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Possible causes of fire and prevention means

  • 04-14-2017
  • Yoram Zaguri

A large part of the fire that occurs is caused by failures and faults in the electricity system in general and the electrical panel in particular. Components that gets warm in the electrical panel causes an increase in ambient temperature within the electric panel space. This temperature increase affects the insulation materials of the conductors, causing them to lose their insulation properties and sometimes even disintegrate.


High currents in the conductors will also lead to conductive heating and insulation. This heating will also cause loss of insulation properties, disintegration, and even flare up the conductors.

Loose connections in the conductor’s screws will also cause an increase in temperature at the point of contact, resulting in the melting of the components and conductors at the loose connection point.


Electrical panels that are at high environmental temperatures such as sun exposure, machine rooms and more, often need ventilation to remove the heat surrounding them.


However, it is important to understand that the warming of the electricity system is usually a process over time rather than a sudden event. Therefore, it is possible to prevent a large part of the fires and economic damage caused by the electricity system by conducting periodic thermographic tests.


To this day, electrical systems have been mainly driven by a visual inspection. In this test, the electrician had to detect changes in the color of the conductors, the components, and bolts. Of course, in this test, it is not possible to discover the same problems that may occur in the future and which can be prevented.


Some of the failures that can cause a warming in the electrical system are not detectable in these ways due to physical or technical limitations, especially in the electric panel, which is usually loaded with components and conductors and cables which are in high altitude.


Thermal Imaging inspections can accurately detect failures caused by overheating in electrical activity, and this is where the main requirement is eye contact with the component under test.


Thermographic tests should be carried out when the electrical system under examination is at maximum electrical load, but not less than 40% of the maximum load, in order to cause the components to warm up and enable the camera to identify and warn about the defect if there is any.

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