How to determine how warm a radiator or underfloor heating is, how to measure the temperature of walls or a window frame? Especially for these and many other tasks, there is such a useful tool as a thermal imager. What this device is capable of, and in what cases it will be indispensable – we tell in detail.
Heat loss diagnostics
In simple terms, a thermal imager is a special camera that shows the temperature. The main feature is the ability to measure not at a specific point, but at several at once. The image is displayed on the screen in the appropriate shades. Blues and blacks indicate low temperatures, while reds and whites indicate high temperatures. Measurements are performed by a non-contact method – just point the camera at the object.
Convenient, but where is it useful? The very first and most popular option is the assessment of heat losses. A sore point for most residents is poor heating. For example, the boiler in the house is running at full capacity, but the rooms are still cold. This is usually due to the appearance of deposits on the inner walls of radiators and pipes. But how to find them, look inside, after all, it will not work?
This is where a thermal imager comes in handy. With it, you can quickly find sections of pipes and radiators that warm up the worst. This is also true for the underfloor heating system – the tool allows you to literally look at the working circuit and even identify leaks. The device is also relevant for searching for poorly insulated areas in a house or apartment. Points with poor thermal insulation on the screen of the thermal imager will stand out well with blue tints against warm tones.
Of course, most of all, the thermal imager is relevant for professional installers and repairmen. However, the possibility of compiling a “temperature map” will also be useful in everyday life, especially for owners of private houses.
Search for overheating with a thermal imager
If in heating a weak warm-up is bad, then in an electrician the danger is overheating. Terminals, wires and other elements in the worst case scenario can begin to melt, and this is already a potentially fire hazardous situation. The thermal imager allows you to check their temperature quickly and, most importantly, safely. For example, just point the camera at the shield – the device will show the hottest elements and their temperature.
The situation is similar with microcircuits – using a thermal imager, you can easily determine the overheating of individual components. The tool will be useful to mechanics and motorists – strong heating often indicates excessive friction.
What are thermal imagers
Professional thermal imagers are rather expensive devices. They are equipped with multiple cameras, have extensive customization options, are capable of recording video and more. For example, you can choose the display color palette, the measured temperature range, and more. And that’s not to mention the impressive configuration with useful accessories.
If you need something more affordable, you can buy a special thermal imager module for your smartphone. Such blocks are usually connected via built-in USB (Type-C, micro) or Lightning (if we talk about Apple technology). Devices from the high price category also have a couple of cameras, they are able to record video, but they lose to professional models in terms of resolution. As a result, measurement errors can be quite noticeable.
If the thermal imager has two cameras, then it can shoot both in the usual visible range and in the infrared. The camera changes directly in the device settings. For maximum information content and convenience, you can select a combined mode – then the temperature map will be superimposed on the picture from a conventional camera.
Professional models of thermal imagers often come with special software. Through USB, you can upload images to a computer and generate an informative report, for example, selecting individual points for measurements and more. Naturally, this will be useful for specialized professionals who provide relevant services.
The thermal imager is a useful tool for diagnosing temperature issues. With it, you can determine the heating of several surfaces at once, and in a non-contact way. Professional models have the highest accuracy and extensive functionality at the highest price. For everyday tasks, you can look at plug-ins for a smartphone – they are relatively inexpensive and easy to use.