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Thermographic Damp Surveys

A lot has been said about thermal imaging surveys by the damp industry.  We pioneered the use of thermal imaging as a means of backing up our observations when looking at possible damp problems. Nowadays, blogs and little websites are springing up all over the place with people who claim to do a thermographic survey to find the cause of your damp - they always recommend damp proofing anyway.  Thermographic surveying is still  very much in its infancy when applied to damp problems.  The fact that an entire damp industry supported by the Property Care Association still routinely diagnoses 'rising damp', 'broken down damp proof course' and 'capillary rise of moisture in brickwork' shows that even the most basic science of why problems are present is not being understood.  The damp industry doesn't WANT to understand - if it did, there would be no damp industry.   PCA 'damp wallys' are running around telling people they are 'Level 1,2,3 thermographer' as though this is some grand qualification - believe me - it's not.

Our thermal imaging surveys are very much an adjunct to what we do.  They are used to confirm a diagnosis - to back up our observations.  A patch of mould on a wall indicates a cold area prone to condensation.  WHY is it cold?  Is it because water is soaking that part of the wall from a leaking downpipe outside?  The thermal image will show a cold trail down the wall, confirming this.  If there is no cold trail, it may well be that the leak has been fixed, the problem no longer exists, and the mould is just an historical issue.  Often we will use thermal imaging to find areas of missing insulation, or show where cold air is getting into a building during winter.  One of the best applications we have found is to spot wet cavity wall insulation - random cold patches in a wall where they should not be present, will confirm our suspicions that cavity insulation is soaking wet and thus cooling the wall.

We will add some examples of surveys and images as time permits!

Moisture causing a cold spot on a staircase, below ground level.

Badly fitted insulation, combined with water getting through flashings to a chimney.

A badly sealed beam in timber frame - cold air entering around the end of the beam.

Heat loss in window reveals

I've just surveyed a lovely old Welsh stone cottage.  It was interesting in being warm and dry - and had just had UPVC windows fitted all round.  Now I know I don't like these, but in this case, they are doing a good job - the windows are warm, and are not losing heat.  What is very obvious though is that heat is being lost AROUND the windows, through the reveals. This is very typical of such solid walled buildings.  Most heat actually does get lost around the windows, not through them.  

How to prevent heat loss you ask?

The best way we've found is to add insulation to the window reveals - and this doesn't mean slabs of kingspan. We take off gypsum plaster and replace with a hemp lime mix which is ver good at insulating.  This dramatically reduces thermal bridging and the reveals stay warm. There are other ways of doing this - which if you have a problem, we can discuss with you. 

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