Articles & Case Studies


Posted: Tuesday 10th April 2012

Just before the start of the high tourist season, the administrator of a holiday apartment complex in a popular and exclusive resort in Sardinia was faced with a problem. The swimming pool was leaking at a rate of almost 19,000 litres of water per day so urgent action needed to be taken.

The conventional method of finding the source of the leak would involve digging up the pool surround to expose pipework. However this was a non-starter as it would take too much time, compromise the quality standards visitors expect and preclude them from using the pool. So an alternative method of detection was needed that would be quick and non-disruptive – FLIR thermal imaging.

Thermography consultant Fabrizio Contino from Termografia Express explained: “We suspected that the leak was in the pipework that continuously filters out sludge and debris. However these 60cm pipes extend around the pool, so it was question of pinpointing the exact source of the problem.”

Using the sun as illuminator

As the initial survey did not show decisive signs of leakage, Fabrizio Contino tried a different tack. He shut down the outflow to pressurize the water in the pipes and then took two sets of thermal images, two hours apart. In the heat of the day he hoped that the second images would reveal areas of the pavement that were cooler than others. And true to expectation that is exactly what the FLIR camera revealed, indicating that the cooler areas were subject to water ingress.

Having identified the potential problem areas, repair work could be properly targeted. The subsequently exposed pipework was indeed found to be either cracked or broken, validating the findings of the thermographic survey. It had proved to be a highly effective method of detecting the source of the problem, quickly and with minimum disruption.


The thermal imaging camera used by Fabrizio Contino for this survey was the FLIR E60 thermal imaging camera. Its microbolometer detector produces thermal images at a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels with a thermal sensitivity better than 0.05°C. The highly detailed thermal images show any temperature related fault, no matter how small. With powerful features such as picture in picture and thermal fusion the FLIR E60 is a popular choice for a broad variety of predictive maintenance and building science applications.

“I especially like the fact that I can immediately create reports in the camera”, commented Fabrizio Contino. “With the new thermal imaging cameras from FLIR you even have WiFi connectivity, so I can immediately show the results to my client. This really is a great plus, allowing me to indicate the exact location of the problem to the client and also to the contractor in charge of the repairs.”

Due to the precise localization and immediate communication of the problem the repairs were swift and the pool was repaired before the guests arrived. “The use of a thermographic survey with my FLIR E60 thermal imaging camera has saved time, effort and money.”

FLIR thermal imaging also helped safeguard the good reputation of the apartments, according to Fabrizio Contino. “The alternative would have been to dig up the entire perimeter of the pool, making it unusable for guests. It would have taken time and cost a lot more money. Thanks to thermography the pool was ready for use when the guests arrived, without the inspection this certainly would not have been the case.”

Versatile tool

According to Fabrizio Contino this is just one of the many examples where the FLIR E60 thermal imaging camera has proved its worth. “It really is a great tool for a wide range of applications. I use it for monitoring hydraulic, electrical and mechanical systems and also for building surveys and photovoltaic installations. Sometimes vets hire me as a consultant and I also cooperate with several medical facilities. The camera is extremely versatile.”

Fabrizio Contino commends the user friendly design of the FLIR E60 thermal imaging camera, but stressed there’s more to thermography than a good camera. “It is extremely important that you also know what you’re doing. That is why FLIR Systems also offers expert training. I am now a Level 1 certified thermographer and the knowledge I have acquired has enabled me to recommend the best course of action for my customers and get the very best return on my investment in the camera.”

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