Author Topic: DIY Home Energy Audit with Thermal Imaging  (Read 1265 times)

Glenstache

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DIY Home Energy Audit with Thermal Imaging
« on: November 27, 2019, 12:10:36 PM »
Does anyone have any experience with DIY home energy audits using a thermal imaging camera? I've got a new house and am looking for ways to improve energy efficiency.

Lulee

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Re: DIY Home Energy Audit with Thermal Imaging
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2019, 08:07:02 AM »
According to Google, Seattle has three tool libraries.  Maybe one of them has a thermal camera you can borrow?  If not, buying a thermal camera like this one (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0728C7KND) would allow you to do the audit yourself for way cheaper than you could pay for one and then you could donate it to one of the libraries and take the tax deduction.

Chaplin

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Re: DIY Home Energy Audit with Thermal Imaging
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2019, 02:04:20 PM »
I have borrowed a thermal imaging camera twice. Once last winter on one of the coldest days, and then again just last week to see if my improvement seems have been effective. It was fun and beneficial. Depending on your background it might be good to do some research (YouTube!) to get some help interpreting what youíre seeing. I borrowed from work so Iíve never looked into other options.

nereo

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Re: DIY Home Energy Audit with Thermal Imaging
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2019, 06:10:46 PM »
Does anyone have any experience with DIY home energy audits using a thermal imaging camera? I've got a new house and am looking for ways to improve energy efficiency.

Feel free to check out my dedicated journal on the subject.  tl;dr - we bought a 100+ year old house and are systematically renovating it with an eye towards improving it's energy efficiency.

Thermal imaging cameras are great, but you can learn a lot without any tools at all.  Thermal (and air) leaks often leave visual evidence behind - most notably dirt as moisture-laden air condenses onto colder surfaces and leaves dust particles behind.  One of our inspector-friends says one of his favorite tools is literally a piece of toilet-paper taped to a stick (the toilet-paper moves in the presence of even very small air currents.  The stick just allows him to stick it down into crawl-spaces).

Finding and plugging air leaks will give you the best bang for the buck. A case of GreatStuff expanding foam and a few tubes of caulk can do wonders.  Walk around your house and mythodically examine every penetration both inside and out (e.g. electrical outlets, pipes, windows, doors, since-removed utilities). Improving your insulation will be effective once you stop air leakage.  AFter you plug the leaks start by insulating the attic.  We went all the way to R-60 with blown cellulose.  Given how cheap it is there's little reason not to go to the max for your climate zone.  Next up was the rim-joists (also often the biggest offender of air penetration as well).  Walls are harder unless you are willing to pull off cladding and adding rigid foam, or injecting foam, or ripping out drywall entirely.

Happy to answer specific questions about what we've learned along the way.