Making the most of the thermal camera

Poor insulation is one of the most common reason why homes can be cold and expensive to heat. It is not only old houses but also modern ones can suffer from draughts and poor insulation. But it can be difficult to find problems that can often be fairly easy to remedy.

Debenham Green Team has a new thermal camera which can help you make your home more fuel efficient. This video introduces the Flir One Edge camera whose purchase has been funded by the Adnams Charitable Foundation.

You can check your home’s energy efficiency by borrowing the camera. To do so you will have to register as a Green Team supporter and discover how to use it by ging through the videos and other online training material.

A thermal camera is a straightforward way to identify the cold spots in any house and Debenham Green Team has acquired one which can be borrowed by home owners and occupiers to check their houses. Everyone borrowing the camera needs to understand the camera by viewing videos and reading material on this page before doing a house survey.

Borrowers must also become members of the Green Team before making a booking. There is no membership fee but peole brrowing the camera are asked to make a donation.

Introduction to the Flir One Edge Pro camera.

The Flir One Edge Pro camera connects to phones and tablets using Bluetooth so avoiding the problems caused by different kinds of wires connections. It also means that the camera can be clipped to a phone or can be separated so that you can get the camera into difficult spaces. When an area of interest is identified a photograph or video can be taken. It will be automatically stored on your device. You will have the images after the camera has been returned.

Checking for missing insulation


A 19th Century farmhouse

In this next video a couple explain how they have found ways of improving insulation of their 19th century famhouse with some simple, low cost solutions. They borrowed a camera from their electricity supplier.

Finding Poor workmanship

This next video is American but it makes the point that many cold sports and draughts are the result of poorly installed services. Holes drilled in walls for external lights and drains may not have been broperly sealed so it is worth using the thermal camera to look under the the kitchen sink.

If you are going to use the camera you will find it useful to download and print yout own copy of the manual. We do not use Cloud storage of images save — they will only be available on your device.

Inside a Debenham house

This is what a member of the Green Team found when he borrowed the thermal camer to check out his home. He did this on a cold 2ºC, but sunny morning in April. He provides a commentary giving description and analysis of what is being seen with the FLIR 1thermal camera. The house is a 1930 single brick council house with 2009 extension. The single brick part is insulated with phenolic foam giving a very high U level but as this insulation was applied internally there are inevitable cold bridges.

Users can record both videos and stills which are stored on the borrowers phone/tablet and remain accessible after the camera has been returned. Insturctions for recording images are in the Phone App video below. This video runs through all the all the settings.

Still images

This still image from a camera shows a wall and ceiling indicating missing insulation.

Source Flir

The scale on the right shows shows the temperature differential between the warmest and coldest areas on the image. The Green Team camera will normally be set to show temperatures in Celsius. and the scales will be shorter, taking up less screen space when used on a mobile phone.

Try to avoid any major hot spots, such as a wood burning stove, as this will increase the range of temperatures so reducing the contrast in other parts of the image..

The next image shows a typical interior shot.

Source: Flir

Exterior doors often need attention. While replacing the door is often not an option, a lot can be achieved by draught stripping all around. A heavy curtain behind the door will also help. Make sure letter boxes are fitted with flaps and brush draught excluders — or better seal the opening and add an external mail-box which also makes life easier for the postman.

This image also suggests there is cold air ingression on the right side of the door frame. And there is a problem in the top left corner ehere the call and ceiling meet.

The next document is the manufacturer’s guide to using to using the camera around the house.

Before using the camera you must download the Flir One app from Google Play or the Apple App store depending on your advice. Both camera and app should be compatible with iOS 15 and later or Android OS11 or later.

If in any doubt it is probably worth downloading the app and starting it. After the opening screen you should be given the option to connect a Flir one edge camera or a Flir One (camera that plugs into a phone). You need the Flir One Edge Pro that connects usig bluetooth.

The phone app

The following video runs through using the app and its settings. Generally it will work with the default settings.

Source: Flir

If you experiment with setting please return the camera set to the IRON colour combination which gives us the range of colours normally used. Also set temperature to Cº.

The MSX alignment can be puzzling. The Flir is really two cameras — a thermal image sensor and a conventional camera. This means that alignment varies depending on distance, but generally this is not significant which checking for insulation and cold draughts.

The Green Team will not have access to any screen shots you take. They will be stored on you device so that you can use them when improving your insulation and stopping draughts.

If you identify unused chimneys as a source it may be worth considering a chimney balloon. You can Google “chimney balloon” to find suppliers.

Ready to book your camera loan

Before you can book to borrow the camera you must have registered as a member of the Green Team for which there is no charge. And access to the booking system is only available to those which are registered and longed-on.

Make a camera booking