Blair Installations are electrical contractors who understand how valuable a thermal imaging survey can be to you. Thermal imaging is a great way to quickly and easily check the operation of any electrical system, from being able to find components that may be overheating, to identifying places where cabling may have failed. In the past thermal imaging has been solely at the disposal of specialists, but as technology moves forward, these tools have become more wide spread and available to those who may not have considered using them before.
How Does Thermal Imaging Work
Also referred to as Thermography, the thermal imaging surveys that we at Blair Installations carry out are done with a FLIR (forward looking infrared radiometer) Thermal Imaging Camera. Whilst a FLIR is technically a sensor, it essentially operates as an infrared camera that detects infrared energy (essentially heat), and converts this information into an image that is displayed on our FLIR monitor, much in the same way that a digital camera displays a picture before you take it. This allows us to clearly detect changes in temperature and make calculations on how hot a piece of electrical equipment actually is. These devices can be so precise, that they can detect differences in temperature as little as 0.01°C, making detection of what could be difficult to locate hot spots far quicker. Whilst thermal imaging technology appears to be quite recent, and almost have a sci-fi quality to it, it was originally developed by Texas Instruments back in the late 1950s for the US military, although its uses nowadays are far more domesticated, as is evident by our use of it to help our clients maintain their electrical systems.
Should I Be Worried About Electrical Hot Spots?
Areas emitting higher levels of heat (or hot spots) show up as lighter areas on a monitor during a thermal imaging survey, with cooler pieces of equipment showing as darker spots. Hot spots in electrical equipment can indicate a number of potential faults outside of the obvious issue of overheating. These issues can include loose wiring connections, breakdown of cable insulation, faulty equipment and potential load imbalances, issues that if not addressed can be dangerous and potentially lead to electrical fire.
Some sectors use thermal imaging to great effect by detecting a buildings energy efficiency, checking for air flow by measuring changes to air temperature and flow, and even detecting issues that can occur from damp. When considering how a Building Management System (BMS) or even a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system work, you begin to understand how vital it is to be in control of not just how a building reacts to specific influences such as moisture and the number of people inside of it, but how a BMS, HVAC and its respective wiring can influence changes in temperature. A building manager could be fighting an uphill struggle to maintain the desired temperature if their BMS, wiring or any other electrical component has a fault which is generating hot spots. By detecting the fault with thermal imaging, it can easily be identified, and ideally rectified with little interference to normal operations, saving for a drawn out process whereby the fault be manually tracked down and remedied.
Quick and Easy Electrical Maintenance
The information we gather from thermal imaging won’t just allow us to identify and rectify an existing fault, it also helps us to predict any future maintenance that may be needed, meaning that the number of outages caused as a result of unexpected electrical maintenance is kept to a minimum. The real advantage of Thermal Imaging is it’s a safe and simple procedure that can be carried out during normal working hours without interrupting usual services.
Some insurers in the UK now insist upon an Electrical Thermal Imaging Survey as part of their Annual Review Process and Applications, meaning in some cases thermal imaging may be a necessity, but this differs between industries and sectors.
What Our Thermal Imaging Reports Do
We can carry out thermal imaging on a variety of electrical equipment, including Low Voltage distribution and fuse boards, Busbar and UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems, as well as control panels and wiring systems. Our thermal imaging reports come complete with both standard and thermal images of each piece of equipment that we test, along with an in depth description of each fault and what we need to do to resolve it.
Blair Installations have extensive experience carrying out thermal imaging surveys, and our skilled Thermographers are well equipped to help you identify and resolve a number of electrical faults, as well as advise you of upcoming maintenance and help to amend your maintenance schedule accordingly. If you would like to find out more about what is available to you, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our online enquiry form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 01273 426826.