Building inspectors have been using thermal imaging cameras for energy audits for decades, but the investment cost prevented many building and installation companies from buying one. In recent years, increasingly affordable models have entered the market. One such product is FLIR i5 thermal imaging camera, an affordable entry model by FLIR Systems, Inc.
The new FLIR i5 with a resolution of 80×80 pixels and a thermal sensitivity of 0.10 °C provides professionals with a thermal imaging solution that is adequate for a large number of applications. Together with its similar counterparts the i3 and the i7 it is one of the smallest, lightest and most affordable thermal imaging camera on the market. Designed to be easy to use it requires just basic training to obtain thermal images that will immediately give the thermal information required mainly in inspecting building insulation, HVAC systems and refrigeration units
In countries, where it is required by law to provide documentation of the energy consumption of a house before it is sold to the new owner, FLIR i5 thermal imaging is used for building inspections. For example, according to Björn Blomgren of Hammarstedts, a Sweden, based Service Company, thermal imaging surveys helps to sell house, as it is a good selling point for the house if a proper energy audit is included as well. Building inspections are mostly done in the winters because a sufficient temperature difference is necessary between the inside and outside temperatures to be able to spot insulation failures.
The most obvious use of the camera is in building and Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems for maintenance. Before installation, a thermographic survey before delivery is performed to confirm that everything is working properly. Being able to show the customer this report is a great advantage for companies. Thermal imaging camera can also be used in case of customer complaints to validate complaint and find fault. For instance, a thermographic survey of the premises can identify if the problem is with air circulation, which is causing certain areas to warm up while others remain cold rather than the HVAC system itself.
Another example of the use of the thermal imaging camera is with underfloor heating. If there is a leak in the underfloor heating, it is very easy to find with the thermal imaging camera, without having to open up the entire floor. Not only does this save time and effort, but money as well. There have also been cases where plumbing had started to leak, causing water damage. With the thermal imaging camera, it is possible to find the leak faster and without opening up the walls allowing the plumber to more accurately coordinate the repairs.
In the refrigeration and cold storage rooms in supermarkets, with the FLIR i5 thermal imaging camera, one can quickly spot whether there is a problem with the insulation. Unlike building inspection, in case refrigeration units, the inspection can be done all the year round since there is a large temperature difference between the inside of the refrigeration unit and outside the refrigeration unitin the room.