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January 13, 2015

The Therminator

What "The Predator" sees
The Energy Trust was nice enough to come out with a thermal imaging camera, to scan the building.

Unfortunately, I failed to get sufficient heat in the house in advance of his visit, so the results were not as useful as they could have been.

I had set up a timer with two heaters to turn on in the middle of the night and run for hours.

Unfortunately, when they turned on together, they blew the circuit breaker.

So when I arrived the next morning...cold house.

I hurriedly tried to get the house warm; but there was not enough time.  The house was still pretty cool inside when we got started.

The thermal camera "sees" the heat, and shows a rainbow of colors, with red being warmest, and blue being coldest, and the gradient between.
If everything is cold, like in our example, then the temperature spread is small, and the difference between red and blue can be just a couple degrees, though it sure appears more dramatic in the camera.

For example: the framing in the walls, having greater mass to store temperature, had not had enough time with the heaters to warm up to match air temperature.  Thus they show dramatically as the color blue (cold).  Had they had time to sufficiently warm to their environment, they would be much closer in color to the insulation (especially given the exterior insulation to isolate the studs from the exterior cold). 

We were still able to go room to room to look for insulation voids, though it was harder to distinguish them from framing.
The result was pleasing.  Only two spots in the whole house identified as possibly in need of attention.
Good to find while we can still get to them.

Here is one of them below:

A void in the insulation

The blue sure looks dramatic, but it is really only a small temperature difference.  Exploring this area found it to be mostly well insulated, just a little less in this spot.

Hopefully, when I can finally get the building heat turned on, we can talk Energy Trust into a follow-up visit.



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