Thermal Imaging for Electrical Systems?

Looking into performing this service. Looking at reports from other companies. Some use information regarding the actual voltage running through each phase of the wiring at the panel whether it be a 3 phase or single phase type. Others do not use this information? Which is the correct way? I would assume calculating the load on each wire would be outside of our scope correct? That is more electrical contractor scope of work?

Thanks in advance!

A Level 2 certification is required to prepare infrared electrical inspection reports. Experience, training, certification, software etc are a must before you dive into this.

Good luck.

Amp load on a circuit is important info to properly determine if an anomaly exists. Electrical thermography can be some of the more difficult images to determine the severity of aproblem. Proper thermal education is a must.

I have an electrician that I use on commercial electrical inspections so I have a person to pull covers, obtain amp draws, explain item function in MCCs and so forth

Thanks everyone, and in regards to what Linus mentioned about needing Level II certification, it seems in Canada only Level I is required…Level II is recommended for more complex systems…

"The building HVAC system s should be operated under normal conditions or close to full load. For commercial buildings this may involve overriding the HVAC system controls.

Lastly, infrared inspections should only be performed by ASNT certified infrared thermographers who are thoroughly familiar with the system(s) being inspected. (Building science knowledge, either professional, technical or field knowledge for envelopes and roofs, electrician or electrical engineer for electrical and mechanical systems, etc.)

Electrical and mechanical systems should be inspected by accredited Level 1 ASNT thermographers and severity of faults and recommendations can be provided also by ASNT Level 1 thermographers but for more complex systems Level II thermographers should be requested to provide analysis of imagery.

Roofing assemblies should be inspected by accredited Level I ASNT thermographers and they also can provide recommendations for required cut tests to determine presence of moisture within the roof assembly.

Building enclosure assemblies should be inspected by accredited Level I ASNT thermographers and severity of faults and recommendations should be provided by Level II thermographers and professionals having training in building sciences related to design and analysis of building envelopes."

This is a test tell me what you see in this image from yesterday and I will tell you if you are ready for electrical IR. BTW I don’t agree level l as taught by the major schools qualifies you for electrical IR no matter where you live.

In the image the electrical panel is a 100 amp FP that I loaded up with 94 amps from built in appliances

Dear Tyler:

From your reference to 3 phase systems, I would infer that you are referring to commercial and industrial installations.

Infraspection Institute’s Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment outlines practices and procedures for specifying and safely performing infrared inspections of operating electrical systems and rotating equipment.

This 17 page document defines the roles of all persons involved in the inspection including the End User, Thermographer, and Qualified Assistant. The standard also specifies report content for properly documenting qualitative and quantitative infrared inspections.

Also covered in the standard are temperature limits for electrical and mechanical equipment along with several proven methodologies for prioritizing exceptions. The standard also includes the IEEE formula for calculating maximum allowable temperature for operating electrical components. This formula is invaluable for establishing pass/fail criteria for components not showing as exceptions.

As to your questions regarding scope of work, the answer is a rich one that depends upon a number of factors including, but not limited to: project scope, your training and level of expertise, your area of responsibility during the inspection, safety regulations, and local laws.

I would invite you to give me a call directly should you have further questions. My numbers are listed below.

Hi Charley, I was hoping you would chime in on this. You seem very educated in the field and I appreciate you taking the time to post.

I’m not arguing that Level I qualifies me to do electrical. Just trying to gather information so that I am not misinformed nor are my clients when they ask for these services.

IMO the HOT (Black) wire from the breaker seems to be a loose connection at the terminal causing it to run hotter than the rest of the surrounding visible connections under the same load? Is this correct?

Thanks for the information Jim. I have actually acquired that document and the others offered by Infraspection also. I looked into the courses you offer for Level I and Level II certification; however I didn’t see an option to take the exam in Ontario?

All the pics show is the qualitative temperature difference for 4 point and two of the temp points are the insulation, which would seem like it would be lower than the terminal connection. Wouldn’t you have to know the load on each leg in that circuit to make that determination?

Tyler I am not one to argue these long drawn out threads I don’t have the time.

Yes you must understand and know your amperage load on a circuit. The pic depicted a cook stove breaker with a loose lug, on most cook stoves that don’t use a 120 volt convection fan will have the same amp draw on both legs of the double pole breaker thus the temp should be near the same not a 10 degree differential.

If you take Jim S’s level ll class you will never regret it looking back, you seem to be a dedicated individual please don’t dummie down your education

Thanks for the information Charley, I’m definitely not looking to sell myself short, I’m dedicated to making the most of my business and giving my clients the best services possible. I am looking into Level I and Level II certification over the fall/winter for sure.

Thanks again.


Thank you for considering Infraspection Institute for your training and certification needs.

If you opt for an Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer® open enrollment class, certification exams are offered at the end of each course at no additional charge.

Should you opt for Level I or Level II thermography courses via our Distance Learning program, you have two options for taking the Certified Infrared Thermographer® exam for free:

Attend IR/INFO Conference in New Orleans in January 2015
Appear in person on the final day of any Philadelphia area open enrollment class

You may also take the Certified Infrared Thermographer® exam by secure video conference link. There is a $350 charge for each exam taken.

I and my staff at Infraspection Institute look forward to supporting your future thermographic endeavors.

I personally recommend Infraspection. You almost never see me personally recommend a vendor BTW.

Some times you do very smart things:p;-)

Thanks Nick!

Thank you, Nick!

It is our pleasure to work with you and InterNACHI members.

I did not hear him say “ten percent”. I read a loose connection at the lug.
But you can draw your own conclusion from the colleague that does not admit to saying “level one is OK for Qualitative Level 2 Thermal Image reporting in Canada.”

I am happy he is excited about education and always happy everyone here is applauding his decision and helping Tyler but ethical inspecting and self reflection is also part of the big picture.
I have followed the threads.

Best of luck Tyler.
Love to see some thermograms from your E8.


Consider Snell Group Infrared Training for “in-class” education and certification in Toronto.

Another reason replace an FPE panel!

Of course if you compare two different points on the same conductor, you are guaranteed to be observing identical loads. If you moved SP4 to the farthest visible point on the same conductor in the image, where it is least affected by thermal conduction from the point of the hot spot under SP1 (remember that copper is an excellent thermal conductor), you would probably observe about a 45F° apparent difference between two similar components under similar loads. Then you could apply the NETA priority classification scale referenced in the “Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment” that Jim Seffrin authored and provide an objective priority classification based on an internationally accepted standard.

When you document the exception, including relevant information such as observed anomaly, load, assessment method, NETA priority classification, etc. in addition to your subjective analysis, your credibility goes way up (and who doesn’t want that?).

This is what the Infraspection training will enable you to do.