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Commercial Thermography Inspections: An Underutilized Cost-Saving Strategy

 January 18, 2023 |  Maintenance, Inspection |  safety, commercial HVAC, interior maintenance, office space

Homeowners know very well how much their energy bills can hurt the wallet throughout the year. For commercial property owners, those energy bills are considerably more punishing. While homeowners can search for ways to cut down on spending, such as adding insulation to their attics, or resealing their windows, commercial property owners too often see energy as a standard cost of operation without much room for adjustment.

Of course, with a much larger space to examine, commercial properties can be much more intimidating to survey and that much more difficult to identify areas for improvement. According to Constellation, a leading commercial power supplier in the United States, 40% of the total energy consumption for office buildings comes from heating and cooling alone. Depending on the industry and size of the building, this percentage can be even higher. Commercial property owners are, unfortunately, mostly missing out on these savings that are more accessible for homeowners due to sheer size. To combat this issue, the best answer for property owners is to get a thermographic inspection.

What is Thermography?
Thermography is a type of scan conducted by property inspectors to find thermal anomalies and air leaks within a building. “Thermographers” use one of a few different instruments to develop a thermogram, which is a picture made up of light derived from the heat spectrum. This heat spectrum can either be in color, or in black and white, with darker colors signifying cooler zones and lighter colors signifying warmer zones.

Our inspectors most commonly use one of three instruments to develop their thermogram:

Spot Radiometer. This hand-held device that measures UV readings. An auditor can use this to scan an area and manually record their findings.

Thermal Line Scanner. Somewhat more complex, this device records temperature along a line to produce thermal images.

Thermal Imaging Camera. The highest quality thermograms are recorded by dedicated thermal imaging cameras, expensive but highly sophisticated tools.

With a thermogram, inspectors can potentially identify a surprising number of issues. Some common primary culprits of energy cost suckers that can be detected are areas with improperly installed insulation and poorly sealed windows. Areas where the roof might be leaking or where a leak could occur soon can be detected as well, providing the opportunity to avoid things like mold and rodent infestation.

Scans can also be used to identify possible damages before they spread or become even more costly. With a thermographic survey, electrical faults can be discovered before an electrical fire, and things like overloaded circuits, breakers in need of immediate replacement, and overheated equipment can be identified before they become bigger issues.

Why Schedule a Commercial Thermography Inspection?
While thermography is more commonly used in homes, the potential savings are much greater for commercial properties. Windows and doors are common areas where heat and air can escape when worn down or improperly installed. Properly trained thermographers can easily identify these areas that are making HVAC units work harder than they need to, saving money on energy bills in the short term and potentially extending the lives of these critical systems in the long term. For tenant experience, eliminating pesky drafts is sure to create a happier client base.

Additionally, rainstorms and snowstorms always have the potential to weaken the integrity of roofs. Thermograms can detect minor leaks before they become a major issue. Excess heat can also be easily detected from electrical systems that are performing abnormally. In this way, a preventive thermography inspection is a great way to invest in the future - and avoid unneeded headaches.

National Property Inspections is home to a vast network of expert property inspectors, spanning the United States and Canada. Schedule your next commercial property inspection today!

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National Property Inspections, Inc., founded in 1987, is one of the oldest companies in the inspection industry. Our reputation is built on honesty, integrity and professionalism. National Property Inspections operates as Global Property Inspections in Canada.