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Thermal images as if painted

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A painting specialist in Lower Saxony, Germany takes advantage of thermal imaging for indoor and outdoor applications.

Meyer Malereibetrieb GmbH (www.malermeistermeyer.de) is a specialized painting company originally founded in 1960 by the grandfather Johannes Lange in the town of Lehrte in Lower Saxony. Today the company employs 13 people. Its main services include work on interiors (painting, lacquering, wallpapering, staircase renovation and design) and exteriors (facade insulation and design). Martin Meyer, grandson of the company’s founder, uses modern technology to be able to show problem areas to property managers and owners. The technical equipment of this innovative painting company includes Meyer E50bx thermal imaging camera and a MR77 humidity meter from FLIR.

Camera selection

Martin Meyer first became aware of the possibilities of thermography in 2006 at various local company presentations, during which even a chimney sweep presented his thermal imaging camera. “At that time, the devices were simply still too expensive,” explains master painter Martin Meyer. And thus it took quite a while before investing in a thermographic camera became a reality. In 2014 the time had come.

Martin Meyer contacted FLIR and had two thermal image camera models demonstrated: the compact Ebx series and the convenient T series with its swivel lens. Even though he was quite interested in the T series with its higher resolution and larger range of features, he decided on the FLIR E50bx for rational and economic reasons.

Martin Meyer opted for the smaller model,which would pay for itself quickly even when used only occasionally. The master painter particularly liked features such as image-in-image or the patented MSX feature of the FLIR E50bx, in which structures of the visual image are added to the thermal image.

Facade insulation

Martin’s company has been offering thermographic inspections using the FLIR E50bx since January 2015. Thus building weaknesses and insulation errors can be localized quickly and precisely. “I used to explain to property managers and owners where the heat losses occurred and which savings we could achieve with insulation.” says Martin. But I was not always able to convince them using these arguments alone. Today we make  the need for improvement really visible to the customer, by using a thermal image of the facade. This way, we can clearly show the sources of error and provide comprehensive consulting with regard to energy savings.”

Mildew problems following restoration

Martin Meyer not only uses his E50bx in the external insulation area. “Our focus is on interiors and we work for several local property managers in this area. Problems with mildew have become more common in the past few years.” He sees the habits of tenants as one of the main reasons for this: “Older buildings often don’t have the most modern windows and sometimes tenants leave the heater off in some rooms due to increased energy costs,” explains Martin. But some mildew problems are also the result of insulation that is too good without an appropriate ventilation concept.

Leaky underfloor heating system

The thermal imaging camera has also served him well in the investigation of underfloor heating systems. Prior to interior restoration of the building, Martin Meyer insisted on examining the over 20-year-old underfloor heating system. On the upper floor, he did in fact find problems. “The heating system was not performing correctly, so we conducted further tests.”

In addition to his thermal imaging camera, Martin also used the noninvasive moisture meter MR77 from FLIR. He is impressed with the compact device: “I place it in the room and it automatically transfers the relative temperature and humidity data to the thermal image.” This way he was able to locate a spot on the wall affected by moisture. He could also show the heating contractor exactly where to open the wall. And sure enough, there was a small leak in the underfloor heating there, which could then be professionally repaired.

Software and training

To evaluate his thermal images, Martin Meyer uses the FLIR Tools software included with his camera, as well as the FLIR Reporter software, which allows for individual settings including creating reports with his own logo and presettings. An introductory course was also included in the purchase price of his camera.

Outlook

“For us the investment in a thermal imaging camera has definitely paid off,” says Martin Meyer. “We are the only painting specialist in the area, who can offer these services.”

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