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.