Client Question About a Thermogram

My client from yesterday emailed to thank me for the inspection and ask about a thermogram that was in the report. Her question was

The breaker in question is one of four AFCI breakers clustered together.

So why does this breaker look different from the rest (this question is not for the Level-II & IIIs)?

I have a canned statement in my narratives that prevents those kinds of e-mails;-):wink:

I did not answer your question:p

103.2 is the hot spot in that photo?

The actual high temp is 116°F apparent. I was tuning for the overall image, not the “hot” spot.

So why does this breaker look different from the rest?

You have a canned comment that prevents “thank you” emails? That’s great cause I get far too many. :wink:

What was it protecting?

Bedroom lights and receptacles (2006 build to 2002 AFCI standard)

I feel like I am walking into a trap lol, but seeing that wouldn’t overly alarm me ( I am not running around scanning panels and making these claims to the public) AFCI’s are always warmer in my limited experience and it’s below 125-130-140 which is stuck in my head as a number where concern should be mounting, this answer is to promote conversation so that I can hear opinions from those more experienced than myself… WAG is that one circut has a night light plugged in lol, where as the other afci’s don’t ( just because they all are usually warmer)

All of the lights are on throughout the house. Circuit loading is not the cause. I agree with your general comment on AFCIs. I don’t see anything atypical about the thermal signature of this AFCI.

So why might it be different than the others?

I survived round one of not making myself look stupid lol, I shall stop there…I can fling guesses at it indefinetely but that won’t do anyone any good…when the answer is revealed I have no issue saying truthfully saying I was close or not

And just to be a PITA lol…you are saying all AFCI breakers are under equal load?

You are much closer than I think you realize. Read my response to your first post carefully. I posted this because because it involves taking a different perspective than usual when performing infrared thermography on electrical equipment. It’s always more challenging to notice what is absent than what is present.

Why does this AFCI device look different (Circuit loading is not a factor)?

so 3 out of 4 had failed? I guess they didn’t trip when tested?

You got it! Congrats!

It looks different because it’s the only one of the four AFCI devices still functioning. The other three have all failed and no longer provide arc fault protection. Depending on what you are looking at, sometimes lower temperatures may indicate a problem.

Well, I will remember this lol, so thanks…I remembered they are always warmer by a good bit over ambient, I forgot that load doesn’t change that ( thus my first WAG)

Chuck, you didn’t have a caption along with the picture or mention that the AFCIs were faulty?

Ya can borrow mine if you like;-):stuck_out_tongue:

Sure I did. I had this with the last visible light image:

The visible light image with the buttons being pressed is much more straight forward in demonstrating the defect. There’s no reason to expect the client to be able to infer that AFCIs are faulty from an infrared image. Here was my email reply to her question

Interesting. Worthwhile noting.

We (Lvl II & III’s) were told to be quite. Your on your own. :wink:

et all: as pointed out time and time again, thermal imaging is not point-and-shoot photography. Just because it is warmer or cooler does not constitute an exception.

You must know what your pointing the camera at, and you must understand that your pointing at and how it works. If you see a spot in the ceiling, it is your job as a Thermographer to go up there and “find out”! This is not at all about “Recommend further investigation by an electrician”, because your asking them to evaluate what they can not see and have no better guess about what is going on than you.

If your going to participate in the game, you must know the rules of the game.