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How can I detect energy loss in my home?

Everyone wants to insulate their homes, but it is not always easy to know where to start.

Heat loss in a home is usually invisible to the naked eye. There is some technology to help with this though: infrared thermal imaging. In the past, thermal imaging has been difficult and costly, but now it is more accessible thanks to cheap portable options.

How does it work?

The principle behind infrared thermal imaging is simple: a special camera is used to take photographs of surfaces. But instead of a pretty photo, you get an image in artificial colours that shows the temperature of the surface photographed:

  • the redder the colour, the hotter the surface is
  • the bluer the colour, the colder the surface is

It's simple!

How can I make good use of thermal imaging?

Now you know the theory, it's time to put it into practice.

To obtain useful results, you should take the pictures when the weather is cold. In order for the fluctuations in temperature to be displayed clearly, there should be at least 10°C difference between the internal and external temperatures.

If you take a thermal image of your home from outside on a cold day, you will see that the areas where heat escapes are coloured red. All you need to work out is why this is the case. You may not have enough insulation, heat may be escaping through the window frame or there might be a thermal bridge.

Thermal imaging can also reveal other issues inside your home:

  • A fault in electric insulation that leads to abnormal overheating
  • A water leak under a subfloor that causes a cold zone,
  • etc.

Two ideas for making use of thermal imaging

  • The Brussels-Capital region carried out thermal imaging of the city in 2008. This showed which roofs had no insulation installed (in red). Why not have a look for yours?
  • Thermal imaging is one technique that can be used during an energy audit. Having such an audit conducted on your home in Brussels can make you eligible to receive a bonus of up to €400! Find out more here.

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