Infrared Thermographic Electrical Inspections for Commercial, Industrial, and Institutional Properties
How does an Infrared Electrical System Inspection work?
Infrared Inspections of Electrical Systems Provide a Wide Range of Critical Benefits
Your facility’s electrical systems are the backbone of your organization, and without them, your facility doesn’t operate. Although most systems are highly reliable, electrical connections do become loose and gradually deteriorate over time. When that happens, electricity doesn’t have a consistent, safe path to travel in, resulting in arcing, potential equipment failure and even fire, which can result in property damage or injuries.
Infrared inspections help avoid reactive repair and replacement costs. By being proactive, you can help reduce operating costs, ensure safety with efficient equipment operation, and find opportunities for a reduction in energy costs. A single critical fault can mean additional energy costs of $550 annually and average repair or replacement costs of $3,000, including components and labor. On average, each infrared electrical inspection reveals five to eight faults, highlighting the relative affordability of this predictive service. Infrared inspections offer a low-cost, predictive maintenance tool to find and correct heat-related issues before a more costly failure happens.
Will it Assist in Lowering your Insurance Premiums?
Insurance Premium Reductions –
In some cases, your business might qualify for a reduction in insurance premiums by conducting annual predictive/preventive maintenance thermographic surveys, as the practice helps to minimize risk of insurance claims.
Which Electrical Equipment is covered in an Infrared Electrical Inspection?
Suggested Electrical Equipment –
The following is a list of common but critical electrical equipment often found in most commercial facilities. Although NACBI encourages an all inclusive infrared electrical inspection, the final decision on the list of equipment to be surveyed is the responsibility of your firm’s personnel.
Air Circuit Breaker (ACB)
Bus Duct (BUS)
Circuit Breaker (CB)
Control Cabinet (CC)
Current Transformer (CT)
Disconnect Switch (DISC)
Distribution Panel (DP)
Emergency Distribution Panel (EDP)
Emergency Power Panel (EPP)
Emergency Power Transformers (EXFMR)
Environmental Control Unit (ECU)
Fire Pump Panel (FPP)
Generator (GEN) Incoming Lines (IL)
Junction Box (JB)
Lightning Arrestor (LA)
Lighting Contactor (LC)
Metering Cabinet (MET)
NACBI further recommends Predictive/Preventive Maintenance Schedules to inspect the following:
For these systems NACBI recommends that predictive/preventive maintenance infrared inspecitons be scheduled every six to twelve months.
Primary/Main EquipmentPrimary Switch Gear
Automatic Transfer Switches
For these systems NACBI recommends that predictive/preventive maintenance inspections be scheduled every twelve months. Survey more frequently depending on the equipment history or problems associated with its location or adverse environmental concerns.
Distribution EquipmentMotor Control Centers
Laboratory Electrical Panels
Dock Electrical Panels
Computer Electrical Panels
For these systems NACBI recommends that predictive/preventive maintenance inspections be scheduled every twelve months. More often/less after reviewing any patterns that develop. Infrared inspections should be prioritized by determination of the equipment’s overall impact on operations, potential safety hazards, environmental loading concerns, etc.
Which standards apply to Infrared Electrical Inspections?
NACBI Adopted Standards –
Standards that apply to Electrical System Infrared Inspections are authored by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA), and Infraspection Institute. They cover topics including procedures, applications, certification of personnel, equipment use and performance standards, and safety. Following these standards will help ensure quality results from your Infrared Electrical System Survey Professional Thermographer. A list of standards followed by NACBI Member Infrared Consultants can be found below.
Standards and Guidelines for Infrared Thermographic Electrical System Surveys
American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT)
- Recommended Practice No. SNT-TC-1A – Personnel Qualification and Certification in Nondestructive Testing
American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
- E 1213 – Standard Test Method for Minimum Resolvable Temperature Difference of Thermal Imaging Systems
- E 1311 – Standard Test Method for Minimum Detectable Temperature Difference of Thermal Imaging Systems
- E 1316 – Terminology for Nondestructive Examinations
- E 1543 – Standard Test Method for Noise Equivalent Temperature Difference of Thermal Imaging Systems
- E 1862 – Standard Test Methods for Measuring and Compensating for Reflected Temperature Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers
- E 1897 – Standard Test Methods for Measuring and Compensating for Transmittance of an Attenuating Medium Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers
- E 1933 – Standard Test Methods for Measuring and Compensating for Emissivity Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers
- E 1934 – Standard Guide for Examining Electrical and Mechanical Equipment with Infrared Thermography
- Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment
- Standard for Measuring and Compensating for Reflected Temperature Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers
- Standard for Measuring and Compensating for Emittance Using Infrared Imaging Radiometers
- Standard for Measuring and Compensating for Transmittance of an Attenuating Medium Using Infrared Imaging RadiometerStandard for Measuring Distance/Target Size Values for Infrared Imaging Radiometers
InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA)
- NETA ATS-1999 – Standard for Acceptance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems
- NETA MTS-2001 – standard for Maintenance Testing Specifications for Electrical Power Equipment and Systems
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- NFPA 70B – Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance
- NFPA 70E – Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces
- NFPA 79 – Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Occupational Safety and Health Standards for General Industry Part 1910
- Occupational Safety and Health Standards for Construction Part 1926