Interpreting Your HEAT Map

Exploring Rooftop Hotspots

For a home or business owner, a bird’s-eye thermal image of their building can provide valuable insights into potential causes of energy loss. At MyHEAT, we continue to innovate our technology to provide the most accurate visual representation of energy loss for our users. We partner with utility providers and government agencies to provide personalized visualizations to energy consumers in an effort to boost efficiency program participation and motivate users to take energy-saving action.

As part of each user’s Home Profile, MyHEAT generates a personalized HEAT Map and HEAT Rating for the building–for more information on each of these components, check out our earlier post Putting Heat Loss on the Map.

HEAT Maps, shown below, display potential heat loss areas in a building from a bird’s-eye view. In this image, red indicates areas with higher heat loss measured and blue indivates lower heat loss. Each building shows the full spectrum of colours, assigning red to the hottest areas and blue to the coolest.

HEAT Maps are visualizations of heat loss that are intended to be used as an indicator of a potential problem, not a diagnosis. This information can be used to identify areas in a building envelope which a home or business owner should investigate and consider upgrading. We connect users to information on incentive programs and local energy advisors to help them get started.

Investigating Heat Loss Areas

We regularly partner with a local energy advisor to investigate and compare HEAT Map images with in-home energy evaluation results for existing homes in an effort to track and improve the accuracy of our technology. In a recent case study, we found several consistent findings between the MyHEAT imagery and the on-site evaluation of 5 homes. Key takeaways included:

  1. In all cases, the investigation revealed potential thermal and air tightness issues that correlated to warm areas in HEAT Maps. Poorly sealed attic hatches, plumbing stacks, and poorly sealed mechanical chases all appear to match locations on the HEAT Map.
  2. On the least energy efficient homes, the HEAT Map provided the most relevant information.
  3. Homes with the original attic insulation were more likely to have no other improvements or upgrades. Since attic insulation is one of the least costly upgrades, it is often completed before other improvements such as windows, or furnaces.

Using the HEAT Map above for one of the homes included in the case study, we will walk through how to interpret the information and what insights can be gained from the MyHEAT platform by investigating hotspots throughout your home or business.

Garage Wall: The wall between the house and garage showed areas of air leakage during the home evaluation. This allows heat to escape from the living space into the unheated and uninsulated garage. Under normal conditions, warm air will travel up the laundry vent and plumbing and electrical penetrations to escape through the garage attic.
Fireplace: The homeowner’s replacement gas insert showed strong leakage around the edge, indicating a poor seal between the new unit and the existing chimney. Combined with warm air from the living area escaping through the chimney, this created a larger heat loss area.
Mechanical Vent: A metal B-vent had been left unsealed and was leaking a large amount of heat. Warm house air will rise up this chase wall which is unsealed at the attic level. Plastic side furnace vents also appear to be unsealed and leaking heat.
Living Room: The first floor had poorly fit insulation and heavy thermal bridging, creating a hotspot along the living room ceiling. This area showed suspected air leakage after performing a blower door test to determine airtightness. The homeowner had recently upgraded the insulation on the second floor which shows less heat loss on the HEAT Map.
Windows: Windows along rear wall showed show large amounts of air leakage. The age, material, and thickness of the windows all contribute to higher levels of thermal bridging and this area is a large contributor to energy loss.

Once users have taken some time to familiarize themselves with their HEAT Map, they can start to make correlations between hotspots and the areas in their home where they’ve felt drafts during colder months. Our platform connects users with efficiency resources, local incentive programs, and energy advisors to help them take the next steps towards savings.

Having a visual tool for building owners to identify energy loss as an investigative first step proves to be valuable when the goal is to drive efficiency program participation. The MyHEAT platform helps to target, engage, and motivate hard-to-reach consumers with personalized and comparable energy data in order to capture more savings.

Want to offer the MyHEAT platform to energy consumers in your area? Visit myheat.ca or contact us at solutions@myheat.ca to learn more.

Written by:
Chelsea Froklage, Marketing & Design Lead