D-I-Y home energy audit using IR camera


Looking for some feedback on using an infrared (IR) camera for a d-i-y home energy audit. I'm thinking of taking some thermal pics of the house to identify major problem areas (poorly insulated doors, windows, attic, etc.) Kinda like <http://www.predictive - maintenance.com/energy.html>
Has anyone done something like that before, and could offer helpful tips?
Also, looking for suggestions on an affordable, yet decent (still picture) IR camera for this kind of application; best place to buy one?
I realize that even a simple such IR camera would cost more than an energy audit done by my local utility. But I guess it'd be fun to d-i- y, be able to take some before and after pics, etc :)
Cheers
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Can you still buy infrared film for regular cameras?
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

Neither IR film nor common IR-sensitive digital cameras will work for an energy audit. IR photography is generally near-IR, wavelengths less than 1000nm. You'll need much longer-wavelength IR to see the temperature ranges for an energy audit. That typically uses a supercooled sensor, very specialized equipment.
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Forget DIY unless you want to spend 1-3000 for a used unit. Film IR and digital cameras are sensitive near 700-800nm, to identify heat the range starts near 12x of what consumer products do. I have experimented for fun and yes IR in the 7-800nm range is done with modern consumer digital, but you wont get any results for what you want. Get an audit, and a blower door test. If consumer products could do it there would not be much of a market for 1-$10,000 Thermal Imaging units. ebay has used stuff.
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What about a non-contact thermometer? It wouldn't do a whole side of the house at one time, but could it be pointed at the edges of doors, windows, etc. to find heat leaks?
I havent' had time to test for this yet.
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wrote:

I would hope so. You can't get it at Walgreen's but I would think a camera store has some. If not there, a better than average camera store. That would certainly be the cheapest way, instead of buying a whole camera!
BTW, probably best in a camera with manual focus, because the focal length isn't quite the same as for visible light. The lenses I've seen have a red dot, iirc, near the usual indicator line, for focusing infrared.
BTW2, I still have a roll or IR film in my refrigerator. It's been there for about 25 years. I keep meaning to use it, but I have no particular need. Hmmm, how about checking for heat loss!

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There was a rather involved discussion about this here, about a year ago. Do a google search and you should find some interesting info. The consensus seemed to be "forget about it - it won't work".
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Yes,the thermal cameras used for energy audits and police airborne video respond to long-wave IR(10-12uM),not the near-IR stuff that film and video cameras respond to.(~1uM)
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in

Do you know anything about digital cameras & IR response? TB
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a little. Many digital cameras have a filter to limit their IR response.(makes for a sharper image in daylight) the unfiltered IR response usually rolls off above (longer than)1100 nM. You can check TV remote controls using them,or IR LEDs.
To get the "thermal" IR response (like body heat)either requires cooling the sensor and/or a different type of sensor(non silicon),or a bolometer array. That's a microetched antenna array tuned to certain long IR wavelengths.Texas Instruments makes them for use in low cost thermal camera systems,often used by firefighters to see through smoke.They've come out with handheld versions that cost around $1000,where thermal camera systems usually cost $50K or more.
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in

I see the home inspectors on TV going around with a handheld thermal imaging widget that shows on a color screen the relative heat levels of areas like walls, floors and ceilings. They usually are using it to find hidden wet areas, which appear as a colder temp area. Don't know what they cost or where you'd buy one, but it looks like they work.
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snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

in
Prices and size have come down a lot in recent years. Used to need a hand truck of gear and a thermos of liquid nitrogen and now it's just a handheld camera. Fluke has a line of IR imagers as do others. Not sure on the pricing, but I know there are IR imagers available for a few $k. Still not economical for just a DIY home energy audit, but within normal overkill range.
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Didn't you post this last week?
Steve
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Nope
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