Playing around with a FLIR i7 infrared camera

In Q1 2011, Home Depot and FLIR engaged in a pilot program to evaluate the market for rentals of FLIR i7 thermal IR cameras. At my local store, half day (4 hr) rentals were $45, full day were $75. You can rent a camera just before closing and keep it overnight for the half-day rate.

Click here for more info.

Here's some hints on interpreting the photos:
  • The temperature display in the upper left indicates the temp within the crosshairs. So in the first car photo, the top edge of my license plate is 43.7 deg F. In the eighth car photo, my exhaust manifold it over 518 degrees.
  • The camera rescales the temperature range dynamically, with the coldest temps dark blue/black, and the highest yellow/white. The scale appears at the bottom. The camera has 2 color schemes (the one here is called "iron"), and greyscale.
  • When looking for heat leaks, FLIR says you should have at least a 10 degree gradient inside-to-outside. It was night, around 10pm, in the mid-20's, when I took these pictures.
  • These pictures were all taken at night - trying to locate winter heat leaks in your roof when it is being warmed by midday sun probably won't work too well.
  • What I learned

    The house was built in the mid 2000's, and seems reasonable well insulated. I did find the following:
  • Heat loss in the dormer roof due to some missing insulation
  • Several of the recessed ceiling lights in the bedrooms are missing insulation (their a notable cold spots in the ceiling)
  • I need to add weatherstripping to the garage door
  • I should replace the missing insulation on the inside of the box joists in the basement - they are pretty cold
  • Dormer heat loss

    I wanted to rent the camera to look for heat loss in the roof where a dormer meets the roof. In the winter, even in temps <10 deg F, we can have melting in this section, which leads to significant ice damning.
    Here's the warm spot under the eves of the dormer (centered in the crosshairs) - I might re-rent the camera and get up on a ladder for more detail.

    Interior shots of the crawlspace. These 4 show the three cold spots on the inside (that's my finger in the second one; trying to figure out what I was looking at). I think the third one is the main issue.

    Heat loss into attic around some recessed ceiling lights in bedrooms

    Heat loss at dryer vent

    Heat loss around garage door

    Example of heat loss at box joists in basement

    A piece of insulation fell down; here is the result

    Now just silly stuff...

    Shots of my car after getting home from Home Depot:


    Not sure why the exhaust tips aren't the same temperature.

    I turned the defroster on before taking this shot - you can see the heat coming off the vents and windshield.

    From the front, you can see the heat coming off the engine, the (now cooled off) intercooler, and the relatively hot coolant expansion tank at the top center of the picture.

    Standing at the passenger side to get a view of the exhaust manifold.

    Double pane glass is a good relector of IR

    That's a reflected IR self portrait. You can't see the dogs on the other side of the glass.

    Speaking of the dogs...


    Bosco leaves a thermal footprint after getting up off the floor

    Shots of the house systems

    How hot is a pellet stove and the chimney it feeds??

    Dimmer switches in operation

    Boiler plumbing

    Modine heater in the garage, first off, then warming up.

    Shelf mounted server - the warm spot on the wall on the right side is the exhaust from the power supply. The reverse side of the wall is warmed up 6-7 degrees.