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Free to loan: Thermal cameras at Merri-bek libraries

By June 27, 2024No Comments
Front of a red brick house with a native front garden.

Red and blue image of door and ceiling from a thermal imaging cameraWhen Mel and Scott moved into their new home in North Coburg, they knew the 1980s home needed an upgrade.

There was virtually no insulation so they could almost feel the heat being sucked out of the home on cold nights. As part of their renovations they added insulation throughout the walls and ceilings of the home to help cool the home in summer and keep it warmer through the chill of winter.

But when Scott read about FLIR thermal cameras on My Efficient Electric Home facebook group, he was interested to see how the tool could help guide the upgrade process.

Scott booked a FLIR thermal camera through Glenroy library after discovering that Merri-bek libraries have 10 FLIR thermal cameras available for week-long loans.

A game-changer

Thermal (or infrared) cameras detect infrared light (or heat) invisible to the human eye and convert it onto a screen on a hand-held camera.

When Scott got the camera home from the library that night, he took it on a walk around the house. With hot and cold surface temperatures showing up as contrasting colours he was able to assess where his home was losing valuable heat.

“It is such a great tool,” says Scott. “We found expected things, like huge heat loss through our single pane aluminium windows and around doors, which we hadn’t yet sealed properly.”

He also found that the cathedral ceiling in the living room that he had painstakingly insulated was faring well and keeping the rooms warm, something he and Mel had already noticed.

But there were also some surprises.

The camera showed Scott where his ceiling insulation skills on the second storey of the home left a bit to be desired. “I could see cold areas in the ceiling where I hadn’t put the insulation in right to the edges of the ceiling. You might think a 300mm gap here or there wouldn’t make much difference, but the camera doesn’t lie,” he laughs.

Red and blue image of a door and floor from a thermal imaging cameraScott got up into the ceiling next opportunity he could and fixed the insulation. He also used foam sealing around the edges of the doors and windows to help seal up gaps.

With Scott and Mel’s renovation still underway, he’s planning to hire the camera again at a later stage for further quality assurance.

My Efficient Electric Home facebook group has some great tips on how to use the cameras, the best time of year to use them (when the difference between outside and inside temperatures is greatest), and how to interpret the images.

Reserve a FLIR thermal camera from a Merri-bek library today.

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