Infrared thermometers are professional tools used to display and measure temperatures from a distance. Compared with regular thermometers, this tool stands out because of its ability to measure temperatures at a distance and without direct contact with the objects or spaces they’re used to measure.
The infrared thermometer utilizes a sensor and lens that focuses the infrared energy and light from an object onto a detector known as a thermopile. It’s then able to convert infrared energy (heat) into electrical signals. With this information, the device can then display objects’ temperatures at a distance, which gives it such practical advantages and has become an essential piece of equipment for paranormal investigators, amongst many trade professions.
What to consider when buying an infrared thermometer
Before purchasing an infrared thermometer, we recommend that you take a close look at its technical characteristics to ensure that it meets your measurement needs as closely as possible.
First of all, the field of view, i.e., the distance to the object and the lens’s size, must be considered. It is also essential to look at the object’s emissivity, which will partly determine the measurement’s accuracy. Finally, you should consider the response to atmospheric effects, the temperature range it can measure, and the sensor’s accuracy.
The field of view of the infrared thermometer is essential to obtain a reliable temperature measurement. The field of view is the surface from which the thermometer takes the measure. The object’s body must fill the thermometer area as the sensor determines the average temperature within this field. If the field is larger than the object, the reading will be wrong because the infrared thermometer will also consider the surface of whatever is around the object.
Equally decisive is the object’s emissivity, which is defined as an object’s energetic radiation according to its temperature. You can get an idea of the emissivity levels of various materials in this other blog article on infrared thermometers. Most infrared thermometers can compensate for emissivity through their configuration options.
Infrared thermometers in use as paranormal investigation tools
In paranormal activities, a regular thermometer can measure the ambient temperature in a particular atmosphere. An infrared thermometer, commonly used by electricians and HVAC technicians, can take a specific object’s temperature with a laser. They are useful for detecting cold spots in a potentially haunted area, which ghost investigators say may be signs of otherwise invisible entities.
Many paranormal investigators use an infrared thermometer to identify drafts around windows or air conditioning vents before the investigation begins. Investigators also use infrared thermometers to measure thermal radiation during the session.
When held about 14 inches in front of the object to be measured, the infrared thermometer can detect temperatures from -58°F to 716°F, although most paranormal entities appear to change ambient temperature just a shade in either direction (3 degrees is the threshold for possible spectral activity).
In paranormal activities, some people report experiencing abrupt temperature changes when entering a place with a strange energy that they qualify as supernatural. The source of these cold or hot spots can be identified with infrared thermometers.
These devices capture images using infrared radiation. These thermometers are used for military operations and studies in other fields such as medicine and archeology. They work even in total darkness as they do not capture light but temperature, which is why they are useful in paranormal research.
Although this is one of the accessories preferred by ghost hunters, skeptics have other explanations, such as wind gusts. However, ghost hunters have another theory, “ghosts absorb light, emotional and heat energy from their surroundings, causing the space around them to become colder.” In hot spots, the explanation is that the alleged ghosts reflect light and heat, making the environment warmer.
Specific to this research, the use of infrared thermometers to detect “cold spots” is based on the theory that ghosts’ presence drains the environment of energy or heat. These devices use an infrared beam to read the temperature from a distance. With this tool, you can get the temperature of a place across the room.
But beware that, again, just because you detect a cold spot does not mean you have necessarily seen a ghost, as cold spots can have all sorts of causes. You have to record baseline temperature readings throughout the area you are investigating and then see if you are detecting anomalies.
Final considerations when choosing an infrared thermometer
Finally, you have to consider other parameters of a practical nature, including:
- Response time
- Device shape
- Held or Mounted
The response time from the time the measurement is taken until the reading appears on display. It would help if you also considered the shape of the infrared thermometer, whether it is portable, can be used with one hand, or is a fixed mount that has to be mounted on the machinery where it is to be used.
With this information, you should now have a solid understanding of the use and purpose of an infrared thermometer and have the ability to make an informed decision when looking for your first or replacement tool!