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National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

NFPA 70B is now a Standard

NFPA 70B governs condition-based maintenance for electrical equipment used in industrial, institutional, commercial, and large multi-family residential dwellings. But now that 70B is a standard, its provisions are mandatory once an authority having jurisdiction (typically a state, city, or municipality) formally adopts it. This standard then becomes the law, and electricians and building owners are required to follow it. Many insurance companies and risk managers recommend and/or pressure their clients into performing IR Surveys -usually every three (3) years. One requiremec in the new standard it will become an ANNUAL IR Survey of Electrical Equipment! In the short term, the proliferation and adoption of this standard could create a shortage of qualified infrared thermographers to perform these important electrical surveys.

Facilities should call and request annual inspection contracts to prepare for this shortage and to comply with these Standards as it will affect the costs of Insurance and Insured Qualifications.


James Yaeger LHI #10025CETC #110008
Bayou State Inspections
337 988-9020

National Fire Protection Association News

Since 1975, the National Fire Protection Association has published NFPA 70B, Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance.  Over time this comprehensive document has evolved to cover a wide array of testing and maintenance practices for installed electrical equipment.  The past several editions of 70B have recommended that infrared inspections of energized electrical equipment be performed annually.


On January 16, 2023, this document was reissued as NFPA 70B, Standard for Electrical Equipment Maintenance. Compared to previous editions, the 2023 edition of 70B has been updated and extensively revised.  Of particular note is the requirement that infrared inspections are now required on an annual basis for all electrical equipment.  Under certain circumstances, more frequent inspections are required.  


Similar to previous editions, NFPA 70B does not provide specifics for conducting infrared inspections. Such information may continue to be found in the Infraspection Institute  Standard for Infrared Inspection of Electrical Systems and Rotating Equipment.


Infraspection Institute have long recognized the value of thermography as a tool for electrical system maintenance.  We commend NFPA for the latest edition of 70B and their continued efforts to help ensure public safety. 

Measuring Motor Temperatures


Measuring motor temperature is often a challenge since electric motors differ widely in their design and construction. While many have suggested measuring the motor casing along the stator, this method does not work well for motors that are fan cooled or exposed to external air currents. For uncooled motors, this approach can produce varying temperature values depending upon the location of the subject temperature readings.

In 1997, a research project led by Infraspection Institute utilized instrumented motors in a controlled environment to determine the effect of excess force on installed motors. One of the primary goals of this research was to identify a location for collecting reliable temperature data.

From our research it was found that measuring the exterior of the motor bellhousing within 1” of the output driveshaft consistently produced temperatures that were within 1 to 2 C of the motor windings and the output side bearing assembly. Temperatures taken at the bellhousing were especially useful for fan-cooled motors since this area was unaffected by convective cooling from the fan.

When measuring motor temperatures, keep the following in mind:

  • Make certain that all thermometers are within calibration and used properly
  • Motor temperature will vary with load and ambient temperature. Be certain to record both along with motor temperature
  • Elevated temperatures can be caused by electrical or mechanical defects within the motor and/or defective installations
  • Motors with elevated temperature should be further investigated for cause and repaired or replaced accordingly 


Spirit of Acadiana: St. Landry Parish school finding new life

By: Scott Brazda

Posted at 7:56 AM, Feb 16, 2022

The Opelousas school formerly known as Southwest Elementary is coming close to a renewal and revival.

But before it becomes a charter school and welcomes students, there are inspections that need to be done.

"This place, we want to be a state-of-the-art school," said Debbie Faul of St. Landry Charter School. "We want to come in and renovate it. It's gonna take some time and each year we'll add to it."

August will be here soon enough. And as the St. Landry Charter School comes to terms with the St. Landry Parish School system, it's time for an assessment and prioritization.

"We're going to invest some time and money to make it that dream school," said Faul.

That's why Bayou State Inspections will spend the next few days making recommendations after they look at nearly everything on the property. 

Call it due diligence. They'll make sure the problems in the 60 year old building are taken care of before students step foot on campus.

There will be lots of activity during the spring and summer, but the goal of this charter school is admirable.

"We want to make it a school where kids want to come and parents are proud to have their kids come," said Faul.

It is hoped that the sale of the school will be finalized by mid-March and that grades K through 5 will be ready to go in August.

View article 


Infrared Inspections of Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters

Excess heating is often a sure sign of defective electrical equipment; however, the absence of heat can also be a sign of component failure. In this Tip, we demonstrate how thermal imaging may be used to detect defective Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters.

An Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) is an advanced type of electrical circuit breaker that automatically opens a circuit when it detects a dangerous electrical arc on the circuit it protects. Designed to help prevent electrical fires, an AFCI can sense between electrical arcs caused by defective equipment versus those associated with the normal operation of devices such as light switches.

In order to monitor for dangerous electrical arcing on a circuit, AFCI devices have electronic circuitry built into them. This circuitry can cause the body of the AFCI to run several degrees warmer than ambient temperature. Depending upon the settings of your thermal imager, these devices may show a marked contrast to their surroundings.


Thermogram shows three out of four AFCI devices operating at ambient temperature. These devices had failed and were no longer protecting against arc faults. Images courtesy Houston Thermal Inspections and Infrared Imaging.

When thermographically inspecting AFCI devices, be sure to inspect the line and load side connections at the AFCI device as well as the neutral bus bar connection for the subject breaker. Should you find an AFCI device that is operating close to ambient temperature, it is likely that the internal circuitry has failed making the device incapable of protecting against arc faults. Such devices should be further tested and replaced if they are found to be defective.


Using a Blower Door During an IR Inspection

Data obtained during infrared inspections can often be improved by incorporating other tools. When it comes to building inspections, a blower door can be useful in detecting air leakage sites and helping to gauge the airtightness of a building.


Air leakage is often a major source of energy loss in buildings. Although an infrared imager can help detect evidence of air leakage sites, it cannot pinpoint all air leakage sites nor can it quantify the amount of air leakage occurring. Many thermographers overcome these limitations by utilizing a blower door in conjunction with their infrared inspection.


A blower door consists of an instrumented, high volume fan that is temporarily placed in a doorway to create a positive or negative pressure within a building. In depressurized mode, the blower door simulates a wind blowing equally on all sides of the building. Conducting an infrared inspection with the building depressurized enables a thermographer to detect air leakage sites that would not be visible under natural conditions. With special software, it is possible to estimate the relative leakage of a structure as well as the total area of all leak sites. 



Preparing Roofs for Winter

With parts of the United States experiencing mild weather, it is hard to think about winter. For many, autumn provides a perfect opportunity to conduct infrared inspections of flat roofs to help ensure that they are ready for the upcoming colder months.


Summer can be especially tough on roofing systems. High temperatures, building movement, and UV radiation often cause cracks and splits in the waterproofing system. Left undetected, these cracks and splits can lead to roof leaks and premature roof failure. Performing an infrared roof inspection prior to the onset of colder weather can detect evidence of problems and help to direct repair efforts.


When performed under the proper conditions and with the right equipment, an infrared inspection can detect evidence of latent moisture within the roofing system often before leaks become evident in the building. For many locations, autumn provides perfect conditions for conducting an infrared inspection and performing any necessary roof repairs.


The best candidates for infrared inspection are flat or low slope roofs where the insulation is located between the roof deck and the membrane and is in direct contact with the underside of the membrane. Applicable constructions are roofs with either smooth or gravel-surfaced, built-up or single-ply membranes. If gravel is present, it should be less than ½” in diameter and less than 1″ thick.


For smooth surfaced roofs, a short wave (2-5.6 µ) imager will provide more accurate results especially if the roof is painted with a reflective coating. All infrared data should be verified by a qualified roofing professional via core sampling or invasive moisture meter readings.


Water Infiltration in Buildings

Water infiltration into buildings can have devastating effects on building materials. Left untreated, latent moisture can cause excess energy loss, mold growth, and/or structural failure. Latent moisture also causes changes in the thermal capacitance and conductivity of materials.

Prior to performing an infrared inspection, determine the best vantage point for imaging. Insulated roofs and exterior building finishes such as EIFS are traditionally inspected from the exterior of the building. Interior inspections are usually effective when moisture is affecting interior finishes of the building such as drywall. Thermal imaging may not be effective for low-emittance targets such as metal cladding or spandrel glass panels.


Next, choose an appropriate time to ensure that a detectable Delta T will be present. For roofs and building exteriors, best results are usually obtained during evening hours following a sunny day. As an alternative, inspections may also be performed when there is an inside/outside temperature differential of at least 10Cº. In some cases, inspections performed from the interior may be performed with a smaller Delta T.


Thermal signatures associated with latent moisture will vary with the type of building material and the amount of moisture contained therein. Depending upon vantage point and time of inspection, exceptions caused by latent moisture may show as either hot or cold thermal anomalies. These anomalies may be amorphously shaped, mottled, or correspond to the size and shape of absorbent materials. All thermal data should be correlated with invasive testing to ascertain moisture content of inspected areas.

Source: Volume 10  Issue 10 

Infraspection Institute Newsletter

Are all Black Molds Toxic?

Taxonomically, fungi are classified as eukaryotic organisms. These organisms are devoid of chlorophyll and their cell wall is made up of chitin and glucans.


Mold has become an issue of increasing concern to the general population as lawsuits, media attention and misinformation fuel fires of hysteria.  To further complicate matters, a lack of education and scientific knowledge leads the layperson to correlate the presence of “black mold” with various ailments attributed to “toxic molds”.  In order to dispel mold myths and provide professional assistance to the average person concerned about mold contamination, it is critical to understand the complex nature of mold.


Mold Defined:


Scientifically, mold is a visual growth produced on substratum and/or on host by a group of filamentous fungi (fungi with true mycelium). Taxonomically, fungi are classified as eukaryotic organisms. These organisms are devoid of chlorophyll and their cell wall is made up of chitin and glucans. They are heterotrophic in nature and may be saprophytic, parasitic or symbiotic with other living organisms. The role of these organisms is crucial to maintaining a robust ecological system. Fungal saprophytes occupy an important place in the ecological pyramid, responsible for recycling inorganic and organic materials, then releasing the energy back in to the environment. 


Mold Coloration:


Coloration and toxicity are two separate trends in mold. The coloration of mold is governed by pigmentation, physiological activity and genetics of the organism. The production of toxins is highly influenced by the nature of metabolites produced by the mold and environmental conditions. Hence, the toxicity does not correlate directly with the color of the mold.


Mold Toxicity:


Naturally occurring molds may be toxic, capable of secreting a number of chemicals that are harmful to living entities.  Mycotoxins, glucans and microbiological volatile organic compounds (MVOC) are amongst the most prominent toxic substances produced by mold. The strength of these toxins varies greatly depending upon the species/strain. The effect of these bio-chemicals depends upon the exposure mechanism, dosage and susceptibility of an individual. However, there is no proven or documented record that the toxicity of these chemical compounds is related to the color of the organism. In general, “black mold” refers to all molds that are black in color, but not all the black molds are toxic.  Nigrospora, for example, is a black mold but there is no sufficient evidence that it is toxic to humans.


It is also important to note that a number of molds, not black in color, are capable of releasing mycotoxins that initiate diseases or allergenic responses in susceptible individuals. BlastomycesCandidaEmmonsiaGanoderma,Microsporum, MucorRhizopus, and I, are some common molds that cause a number of health and hygiene problems, but are not black in color.  The entire I group is associated with a number of indoor air and other pathogenic problems, but is not black in color. I, even though it is green in color, is a mycotoxin producing mold.Aspergillus is another major group of mold. Although many species of Aspergillus are not black, (i.e. A. candidus,A. flavusA. fumigatus etc.) they may still produce mycotoxins. However, some species of Aspergillus are black in appearance (example: Aspergillus niger group) and produce mycotoxin that can be moderately to highly toxic.




As we have discussed, it is not appropriate to refer to all “black molds” as “toxic molds”, and not all toxic molds are black in color.  Misinformation on toxic molds is rampant.  It is impossible to observe a mold and determine its toxicity by its pigmentation alone.  The best way to identify the type of mold present in an environment is to take a direct surface or air sample and send it to a qualified laboratory for further analysis and evaluation. Mycotoxin testing is one of the useful methods for evaluating the toxin producing capability of certain molds. A combination of the above mentioned investigation methods help in the determination of the presence of mold and its toxic nature.



Using an Isotherm to Detect Potential Condensation Sites

Tip written by: Infraspection Institute

Condensation on interior building surfaces can lead to a variety of problems including conditions conducive to mold growth. Used properly, the isotherm feature found on many infrared imagers can be utilized to spot potential condensation sites.

Simply put, dew point is the temperature at which water vapor in the air will cause condensation to form on a surface. When interior building components are cooled to dew point temperature or lower, water vapor will precipitate out of the air causing water to form on the subject component.

For building envelopes, chronic condensation on interior drywall surfaces can cause unsightly staining by trapping dust or smoke particulates in these areas. Chronic condensation on organic building components is also conducive to mold growth. Condensation often goes unnoticed until building occupants notice stains associated with the aforementioned conditions. Fortunately, a thermal imager can be used to detect condensation problems before they become serious.

To utilize a thermal imager to detect potential condensation sites, identify the dew point temperature for the room or areas that you are inspecting. Set your imager’s isotherm function to appear at, and for several degrees below, the dew point temperature. As you inspect high emittance building surfaces from the interior of the building, note any components that cause the isotherm to appear. These areas should then be further investigated for cause and appropriate action taken.

When using an isotherm, be sure to practice proper measurement techniques giving particular consideration to viewing angle, spot measurement size and emissivity settings.