Design & Construction

Why Facility Managers Need a Thermal Imaging Camera in Their Toolbox

Image of a hot, overloaded dimming switch.

Thanks to rapid advancement in technology, and reductions in cost, thermal imaging cameras are finally within reach for many more people, facilities and businesses. Here's why it belongs in your church facility manager's toolbox.

Michael French  ·  June 19, 2017

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The human eye is an incredibly complex machine, but it has its limitations. Our abilities only stretch to light, depth and color.

To go beyond the visible spectrum, we need advanced technology, to see infrared, ultraviolet, and heat radiation.

There is much more of our world to explore.

Thermal Imaging technology allows us to see heat emission from a surface, and the subtle variations in temperature in everyday objects, from the incredibly cold to the blisteringly hot. In fact, any temperature down to absolute zero (that’s -273.15°Celsius which equates to -459.67° Fahrenheit) can be measured with a thermal imaging camera.

It used to be the case that this technology only fell into the hands of specialists, notably firefighters using it to see through smoke. But thanks to rapid advancement in technology, and with it reductions in manufacturing cost, thermal imaging cameras are finally within reach for many more people, facilities and businesses. Firms like Seek Thermal and FLIR are producing low cost cameras for consumers, independent professionals, and just about anyone else.

Some devices can be attached to a smart phone and provide a rudimentary step into the world of thermography. Everyday tasks can be carried out with a greater level of insight than before — imagine being able to find points of weakness in home insulation or check the even spread of heat across a barbecue. For more advanced applications, but still within a sensible price range, there are a number of options available.

Handheld, ray gun style cameras are in wide use in various industries, as well with professional service workers like electricians, plumbers, building surveyors and more. Many small business owners can now benefit from thermal imaging without an enormous initial outlay. Whereas thermal cameras used to cost tens of thousands of dollars, they can be purchased now from specialty retailers for much more reasonable prices.

Being able to locate inefficiencies and fix them means that a thermal imaging camera is a sensible investment. Wherever heat leaks from buildings or overheating electrical systems look like they might fail or HVAC systems have had previously hard to locate issues, a thermal imaging camera can become invaluable. Consider building insulation, which when installed correctly has obvious benefits.

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