So the infrared inspection of your building has been completed, and you have received your infrared report… except it’s just sitting on a shelf with the other reports you’ve compiled from the previous year. I know this stack of reports looks impressive and can make you appear incredibly accomplished to anyone who visits your office, but you need to do something with them. The way I see it, you can either be the type of person who just confidently checks off your annual inspection from a long to-do-list, or you can put the report to use.
The reports, much like the instruments used to gather the included information, are strong analytical tools that when used correctly, can help you gain a better understanding of your system. And having a more complete knowledge of the problems within your electrical system will aid you in making smarter diagnostic decisions.
I would suggest you approach your report with these three objectives in mind:
First, review the report in full. I know this seems like an obvious step, but common sense hasn’t been the recipient of the kindest sayings in recent years. So lets skip the “Yeah yeah, I know what’s in the report” stage and just give it a once-over.
Looking over the report and double-checking that all panels and equipment were scanned is a great place to start. Every report should include a list of everything that was inspected during the infrared scanning. With this, you’ll be able to identify any equipment that isn’t running due to weather issues or items without load due to vacancy or construction. If this is the case, you may want to schedule a revisit to complete the scanning when normal operation of those items has resumed.
If you have a building upgrade or equipment improvement project that is ongoing, scheduling a follow-up infrared scan will offer a way to check the quality of work performed so that anything still covered under warranty can be addressed and completed quickly if any problems are found.
Second, take a look at the discrepancies in the report, and make the necessary repairs. Again, this should be fairly obvious, but many times the repairs appear minor and are overlooked. Making this a priority will reduce the likelihood that minor issues are forgotten after a few weeks. Taking care of the repairs sooner, rather than later, may be the difference between a simple clean and torque service costing you a couple hundred dollars, and a couple thousand dollar full replacement.
If larger maintenance items like GFI testing and ATS servicing are identified as due, prepare to schedule or budget these services. These should not be perceived as suggested repairs to be considered for your system, as they are just as critical as fixing hot spots found during inspection. Since these particular pieces of equipment affect your normal and emergency system operations, they are often more difficult to overlook, and will certainly be much more costly to replace when they fail due to neglect.
Third, you will want to identify reoccurring problems, and consider addressing them in your preventive maintenance program. This is a smart and proactive approach to solving issues that have proven to be common or occur frequently within your system. I have seen many of my clients implement these changes in their PM programs because of the infrared report. While some of these changes may have been small, and seemingly insignificant on their own, the compounding nature of a comprehensive preventive maintenance program allows for much smoother operation and reduces the frequency of failures.
It doesn’t matter if your building houses a manufacturing operation, or thousands of cubicles. If your infrared report shows a piece of equipment or a disconnect with a reoccurring hot spot, it is worth adding to your PM program. You’ll be surprised what that extra attention, cleaning, and tightening can do for your facility in the years to come. Again, it may seem like common sense, but indications that equipment could use a little extra attention should not be ignored. Servicing a disconnect, contractor, cleaning a fuse connection, etc… these are all things that can easily be added to your equipment’s PM list of reduce future problems and wear.
Make the most out of your infrared report by reading, understanding, and implementing what is identified with correct and appropriate action to keep your electrical system running effectively without unplanned interruptions.