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Limitations of Infrared Technology


Despite the widely spread misconception shown on some popular renovation shows, infrared cameras cannot see through walls and subsequently expose defects.

On the other hand, infrared cameras cannot see through walls but still having them installed in your home for inspection is vital to offer you that added protection.


History of Infrared Technology

To have a clear understanding on how infrared works, you must first comprehend a little history about the infrared technology, which William Herschel discovered back in 1800 while he is using a prism to reflect light onto a table.

Furthermore, Herschel realized while he was measuring the temperature level of the various colors that the thermometer gave a higher temperature reading for the colors beyond the red light in comparison to those inside the light.

Subsequently, he carried out further studies and concluded that above the red spectrum infrared energy was present.

More than 200 years later, the implementation of this knowledge has seen the creation of infrared cameras which can detect this energy consequently create a thermal image basing on the available information.


Limitations of Infrared Cameras

Depending on the temperature, all materials produce this infrared energy, and usually, more energy is emitted the higher the temperature levels.

Moreover, whereas everything in the globe emits infrared energy, some objects emit infrared better in comparison to others and thus making understanding this concept even more complicated.

Other materials in the world act as reflectors to infrared energy, and consequently this brings about the limitations of cameras.

For a start, cameras cannot see through items instead they only detect the item’s surface temperature, and an excellent example of this is the wall framing members which can be seen while you are using a camera.

It is because of the rate of heating up and cooling down of the window differs typically in comparison to that of the insulation, therefore, resulting in the infrared camera not seeing through the material.

Furthermore, in case the studs and insulation have an identical temperature, the infrared camera cannot detect both the insulation and studs, just like how a camera cannot see water inside the wall.

Nevertheless, cameras usually can differentiate the variance in temperature as a result of water evaporation.

Additionally, cameras cannot detect the temperature of other reflective materials or shiny metals as well as not being able to see through items like windows since its emittance level is extremely low.

Instead, cameras reflect the energy of the environment instead of emitting its energy.Infrared camera also has another limitation, and that is environmental conditions throughout an inspection, with the perfect condition for an infrared camera being during the day, when there is no sun and no wind.

Moreover, the temperature level outside needs to be ten degrees Celsius or higher, as well as being lower in comparison to the temperature levels inside, and it needs to have rained a few days back before the inspection.

Therefore, from all this, you can see creating the ideal condition for which an infrared camera gets to perform flawlessly is close to impossible.


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