Testo 883 Thermal Imager pointed at a wall with a question mark on the screen. The image includes a Testo logo and the caption 'School Solved Plumbing Problem using Testo 883 Thermal Camera'.

Caretaker Aaron Fisher at Stultumshire Comprehensive School credits investing in a Testo 883 Thermal Imaging Camera as the reason he was able to find an unexpected plumbing problem within the school’s premises. The issue was discovered during one of Fisher’s preventative maintenance inspections. Early detection of the fault meant corrective action could be taken sooner, preventing further school closures to the relief of Headteacher Frieda Appleby.

Stultumshire Comprehensive School recently purchased a Testo 883 Thermal Camera in a bid to reduce overall maintenance costs. Frieda Appleby supported the investment explaining that the “Testo 883 will help us check the school premises for leaks, defective radiators, and areas at risk of mould. Identifying these issues at an early stage means we can address them quickly before they become serious and costly. The school’s number one priority is to ensure students get a first-class education free from further interruptions. Making sure that our buildings are safe and comfortable is essential to creating an environment that is conducive to learning. Bearing all this in mind we consider the cost of a thermal camera a very small expense.”

Aaron Fisher was tasked with selecting a thermal camera appropriate for the school’s requirements and within its budget. He settled on Testo’s newest model, the 883 Thermal Camera, for a number of reasons, chief among them that it can be used alongside his existing Testo Smart Probes. Using the Testo 883’s Wi-Fi connectivity, Fisher can connect the camera to his Testo Smart Probes/ Clamp Meter allowing him to embed humidity and electrical data (probe dependent) into thermal images. Fisher explains that this helps to streamline and organise his data collection.

Fisher also acknowledges the Testo 883’s ScaleAssist and Moisture Detection functions as reasons for choosing the camera. The ScaleAssist function automatically sets the thermal scale. It increases contrast to prevent interpretation errors and makes it easy to compare images taken in different conditions. Similarly, the Testo 883’s Moisture Detection function also makes it easy for the user to interpret images: it highlights the distribution and severity of moisture throughout the field-of-view using a traffic light scale. Fisher is particularly complementary of the Moisture Detection function because it is “a good function for an old school building. I really like that it utilises a traffic light scale because it means I can see where the trouble areas are very quickly.”

During a routine inspection at the beginning of March 2021, before the school was due to reopen after the COVID closures, Aaron Fisher discovered an issue he was not expecting. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” he says astounded, “I knew the thermal scale was right because of the ScaleAssist function but I still didn’t trust want I was seeing. I decided to use the SuperResolution to make sure and, well, there it was.” By engaging the Testo 883’s SuperResolution function, Fisher doubled the camera’s IR resolution taking it from 320 x 240px to 640 x 480px. To his complete surprise, the previously undetected plumbing problem became even more apparent. “I shudder to think how long that must have been there”, he tells us, “I would never have found it without the camera. I’m just glad we discovered it before the kids came back.”

Fisher immediately notified Stultumshire Comprehensive’s Headteacher, Frieda Appleby. “Usually, I take my findings back to my office and create a report using Testo’s IRSoft Software” he explains, “but this was too serious. I had my phone on me so I quickly connected the camera to my Testo App, created a report right where I was standing, and sent it to Miss Appleby from my phone.” Fisher went on to detail how he saved the images to the Testo 883 “for good measure.” He says “the Testo 883’s SiteRecognition technology makes saving images easy. All I have to do is scan the asset and the camera saves the images to the right folder, so why wouldn’t I save them?”

Upon receiving Fisher’s report, Frieda Appleby says she couldn’t believe what she was looking at, “I was shocked. I don’t know how it happened, and, given the size of the leek, I don’t know how we hadn’t noticed it before now.”

Blue and green thermal image of a leek (vegetable) in a pipe.

Stultumshire Comprehensive School managed to address their leek problem before the students returned, thereby avoiding further school closures. When asked what he did about the leek, Fisher responded “I made a chicken and bacon pie.”