DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS FOR ELECTRICAL PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE BASICS

Electrical preventive maintenance should be a prime consideration for any new electrical equipment installation. Quality, installation, configuration, and application are fundamental prerequisites in attaining a satisfactory preventive maintenance program.

A system that is not adequately engineered, designed, and constructed will not provide reliable service, regardless of how good or how much preventive maintenance is accomplished.

One of the first requirements in establishing a satisfactory and effective preventive maintenance program is to have good quality electrical equipment that is properly installed. Examples of this are as follows:

a) Large exterior bolted covers on switchgear or large motor terminal compartments are not conducive to routine electrical preventive maintenance inspections, cleaning, and testing. Hinged and gasketed doors with a three-point locking system would be much more satisfactory.

b) Space heater installation in switchgear or an electric motor is a vital necessity in high humidity areas. This reduces condensation on critical insulation components. The installation of ammeters in the heater circuit is an added tool for operating or maintenance personnel to monitor their operation.

c) Motor insulation temperatures can be monitored by use of resistance temperature detectors, which provide an alarm indication at a selected temperature (depending on the insulation class). Such monitoring indicates that the motor is dirty and/or air passages are plugged.

The distribution system configuration and features should be such that maintenance work is permitted without load interruption or with only minimal loss of availability. Often, equipment preventive maintenance is not done or is deferred because load interruption is required to a critical load or to a portion of the distribution system.

This may require the installation of alternate electrical equipment and circuits to permit routine or emergency maintenance on one circuit while the other one supplies the critical load that cannot be shutdown.

Electrical equipment that is improperly applied will not give reliable service regardless of how good or how much preventive maintenance is accomplished. The most reasonably accepted measure is to make a corrective modification.

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