Thermal imaging cameras allow you to identify potential leaks in your home by showing temperature differences.
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia – As energy experts predict higher heating bills this winter, local libraries are offering a tool to help you save energy and money: thermal imaging cameras.
“Especially now during COVID, a lot of families find their budgets tight, and finding ways to save money without really changing their lifestyle too much or having to make big painful changes is a very good thing,” Diana Price, Director of the Central Library of Alexandria. noted.
District of Columbia Sustainable Energy Department General Manager Ted Trabue said one way to cut energy bills quite dramatically and easily is to plug leaks in your home.
âThe average home has enough draft to equal a window open all year round,â Trabue said.
Thermal imaging cameras, which local libraries, like those in Alexandria and Fairfax County, help identify where some of these drafts might be.
âIt’s something we store because it gives our customers the ability to use it without incurring significant costs,â said Dianne Coan, director of the Fairfax County Public Libraries division.
Coan said the standard retail model costs around $ 200, so having free access is a big help for families looking for pennies.
RELATED: DMV Residents Should Expect To Pay More To Heat Their Homes This Winter
To use the cameras, Price and Coan said to clip them to your smartphone and point it around your home, especially around windows, doors, outlets, and vents.
Energy Director for Alexandria Bill Eger said you are looking for dramatic temperature differences, with yellow areas indicating higher temperatures and blue areas indicating lower temperatures.
âWhat the higher temperature suggests is that this is an area where there is some sort of heat leak, or where heat is entering or leaving your household, sort of what would have need to be otherwise heated or cooled by your household’s HVAC system, âEger mentioned. âAnd so you’re looking for the dramatic temperature differences indicated by the color. Then the more yellow there is, that’s the area you want to focus on.â
He said you can then use those photos to determine where there might be leaks in your home and patch them up.
âOn average, we see about a 10-20% reduction in household energy costs if you seal doors around windows and cracks in your household,â Eger said.
âI mean, books are our brand, there’s no question about it,â Coan said.
But, these libraries are committed to expanding services to help the community.
Coan said their roughly 70 thermal cameras were all verified with a waiting list. The Library of Alexandria, however, currently has some available.
When it comes to the perfect time to use the cameras, Eger suggests the coldest or hottest day of the year, as it offers the greatest temperature difference between indoors and outdoors.
But, he also said don’t wait – do it now before the really cold temperatures hit.
Trabue suggests using the cameras in the morning for best reading.
The two said another way to cut energy costs was lighting, which Trabue said accounts for around 20% of a household’s energy costs.
They said if you replace your current bulbs with LEDs, you should immediately see a difference in the bills.
Trabue also recommends looking for more efficient devices.
Other libraries, like Falls Church, Montgomery County, and Loudoun County, also offer thermal imaging cameras with your library card.
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