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Thermal imaging in radiator-based HVAC

As winter befalls the northern hemisphere, our reliance on radiator-based HVAC systems surges again. The hot-water circulation system integrated into our floor maintains a warm and inhabitable ambient temperature and keeps our access to a hot shower during the cold.

To ensure the comfort of the household, it’s often necessary to check the quality and integrity of the radiator-based heating system. Floor heating designs usually incorporate heating rods, or more commonly hot water pipes between tiles and concrete blocks. Defects on individual blocks are hard to locate, but will nevertheless compromise the warming effect of the system, and in some serious cases, damage the longevity and integrity of the floor itself (ex. pipes bursting).

Thermal imagers, however, can help inspectors effortlessly pick out malfunctioning parts of the radiator system. One pro tip: turn on the floor heating system on a cold night and wait for 10-15 minutes before the thermal inspection. A thermal imager works best when there is a stark temperature difference. The 10-minute mark is when the rods or pipes' heat starts to penetrate to the surface tile, yet not so much that the entire tile appears isothermal. In addition, according to HVAC experts, thermal imagers with a resolution of 384x288 or higher can exhibit distinction between pipes, and therefore makes isolating leakage to the individual pipe easier. Hence, we recommend the Fotric 326M for HVAC inspectors who want to pinpoint potential hot pipe issues faster. What’s more, the compact camera is equipped with radiometric video recording capability, which allows inspectors to make swift scouts for thermal anomalies and save comprehensive data for later reports and further analysis.

In addition, due to the higher-than-usual workload in the water heater, any potential electrical connection issue will be exacerbated. Periodic thermal inspection is crucial for eliminating electrical safety hazards. The Fotric 320 cameras come with a thermal/visual duo lens system that enhances thermal anomaly spotting ability even in a complex environment.


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