thermal imaging inspection of electrical equipment

How does thermal imaging work?

If you have an electrical fault and require an electrician to resolve the issue then you may see them using a thermal imaging device to help identify the cause. 

Here we will explore what they are, and why they would be used.

What is a thermal imaging camera?

Thermal imaging devices are handheld and have an integrated screen that helps the user identify heat energy. They are used across a range of industries to support users identify unwelcome heat sources. 

Thermal imaging cameras have a built-in heat sensor boasting a special lens which works in unison with normal image-capturing software. When a thermal camera is pointed at something – in this instance an electrical device or circuit – the sensor allows the user to view the infrared spectrum that is impossible to see with the human eye as it displays on the screen. 

Although black and white screens do exist on some devices, many new models use full-colour displays. You would typically expect to see a colour map showing warmer areas in reds and oranges, and cooler colours in purples and blues. Items at room temperature would show as green in most cases. 

Why would an electrician use a thermal imaging camera?

Prior to the advent of thermal imaging devices, electricians would use physical contact testing to identify electrical faults, making thermal imaging devices a safer option for electricians to carry out their job. Electrical faults can range from damage to insulation, loose connections, or dirt from the external environment in equipment ranging from circuit breakers to switch gear components. 

When a current runs through a circuit it naturally produces heat. Where faults occur, they can lead to damage causing danger to people and property, and reduced productivity in businesses. It is for the electrician to identify circuits which radiate abnormal heat and find the cause of a fault – keeping people and property safe from damage. 

With the ability to identify problems with such speed and efficiency, it makes thermal imaging cameras the go-to in the electrician’s toolbox. 

Intersafe has extensive experience in working with thermal imaging devices and is proficient in electrical fault finding. To find out more about how we can ensure electrical safety on your premises, speak to one of the Intersafe team who will be happy to discuss this with you today.