Skip to main content

Air Leak Detection Using Transient Infrared Imaging


Invention Reference Number

Construction site inspection

All buildings leak air, responsible for an estimated 4 quads of primary energy loss – the equivalent of 732 million barrels of petroleum – and $40 billion worth of energy each year from all commercial and residential buildings. While there are different technologies to detect air leaks, they are not easy to use. A high-fidelity and non-intrusive method to detect air leakage does not exist. This technology is a transient infrared, non-destructive system that analyzes and quantifies locations and leaks in buildings simply and sustainably. 


Identifying and quantifying air leaks are commonly done through thermography or smoke tracking combined with a blower door test, which employs a specialized fan temporarily mounted to an exterior doorway frame. But these methods are intrusive, bulky, expensive, and time consuming. This technology is a novel, non-intrusive, and low-cost method that can rapidly and accurately identify air leakage locations and relative rates on building envelopes. With this method, when the interior and exterior temperatures are different, and a small internal pressure pulse is created, the temperature at locations with air leakages will change rapidly. In contrast, the areas without a leakage do not change, even if there is a thermal bridge. This simple and novel method utilizes the time evolution of IR images under a small pressure pulse created by HVAC systems to identify both the locations and relative rates of air leakage, without the need for pressurization fans. After turning the HVAC system on or off, the temperature of the exterior envelope will be recorded for seconds to minutes. By analyzing the temperature change rate in each pixel of the IR images, the air leakage locations and relative rates can be extracted. 

Applications and Industries

  • IR camera manufacturers 
  • Building diagnosis service providers 
  • Air and weather resistive barrier manufacturers 
  • HVAC industry 
  • Construction and reconstruction, renovation 


  • Needs no special equipment other than an infrared camera 
  • Easy operation and low cost 
  • Detect and quantify leakage fast and accurately 
  • Does not interfere with building occupancy 
  • Accelerates improvements to airtightness in buildings 
  • Saves energy, reduces greenhouse gas emissions 


To learn more about this technology, email or call 865-574-1051.