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 -
Has anyone done something like that before, and could offer helpful
Also, looking for suggestions on an affordable, yet decent (still
picture) IR camera for this kind of application; best place to buy
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 :)
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.
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
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
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.
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.