What is Infrared and What is the Benefit of a Survey?

Contributed by Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection & Insurance Company

Infrared Thermography is a noncontact and nondestructive way to detect problems in an electrical system. All electrical and mechanical equipment emits heat in the form of electromagnetic radiation. Infrared cameras, which are sensitive to thermal radiation, can detect and measure the temperature differences between surfaces. Abnormal or unexpected thermal patterns can be indicative of a problem with the equipment – problems that can lead to a breakdown or failure, or cause a fire.

During the past three years several members have had surveys performed by HSB. The findings ranged from alerts such as cracked resistor casings or corroded wires, to significant issues such as hot spots or malfunctioning alarms. The cost to repair any of the issues discovered could be as high as $500, but the damage from a fire could include the total loss of your building.

There are numerous issues that could result in an electrical system short and lead to a significant loss. A few examples include sewage overflow due to alarm failure, compressor failure causing ice melt at a rink, loss of air conditioning during a heat wave, boiler failure during extreme cold weather, or sewer pump shutdown due to damaged connections.

Why do a survey?

An infrared survey can detect a problem before it manifests into a costly failure. It is very common to find a loose wire that can be repaired for less than $100. Yet, if allowed to fail, that cost could skyrocket to thousands of dollars for equipment, repair or replacement. National statistics show electrical equipment as one of the leading causes of severe property fire losses. Your business may also suffer from a loss of income for an extended period of time.

Do I have to shut down my operations?

One of the great things about conducting an infrared scan is that the equipment does not need to be shut down. In fact, it is preferable for the equipment to operate near full-load capacity. This way, HSB can measure the severity of the finding with greater accuracy. Having a survey conducted prior to a scheduled outage will afford the opportunity to acquire any needed replacement parts ahead of time.

HSB Thermography Services uses the latest technology to generate the most accurate data available. Using this technology, HSB’s certified technicians can evaluate the findings and provide meaningful recommendations that can help you prevent potential losses.

For more information, please visit http://www.hsb.com/infrared/. HSB will arrange for a thermography survey at a nominal cost. The cost of the survey and related repairs are eligible for up to 50% reimbursement through the CSD Pool’s Safety and Loss Prevention Grant Program. More information is available at on our website.

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