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.