Electrical Thermal Imaging

What is electrical thermal imaging?

For many organisation maintenance teams we hear that they haven’t heard of Thermal Imaging before, but soon learn that is an essential aspect of maintaining and running an efficient and highly functional commercial space. Thermal Imaging is a service that allows you to view heat that is created by electrical switchboards using specialised equipment.

Switchboards generally operate at an average level of heat being drawn to a device or an appliance. The more heat that an appliance or device draws from the switchboard the more power it is using to run, this generally shows us that the device or appliance is struggling to run efficiently and it is being overloaded with power causing it to malfunction in the near future.
Thermal imaging also looks at the switchboard itself and the components of the switchboard. If a component is malfunctioning it too will create more heat which is then detected by the infrared cameras of the thermal imaging equipment and reported back.

Thermal imaging is essential for preventative maintenance by using thermal imaging building managers can easily and effectively identify potential areas of concern that could end up being dangerous and costly in the future.

There are a number of causes of excess heat being generated by a switchboard, these causes can lead to full or total power outages to the entire building, causing losses of income and clientele.

These causes include:
– Loose terminals
– Undersized cables
– Faulty fuses/circuit breakers
– Incorrectly fitted components

What information do I get from a thermal imaging report?

A thermal imaging report will give you a lot of information about the current condition of your switchboard, devices and appliances.

To begin with, your report will give you a baseline reading, to help us determine what is normal and what is abnormal when it comes to temperature,
We will compare the temperature of your switchboard to the ambient temperature of the room, any temperature significantly higher than the ambient temperature of the room can indicate a potential issue.

The issue with increased temperature of components, devices and appliances is if they are under too much strain and get too hot then they may ignite, resulting in fires which could be catastrophic.

This information is shown on the report that was given to you by the team at Melbourne Thermography by highlighting different colours on the report. A darker colour indicates that the area is cooler, a lighter colour indicates that the area is warmer which indicates to us that the element or device is under more operating stress.

For example:
A purple area indicates an element that is operating optimally and isn’t giving off any additional heat.

A white colour would indicate a warm to hot element or device, white is the lightest colour that can be shown when comparing the temperature of the element or device to the ambient temperature of the room.

How much does Thermal Imaging cost?

There are 2 options we use for pricing of thermal imaging of switchboards and we will always use whichever option works out better value for our customers.

Option 1):
$550 inc. GST for the first 2 items
$165 per item thereafter
(Each individual panel that needs to be removed is 1 item)

Option 2):
$275/hour with a minimum of 4 hours.
This pricing is inclusive of reporting and documentation.

How often does a switchboard need a thermal imaging test?

The frequency of your thermal imaging testing is very much dependent on the type of use of the building. If the building is used for manufacturing or for cooking, generally speaking, thermal imaging testing would be carried out every year as part of your annual routine maintenance. However, for a building of offices, thermal imaging is generally not less than every 3 years. As part of many commercial insurance policies, it is often a requirement for renewal in many cases. Please contact your insurance company for further information on your policy.

Can I expect a disruption to the daily business of my building and the power supply?

No. Switchboard thermography works best when the maximum load is being drawn as this will pick up any defects best. We will often ask the client to turn on all of their heater / air conditioning, all the lights, any extraction fans or compressors and we usually run the hot water for a few minutes and turn on one appliance in each kitchen.
The best thing about thermographic testing is that whilst our team works your team are free to go about their daily business. Whether that be answering calls, sending emails, using power tools or simply having a meeting with the lights on… It’s all possible.
This is because thermal imaging creates zero interference with the power supply to your building whilst our team is performing preventative maintenance checks.

For your thermal imaging to be effective we need to ensure that your switchboard and all connected devices and appliances are online and running at normal capacity, this allows us to understand their “normal” state during operating hours. It is actually beneficial for our team and yours to ensure that as many people are working as possible during our services. Many building owners and managers try to schedule our services outside of office hours, without realising that this will be detrimental to the overall findings of the thermographic report.

Our team will then create baseline readings that will assist in uncovering the early detection of faults if we see inconsistent temperatures rise on individual elements.

Thermal imaging is an essential part of your building maintenance routine and shouldn’t be overlooked. Thermal imaging not only saves your money and future headaches but it also protects your team, building and people from electrical fire, shocks and outages.

If you would like to learn more about the services offered by Melbourne Thermography and understand how they can add value to your business, contact us today. Our customer service team is trained and experienced to answer any questions you may have, no matter how big or small.
Contact us today to ensure your electrical components, devices and appliances are running efficiently for your business.