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Infrared Thermography

An infrared thermography roof scan is a diagnostic tool with many useful applications.  Its primary purpose is to identify and outline areas of heat loss within the roofing assembly, which can greatly reduce the cost of flat roof repairs by ensuring that only the wet areas are replaced.  A scan is frequently carried out on buildings every two to five years as a preventive maintenance measure, identifying minor roof repairs before they become large, expensive repairs.  A scan will also confirm the condition of a roof before a roofer’s warranty expires.  This can save you a lot of money if there is a problem with the roof. 

thermographic-image-roof-isolated-wet-insulation

This is a thermographic image of a large area of wet insulation on a built-up roofing assembly.

Daytime image of roof with wet isolated insulation

This is the daytime verification photo of the same area.

How does infrared thermography work?

During the day, the sun heats up the roof’s surface and insulation.  At night, the roof cools down, but areas of wet insulation hold the day’s heat longer than surrounding dry areas.  The infrared thermogram registers this temperature differential between the dry areas and any wet insulation.

Thermographic image of a roof with wet insulation

This is a thermographic image of an isolated wet area of insulation on a built-up roofing assembly.

Daytime image of roof with wet insulation

This is the daytime verification photo of the same area.

In order to detect this temperature differential, scans must be conducted in specific weather conditions and at night.  A dry roof is necessary, and the temperature differential must be significant enough (between the heat of the day and the time of scan) so that a thermal difference exists between wet and dry areas of the roof.

Thermographic image of a roof with heat loss at the drain sump

This is a thermographic image of an overview of a roof level with typical heat loss at the drain sump.

daytime photo of a roof with heat loss

This is the daytime verification of the same area.

During the scan, all anomalies are marked on the roof’s surface with high visibility paint.  Thermograms are taken during the scan and accompany the written report.  The following day, verification is carried out to confirm that the infrared thermography camera readings were correct.  This is achieved by using a capacitance meter to probe the suspect areas.  The results are recorded in a chart and the wet areas are quantified.  A drawing is then produced showing all areas of moisture within the roofing assembly.

Walls

Wall scans can also be a very useful diagnostic tool. Wall scans are conducted to help building owners to identify areas of energy heat loss.

Electrical/Mechanical

Infrared thermography is often requested for roofs and walls, but scanning electrical panels and/or mechanical components is also key. If your electrical connections are overheating, it could mean that your efficiency is down and a safety hazard exists. Scanning could help you to avoid a fire by avoiding an electrical failure. These can be dangerous (potentially fatal) and expensive concerns for building owners.

TESTIMONIALS

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Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) member Canadian Roofing Contractors Association (CRCA) member Construction Specifications Canada (CSC) member Green Roofs For Healthy Cities member Sealant and Waterproofing Association of Ontario member Ontario Building Envelope Council member Ontario Industrial Roofing Contractors Association member Roof Consultants Institute member International Facility Management Association member