1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

December 24, 2008

:359 Cold Surface Condensation

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:359 EcoTip: The dew point occurs when temperatures on a surface are cold enough to cause condensation to form. If this happens on the outside of a can of soda – its not such a big deal – but if it happens on or inside wall or building cavities – the condensed water can result in damage and mold growth.

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 Additional Information:

The blue area in the thermal image shown above is missing insulation. If the indoor temperature is 68 degrees F, and the humidity is 50% condensation will develop if the surface temperature hits approximately 50 degrees or less. The condensed moisture can result in water damage and mold growth.

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November 13, 2008

:318 Predict Ice Dams

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:318 EcoTip: Thermal imaging can be used to predict locations on the roof where ice dams are likely to form. The thermal imaging camera is used to locate hot spots. These represent the areas where snow will melt. If the melted snow has to run down an area of roof where the water will refreeze, then the formation of an ice dam becomes more likely.

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Courtesy of MoistureView.com

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :313, :317

The large blue area in the thermal image above represents a cold area with missing insulation where the attic eave vent is located. The heat from the house will escape upwards warming the underside of the roof. If snow is present the extra warmth may cause it to melt and run down the roof onto the cold overhang. If conditions are right the water will refreeze and form a dam that prevents subsequent water flowing downward from draining off the roof. This water can then migrate into the home. This thermal image can be used to predict that water from any ice dam that forms from this missing insulation is more likely to drain down into the wall cavity causing damage.

Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 EcoTip will show how this eave area could be insulated and ventilated at the same time.

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November 8, 2008

:313 Winter Thermal Imaging

Take the 1:5:10:365 challenge: Do one thing – for 5 to 10 minutes – 365 days a year to make our home and planet environment better.

1:5:10:312 EcoTip: Winter thermal imaging can be effectively performed anytime the temperature difference between the inside and outside 20 degrees F or greater. The temperature difference is necessary so that cold spots such as missing insulation and air infiltration can be observed. This is a good way for checking to see if insulation in wall cavities or attics with plumbing are adequately insulated to prevent freezing of pipes.

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The missing insulation shown in this Fluke thermal image shows up as being cold. If there were plumbing in the area where the insulation is missing – there would be a risk of it freezing in a cold snap.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :311

A thermographer qualified to perform energy audits should be able to take the information gathered during a thermal imaging scan of exterior walls with plumbing and calculate the outdoor temperature that would be cold enough to cause plumbing pipes to freeze. By having this information you can monitor weather reports and take additional precautions during cold snaps when your plumbing is at risk.

Climate change isn”t only about warming. In my book- Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Building From Climate Change, I discuss how to prepare your home for cold snaps and other extreme weather conditions.

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September 22, 2008

:266 Finding Moisture Pockets

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:266 EcoTip: Thermal imaging using an infrared camera can help identify materials that are wet after flooding or water intrusion. Depending on the nature of the damage – many materials that look dry may in fact be wet. Capillary action and movement of water vapor can cause secondary damage that goes well beyond where the action water flowed. A thermal imaging scan can quickly help identify areas for investigation with a moisture meter. This can help identify pockets of moisture that might otherwise be missed. 

 

Thermal Image of a wet wall courtesy of Restoration Consultants at www.moistureview.com

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :037, :256, :276, :258, :259, :260, :261, :262, :263, :264, :265

This is the eleventh in a series of EcoTips about working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

 

John Banta with Fluke thermal imaging camera from www.moistureview.com

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August 6, 2008

:219 Summer Thermal Image Scan

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:219 EcoTip: Thermal imaging uses infrared energy to track sources of energy loss. There are many ways thermal imaging can be used to help diagnose hidden conditions but they all rely on temperature differences, Having you home scanned in summer can help identify issues related to hot outdoor conditions that might not be visible during other times of the year.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :036, 037

The thermal image above shows areas of missing insulation in the summer (the red/orange areas). Compare this to :036 which shows heat escaping from a home’s eves in winter (the red/orange areas) and :037 which shows cold spots (the blue areas) which represent missing insulation in winter.

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February 6, 2008

:037 Thermography Eco-Business

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Image courtesy of Restoration Consultants www.restcon.com

Suggested Review – none

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet is about an ecological support business: Thermal imaging.

1:5:10:037 Tip: Thermal imaging camera’s have undergone huge improvements and price reductions in just a few years. When I first began to look at what it would take to use thermal imaging in building investigations 20 years ago, much of the technology was classified by the military. The available units were over $250,000 and required a truck to carry the camera and liquid nitrogen for cooling. Today these camera’s are $6,000 to $20,000 handheld portables that don’t require external coolant. I am partial to the Fluke camera’s and their IR-Fusion technology. This allows a simultaneous digital photograph and thermal image which are superimposed with full blending capabilities. In order to use a thermal imaging camera effectively, thermographers must have training so they learn to “see” and interpret heat instead of light. If you are already in the construction, energy efficiency, insulation, inspection, or moisture control industry it is likely you already have an understanding of buildings that would allow you to easily learn to use a thermal imaging camera to aid you in your work.

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Additional Information

It is unfortunate that there have been false claims about thermal cameras and what they can do. What they do is identify temperature differences.

They do not see through walls, find mold, or substitute for a good understanding of buildings and how they work. 

The IR camera is able to find areas for further investigation. Wet walls generally are cooler than dry walls because of evaporative cooling. But a thermographer needs training to tell the difference between missing insulation and moisture.

Fluke Thermal Imaging Camera With IR Fusion

Image courtesy of Fluke

For additional information about thermal imaging cameras I recommend speaking with Rod Hoff at the Moisture View division of Restoration Consultants. Rod can provide an on-line demonstration of the technology.

Rod Hoff
Restoration Consultants – MoistureView
3284 Ramos Circle
Sacramento, CA 95827
(916) 736-1100 ext 301
www.moistureview.com

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February 5, 2008

:036 Thermal Imaging

Suggested Review – none

Today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet is about having a thermographic evaluation of your home.

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Fluke IR-Fusion image of energy loss through an attic.

1:5:10:036 Tip: Infra-red thermal imaging is an effective way to scan buildings for missing or damaged insulation, air infiltration, and a variety of other energy wasting conditions.

In order to be most effective the temperature difference between the indoor and outdoor environment should be a minimum of 20 degrees.

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Additional Information

The yellow/orange/red area shown on the above home is where heat is escaping from this attic. This scan from the exterior of the home demonstrated something was wrong and adding heat to the attic.

It turned out the source of this heat was leaking furnace system duct-work.

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Fluke IR-Fusion image of energy loss into an attic from disconnected furnace duct-work.

Air with a temperature of 147 degrees was leaking from this partially disconnected duct warming the attic and not the house. Sealing this and other areas of leaking duct-work resulted in a winter time gas reduction of over $100 per month.

The US Department of Energy has recommended that home buyers have a thermal imaging evaluation when performing energy audits and when purchasing a new home. They have additional information at:  http://www.eere.energy.gov/consumer/your_home/energy_audits/index.cfm/mytopic=11200

This is best performed during the cold of winter or the heat of summer when the greatest temperature differences can be observed.

If you are looking for someone to perform a thermal imaging inspection of your home, I have listings for Thermographers on my book blog page at:

http://jbanta.wordpress.com/category/contractor-diagnostics/

Additional information about the benefits of thermal investigations can be found at www.moistureview.com

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