The Cat S61 smartphone has been used to capture images of just how poorly insulated many homes are in the UK.
Generally, the newer houses hold their heat more efficiently – thanks to modern insulation and double-glazing – however, one image taken in Shoreditch, east London, shows how much heat is lost through the large feature windows of a modern flat.
Paul Holmes, technical product manager at Bullitt Group, makers of the Cat S61, said, “When looking at a building using thermal imaging, it’s the contrasting colours that are important to focus on. Yellow and white/yellow spots show heat, and dark plum colours show cold spots. Both of these can be a bad sign because it usually means that either heat is escaping or cold is coming in.
“The lighter or brighter a patch is, the hotter it is, and the bigger the colour difference the bigger the difference in temperature. Equally, from the outside of the house it’s important to take note of particularly warm spots as this could be a sign of heat escaping. In general, the goal is for the exterior of your house to be cold – including windows, external walls and the roof – as this means that the heat is staying inside rather than leaking out.”
In a typical British home, around one-third of the heat produced by its heating system is rapidly lost through the roof, ceiling and walls, according to the National Energy Foundation.
Anthony Crossman from A-J-C Plumbing said: “A properly insulated home will keep you warmer for longer and help to save money on the heating bills. The key is to work out where you’re losing heat and a tool like the Cat S61 is obviously very good at doing that. It’s worth checking doors, window frames, ceilings and walls inside and outside your property to see if you are losing heat. Loft insulation can also be an issue so it’s worth seeing what heat you’re losing through the roof if you have easy access.
“The most important tip I have is to have your boiler serviced every year. If you want your heating to work efficiently throughout the winter, you must look after the boiler. A lot of winter break downs can be avoided by correctly servicing the boiler.”
In a typical building, problem areas highlighted by thermal imaging might include:
- Gaps around doors and windows (especially in older properties)
- Ceilings, external walls and internal walls (often behind radiators or around damp and cold spots)
- Chimneys and roofs
- Poorly insulated pipes or under-performing radiators
- Old extractor fans or gaps in lighting fixtures/pipework
- Gaps in floors (especially wooden floorboards).