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Follow the "Recipe!"

Last week I talked about how to move yourself and your imager into the best position to get good thermal data. Another big part of being successful is understanding and following professional thermography standards. Like a good time-tested recipe, these help us get high quality, consistent results.

As I’ve said before, I’ve made plenty of mistakes in the nearly 30 years I’ve been in this business. In fact the knowledge many of us gained in making mistakes is the foundation for professional standards. Following standards helps us avoid common mistakes and follow procedures that will result in success.

Inspection of buildings, especially large ones, needs to be done following professional standards.

Thermography standards have been developed under the auspices of two primary organizations, ASTM and ISO. Additionally, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has two standards that relate to the technology. Other organizations have also developed standards related to thermography and more are being developed every year.

All professional standards are written and kept current by volunteers in committees. All are also copyrighted and can be purchased for a reasonable fee. Revenue from selling standards is a primary source of support for the activities of the organizations, so I would ask that you purchase standards rather than use illegal copies.

Currently excellent standards exist for all the main applications of thermography. This is what is available:

• ASTM E 1934, Standard guide for examining electrical and mechanical equipment with infrared thermography

ASTM C-1060 Standard practice for Thermographic Inspection of insulation Installations in Envelope Cavities of Frame Buildings

ASTM E1186 Air Leakage Site Detection in Building Envelopes and Air Barrier Systems

• ASTM C 1153 Standard Practice for the Location of Wet Insulation in Roofing Systems Using Infrared Imaging

ASTM E2582 Infrared Flash Thermography of Composite Panels and Repair Patches Used in Aerospace Applications

• ISO 6781 Thermal insulation, qualitative detection of thermal irregularities in building envelopes, Infrared Method

ISO 18434-2.1 Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines—Thermography —Part 1:General procedures

• ISO 18436-7 Condition monitoring and diagnostics of machines — Requirements for qualification and assessment of personnel —Part 7:Thermography

• NFPA 70-B, Recommended practice for electrical equipment maintenance

• NFPA 70-E, Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces

Where would building professionals be, for example, without standards relating to the use of the blower door? The same need for standard methodologies apply to using a blower door and a thermal imager.

In addition to these there are also standards for certification as well as a number of standards related to the imagers and infrared radiometers we use.

To be honest, a number of these standards need to be updated and there are more areas of application where work needs to be done! All of the professional committees responsible for these standards are driven by volunteers like you and me. The work is not hard but, in our ever busier and busier world, many feel they have less and less time for such things. We all will pay for this neglect!

I urge you to obtain and use professional standards. That will benefit us all. I also ask that you consider volunteering on the committees that write and maintain standards. If you’d like more details, just go their respective websites and initiate contact with them.

Thinking Thermally,

John Snell—The Snell Group, a Fluke Thermal Imaging Blog content partner

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