9 Home Energy Audits with Thermal Imaging Camera: DIY and Save BIG Money!

Home Energy Audits Thermal Camera
Energy audit.

This is how homeowners can save BIG on electric bills.

A home energy efficiency audit is a great way to learn where your home is losing energy, and what you can do about it.

The key challenge is, most of the energy efficiency issues in a building cannot be detected with naked eyes.

This is where thermal imaging camera can be extremely handy and impressive.

Thermal Imaging Camera For Home Energy Audits

Of all the tools that a home energy professional can bring to the inspection, few compare to the usefulness of non-invasive thermal imaging camera that allows the auditor to see what is otherwise invisible or hidden from view.

The principle behind how infrared thermal imaging technology works is simple:

It detects temperature by recognizing and capturing different levels of infrared light, and then it creates an electronic image in artificial colours that shows the temperature differences:

  • the brighter the colour (eg. red, orange, yellow), the warmer the temperature is.
  • the darker the colour (eg. blue, purple, black), the cooler the temperature is.

Easy to operate, this powerful little tool can quickly indicate in which areas of the property the energy efficiency problems are located. This gives homeowners a clear idea on how to improve their home and make it more energy efficient.

This advanced infrared technology can be used for electrical inspections, roofing, along with detection of heat loss, air leak, insulation issue, moisture, water damage, and much more.

Watch the video below for overview on how thermal camera helps home inspector to surface hidden issues in residential properties and real estate that cannot be seen with naked eyes.

Thermal camera is very user-friendly and easy to operate, so you can use it to do home energy audit by yourself too!

Let’s look at 9 examples of home energy audits using thermal imaging camera, and the energy efficiency issues that are identified.

These actual case studies will give you a good understanding and inspirations to start your home energy audit today, and save significant electricity cost in the long run.

#1: Energy Audit with Thermal Imaging Camera

Thermal imaging is one of the most effective and accurate building diagnostic methods.

In the excellent video below, energy consultant Tim Courtier shared useful tips on how to use it to perform home energy audit on the windows, doors, basement, attic space, and bedroom.

Among the many issues detected by the thermal imaging infrared camera —

The house actually has a lot of air leakage around and underneath the new windows themselves, and this will increase the energy consumption and utility bill.


#2: Whole-House Energy Audit with Thermal IR Camera

Home energy advisor Chris Kennedy used thermal imaging camera to perform a whole-house energy audit.

He found a long list of opportunities to improve the overall energy efficiency of the house and reduce the electric bills —

including heat loss due to poor insulation that caused huge temperature difference between the studs, while the biggest point of heat loss came form the attic.

Check out the video below, including tips from home energy specialists on how to address these energy efficiency problems.
Recommended read: The 5 Best Thermal Imaging Camera for Your Home Energy Audit


#3: Detection of Heat Loss and Unwanted Heat Gain

Studies show heat losses caused by ventilation and infiltration can amount to 50% of the total heat loss from a building.

For better accuracy, heat loss detection using infrared thermal camera is recommended to be done in the evening when the weather is cooler and the heater is on. Under these conditions, thermal camera will show areas through which warm air escapes based on the differences in temperature, and locate the points where heat loss occur.

On the other hand, unwanted heat gain can really increase your utility bill, with about 60% of total energy consumption for buildings in Europe goes to heating.

The following video by Energy Makeover project manager Bret Curry shows case studies of unwanted heat gain detected by thermal imaging technology during a home energy audit in Arkansas, and what have been done to fix the identified root-causes.

Taking actions on heat flow anomalies detected by thermal camera, including abnormal heat loss through the building envelope and unwanted heat gain during summer, can really help to greatly improve energy efficiency and reduce electric bills.

#4: DIY Home Energy Audit with FLIR E4

Here is a tour of the interesting things Les Wilhelm found while inspecting the house with an infrared thermal imaging camera.

With the help of thermal imaging technology, the energy efficiency issues that he found in this home energy audit include missing insulation above the ceiling and cold spot in kitchen area.

The thermal camera model that Les used here is FLIR E4 Thermal Imaging Camera.


#5: DIY Energy Audit on MyPlayHouse

Morten Hjorth bought MyPlayHouse from his grandparents. He loves to spend time working on this old 168 M² / 1808.3ft² house in the countryside.

Morten used the Flir One Thermal Camera for iOS / Android Device to see where all the heat went out of MyPlayHouse.

After the audit, he found something.


#6: Hot Spot and Home Insulation Efficiency Audit

Air leakages through poorly sealed windows and doors can cause energy wastage as heat seeps out.

Many house owners use thermal imaging camera to identify home insulation efficiency improvement opportunities to make their house more energy efficient.

This is the most practical way to lower heating and cooling costs — by keeping the house warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

Check out the home energy audit by Chris Barnard below, with thermal camera discovered insulation efficiency issue at the wall and ceiling intersection of a master bedroom in Florida.


#7: Energy Audit On New House Before Closing

The Guitologist guy hired a home inspector to do a complete inspection of his new property before closing.

The FLIR E4 Thermal Camera showed some problem areas of missing insulation that he would not have seen otherwise. They were also able to see all the ductwork in the walls and areas of low energy efficiency.

He described the thermal imaging camera is “like Superman with X-RAY VISION!”


#8: DIY Garage In-Floor Heat Check with Thermal Cam

Garages can be a large part of heat loss and are often overlooked by most homeowners.

In this video, Benjamin Nelson used FLIR thermal camera to check the hydronic heating system in his new garage.


#9: DIY Audit and Diagnosis of HVAC Air Flow Problems

Air flow issue is a real challenge when balancing an HVAC system, with HVAC refers to the Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning systems that perform heating and/or cooling for residential houses and commercial buildings.

Inconsistent airflow can result in uneven heating and cooling throughout the house, and make a big impact on your utility bills.

The good news is, thermal imaging camera can help your diagnosis to determine the causes – including identification of blocked vents and registers, obstructed condenser unit, blocked or leaky ducts, and more.

Check out this case study by Robb Hill, in which thermal imaging inspection revealed a supply duct that was covered with drywall, causing loss of conditioned air.


Start Home Energy Audit To Reduce Your Electric Bill!

By now you should have a good understanding on the benefits of using thermal imaging technology to significantly improve the effectiveness of an home energy audit.

It’s important to find out where you are losing the energy and why, without guessing.

While it is very likely that your house or apartment face some of the common energy efficiency problems as shown in the videos above —

You can consider to invest in a thermal imaging camera to help achieve better energy efficiency and long term utility cost saving, regardless if it’s a new or old property.

Home energy audit can be some of the best money you’ll ever spend, and infrared thermal imaging camera can pay for itself in a short time.