Seeing the Unseeable

Continuing the discussion on the Flir One infrared  camera, I’d like to discuss the benefits as it relates to home maintanence and efficiency. If you have not read my Flir One/infrared overview, please see blog post: DIYers Must Have.

The Flir One has many home uses.  Think about how many aspects of your house are related to or affected by temperature changes – the list is long.

Taking a picture with the Flir One camera is referred to as a scan.

Based on a scan of my air conditioning vent surface (remember it measures surface temp, not air temp) I can deduce that my air conditioner is running effectively.  The temp scan of the vent opening was 57.6 degrees Fahrenheit (you can select F or C).  The A/C thermostat showed a room temp of 76 deg for an air differential of 21.6 deg.

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According to the Lowes website a 20 Deg differential means your A/C is working well.  The Lowes article tells you how to test your a/c with a refrigerator thermometer for a lot cheaper, but hey where’s the fun in that.  Plus how many uses does a refrigerator thermometer have?

Here is a synopsis of other uses limited only by your imagination.

Scans of your roof can show areas of missing or thinning insulation.  Also, with the right conditions can show roof leaks.

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This is a scan of our ceiling  as you can see there are a few spots where the cold air is getting in (the blue tints). Further investigation is required to determine if it is just thinning insulation or a roof leak.

Scans around doors or external walls can show where heat (or cold) is escaping running up your utility bills.

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This is a scan of my front door on a cold winter day.  As you can see, cold is entering at the center and bottom of our door.  Time to update some weather stripping.

A scan around a room can show heat sources like computers left on, tvs, etc.

A scan of your electrical panel can reveal if there are hot spots that may need to be looked at possibly preventing future fires.

Can’t tell where your sprinklers are hitting the grass, scan it and see where the damp (cooler) spots are.

Trying to track down a slab leak?  The leak area should be cooler or hotter depending upon which line is leaking.

Having a hard time finding your studs?  Wood studs will change temp different than your drywall so the scan will show your house’s skeleton.

One note, the scan is not accurate on glass or shiny surfaces so trying to see the temp difference between your window and wall is not straight forward. Try taping a section of your window with painters tape, wait a few minutes to let the tape temp adjust to the window temp, and scan the taped section.

The next Flir blog will address health uses.  This is one you will not want to miss, so follow me to get notified of the posting.

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DIYer’s Must Have

As my first blog entry, I’d like to begin by saying I’m not an expert in any one particular area. I have, however, been called a “Jack of all Trades”.  Trying new things and working through processes to discover easier more efficient ways of doing things are what I thrive on.

The one product that incentivized me to start this blog is the Flir One infrared camera.  A must have for the DIYer, technology addict, or just plain curious.

Very  rarely do you come across a tool that can benefit multiple areas of your life.  This is one!  I rank the usefulness of this device right up there with duct tape.

Infrared is the measurement of temperatures. A camera basically takes a snapshot (or movie) of temperature ranges on a surface. There are many nuances to this technology, but a basic simple knowledge is enough to have some fun and take advantage of the multiple uses of this device.  The image on the left (below) is an infrared image of my dog after a surgery.  The white areas are the warmest, then red tones, then blue.  The red area on her back is where she was shaved for the incision (thus showing her warm body).    The image on the right is an interior wall taken in summer with the air  conditioning on.  The dark (cool) rectangle in the middle is my air vent.  The edit mode will allow you to pinpoint an area and display the temperature at that specific point.  Here I am showing the temperature coming out of my air vent with the a/c blowing (note: the measurement is not the air but the surface temperature of the vent which I’m assuming closely reflects the air temperature).  A future blog will discuss how to use this information.

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History and Background
My brother-in-law is in the infrared business. His company helps corporations (like oil refineries and chemical plants) monitor their equipment for ‘hot and cold spots” to quickly locate and monitor both maintenance and production problems in real time. His company’s high resolution and high temperature cameras can cost over $50,000! His company’s cameras and training were procured through the leader in the industry – FLIR Systems, Inc. So if you need a pro, see http://www.aitsolutions.com.

This infrared technology really intrigues me and the uses are many (I’ll cover some in later blogs).

Flir has many products but recently introduced a “home” model of the infrared camera called the “Flir One”. This product REALLY excites me. In my next blog, I will discuss how it can be used to save money, protect on real estate purchases, and help keep you healthy. Stay tuned…

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