Infrared thermal imaging technology is safe, quiet, carries minimum risk, doesn’t create disruption, and leaves no mess. According to the folks over at IRT surveys, it provides important information about the buildings energy efficiency and it’s defects. It’s known to be a required tool in your building and energy management toolkit. But, like all technologies, it too has it’s disadvantages. They may not be major obstacles, but they do exist and it’s important to be aware of them.
The cost of IRT Cameras has fallen:
Hard to believe but this really is a problem! There is no longer a barrier to the market which means it’s easier to get the camera but not necessarily easier to receive the training and gain the basic understanding of the images themselves. This encourages too many to jump into a large project without the best tools or basic understanding. If you combine a low-end camera with an untrained eye could misappropriate blame for a failed refurbishment, or fail to establish the correct specification for remediation. These types of decisions could be dangerous and cost the building owner thousands if not more.
There is not enough training:
It was alluded to above and cannot be stressed it enough! It takes more to become a thermographer than just a bit of basic training on the camera itself. There are physics behind the image, there’s an understanding of thermal colors, but there is so much more as well. What are the thermodynamic properties of the portal frame, the composite clad building and things of that nature. To be an effective thermographer you need knowledge of the construction materials and techniques. You need to have all of the information before making an trustworthy analysis.
Infrared thermal imaging is wonderful but given it’s inherit nature, is impacted by the weather. You can no more take the image outside on a beautiful hot sunny day, than you can on a cold dreary, rainy night. The conditions have to be “just right” to have the best possible image. This means cooler weather that is dry, low wind and the heat is the building is on; also at night is better for obvious reasons.
If you try to “just take the image,” even simple things like the shade of a nearby tree can alter the reading and therefore make your results less accurate.
Lack of regulation:
There is little to no regulating body for infrared thermal imaging technology. There are some voluntary groups but there’s no vetting process. There is no required training when you buy the camera. There are the dangers of those who are over equipt and under qualified making bad calls. Those bad calls impact not only those immediately affected, but the overall impression of reliability (or it’s absence of such). This is such a powerful technology, we need to.