electric contractor San Luis Obispo

Maximizing efficiency and safety with infrared inspections

A new report from the San Luis Obispo electrical contractors

-In the world of commercial and industrial facilities, the efficient operation of electrical equipment and panels is crucial, making the ability to pinpoint and repair problems quickly critical. The electrical contracting team from San Luis Obispo’s Electricraft, Inc., recently prepared a report that details the role and efficiency of infrared inspections.

Ensuring the safety and functionality of electrical systems is necessary for business continuity, employee safety, and for protecting the investment in expensive equipment that could be damaged by an electrical malfunction. Infrared inspections have proven to be an invaluable process for regular maintenance and for troubleshooting problems.

Infrared inspections, also known as thermographic inspections, are non-invasive diagnostic tools that employ thermal imaging to identify anomalies in electrical systems. The key benefit of this technique is its ability to detect hot spots, which can indicate overloaded circuits, loose connections, or faulty components. These hot spots often precede more significant problems, such as electrical fires, which makes their early identification crucial for safety and cost-effectiveness.

Hot spots — the silent threat

Hot spots occur when electrical connections become loose, causing resistance in the circuit. As current flows through the area of resistance, it generates heat. Over time, this localized heating can escalate, ultimately leading to catastrophic failures. The problem is that hot spots are often invisible to the naked eye, and traditional inspections might not identify them until it’s too late.

The infrared scanning process

Infrared scanning, in the context of panels and equipment, is a proactive approach to identifying these hot spots. Here’s how it works:

  • Preparation: Prior to the inspection, the equipment must be in a stable and steady-state operation. This ensures that any potential issues are more likely to be detected.
  • Thermal imaging: A certified electrician uses an infrared camera to capture images of the equipment and panels. These images display temperature variations, with hot spots appearing as bright areas in the image. The San Luis Obispo electrical contractors are certified and well-experienced for infrared inspections and troubleshooting.
  • Analysis: The electrician analyzes the images, identifying areas with abnormal temperatures. Any hot spots found are then documented and assessed for severity.
  • Recommendations: Based on the findings, recommendations are made for addressing the issues. This could involve tightening loose connections, replacing faulty components, or adjusting the load distribution.

Infrared and visual inspections

While infrared inspections are a powerful tool, inspections should also include routine visual inspections. Regular visual inspections can catch obvious issues like damaged cables, visible corrosion, or physical damage. They also include cleaning panels and equipment, which play a pivotal role in preventing problems.

Dust, dirt, and debris accumulation on panels and equipment can lead to various issues, including:

  • Heat retention: Dust acts as an insulator, trapping heat within the equipment and panels. This, in turn, can lead to increased operating temperatures and potential hot spots.
  • Corrosion: Dust and dirt can also contain corrosive particles that may gradually deteriorate the equipment’s components over time.
  • Reduced efficiency: When components are covered in dust, their cooling mechanisms become less effective, reducing overall system efficiency.
  • Safety hazards: In extreme cases, dust accumulation can even become a fire hazard.

Best practices for panel and equipment cleaning include:

  • Scheduled maintenance: Implement a regular cleaning schedule for panels and equipment. The frequency of cleaning should be determined based on the operating environment, with more frequent cleaning required in dusty or harsh conditions.
  • Use proper tools: Ensure that cleaning is carried out with appropriate tools and methods to avoid causing any damage to sensitive components.
  • Safety first: Always prioritize safety when cleaning equipment, disconnecting power sources if necessary, and following established safety protocols.

Commercial and industrial infrared inspections, including scanning panels for hot spots, are indispensable for maintaining safety and efficiency in electrical systems. By identifying issues before they escalate into catastrophic failures, businesses can save both time and money, while also ensuring the well-being of their employees.

The San Luis Obispo electrical contracting team from Electricraft has been performing commercial and industrial inspections since the company was founded in 1984. Committed to delivering the highest level of customer service, the company management places using state-of-the-art technologies and methods at the top of the customer service list. Trust the professionals at Electricraft, Inc. to provide unparalleled service for all aspects of commercial building electrical needs, from new construction to maintenance, repairs, troubleshooting, upgrades, and improvements.

From solar installations and residential wiring to complex electrical systems for industry, commercial buildings, public works projects, hospitals, airports, and more, Electricraft electricians are trained and experienced in the latest technologies for designing new electrical systems, upgrading, troubleshooting, and maintenance.

Electricraft, Inc.
200 Suburban Rd., Suite A
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 544-8224