Camera IR recommendation

MoorlandsClimateAction would like a recommendation as the best IR camera to buy to be borrowed by members.
We would also like docs and videos explaining the best way to use it.

Without knowing the thermal cameras available, these are the characteristics that I would be looking for in your case.

• Easy to use
• Tough
• Easy computer interface or app
• Able to fix the colour scheme for the whole session (some readjust for each photo)
• Light weight
• Rechargeable battery that lasts for a long session

I’ve been looking through videos about thermal imaging and I see that most of them are from across the Atlantic, where they are looking for either heat getting in from the outside or cold patches caused by damp. Now, cold patches here could be damp but as the best season for finding heat loss from a house is the winter there is another common explanation. A skill of an experienced thermal imager is in distinguishing causes of cold although separate damp testing may well be required.

Certainly it is very useful to know something about a house being checked to help with diagnosis. This is where a well informed householder has an advantage over a visiting professional.

It is perfectly possible to undertake thermal imaging in the heat of summer in this country but you will need air conditioning to maximise the temperature difference between inside and outside, just as you need to overheat a house in winter to do the same.

Loco Home Retrofit has a FLIR CX 5. We got it for £640 and it’s pretty decent for basic imaging. I’ve heard Testo also have a decent basic camera.

1 Like

What made you choose the CX5 over the C5. I see that the CX version is ruggedised, so presumably more tolerant of being dropped and passing through the postal system multiple times but the list price is over double the price of the C5.

Published prices (new) 11/02/2023
C5 $800
CX5 $2000

We have a few Flir devices from the C range. Specifically a C2, which I don’t think they make anymore, a C3 and a C5. Overall we find they are a really good solution in terms of the accuracy, usability and durability. We have not had any of the devices fail, and generally people are able to get to grips with them fairly quickly.

The C5 has a higher resolution than the C3 but is otherwise very similar - and in most of our use cases the higher resolution is not really necessary.

Would definitely reccomend any of the C range devices.

Just to add that these cameras are borrowed by members on a very regular basis, and generally with positive feedback.

I have an infrared thermometer similar to look at as of the type that became popular during the Covid outbreaks for detecting fever. It is extremely useful for comparing temperatures in different areas and can give average or pinpoint temperatures. I don’t have my own thermal camera. I am thinking of changing that and have a Flir One in mind. It is relatively cheap. In a commercial sense it is almost a disposable item although I hope mine lasts for years. A well known and recommended energy company has some that it used to lend out to customers that requested one. They are now reserved for disadvantaged and fuel poor households.

There are issues with the Flir One. You need a smart phone to plug it in to and run their app. Smartphones do not have a standard interface, so different versions are available. If you change your phone brand you may also have to change your thermal camera.
The lowest grade of One has poor acuity and it is difficult to relate the image to the tactile world. It is probably ok for a householder who already has a good appreciation of the thermal problems their home presents.
There is an intermediate version that I am not sure about.
Then there is the “Pro”. By the time you buy a Pro the price is getting up to that of lower range thermal cameras that have their own screens, memories and analytic tools. The Pro has far better acuity and superimposes a sort of line drawing of the area photographed, making identification of features much easier. Despite being called “Pro” I doubt that anyone making their living taking and interpreting thermal images ever uses one but for a general retrofit advisor I can see that they are a very useful tool.

The One fits in a pocket or padded envelope, is light weight and the images are immediately available on your phone/tablet.

So what does the thermal camera do that my infrared thermometer doesn’t? First of all it is quick, weather permitting. More importantly they analyse a whole surface. However meticulous I am with the thermometer I can still miss thermal bridges and bypasses.

I am aiming for the equivalent of EnerPHit or better. My current tool has helped me halve my energy usage. I now need to get to one fifth of my current usage. It’s a tall order but the right tools will help.