An infrared inspection of electrical systems cannot only help prevent a failure but also improve efficiency. Lost energy is in the form of heat so when you look at the thermal pattern across an electrical device or system you can evaluate whether it is consistent with normal operation or if there is a problem. Locating a potential problem during an infrared survey (infrared inspection) may prevent a failure later if appropriate action is taken. Usually, when the problems are caught early they can be corrected at a minimal cost and prevent unnecessary down time. Infrared inspections can help increase liability and reduce maintenance costs.
An infrared inspection of electrical components is done while the system is operating under normal conditions. Similar components under similar operating conditions should exhibit the same thermal patterns. During the infrared inspection an unusual pattern may be detected indicating a potential problem. It is then documented for later examination
Infrared inspections of electrical systems are monitored to prevent unnecessary downtime and energy loss. Typical electrical systems that should be inspected include but not limited to:
- Control panels
- Fuse boxes
- Disconnects switches
- Motor control centers
- Distribution panels
During an infrared electrical inspection some typical problems that may be detected are loose connection, unbalanced load, overloaded circuits and faulty equipment to name a few. A infrared survey should include the facilities electrical service from the utility.
Utility systems are probably one of the most important systems to monitor on a regular basis with infrared surveys. A small failure can lead to significant losses not only to the utility but to its customers. Not only should an infrared inspection be conducted on the utility substations but also the distribution systems and transmission system.
When looking at these systems and the numbers of components needed to operate these systems you realize the opportunities for failure. Each component is subject to failure and when that happens, you have a customer unhappy. However, using a thermal survey can detect many possible failures before it happens allowing the opportunity to schedule an outage. In most cases, a schedule outage will be much shorter and less expensive for all involved.