Select Page

It’s a common question: “How often should electrical systems be thermographically inspected?” Historically, accepted industry practice has recommended that infrared inspections be performed annually. However, site-specific conditions may dictate considerably shorter intervals for some equipment or facilities.

According to the 2010 Edition of NFPA 70B Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance, “Routine infrared inspections of energized electrical systems should be performed annually prior to shutdown. More frequent inspections, for example, quarterly or semiannually, should be performed where warranted by loss experience, installation of new electrical equipment, or changes in environmental, operational, or load conditions.”

Semi-annual infrared inspections may also be prudent where unscheduled outages of electrical equipment could pose significant environmental or safety hazards or result in catastrophic damage to other systems or components.

Because infrared inspections are only effective when electrical system components are energized, it is imperative to perform these inspections when subject equipment is operational. For facilities with seasonal equipment, such as heating and cooling systems, it may be necessary to schedule infrared inspections on several different days spread throughout the calendar year.

As always, infrared inspections of electrical systems should only be performed by properly trained and certified thermographers following all appropriate safety precautions.

To obtain a copy of NFPA 70B, contact the National Fire Protection Association at 1-800-344-3555, or visit To obtain a copy of the Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment, contact Infraspection Institute at 609-239-4788, or visit

This article is based on a Jan. 18, 2021,
“Tip of the Week” on the website.


Jim Seffrin, CMRP, has been an Infraspection Institute Certified Infrared Thermographer since 1984. A co-founder of Jersey Infrared Consultants and a practicing thermographer with 35+ years of experience as an infrared consultant, he was appointed Director of Infraspection Institute in April 2000.  For information on a wide range of topics related to infrared thermography and associated training and certification, visit and/or, or email

Tags: reliability, availability, maintenance, RAM, infrared thermography, IR thermography infrared cameras, thermographic imagers, infrared inspections, electrical equipment, electrical wiring, electrical panels, motors, generators, drives