Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Electrical Equipment Precautions

In preparation of Hurricane Isaac, Schneider Electric warns businesses to take extreme caution when dealing with electrical equipment. The following precautions help ensure employee safety and avoid costly damage both to physical equipment and the financial losses of a prolonged shutdown:
  • Electrical equipment that has been submerged or come into contact with water must be replaced, though there are exceptions to this rule for larger equipment, which may be able to be reconditioned by trained factory service personnel.
  • Attempting to dry out the equipment may leave portions of the current-carrying parts with damp or wet surfaces. These surfaces may be in contact with insulators or other materials that prevent them from being properly dried out and cleaned of debris.
  • Residual debris or wet surfaces may result in a loss of dielectric spacing within the equipment. This could present a hazard when reenergizing.
Non-emerged equipment should be inspected carefully by a qualified person to determine whether moisture has entered the enclosure. If any signs of moisture or damage exist, the equipment should be replaced or repaired. In addition, equipment with field replaceable interior components can be replaced as a unit. In this case, there is a possibility that enclosures can be reused if they have not been subjected to physical damage, and if they have been properly cleaned of all debris and foreign materials. According to Schneider Electric, cleaning agents, especially petroleum-based, should not be applied to the current-carrying portions of electrical equipment to remove foreign debris, residues and other substances. Some cleaning and lubricating compounds can cause deterioration of the non-metallic insulating or structural portions of the equipment. Do not use abrasives such as sandpaper or steel wool to clean current-carrying parts of the equipment because these materials may remove plating or other conductive surfaces from the parts, which could result in a hazard when the equipment is reenergized.