What is Thermography?
Thermography is a test technique used to test electrical equipment. It may be used to identify unbalanced loads, poor insulation, poor or lose connections, or other potential problems in energized electrical components.
Uses Of Thermography
- Electrical Maintenance
- Checking heavy electrical Equipment
- Finding the high resistance circuits that can cause electric shock/fire
What are the benefits of Electrical Thermography Inspection?
According to a report published in a newspaper The Hindu, “Over 40% of fire accidents in buildings are caused due to electrical issues” such as system failures, such as failure of electrical insulation, terminals, and related components. Also, the failures can cause employees to be exposed to live electrical circuits, making them susceptible to serious injury or death from electrocution. By detecting high-resistance connections and repairing them, the likelihood of a breakdown of the electrical wires and related components should be reduced.
The advantages of detecting and repairing these faults are the cost savings from energy conservation and lower outage and repair costs. High resistance in circuits causes an increase in current flow. When the current flow is increased, the resulting power consumption will increase. Further, high current draw can cause critical electrical circuit components, such as fuses, circuit breakers, and transformers, to fail prematurely. These failures result in higher maintenance and repair costs, and resultant business interruptions.
When is an Electrical Thermography Inspection needed?
Specifically, the properties with high power consumption, multiple branch circuits, and distribution subsystems, or heavy equipment have the greatest need. Businesses with high electrical demands should have a thermographic scan performed at least annually on critical systems, such as circuit panels, switchgear, and transformers. Based on the scan results, a schedule to rescan should be based on the types of equipment, power consumption, and age of the electrical systems. A qualified electrician can assist the property owner in determining what and how often to conduct scans.
Some conditions and circumstances may specifically warrant a thermographic scan. These include:
Power systems and equipment
- Buildings with aluminum wiring
- High torque and heavy current draw motors
- Modifications to electrical panels, power control boxes, and sub-panels
- Motor starter circuits
- Power systems having electrical services greater than 120 volts
- Power transfer circuits, such as switchgear and relays
- Presence of high output lighting equipment, such as mercury vapor lamps
- Step-up or step-down power transformers on site
- Use of uninterruptible power supplies
- An increase in power consumption without an increase in equipment use
- Dimming of lighting when other equipment is started
- Electrical equipment temperature changes
- Reports of motors, computers, and other equipment “slowing down.”
- The unexplained odor of burning plastic or rubber in the area of electrical panels, wiring, or equipment
- Unexplained power surges noted in computer, processing, or building service equipment
- Construction or repair activities that result in added electrical demand
- Damage to facilities from fire, flood, earthquake, or other similar disasters
- Previous occurrences of electrical system fires
- Previous occurrences of fluorescent lighting failures or frequent bulb changes