Thermal Imaging inspection can reduce insurance premiums.
Many insurance companies now provide reduced insurance premiums to businesses who undertake certified surveys on their electrical equipment.
Businesses benefit, in many cases the survey effectively ‘pay for itself’ through the insurance reduction.
They also obtain a status report detailing all the pending electrical problems in their facility, allowing them to plan and schedule maintenance activities in advance. This helps keep their operations running smoothly, minimizes downtime and most importantly, keeps safety at a premium.
Thermography inspection is a critical part of any condition monitoring / predictive maintenance program. It provides a safe, clean and visual way of assessing the condition of live electrical equipment. It is the most effective method to identify high resistance joints, defected connections, overloaded circuits and other faults BEFORE they reach critical failure and become a fire and safety hazard.
Such problems are virtually impossible to identify by any other means.
A growing number of insurers are now making thermographic surveys compulsory with regard to fire prevention.
To qualify for a reduction in your insurance premiums inspections must be completed by a Certified Level 2 infrared thermographer, as a minimum acceptable criteria.
Level 2 Inspectors are experienced within the application of electrical thermograpahy and troubleshooting. They are trained in infrared physics, heat science and infrared measurement equipment and its application. They are proficient in the areas of equipment selection, techniques, limitations, data analysis, corrective action and reporting.
Thermal Imaging is supplemental to and does not replace electrical inspection and testing. It should be considered as an essential tool to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire events, reduce downtime and increase safety.
In simplest terms, CUI (corrosion under insulation) is any type of corrosion that occurs due to a moisture buildup on the external surface of insulated equipment. It can be caused by multiple factors and can occur in equipment operating at ambient, low, and high temperatures, depending upon conditions. Moreover, CUI can occur in equipment that is in service, out of service, or in cyclic service.
Damaged insulation (as well as many other factors) provide a very easy route for water ingress into insulation. Once inside it can cause very serious damage to pipework and other susceptible steel elements.
Below are a couple of examples of damaged insulation that we recently identified during routine CUI Risk inspections for one of our clients.
Example 1: Insulation damage, visible water/moisture intrusion.
Example 2: Insulation damage caught early.
Example 3: Not so obvious, no visible sign of insulation damage.
Defected connections make up the majority of electrical related issues identified with thermography.
In a distribution panel each connection and fuse has a very small resistance. When current passes through a circuit it’s components heat up. As a connection deteriorates the resistance increases with a corresponding increase in temperature. When the temperature rises above a pre-determined value, the component is deemed as defective.
It is important to recognize the thermal gradients associated with defected connections on electrical components.
An increase in electrical resistance on a connection will cause localized heating. Heat is conducted away from the local resistance, thus creating a thermal gradient.
Example below – A contactor and overload relay unit. Defected connections identified on contactor on phase2 & 3. Excessive overheating is identified between the contactor and the overload relay unit. This indicates that the contacts at this point are defected. In this arrangement the links are part of the overload assembly. If damaged the overload unit should be replaced.
Contactor defected phase 2 & 3 connections. Overload relay defected link to contactor (ROI’s removed)
When a connection is identified as defected it does not always mean that it is loose.
It can be oxidized, corroded, or have dirty contact surfaces. There may be a problem with the cross threading or the wrong bolt or screw could be in place. The connection can be wrongly sized or the conductor strands could be broken away from the fitting.
Often, applying a specific torque (or re-tightening) will not solve the problem.
Where defected connections are identified they should be dismantled and investigated. Contact surfaces should be cleaned and remade, applying the correct pressure to restore full electrical contact.
Excessive overheating (as in our example) at either terminal connection or contacts causes cable insulation damage and pitting of the contacts, therefore accelerating their temperature rise. Wires and components should be replaced if subjected to excessive overheating (as in the example image above).