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American Energy Advisors uses infrared imaging (IR imaging) to diagnose home heat loss problems with the building envelope in Omaha, Elkhorn, and surrounding areas. Also known as "thermal imaging" or "thermography," a special scanner is used to measure light waves below (infra) red on the visible light spectrum.
By showing the differences in surface temperatures, thermal imaging identifies air leaks, missing insulation and where insulation is poorly installed. It also shows where heat loss is caused by thermal bridges and bypasses, and allows home performance contractors to pinpoint areas needing repair or retrofit without having to pull a wall, floor or ceiling apart.
During an AEA energy audit, while your house is pressurized by the blower door, we tour the house with the infrared camera, scanning the walls, ceilings and floors as we go. There has to be a 10 degree temperature difference between the inside and outside, for thermal imaging to work, so there are some Nebraska summer days when this works needs to be done first thing in the morning!
We're looking for evidence of air leaks, missing or poorly installed insulation, thermal bypasses, thermal bridges, and moisture issues. If there is a problem, these home heat loss locations show up as darker shadows or streaks on the scanner.
"Thermal bridges" occur in areas where heat loss is significantly higher than the surrounding area. In houses, thermal bridging occurs in insulated areas where framing materials -- wall studs, floor joists, or attic trusses -- touch both the inside and outside sheathing materials.
Compared to insulation materials, wood has a very low R-value, meaning it conducts heat at a faster rate. The result of lots of thermal bridging in a wall, ceiling or floor is that the overall insulation value is lowered.
When houses are built in Nebraska or anywhere else, there are often many junctions, corners and gaps that get hidden from view. These are called thermal bypasses, and they allow outside air to move in and out of the house, causing heat loss and cold drafts in the winter, heat gain in the summer, and can be the cause of mold and moisture problems.
AEA offers infrared thermal imaging throughout the Omaha region, both as part of our comprehensive home energy audit and as a stand-alone service designed to pinpoint energy waste and other building science issues.
An infrared scanner not only reveals hidden air leaks and areas where insulation isn't performing, it can also yield interesting surprises -- like uninsulated hot water pipes or recessed lights that may be contributing to an ice dam, for an example. It's a valuable part of any good home energy audit, and our technicians are highly qualified to do a thorough and precise job. It's also a fun part of the energy audit for homeowners!