Electrical and mechanical system failures often cause commercial building fires. Regular infrared inspections of electrical, mechanical, and steam systems allow for the early detection of possible problems before they lead to equipment failure or fire.
What is Infrared Electrical Inspection?
Thermal imaging is used in infrared electrical inspection to identify potentially hazardous hotspots and irregularities that can lead to equipment failure and fire hazards. These faults are not easily visible to naked eyes, but you can easily find them with the help of infrared electrical inspection.
It is easy to find the hot spots caused by defects in connections and components with infrared electrical inspections. Many of the electrical components fail because of overheat and increased resistance. With the help of infrared cameras, you can detect excess heat and increased resistance, and when they are seen, it is easy to fix them at the earliest before they lead to equipment failure. Also, this is the reason for the electric fire in a building. Equipment failure is caused by loose connections, imbalanced and overloaded circuits, defective breakers, broken switches, faulty fuses, and material defects that can all be detected by an infrared inspection.
Annual electrical infrared checks are usually performed as part of a preventive maintenance program. Compared to the alternative method of physically inspecting and tightening electrical components, infrared electrical testing helps you perform an inspection on large electrical equipment in a short amount of time. The electrical infrared inspection detects defective electrical parts that aren’t visible during a physical examination.
Electrical infrared inspections detect issues before they cause system failure, equipment damage, or a fire. By providing the following advantages, an infrared inspection or survey will significantly increase profitability and lower your operating, monitoring, and maintenance costs:
- Identifies electrical device problems quickly.
- Reduces downtime and electrical equipment damage.
- It prevents system failures that are both catastrophic and expensive.
- Significantly increases the effectiveness of preventive maintenance.
- Reduce the risk of fire due to electrical and mechanical malfunctions.
- Reduce unscheduled downtime
- Reduce insurance costs
Moreover, there is no need to interrupt system production while performing an infrared thermography inspection as it is non-contact and non-destructive testing. Our qualified Electrical Engineers are Level II Thermographers who can inspect your electrical equipment under average load and operating conditions.
How does it work?
By detecting and capturing different levels of infrared light, thermal cameras can detect temperature. This light is invisible to the naked eye, but it can be felt as heat if the intensity is high enough. Infrared radiation is emitted by all objects and is one of the ways heat is transferred. When you place your hand over hot coals on the grill, the coal will release a lot of infrared radiation, and the heat will be transferred to your hand. Also, only about half of the sun’s energy is given off as visible light—the rest is a mix of ultraviolet and infrared light.
The more infrared radiation an object emits, the hotter it is. Like how a night vision camera can capture invisible infrared light and transform it into an image that our eyes can see, thermal cameras can detect this radiation and convert it to an image that we can see through our eyes. A thermal camera contains a bunch of tiny measuring devices called microbolometers that collect infrared radiation. The microbolometer then records the temperature and assigns the appropriate color to that pixel. This is why, in comparison to modern TVs and other displays, most thermal cameras have a very low resolution—in reality, an excellent resolution for a thermal camera is only about 640×480.
What Inspectors look for while doing the electrical inspections to reduce the risk of a building fire?
Below we have mentioned how it helps in preventing building fire:-
Proper circuits: Your inspector will ensure that the home or commercial building has the appropriate number of circuits for space’s electrical demand. This will include providing that designated circuits are available for appliances that need them. The inspector will also verify that each room has the correct general lighting and general equipment circuits.
Electrical boxes: Inspectors will inspect all electrical boxes to ensure that they are flush with the wall and that they are wide enough to accommodate the number of wire conductors and devices that will be contained inside them.
Box heights: Inspectors check the heights of outlets and switches heights to make sure they’re all consistent. Outlets must be at least 12 inches above the floor, and switches must be at least 48 inches above the floor.
Cables and wires: Inspectors will examine the way the wires are clamped in the boxes. The cable sheathing should stick into the box at least 1/4 inch at the point of attachment of the cable to the box so that the cable clamps grasp the sheathing of the cable rather than the conducting wires themselves. A minimum of 8 inches of available wire length should extend from the box. The inspector would also double-check that the wire gauge is appropriate to the amperage of the circuit —14-gauge wire for 15-amp circuits, 12-gauge wire for 20-amp circuits, etc.
Cable anchoring: Inspectors may examine the cable anchoring to ensure that it is safe. To keep the cables secure, they should be mounted to wall studs. Keep the first staple no more than 8 inches away from a box, and at least every 4 feet after that. Cables should be routed through the middle of wall studs to prevent drywall screws and nails from penetrating the wires. A protective metal plate should cover each wall stud penetration, and the horizontal runs should be at least 20 to 24 inches above the floor. When the drywall is mounted, this plate prevents screws and nails from touching the wire inside the walls.
After performing all these tasks in your commercial building, he will use his infrared technology to find out the hidden issues that are not easily visible to naked eyes. Most of the time, electric short circuits are the leading cause behind building fire, and this usually happens due to faulty wires that are often not visible to naked eyes. Different loose wires in the meter or in the cabling itself trigger these short circuits. With the help of thermography, it is very easy to detect those issues and fix them at the earliest. During the inspection, the inspector will spot these flaws and ask you to fix them.