Infrared For Moisture Intrusion
Infrared thermography is a fast and non-destructive technology that can accurately track down sources of moisture in buildings using an infrared camera.
Infrared can track down sources of moisture even when it's hidden behind interior walls, within insulation, or in the ceiling.
What an Infrared Camera Sees
An infrared camera detects thermal anomalies by imaging the infrared energy that is being emitted, reflected or transmitted through or from surfaces, not by reading moisture content. While thermal imaging inspections are a valuable asset, it cannot be used as a sole source for determining deficiencies in a building envelope.
The Value of a Skilled Thermographer
Knowing what you are looking for and where to look are extremely important. Verifying infrared readings with moisture probes, intrusive test cuts or other test methods is always recommended to minimize the possible misinterpretation of infrared images.
Old Moisture Intrusion Detection Methods
In the past contact moisture meters were the best equipment and method to detect moisture in buildings. However, they have to be placed on the surface every so many inches. This was time-consuming and expensive.
The Benefits of Infrared Cameras
Testing the roof of a 100,000-square-foot building can take up to 3 or 4 days and cost tens of thousands of dollars.
With infrared technology, you can identify the location of problem areas with high accuracy, taking the guesswork out of trying to find issues hidden within walls, ceilings, or roofs.
This saves valuable time over traditional visual methods or contact moisture meters.
When Do You Need Infrared?
Ever wonder how an ice dam is formed?
This tongue and groove ceiling is a perfect illustration of how heat gets into the attic. During a blower door test, the thermal images revealed that the ceiling was a massive source of air intrusion into the master bedroom (remember that the blower door test creates a vacuum in the house).
I went into the attic where I discovered that the ceiling boards were nailed directly to the rafters with nothing behind them (such as sheetrock). This allows huge quantities of air to leak through the ceiling directly into the attic, setting up the ideal ice dam formation scenario.
Insurance Loss Documentation
Infrared thermography can be used in a post-disaster inspection to quickly and accurately evaluate the extent of water damage and monitor the drying process.
Product Defect Documentation EIFS – Exterior Insulation Finish System
Construction defects: Moisture can infiltrate siding, brick veneers, stucco, stone and other facades used on buildings, especially if they are not properly installed.
Without an infrared camera, it is very difficult to find the leaks caused by these weatherproofing systems. When left undetected, moisture that makes its way through the façade of a building can wind up damaging ceilings, floors, and walls within the structure itself.