18 Nov Thermal Imaging and Blower Door Testing Reduces HVAC Costs in Log Homes
While adequate air exchange is essential for health and safety, many older log homes have a far higher rate of air exchange than is necessary. This is often due to poor design and/or construction which allow air leakage from the inside or outside of the building, but log homes are additionally prone to settling, seasonal expansion and contraction of the logs, and other factors that can cause log joints to fail over time. Given that the typical 30×40 log home can easily have more than a linear half mile of log-on-log surface area, determining leakage pathways is often complex and extremely difficult to visualize leaving log home owners no other choice than to apply a sealant to all log joints in hopes of locating and correcting the problem areas.
Infrared imaging has quickly become a valued tool in identifying problems related to energy loss, water and insect infiltration, inefficient HVAC systems and much more. The thermal imaging camera identifies patterns of heat loss that are invisible to the naked eye and quickly indicates air leaks within the structure with measurement data that can easily be compiled into a printed report. A computer controlled blower door depressurizes the home to an industry standard of -50 pascals, which simulates a 20mph wind blowing on all four sides of the structure simultaneously. As air is drawn through failed log joints the temperature of the log surfaces changes, producing a thermal image that can be recorded. This allows accurate identification and repair the problem areas to stop the energy loss immediately.
Thermal imaging provides both an immediate cost benefit from the reduction in labor required to seal the home and future savings on energy costs. The computerized blower door provides information about air exchange within the structure, expressed in square inches, which can easily be understood when expressed in terms of an open door or window. The home featured in these photos indicated an open surface area of 66.5 square inches which equates to a 24” wide window being left open nearly 3” but many log homes exhibit air exchange rates several times higher.
This equipment is not to be confused with the inexpensive infrared thermometers sold at home improvement stores; but thermal image testing is affordable service to enjoy a greater level of comfort and energy efficiency in your log home.
by Wayne Bell