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Thermal imaging of house to figure out insulation issues

  • Last Updated:
  • Feb 23rd, 2021 6:16 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4119 posts
695 upvotes
Toronto

Thermal imaging of house to figure out insulation issues

I live in an old house. There are a number of cold rooms and cold "spots" in the winter (and conversely in the summer).

Given how the house is constructed and insulated (barely), I don't think there is much I can do to fix the cold rooms / spots, but on the off chance that there might be some "quick wins", I thought it might be useful to do some thermal imaging of the outside of the house, and some select rooms indoors.

Around here there are people who offer the imaging as a service for $50-$60.

Has anyone had this done before, and did it prove useful in identifying parts of the house that might benefit from better insulation? Or is it a waste of money?
Last edited by JHW on Feb 23rd, 2021 4:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
13 replies
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
12128 posts
7010 upvotes
Markham
No one is going to do this for $50-$60 BTW as FLIR cameras used to cost thousands of $$$ and they have to travel to and from your place. Perhaps buy a camera and DIY.

Identifying cold spots is one thing...fixing them is a total different thing.

https://www.amazon.ca/Thermal-Camera-Sm ... 9735&psc=1


I also think those "Infrared Thermometer Digital Temperature Gun " might be good enough for your needs.

https://www.amazon.ca/Etekcity-Thermome ... B00837ZGRY

Not recommending specific item..just posting possibilities for reference.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Sr. Member
Jun 4, 2020
566 posts
476 upvotes
Clarington, ON
Several years ago when purchase our house, the home inspector did a quick assessment with a thermal camera as part of his inspection. Perhaps contacting someone like this and asking if they can perform this singular service for you?
Deal Addict
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Dec 10, 2008
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Suck it up and buy a $300-$500 Flir that mounts to your phone.

I have one and that little thing is amazing for narrowing in on insulation deficiencies. It works best in the winter, though, when it's really cold outside and warm inside.
Let's hug it out
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4119 posts
695 upvotes
Toronto
gr8dlr wrote: No one is going to do this for $50-$60 BTW as FLIR cameras used to cost thousands of $$$ and they have to travel to and from your place.
People are offering the service for that price. I'm sure they're using something lower tech than a thousands of $ FLIR camera. Maybe I'll just buy one of the FLIR phone add-ons and sell it when done.
I also think those "Infrared Thermometer Digital Temperature Gun " might be good enough for your needs.
I have one of those -- it's useful to a point, especially inside, but I need more detail.
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
15692 posts
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Oakville
JHW wrote: People are offering the service for that price. I'm sure they're using something lower tech than a thousands of $ FLIR camera.
I have one of those -- it's useful to a point, especially inside, but I need more detail.
Unless someone's doing it for fun, or looking to sell you more services, or maybe to scope out your house for robbery, nobody skilled person is going to drive to your place and take hundreds of photos for $50. Maybe $50 just to show up and add on from there.

I recently picked up a $200 FLIR camera for my phone and have been taking photos. See here flir-ca-flir-one-gen-3-thermal-camera-s ... #p34083731

You can get an Amazon Warehouse deal on a Seek Thermal camera for $176 cad.
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00NYWAHHM?psc=1 Used - Acceptable CDN$176.32 FREE delivery: Tomorrow
Deal Guru
User avatar
Sep 1, 2005
12128 posts
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Markham
Good luck with a $50 Kijiji ad person. Might be a homeless person looking to warm up for an hour or two and they use their hand to feel the wall. JK. LOL.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
Deal Addict
Apr 26, 2003
1415 posts
571 upvotes
Are you talking about the walls not being insulated/cold spots or attic?

I wouldn't let some random kijiji person into my house for $50/60 to scan the walls? They also might just be scoping out your house to see what's worth to break in for.
Sr. Member
Jun 26, 2019
820 posts
619 upvotes
JHW wrote: Given how the house is constructed and insulated (barely), I don't think there is much I can do to fix the cold rooms / spots, but on the off chance that there might be some "quick wins", I thought it might be useful to do some thermal imaging of the outside of the house, and some select rooms indoors.
By "quick wins" what do you mean? If you find a spot behind drywall that is either air leaking or thermal bridging a lot, are you going to rip open the wall to address the issue?

Are you going to inject insulation into poorly insulated walls?

If not, just go for the main offenders. Seal sill plates, windows, etc to stop the major air leakage. If its that bad you can probably feel these spots with your hands.

Other than that, top up for attic to R60.

Air leakage is generally your quick fixes.

Thermal bridging you probably can't do much about.

And lack of insulation generally means you either need to put in better insulation or windows.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4119 posts
695 upvotes
Toronto
SubjectivelyObjective wrote: By "quick wins" what do you mean?
Primarily, things that I can't "see" from inside (but that a camera would be able to see from outside) where there is a possibility for spraying insulation or some other measure.

The house is 110 years old and is (IIRC) basically double brick, but there are some cold spots that I can't figure out, and am hoping the thermal image would help with that. The windows are fine, and the sills are mostly OK already.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 24, 2004
4119 posts
695 upvotes
Toronto
engineered wrote: I recently picked up a $200 FLIR camera for my phone and have been taking photos. See here flir-ca-flir-one-gen-3-thermal-camera-s ... #p34083731

You can get an Amazon Warehouse deal on a Seek Thermal camera for $176 cad.
https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B00NYWAHHM?psc=1 Used - Acceptable CDN$176.32 FREE delivery: Tomorrow
Thanks, I'll check those out. I assume that for casual use the Seek vs. the FLIR doesn't make a big difference.
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
15692 posts
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Oakville
JHW wrote: Thanks, I'll check those out. I assume that for casual use the Seek vs. the FLIR doesn't make a big difference.
Yea, not a big difference. There's pros and cons to both.
Member
Jul 31, 2017
266 posts
269 upvotes
Toronto
The guys you see on Kijiji for $50-$60 is just to rent the camera for an hour. You have to go and collect and use etc. It's not an all encompassing service
Deal Fanatic
Jan 25, 2007
9676 posts
5061 upvotes
Paris
I have a $2500 Milwaukee camera and found some serious deficiencies in the cottage. When it was -37 outside the corner of my parents room was -8. On my Mom’s side. No wonder she always complains its cold!

Corner wasnt insulated.

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