Thermographic surveys and thermal detection methods have a wide range of applications in various fields, such as healthcare, construction, manufacturing, and domestic settings. One of the highly useful applications of thermographic surveys is in buildings and workplaces to inspect electrical insulation and leaks.

UK laws such as the Electricity at Work Regulations (1989) Act emphasize the importance of ensuring the safety of electrical circuits and systems in any workplace and have made such requirements mandatory. This makes periodic thermographic surveys essential for all businesses to comply with relevant regulations, as well as keep their assets and people safe and secure at all times.

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How Does a Thermographic Survey Work?

A thermographic survey makes use of the concept of thermal imaging, which scans the infrared radiation from a hot object or surface, and this is picked up by an infrared camera. By picking up on radiation, the scanner can identify areas that are a higher temperature, and use this information to create a thermal image as a map of different colours, based on the temperatures detected.

The gradation of colours shows hotter areas in yellow or red and colder areas in blue. This clear, colour-mapped image is easy to interpret and allows experts to accurately pinpoint the points of electric faults, insulation damage, and leaks.

How Can I Do a Thermographic Survey?

A thermographic survey must be conducted by qualified electrical engineers and requires special equipment. Therefore, it is a good idea an authorized electrical testing or maintenance agency to carry out the survey for you.  

Why Do You Need to Perform a Thermographic Survey?

A thermographic survey can find faults that you may overlook with normal checks. Many electric defects are not easy to identify visually. Thermal scanning can detect even deeply concealed insulation faults. You can detect the hidden issues early, before they worsen over time and become a hazard that my threaten your site, assets, and even your staff.

The survey can easily detect insulation faults, equipment malfunctions, overloaded power sockets, and more, and provide clear reports which include statistics and temperature readings.

Benefits of Performing the Thermographic Survey

Regardless of whether you are responsible for an office, factory, construction site, or any other business, a thermographic survey has many benefits. 

Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Ensures proper insulation: A thermographic survey can detect insulation faults and make sure existing insulation is the required thickness and meets other relevant parameters to comply with all regulations.
  • Improved pre-emptive maintenance: A thermographic survey helps you detect hidden electrical and insulation faults long before they become full-blown disasters. The minor faults you detect with a thermographic inspection can be address and rectified at your earliest convenience. Therefore, this is an essential part of predictive and pre-emptive maintenance of your electric circuit and systems. 
  • Fast and non-invasive: A thermographic survey can be conducted without shutting down your power. Therefore, it is a non-invasive process and can be performed while the electricity circuits are still live, so won’t interrupt your operations. It is also a quick process that doesn’t take too long to perform.
  • Increased productivity and efficiency:  Due to the non-invasive nature pf this live testing, you won’t have to put up with any downtime. Since it minimizes downtime and does not cause any inconvenience or interruption to the workers in your organization, it will boost productivity and efficiency in your business.
  • Saves money and time: Since a thermographic survey helps you detect minor insulation defects, you can repair them before they become big issues that are more costly to repair. This will save you a lot of money in the long run, not to mention downtime associated with major repairs.
  • Reduced insurance premiums: These days, insurance companies are very strict when it comes to regulatory compliance while offering you an insurance policy. Therefore, when you have taken all safety precautions and have all advanced protective measures in place, you will see this reflected in your premiums!
  • Slashes the risk of electric fire: As a thermographic survey allows you to detect faults in advance, timely maintenance is possible, and greatly reducing, if not entirely eliminating, the risk of electric fire.

A thermographic survey makes hidden insulation damages and electric faults visible. With a range of significant benefits for your business, it is a good idea to have these surveys carried out regularly on your site. An annual thermographic inspection along with the regular fixed wire and PAT (Portable Appliance Test) is best practice for all types of companies to ensure electrical safety and compliance with relevant regulations.

This can help to trace faults in any part of your electric circuit and systems, including the cables, connections, control panels, busbars, generators, motors, and appliances. It will also ensure that you comply with mandatory regulations, including EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report), among others.