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Infrared Cameras Can Help Find Leaks in Ductwork

HVAC, thermal imaging, energy efficiency, air distribution



April 8, 2010 - HVAC

Today's tip is finding leaks in HVAC ducts.

Leaking ducts can be a pernicious energy waster. They lose heat or cooling &emdash; into the ceiling plenum or other space &emdash; rather than delivering it to occupied areas. What’s more, they increase fan energy use because more air has to be moved.

Infrared cameras &emdash; more formally known as thermal imagers &emdash; offer an easy way to find leaks in ducts. The cameras capture an image of heat patterns in objects. An image of a duct would show hot and cold spots, allowing the facility staff to pinpoint leaks in the duct.

Advances in technology have produced cameras that are smaller, offer better resolution, have more features, and cost less than cameras in the past.

Repairing leaks in ducts can produce significant savings. That's because fan energy use is proportional to the cube of the speed of the fan, so they become more efficient at lower speeds. Once duct leaks are repaired, fans will save energy because they are moving less air and moving it more efficiently.

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