and allowing our engineers to map out damp spots and areas of major heat loss on the interior or exterior of your property.
How is thermal imaging used in the plumbing and heating industry?
These cameras can be used to diagnose a number of plumbing and heating related problems in domestic and commercial environments.
Creating a thermal image is an effective and non-invasive way of highlighting heating issues within the home and pinpointing the source of water leaks and damp that cannot be seen with the naked eye. It can help to find hidden leaks beneath concrete, floorboards, and in walls.
Over time, radiators and central heating pipework become blocked with magnetite, a substance made from the dissolved rust and metal that builds up inside the system. Thermal imaging can show cold areas in heating systems that have arose as a result of blockages caused by a magnetite build up. This allows our engineers to determine whether a powerflush may be required to clear the blockage, or if the problem can be resolved via an alternative course of action, such as pipework, radiator, or appliance replacement. Images collected over time can be used to monitor the degradation of heating systems and gradual build-up of sludge and debris, thus permitting our engineers to diagnose and solve the problem before any major issues occur.
To summarise, thermal imaging can:
- Detect problem areas of central heating systems such as blockages, cold spots, and sludge build up
- Trace and map out hidden central heating pipework and underfloor heating pipework
- Detect leaks without destruction or damage to property.
- Reduce energy consumption and bills by pinpointing cold spots in homes