Author - Drone Infrared Imaging

Infrared Imaging

Infrared imaging on a rainy, windy daySo what does an infrared drone guy do on a rainy windy day... practice.  Happily Flir in conjunction with DJI has upgraded their camera and software to give so many more options.  All the colors and palettes become more vivid and dynamic.  You can even tell how hot your cup of coffee is if you have your drone fired up and running (no propellers) and facing yourself.  The Starbucks coffee was 140 degrees when I first set it on the desk.  Within the first 10 minutes it decreased 20 degrees.  Enough about coffee.Infrared Imaging    Infrared Imaging    Infrared Imaging    Infrared ImagingInfrared Drone UsesThe use of drones and infrared imaging are growing.  A lot of people don't even realize how useful it can be.  I recently had my DJI Inspire Pro with the XT Flir camera flying over a commercial building.  Now I didn't know were the leaks on the building were, but after careful examination I circled areas of concern on the infrared and presented this to the owner.  Surprise surprise the areas that I circled on the infrared turned out to be close to the leak areas on the building.  Now the owner is educated about his roof leaks on his building and a roofing contractor can come out and accurately repair the roof.Roof InfraredHvac contractors can use infrared to see how hot the units are running and believe me some run very hot compared to others (see picture above, two units running hotter).Electric companies can inspect transformers and any other part of the electrical systems to find out what is operating inefficiently.  Any type of piping that runs on the outside of a building can be inspected.Cellular towers can be inspected.Search and rescue, especially at night reveal vivid pictures of human being trying to hide or run from something.The energy efficiency of any building can be determined.
Infrared Drone

Infrared Drone

PIC AND AN INFRARED DRONEPIC used to stand for Picture.  No longer, the FAA has taken it for there very own.  It stands for Pilot in Command.  The FAA wants every person that is going to fly commercially to be trained.  Flying without an Airman Certificate is Illegal.  That's why everyone at Drone Infrared Imaging must pass the Aeronautical Knowledge Test before they fly.  If nothing else its gets you to think about more than just picking up a controller and taking off.  There is a lot to think about, like the weather, obstacles, wind current around buildings, aircraft, line of sight, visual observer, magnetic fields, down drafts, updrafts and the like.  Our ultimate goal is to be safe.  An infrared drone is a very expensive proposition and believe me we don't want anything to happen to it.Infrared Drone               Infrared DroneAirspaceYes we have to share airspace.  The above images were taken in Class D airspace.  Because the airport has a Control Tower, they had to be contacted so we could get permission to fly.  It is a little bit of a hassle to actually speak to the tower, however the overall process was quite painless.  They gave permission and we were able to fly.https://www.droneinfraredimaging.com/infrared-scans/
Roof Safety

Roof Safety

BASIC PRACTICAL RULES FOR ROOF SAFETYIf it looks unsafe it probably is unsafe.  I don't know how many times we have been on job sites to see obvious glaring violations.  The worst is when the owner comes on the roof and they can tell the violations without knowing the violations.  Point being make sure your roof projects look safe!  One final note here, if your job site looks crappy even though you are safe, it gives the appearance of being unsafe.  Let's keep job sites cleaned up.Roof safety should be taught and caught.  Don't get caught in the trap of, well we didn't have many accidents last year so let's skimp on safety this year.  It always works out bad.  Having Drone Infrared Imaging capture pictures and video from your projects to use in the roof safety class room is priceless.  Not only to point out the things that need correcting but hopefully to point out perfectly staged job sites.When safety equipment looks old, it looks unsafe.  Yes I know some of us are conservative and we like to use things until it dies but let's try to stay clear of doing that regarding safety.AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION..An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  A little precaution before a crisis occurs is preferable to a lot of fixing up afterward.  Roof safety can prevent a lot of personal injuries.  It can also prevent the ultimate tragedy which is loss of life.  Workman's compensation claims can cost a tremendous amount of money and can drag on for years.  If there is time given in the class room with pictures from Drone Infrared Imaging, that's a great start.  After that having tool box talks with your guys on a weekly basis.  One more thing, your foreman should be very safety conscious and as a result should hold all the guys under his care to a high standard of safety. BE SAFE!

ROOF INFRARED OR LOTS OF COOL COLORS

Roof Infrared InterpretationYes the roof above does have leak issues. The roof is a BUR roof and the gravel is spread evenly across the roof (meaning the roof should have cooled off at the same temperature which it did not).Can you just look at a roof infrared scan and tell what is going on?  Are all the red areas on the scan a roof leak?  Are there some roofs that can't be scanned?  These questions will be answered in this blog post.Question #1.  First off, there are so many different roof membranes producing so many levels of radiant heat that a hot spot could mean many things.  For example a large area of ponding water could cause the membrane to be cooler than it should be.  Another example could be repairs that are black in color could produce hotter than usual temperatures.  This would lead one to believe that the roof has leaks in all of those areas.  This is why it is very important to have someone like Drone Infrared Imaging with 30 years of commercial roofing experience interpreting what the infrared scan is revealing.Question #2.  There are different palettes of color that Flir Camera can be set at, so saying that all the spots that are red are leaks won't work.  Even if it is set at a rainbow setting, red spots could come from many different avenues.  HVAC units (see picture) in the summer operate very hot and can cause the membrane to stay warm longer.  Different membranes DJI_0049used on the same roof systems for repairs.  Even tar that has bled through the gravel of a BUR roof system can cause hot spot.  My point here is you need to know your membranes and the ambient heat that they produce.Question #3.  For the last question the answer is yes.  One example is a EPDM Ballasted Roof.  The ballast stays at a consistent temperature masking the real temperature of the EPDM under the ballast.  
Commercial roofs need infrared imaging

DRONE INFRARED IMAGING

Drones provide quick infrared resultsThere are many ways to evaluate a commercial building.  One way is to do a visual inspection by walking the entire roof.  Another is taking core samples of various areas of the roof.  Still another is through aerial photography.  If a professional roofer is able to look at an aerial detailed picture, many areas diagnosis can be given just from the picture alone.  Probably the most promising is to do an infrared scan of the roof.  Some infrared cameras even allow you to take video.  Isn't technology wonderful.  After getting to the facility and mapping out a plan, making sure it is safe to fly, it is only a matter of 15 minutes and the infrared drone can be up and flying over the facility.  There is so much information that can be gained from the infrared pictures and video.Discover roof leaks, heat duct leaks and energy deficienciesIt is important to note, not all roof types can have an infrared scan.  If the roof is scanned for leaks, roof leaks will be obvious.  Roof leaks will allow water to saturate into the insulation causing those areas to be hotter as emissivity is happening.  Emissivity is the ability of a surface like a roof to emit radiate energy.  Roofs during the warming of the sun can cause some roofs to get to 180 degrees.  If a roof is dry and free of leaks, emissivity will happen consistently across the roof.  Wet insulation under the roof will cause the radiant heat of the roof to stay hot.Some HVAC units are equipped with side mount discharge, meaning the duct comes out of the side of the unit.  These ducts can also be tested for leaks through the infrared scan.Lastly the roof can be scanned to discover potential energy deficiencies.  For example, over time the roof insulation shrinks causing gaps under the roof membrane.  These areas can be detected through an infrared scan.  If it is cold outside and the building is being heated then the lines along the edges of the insulation will test hotter because the hot air is trying to escape.To learn more about emissivity go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75PmF7KLf4A
Thermoplastic Roof

THERMOPLASTIC ROOFS, BENEFIT IN THE MIDWEST?

White thermoplastic roofs are coolThe most common thermoplastic roofs are PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin).  Both of these materials will prove to be cooler roof systems than most materials out there.  On a 90 degree day, an EPDM roof can get upwards of 170 degrees.  On a 90 degree day, thermoplastic roofs will be at a temperature of 110 degrees (approx.).  This is a significant difference in temperature.  Most consultants would argue that the temperature doesn't matter in the Midwest because they want the warmth in the winter.  I will tell you the biggest benefit in the last paragraph.Thermoplastic roofs in the summerWhether you are in the Midwest or not having a cool roof allows buildings to stay cooler thus reducing the cost of cooling buildings.  The other thing it does is allow HVAC units to operate more efficiently through reduced heat around the unit.  Both of these factors contribute to energy saving costs in the summertime months.  In future posts, I will have infrared shot via a drone to prove my points.Thermoplastic roofs in the winterThe effects of the sun is significantly less in the wintertime because the sun is no longer high in the sky or directly overhead.  The absorption of the suns rays is not as strong as the dead of summer causing the black roof materials to reach temperatures that are less than if the sun would be directly overhead.  Don't get me wrong, is it beneficial to have a roof that is warm in the winter on a sunny day, YES.  The effects however are not as significant as the summertime cooling.  Is the energy savings more significant in the south, YES.Thermoplastic roofs biggest benefitUltraviolet rays are probably one of the most damaging factors to any roof system.  Roof materials deteriorate because they dry out and crack or shrink.  Anything that can be done to avoid this process would be beneficial the roof system.  Thermoplastic roof can have a .070 - .085 reflection of the sun.  Thermoplastic white products are reflecting 70-85% of the suns rays back into the atmosphere as opposed to absorbing them and drying out the product.  So whether you are in the Midwest or the deep South, this benefit will always remain.
Drone Infrared Imaging

FLAT ROOFS LEAK. TRUE?

What's the real reason flat roofs leak?If you talk to almost any facility manager they would tell you all flat roofs leak.  In this article we are going to look at the reasons why a commercial roof would leak.  Before we get started, please note that this is not about one particular roof or owner.  This is about flat roofs in general.  Doing an infrared scan of any roof is a good starting point towards taking care of any roofing system.  With the latest technology, an infrared scan can be performed through drone technology.  Most roofs can be scanned with several infrared photographs.Roofing mistake #1Owners, property managers, leasing companies, and retailers often make one mistake which is waiting until their roofs leak to take care of the problem.  Commercial roofs are a major investment and they need to be taken care of similar to your car.  Would anyone wait for their car to stop before they maintain the vehicle?  Never changing the oil in the car will cause the car to fail way before its time.  It is the same with any roofing system.  If you don't maintain the roof it will fail way before it's time.  Manufacturers of roofing material all want their roofs to be maintained.  Why because they want to know how their roofing material is performing.  There is also some things that are not covered in the warranty that need continued attention.  All sealants such as pourable sealant and caulking are not covered under the warranty agreement.  So if the pitch pocket (where wires and lines come through) dries out and or shrinks and the roof leaks, this makes one think that the roof system is failing.  Not true.  Please maintain your roof at least once a year if not twice a year, it will save you money in the long run.Roofing mistake #2Realizing that the above is the most important for any type of roofing system whether it is new or old, the next thing that needs to be done is know who is going onto your roof.  I can't tell you the number of times I have been on a roof that has a leak that was caused by other contractors.  This is usually the scenario.  A contractor goes onto the roof, works on a piece of equipment, finds out he needs to replace something and drops the part or tool on the roof causing a puncture.  Sometimes these can be very small and take a good while to show up as a roof leak and sometimes they can leak immediately.  Oil from condenser unit can cause havoc on a lot of roof system especially EPDM (rubber roof).  They will begin deteriorating shortly after the oil is spilled.  The bottom line is make sure you trust the people who are going onto your roof.
Contractor pokes hole in the roof

HVAC Contractor pokes a hole in the roof

Roofing mistake #3Putting additional pieces of equipment through your roof needs to have a professional roofing contractor install the flashing.  What you don't want is for a subcontractor to install the equipment and install roofing cement to the bottom flange.  This is about a one year fix and sometimes it is less depending on the movement of the equipment as it is operating.  A professional install of the flashing takes time and will cost some money, but it is well worth it in the end.  The most vulnerable area of your roof is the penetrations through the roof, if they are done right, there is a better chance to extend the life of your roof.

THE USE OF DRONES IN AGRICULTURE

Agriculture and the use of Drones

On a large farm, the inspection of crops can be an overwhelming task.  How can a farmer other than walking the fields or renting a helicopter ever be able to tell how his crops are doing.  The land especially in Illinois is very flat with no rolling hills to climb onto to have a look to see how the crops are preforming.  Crops are a farmers livelihood, so if they are not producing there is money that is thrown away.  Early detection is the key.  If there are large acres that are not growing or growing slower than others, the areas can be pinpointed and inspected to figure out what the best course of action should be.  Agriculture is using technology more and more every day.

Should I take an infrared, video or take a topography map with a drone?

A determination needs to be decided ahead of time.  What is needed to help your crop (your bottom line).  I was a farmer for the first 18 years of my life.  My first thought when I heard of using drones for crop inspection was, "Why would you ever need that?".  After hearing all the technology that could help produce more crops, my tune soon changed.  Taking pictures or video can tell bare areas or crops that are not growing at the same rate of speed as the rest of the crop.  Taking infrared can tell the moisture content of the ground to see if that is effecting the growth.  Taking a topographic map of the land can also pinpoint areas of concern.
Drone Infrared Imaging

PROPERTY MANAGERS NEED TO KNOW HOW THEIR ROOFS ARE PERFORMING

ROOFS LEAK! When do people usually take care of their roofs... when they leak!  There is another alternative.  Taking care of roof begins with a good inspection to access to see if there is any damage.  Buildings that are over two stories tend to get neglected the most.  Every storm has the potential to blow off one shingle, chimney cap, ridge cap or exhaust vent.  Would you want to know if these are missing and schedule to fix them before it leaked into the plywood, then onto the insulation and finally through the drywall.  I believe the answer would be... YES.PROPERTY MANAGER INSIGHT Commercial flat roofs can experience the same kinds of damage.  Actually flat roofs are more susceptible to larger roof blow offs that are shingle roofs.  Inspections are a good way to know for sure that your roof is safe and secure.  At Drone Infrared Imaging, we can put a drone in air and quickly assess damages.  Property managers especially need to be in the know.  Dealing with complains all day is exhausting for property managers.  Wouldn't it be great to know your roof is safe and secure thus eliminating that headache.DRONE INSPECTION We recommend have properties inspected at least 2-4 times a year with possible drone inspection right after a severe storm.  The drone can take pictures of every aspect of the building, not just the roof.  Drones have the ability to capture pictures like a 3-D.  So the perspective is different from a straight up google earth picture (although they are starting to use some 3-D).  To be able to see if there is soffit or fascia torn off or gutters missing or plugged can save money in the long run.  How can it save you money?  By being able to fix the issues before it causes inside damage. Inside damage is costly to fix, so anytime this can be avoided, it will be beneficial for all involved.
The New Superintendent in the Sky

THE NEW SUPERINTENDENT IN THE SKY

Drones have many uses and one of them is to document the progress of a construction site.  Snapshots or video can be taken for many purposes.  One of those purposes could be to practice safety on the job site another could be for training of employees still another could be to communicate to the client in an impressive way.  Drone footage gives a wide perspective that can capture the whole project in one photo.  Another exciting way is to video 360 degrees all the way around the site.