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1 - portrait - A house pictured via thermal imaging  A house pictured via thermal imaging
Hunt the Heat
Hunt the Heat

Is Your House Leaking Heat?

The Blackdown Hills Parish Network is working to help residents save heat and thus save money, with the bonus that doing so also cuts down CO2 emissions.

With energy bills rising and concerns about climate change, no one wants to waste energy from their house, but that is what we all end up doing.

Thermal imaging cameras reveal where your precious home heat is escaping, and then you can decide how to make things better.

The Blackdown Hills Parish Network is offering a free informal thermal survey of your house conducted by your Parish Council if it is a member of the BHPN.

With an infra-red, thermal imaging camera, you can literally see where the heat is escaping. The photo above is an infrared image of a house where heat is being lost through doors, windows and some walls. In a thermal image, white/yellow shows hotter areas and blue shows the cooler areas.

The hotter areas will carry on wasting heat as long as the outside environment is colder than the inside of the house. As we all know, keeping a house warm is expensive, so wasting heat is wasting money. No matter how your home is heated, wasting heat causes extra CO2 emissions, and that is bad for our environment, our National Landscape, and our world in general.

The Blackdown Hills Parish Network is an organisation that works on behalf of the 39 parishes that have a footprint in the Blackdown Hills. We want to help you reduce your carbon emissions, but we also want to help you save money.

We have purchased an Infra-Red camera and are offering residents of the Blackdown Hills National Landscape an opportunity to have thermal image photographs taken of their house to show where precious heat is being lost. Each Blackdown Hills Parish Council have, or will have, volunteer(s) who will visit interested householders to take thermal jpeg image which will be emailed back to you. What you do next will be up to you.

We cannot fix your home, but there is plenty of advice already available on ways of improving your home insulation and if you know where the biggest heat loss is, you can focus your attention and money where it can be most effective. (See: Energy Savings Trust and Help for Households). There are also a number of Government grants that you may be eligible for. If you are interested in finding out more, or having an informal survey, please contact us using the form below and we will pass your request on to your Parish Council.


Contact us below to apply for an informal survey.

* denotes a required field

A word on condensation

Whilst heat loss will be reduced by closing or stopping up gaps, cracks or other openings which allow warm internal air to escape, it should always be remembered that in older houses with uninsulated walls, reducing air movement could create other problems.

Older properties with uninsulated solid brick, stone or flint walls were typically built when open coal or wood fires were relied on for heating. The updraught in the chimney in such properties sucked in fresh air from outside via gaps in windows and doors or purpose built vents installed to ventilate rooms. This ventilation prevents moisture building up in the room and condensing on cold external walls. (We all produce airborne moisture when we breath out). As open fires have today been replaced by central heating systems the need for such ventilation to be maintained remains just as important even though chimneys no longer create the updraught which sucks in fresh air from outside.

If solid external walls are not insulated and ventilation is reduced, water vapour inside a room will condense on the cold wall surface leading to mould growth which can become a health problem. If your’s is an older property with solid uninsulated external walls, it is important to seek professional advice before reducing heat loss by closing existing gaps or cracks and certainly before closing ventilation grills that have been purposely built in to the property to provide ventilation. All open fires require ventilation and it is typical that external ventilation grills or flaps will have been added for this purpose. Such grills should never be stopped up as they also prevent the accidental build up of noxious gasses such as carbon monoxide.

What to do when you have the thermal images of your home

Thermal images typically use a colour pallet which shows surfaces from hot to cold with “warm colours” used for the hottest and “cool colours” used for the coldest such as:

(HOTTEST) White – Red – Yellow – Green – Blue – Purple – Black (COLDEST)

The camera operator can adjust the colours and the range of the pallet used so the hotter or colder colours may not be exactly shown, but white, red and yellow surfaces are normally the ones to consider addressing first. No matter how well your home is insulated it is likely that windows and doors will always show up warmer than walls simply because their very construction prevents them being as well insulated as walls. Hot spots around doors or windows that show up in a warmer colour may be indicating that gaps exist which could perhaps be simply fixed with draught excluders, insulating foam tape or even by closing the curtains. Small hot spots on walls may indicate that a pipe or cable runs through the wall and the hole has not been fully sealed. Such hot spots can easily be cured by applying foam sealer around such pipes or cables, but be careful if the hot spot is a purposely installed vent as it is likely to be there for a specific purpose. See a word on condensation

Depending how much of your roof is visible from ground level you may not get a great deal of information about the state of your loft/roof insulation from the images but as heat always rises, any warm colours that show up on your roof should always be considered an opportunity for improvement.

To seek more information, there are two good government websites to first consider:

The Energy Savings Trust:

Help for Households:

Somerset Council provide energy saving advice for home owners:

Devon County Council provide provide energy savings advice:

To obtain professional, paid for, advice, trade or industry associations are a good place to start as they can recommend local, trained professionals who could help. Examples are:

The National Insulation Association:

The Thermal Insulation Contractors Association:

The Insulation Manufacturers Association:

And finally, tips that could be integrated into Operator Training:

There may well be more such information available from FLIR