• How to detect a water leak using thermal imaging

Water leaks can cause serve damage to residential and commercial premises if left undetected, additionally it causes a buildup of mildew or mold, which both can cause illness to people. Water leaks and increased moisture within a premises can be the caused by a range of varying factors including humidity, condensation, water pipe leaks, and weather events such as heavy rain and storms. Thermal imaging can be used under the right circumstances to detect water leaks or moisture issues without resorting to destructive testing tactics.u
Moisture tends to cause subtle heat differences, therefore selecting the right thermal camera to do the job is vital. This type of camera will need to have a high resolution and a high-quality thermal sensitivity (NETD), to pick up even the slightest temperature difference. Moisture in buildings will generally spread through a recognisable pattern, depending on where the water is located. For example, water in walls generally forms a top-down triangular shape and in a ceiling, it forms an amorphous, unstructured shape with the wet, damp, and moist areas spreading outwards at different temperatures.

How to determine what the best Thermal Camera is for moisture detection?

At TRIO test and measure, we recommend choosing a thermal camera with a sensitivity of 30mK, allowing for even the most minimal heat changes to be detected. A standard thermal camera has a sensitivity of 100mK and is better suited in industrial applications and detecting large temperature differences.
The thermal imaging camera should allow you to adjust the level and span of the thermal image, providing you with in-depth insight into the water damage that has occurred. Ideally the image should be adjusted for approximately a 10°C or 20°C span, to further help the detection of moisture.
Therefore, we recommend the FLIR E6-XT for simple detection in basic applications and FLIR E8-XT and FLIR E96-24 if a higher resolution option is required.

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