Using Infrared Thermotechnology to ID Building Faults

December 10, 2015

Every building component ages and deteriorates, and maintaining these building components is essential in operating a functional and safe facility. Using infrared thermography technology, Williams Engineering Canada (WEC) is able to identify existing building faults, leaks and moisture damage, potentially saving our clients thousands of dollars in repairs.

With infrared cameras, we can identify heating or cooling losses, test energy performance, find water leaks, inspect electrical equipment, locate structural components, and check mechanical equipment in a non-invasive manner with little to no impact on occupants.

How does this technology work? Thermography functions like an x-ray for a building. All objects at temperatures above absolute zero radiate energy to their surroundings; this information is converted into a visual image, which appears on infrared cameras for analysis. Irregular thermographic patterns are called thermal “anomalies.” Different anomalies are generally indicative of specific problems. Using thermography technology, WEC is able to identify the following “anomalies”:
Air Leakage: Over time, building envelope conditions degrade, resulting in air leakages in walls, windows, joints, etc. On thermograms taken from the exterior of buildings, escaping air generally shows up as an intensely bright spot at the source of the leak and a warmed zone flaring out from the leak, cooling as it moves. Air leakages result in increased maintenance costs, and mechanical systems are not able to function at optimal levels.

Insulation Faults: During an external building review, missing, damaged or improperly installed insulation will show on thermographic images as light patches with distinct, well-defined edges, which generally outline the cavity where the insulation is not functioning properly.

Moisture Saturation: When the protective covering components become wet, they generally create a characteristic “mottled” thermographic pattern. Identifying moisture saturation early on can prevent further damage to the interior of the facility.

WEC is able to assist facility owners in providing solutions and prioritizing any issues that arise from the thermographic survey. With extensive thermographic experience with projects such as the Kaye Edmonton Clinic or City Hall in Calgary, WEC is able to provide engineering services in all stages of a facility’s life cycle.

For more information on this technology, feel free to contact