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How to Prevent Costly Electrical System Problems

In recent years, there's been an increase in electrical-related fires. And they're causing more severe losses. Businesses are adding more equipment, but some buildings and electrical systems are aging and may not be designed to handle the load most businesses need. 

Inadequately maintained electrical systems are also a leading cause of business interruption, poor energy efficiency, equipment wear-out and breakdown—all of which are costly problems. 

An effective electrical preventive maintenance program can reduce your risk of an unscheduled outage by as much as 66%, according to statistics from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

What You Can Do to Prevent Electrical Issues in Your Building 

Focus your electrical preventive maintenance program on the most common and frequent problems leading to electrical fires and equipment failure. That includes inspection and preventive measures to ensure the electrical apparatus is kept clean, cool, dry and tight.

Keep the Electrical Apparatus Clean 

  • Keep electrical apparatus and equipment rooms free of excessive dust and dirt accumulation
  • Don't use electrical equipment rooms for storage
  • Limit access to authorized operations and maintenance personnel
  • Maintain proper lighting to ensure correct and efficient operation and maintenance

Keep the Electrical Apparatus Cool 

  • Prevent excessive heat buildup in electrical apparatus enclosures and equipment rooms; exceeding design temperatures can be a fire hazard and can shorten the life of equipment
  • Install and maintain cooling fans or blowers on equipment to provide adequate cooling
  • Keep ventilation openings in equipment enclosures clean and free from obstruction
  • Change or clean any installed filters according to the manufacturer's recommendations

Keep the Electrical Apparatus Dry 

  • Keep equipment rooms dry and protect equipment from moisture; persistent exposure and direct contact with moisture can cause equipment to fail or shorten its life
  • Check equipment for moisture contamination; if found, examine equipment for damage, make necessary repairs and eliminate the source of moisture

Keep the Electrical Apparatus Tight 

  • Check all connections and ensure they are kept tight as loose connections are the most common source of electrical equipment failure
  • Follow any applicable manufacturer's instructions for tightening
  • Get an infrared imaging survey to test for elevated temperatures resulting from loose connections

Where to Begin with Electrical Building Maintenance 

The first step in conducting electrical equipment maintenance is following applicable jurisdictional code requirements and specific manufacturers' recommendations. 

Regular and routine maintenance is extremely important. Preventive maintenance should be performed at least every three years or more often when conditions warrant. 

Remember, it takes qualified and competent maintenance personnel to properly, safely and effectively maintain electrical equipment. 

Electrical system maintenance increases safety and decreases losses. Reduce your risk of fire, equipment breakdown, business interruption, equipment inefficiency and premature wear-out with a preventive maintenance program.

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