Another electrical fire. This time it was in an old church in Portland, Oregon. The building and its contents suffered damage but luckily there were not any injuries or casualties in this fire. It is very likely that an infrared (thermographic) inspection of the electrical system in this church would have spotted the fire hazard before it became critical. (See:

Preventing these losses helps reduce insurance rates. Insurance companies are now recognizing infrared surveys as a method for reducing or preventing these damage and repair costs caused from electrical failures. Many insurance companies recommend or require annual infrared surveys on commercial buildings. Some insurance companies will reduce annual premiums if regular thermographic inspections are conducted of the electrical and mechanical systems.

Old and new homes and buildings should have their electrical systems inspected at least every three years or more often. One would think that a new house or building with a new electrical system with new components would not need to be inspected. In fact any new electrical system should have an infrared inspection due to installation oversights, faulty connections and faulty components in the system. Some electrical contractors will do an infrared inspection on the system and equipment after they have installed them. This is to insure that their work is correctly installed and the components installed are working as specified. Be sure to ask your electrician if they do an infrared inspection of their installed system. (If not, please call Western Infrared to do a infrared inspection of your new system.)

Older homes and buildings should have an infrared inspection more often because the older components such as outlets, switches, fuses and panels are more apt to fail. On older homes or buildings, much of their systems were installed before inspections were required. Over the years many added circuits and/or repairs were made to the electrical system, possibly by unqualified persons. The infrared inspection could locate problem areas in the older system before they cause damage to the house or building or more importantly, cause injury to the occupants within.

Infrared inspections are totally non-invasive and can be done with the power on and with equipment under load. In fact these inspections work best if the electrical system is under at least a 40% load. Because most electrical failures cause heat, they are easy to spot with an infrared inspection as long as the equipment can be seen with the infrared camera. The new high resolution infrared cameras used by Western Infrared will take two photos. One is an infrared photo (thermograph) of the problem area along with a standard digital photo of the same area at the same time. This will make it much easier for the repairman to locate the exact problem spot. This will reduce labor costs of the repair.

Please contact Western Infrared for more information about doing an infrared camera inspection on your home or business.