Thermal Imaging for Electricity: Components Covered

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on thermal imaging and its uses within commercial electrical settings. Used to detect potential issues in several different electrical components, thermal imaging, which is just one form of thermal technology, is often an ideal way to spot concerns that would not have been visible or noticed otherwise.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to offer a wide range of commercial electric services, from areas like monitoring and metering to identifying problems and repairing them as-needed. What are the common areas of a given electrical system that can be inspected using thermal imaging? Today’s part two will go over this plus some other basic details to be aware of.

thermal imaging electricity components

Full Load

One important theme that your commercial electrician will inform you of before performing a thermal imaging test on your system: It must be running at a full load for the test to be most useful. As much of the system as possible should be turned on and active while the test is being performed, which allows it to detect the performance of various components in their “worst-case” scenario, so to speak.

Now we’ll dig into the areas that a thermal imaging test can evaluate.

Conductors

The single largest part of any commercial electrical network is its conductors, which allow various components to connect and work together. Conductors may become loose or have other connection issues over time, plus may deal with various forms of wear-and-tear.

When there are issues with conductors, such as loose connections, they will typically begin heating up to higher temperatures than normal. When this area becomes hotter than those around it, thermal imaging will easily pick this up and allow an electrician to inspect and/or repair these conductors. This is one area that can be very difficult to identify otherwise, as the heating point in these areas is very small and won’t be noticed on a normal basis.

Circuits

Another of the most common electrical problems is an overloaded circuit, but once again, this issue will create heat. In particular, stressed circuit breakers will often appear hot on both ends as they are overloaded – and again, thermal imaging will pick up this overheating issue. This is one area that can have a major impact on lowering your energy bills, simply through identifying overheating circuits and remedying them.

Transformers

Transformers are used to step-down electric current, allowing it to easily be distributed around a facility. Larger buildings will have more than one transformer, in fact. Inside the transformer will be heating coils, which are full of oil and are responsible for creating heat – but if these are overloaded or there is an oil spillage (the oil is used to cool the coils), they will overheat. Thermal imaging can detect this and give a clear picture of the state of coils within a transformer.

For more on thermal imaging for commercial electrical equipment, or to learn about any of our commercial electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Thermal Imaging for Electricity: Basics and Benefits

There are several important roles a commercial electrician plays, and one of these is helping building owners or managers detect and remedy minor electrical concerns before they grow into more significant problems. There are a few methods a commercial electrician may use for this purpose, and one of them is known as thermal imaging.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to provide a wide range of commercial electrician services, from basic electrical repairs and upgrades to electrical panels, meters and other forms of tracking your electricity output. What is thermal imaging, how is it useful for electrical setups, and what are the important components generally covered by this form of imaging? This two-part blog series will go over everything you need to know.

thermal imaging electricity basics

Thermal Imaging Basics

Thermal imaging is one form of what’s known broadly as infrared imaging science, a category that also includes infrared thermography, thermal video and more. The technology allows cameras set up to detect radiation in the long-infrared range of the electromagnetic spectrum – essentially, it allows us to see things from a very different perspective within a given area.

Thermal imaging is used within numerous industries, from medical imaging to surveillance, night vision and more. It’s also useful for detecting certain kinds of issues within electrical systems, as we’ll dig into moving forward.

Thermal Imaging for Electrical Systems

The primary use of thermal imaging within an electrical setup is to detect increased thermal emissivity from a given electrical component. When such components are stressed or not working properly, one of the most common results is them heating up and emitting more thermal waves – something thermal imaging can pick up.

While conducting a thermal imaging test on your system, a camera with a display screen will be used. This screen has heat maps that show the various objects being investigated plus colors that indicate their thermal emissivity. If notable areas are found to be outside the expected range, these can be inspected and repaired. In many cases, thermal imaging allows an electrician to identify a problem with a component that would not have been picked up otherwise.

Benefits and Frequency Recommendations

Thermal imaging can detect numerous electrical issues, from load imbalances to overheating cables, stressed components and even loose connections. This allows you to not only remedy any components that aren’t working properly, but also to save money, reduce fire risks and improve building safety. It also allows you to improve your maintenance schedule and related themes.

Generally speaking, thermal imaging or another robust form of electrical inspection should be done on your building at least once a year, if not more often. If you’ve had electrical issues in the recent past, we may recommend a frequency greater than this.

For more on thermal imaging and its uses for detecting electrical issues, or to learn about any of our commercial electrician services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.

Commercial Electrical Sustainability: Natural Light, Metering

In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some basics on how owners or managers of commercial buildings can maintain quality electrical service and components for their building while also being environmentally conscious. Sustainability is a big theme for many businesses, both for themes based on public goodwill and business cost savings, and there are several ways you can promote this area within your standard electrical operations.

At Orange Electric, we’re proud to provide a wide range of commercial electrical services to all our clients, including several sustainability themes and related areas. We’ll help you maintain all the requisite electricity needs, but do so in ways that limit your footprint and your costs simultaneously. Part two of our series will dig into some other tips we regularly offer commercial clients in this realm.

commercial electrical sustainability metering

Natural Lighting or Heating

One of the primary uses of electricity within commercial buildings is for lighting purposes, and one of the simplest ways to limit your footprint while also saving yourself money is to supplement this lighting with natural sources. As long as your building has plenty of windows where the sun’s light can be let in, this can be a major asset for numerous offices, rooms and areas of the building, allowing you to scale back the lighting that’s used during many periods of the day.

Similar themes go for heating, as well, though this is more of an HVAC area than electric (and is also a bit more limited). Letting the sun warm up a space during the cooler parts of the year will save some work for the furnace or heating system, and again will save you money.

Metering

One major part of maintaining sustainability in a given building: Tracking your energy usage and how it fluctuates throughout a given month, period of months or even a year. There are several forms of metering that can be utilized here within the electricity realm even beyond your standard utility bill, allowing you to have a clear idea of your energy costs and where you might be able to save or update your usage. Speak to our team about metering options for your building.

Energy Retrofit

Finally, for those who truly want to go the extra mile when it comes to sustainability and energy savings, an energy retrofit involves analyzing your entire building and finding larger cost savings areas than a traditional energy audit. We’ll assess multiple systems as part of a comprehensive package, from energy usage equipment to air sealing, ventilation, solar control and more – helping you find opportunities to retrofit the building in smart, sustainable ways.

For more on how to maintain energy sustainability in your building, or to learn about any of our commercial electrical services, speak to the staff at Orange Electric today.