Thermal anomalies are not always as obvious as one might expect. Often, subtle thermal differences can be indicative of major problems. Because infrared thermography is a visual inspection technique, its effectiveness relies on the observation skills of the thermographer. Like any visual inspection technique, a thermographer must actively concentrate on the imagery displayed by their thermal imager.
Contrary to popular belief, humans are not inherently effective observers. Because humans tend to be casual in their observations, they frequently overlook subtleties. Whenever imaging, a thermographer’s eyes should always visually scan the monitor left to right and up and down while asking him/herself the following three questions:
While this approach may sound cumbersome at first, this practice will soon become instinctive and can help prevent you from overlooking the subtle thermal patterns that can be indicative of serious problems.