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Baby, It's Cold Outside


Blown insulation is common in attics and walls of older homes since it can be added after construc- tion through small holes drilled between the studs. Blown insulation is usually less insulative than other methods and it settles over time, so re-application is usually required to maintain its R-values. Blown insulation presents two issues for thermal imaging. The first is that normal settling within the walls can make a structure appear to have a false heat signature near the tops of the walls.

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									                        THERMAL IMAGING TRAINING                                                                        >>>

It’s Cold Outside
The Effects of Energy-Efficient Living on Thermal Imaging Operations

          oles in the ozone, energy con-                                 Sprayed insulation is an expanding                  • Low-E glass – The “E” in Low-E stands
          servation, global warming, ris-                          liquid sprayed onto bare-stud walls with a           for emissivity. Recall that a thermal imager
          ing sea levels, green living, green                      paint-sprayer-style device and rapidly ex-           bases everything it knows on emissivity.
building, global calamity on a scale never                         pands to fill the void. It is similar to the foam    Generally speaking, emissivity refers to the
before seen by man. Depending on which                             used inside your fire helmet and to protect          rate at which a surface emits thermal en-
media pundit you listen to, life as we know                        the electronics inside your                                            ergy. Low-E then is designed
it should be coming to an end soon. Right,                         thermal imager. Sprayed                                                to limit the very thing that
wrong or indifferent, the call for environ-                        foam is very efficient, since       Steps taken                        your thermal imager is at-
mental responsibility and energy-efficient                         typically there are no voids                                           tempting to look for. Low-E
living has had an impact on the way many                           in the application and the          to limit the                       glass is generally constructed
homes and businesses are constructed and                           foam has superior R-values.                                            using multiple layers of spe-
this in turn has an impact on your ther-
mal imaging operations. Insulation in the
                                                                   The problem is that some
                                                                   foam is not as resistive to
                                                                                                    transfer of heat                      cially coated reflective glass
                                                                                                                                          with an inert insulative gas
walls, floors and ceilings; low-E window
glass, radiant floor heating, skylights and
                                                                   flame and smoldering fires
                                                                   can develop inside the in-
                                                                                                      into or out of                      in between. While a thermal
                                                                                                                                          imager cannot see through
other steps taken to limit the transfer of                         sulation itself and may not                                            glass of any type, it can detect
heat into or out of a structure have all had                       be visible with a thermal           a structure                        warm glass in standard win-
an impact on thermal imaging operations.                           imager. For this reason, it                                            dows; however, Low-E glass
     • Insulation – Insulation comes in                            is generally best to cut the        have all had                       makes this process difficult
different types, including rolled, blown,                          foam out of the walls in                                               during size-up.
sprayed, rigid and reflective, each with in-
sulative values called R-values. The higher
                                                                   sections during overhaul to
                                                                   make sure that there are no
                                                                                                      an impact on                             • Skylights – Skylights
                                                                                                                                          are becoming more popular
the R-value, the better the insulation. Each
behaves differently when evaluated by a
                                                                   lingering issues.
                                                                         Blown insulation is
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