Benefits of Thermography in Termite Detection
Posted on December 28, 2011 by Mal in Thermal Imaging
Thermal imaging is a non contact procedure as the camera passively reads the surface temperature of the surface you are pointing at.
i.e. it does not send out a ray.
Thermal fusion shows termites under flooring
Benefits of Thermal Imaging
- Very sensitive to problem characteristics – heat can be the best way to detect if the building needs attention.
- Detect problems before significant damage – and a building may show a ‘heat’ spot due to an electrical fault, moisture ingress or termite or rodent infestation.
- Can scan large areas quickly – you are able to scan a room quickly compared to a contact meter.
- Identifies specific location – as thermography will show an image you can quickly identify a ‘hot spot’ accurately.
Thermography can also be used in research and development, electrical equipment, UPS systems, electrical motor bearings and windings, heating ventilation and air conditioning equipment, duct work and vents, Building Science including water restoration, mold remediation, building inspections, roof leaks, electronic, medical, termites, rodents, insulation heat loss and ventilation.
Limitations of Thermal Imaging in Termite Inspections
Thermal imaging is a tool that should only be used in conjunction with a Visual Inspection in accordance with either AS 4349.3 or AS 3660.2.
Infrared Thermography is a detection process that converts invisible heat (infrared radiation) energy in to a visible image defined by heat radiated. All objects emit infrared radiation which is proportional to the temperature of the object. The thermal imaging process detects temperature differences between objects if there is no temperature difference or the difference is outside the range of the detection device the process cannot differentiate between objects. On viewing part of a structure the outlines of the viewed areas represent what is expected for that structure (eg the wall framing behind gyprock). The device may identify temperature irregularities within its operating range in the structure. Such irregularities may represent dampness, water leaks, piping, insulation, cabling or foreign materials such as termite mudding or heat from appliances.
Where irregularities are found they will require further investigation outside the scope of the Thermal Report and a separate contract. When a heat irregularity is detected an attempt to identify the source will be made with non invasive Inspection tools such as a moisture meter as normally used by a Timber Pest
Where a non obvious thermal irregularity is found it is strongly recommended that a more invasive inspection is carried out, which may include drilling and bore-scope inspection to cavity areas or recommending a builder to remove wall lining, lifting carpet, cutting traps, removing brickwork or cladding.
The Thermal Image Camera and the inspection are subject to but not limited to the following limitations:
- The thermal imaging inspection is solely undertaken to the internal areas of the dwelling for the identification of thermal irregularities that may or may not indicate working caused by termites. In some cases other Timber Pests may be revealed.
- The Climate/Seasonal variations in temperature and humidity.
- The Time of Day and Orientation of the dwelling.
- The Buildings construction materials.
- Termite leads and or workings that are dried out and not occupied by termites on the day of inspection.
- The camera readings may indicate thermal anomalies (irregularities) that are possible workings/activity caused by termites or other Timber Pests but other factors may be responsible for the irregularities. All thermal anomalies should be investigated further.
- Termite activity or workings may be present but the infestation may not be enough to create a higher surface temperature on the wall being scanned. This may occur where an infestation is not active or has not been active for some time prior to the Thermal Inspection. Local conditions may cause termites to come and go; this is typical termite behavior. Therefore, in these cases, the area of the wall may not register a higher temperature on the Thermal Camera.
- The Thermal Camera will not provide accurate results on reflective surfaces or glass.