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Geek Home Improvement

Infrared Thermometer

There is little doubt regarding my attraction to electronics, but this time I have hit the perfect match where my inner Tom Silva (oh, I’m name dropping) and geek are both extremely satisfied. Since we have moved into our house, which was build in 1962, I have taken on several improvement projects related to making it more energy-efficient. We replaced all the old, single-pane windows, new doors, insulated the upstairs attic up to R-43 and numerous others. All of these were done mainly to make the house warmer in winter. In the summer, we have big trees that shade the house and keep it pretty cool, but it gets pretty darn cold in some parts of the house during the cold, Chicago winters.

The most frustrating thing after completing these projects is knowing what impact they have. Yeah, the house ‘feels’ warmer and it makes you feel like you are doing something, but I need hard data! The gas/electric bill is one way to tell but fluctuations in weather make it too difficult to compare one month to another.

I think I have found a solution to my struggle. Bring on the Kintrex IRT0421. This infrared thermometer allows you to point the laser at any surface and get a temperature reading.

KINTREX IRT0421 Non-Contact Infrared Thermometer with Laser Targeting









This little dream of a tool has been great fun for the past 2 days. I have been running around the house, pointing it at floors, ceilings, walls, etc. and have been surprised by a lot of the readings. Below is a reading off of our floor. The temperature for a majority of our floor is 63-64 degrees. This is fairly consistent except for one strip of the floor next to the fireplace. In that section (10″ wide and extends the 3′ from our exterior wall to the fireplace) the floor drops to 55.5!! Crazy… add that to the investigation list!

So what does all of this mean? Well, it means that next week, while I am off from work, I plan on spending a few hours going around the house and recording temperatures from various places. I’ll put that in a spreadsheet along with the outside temperature and what we have the thermostat set to. This list will allow me to prioritize my next set of improvements and also allow me to get before/after readings. Finally, I will have the hard data that I have been looking for that show me how much of an impact my improvements make!!! I am so pumped.

Oh, and as a side note, the kids LOVE pointing this thing not only at each other (Brooke was 90.2 degrees last night) but at random objects around the house. Our dinner last night was served at 142 degrees, Brooke’s stuffed penguin was 63 degrees. I had to yank the thing out of their hands finally…


  1. Travis "That Home Inspector Guy" Moyer

    Love these! Did an article on one myself. Would love to follow up with getting the infrared camera.

    • rdobson

      Yeah. For the $$, this is was a good buy. I’m not sure I would use the camera enough to justify the cost. I checked out your blog, and you have some great information on your site. I love the tool porn picture.

  2. Queen B

    We have some seriously cold areas in our house, too. Built in 1978. Tyvek? NO!!!

    I want one of those cameras that shows exactly where you’re losing heat from the outside of the home. For a second I seriously thought that’s what you had, and I was about to come over and rip it out of YOUR hands!

    • rdobson

      Yeah, I can’t afford one of those babies… but this is a close second. You can’t visualize it the same way, but it does give you the temperature reading which is really cool. I finished my home assessment today and will be posting the results soon!!

  3. Queen B

    Craig was kicking himself that he forgot to ask to see your new toy when we were over for the game!!

    • rdobson

      I’ll bring it with next time we come over. That’s a real party starter.

      • Queen B

        Yea, we’re hard core how we party!

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