To understand Infrared technology as a tool, it is necessary to understand how it works. Thermal or infrared energy is light that is not visible because its wavelength is too long to be detected by the human eye. Thermal or infrared energy (IR) is the part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we perceive as heat. Unlike visible light, in the infrared world, everything with a temperature above absolute zero emits heat. Even very cold objects, like ice cubes, emit infrared. The higher the object's temperature, the greater the IR radiation emitted. Infrared allows people to see what their eyes normally cannot see.
Finding a problem with an infrared camera is sometimes not enough. In fact, an infrared camera image alone without accurate temperature measurements says very little about the condition of a possible anomaly. Many targets are operating properly at temperatures that are significantly above ambient. An infrared image without measurement can be misleading because it may visually suggest a problem that does not exist. Our inspectors receive significant training to interpret what the infrared image is telling them.
In our inspection reports, we include side by side comparison pictures to illustrate what the naked eye sees and what the infrared camera is seeing. You can see by attached pictures that the camera is reading temperature differences. These differences allow us to see possible issues before the naked eye can see them.