Power quality audits: Preventing the Top 5 Causes of Electrical Failure


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Power quality audits: Preventing the top 5 causes of electrical failure

Electrical systems fail from time to time. We’re not talking about grid power outages or blackouts, which average at around 200 minutes per year, but internal electrical wiring system failures. For businesses that rely on electrical equipment, such outages often translate into downtime and monetary losses.

Most electrical failures are caused by faults, many of which are surprisingly easy to prevent. Here is a list of avoidable electrical faults that can lead to catastrophic electrical system failure and even damage.

Mismatched power rating

Mismatching load power ratings with the wiring's capacity is a common mistake, especially in complex, power-guzzling electrical networks in industrial plants. Before installing a new load, ensure that the entire node can cope with the load's power demands. Overloading a power supply circuit puts undue pressure on the wires and other components such as breakers, switches, and relays.

Defective components and insulation

Electrical components in wiring systems and appliances are prone to physical, chemical and electrical damage. Such damages can result in loose contacts, insulation wear and improper connections. Depending on the extent and severity of the damage, a defective or malfunctioning component can spread harm to other nodes in an electrical network or shut the whole system down altogether.

Foreign objects in electrical circuits

Foreign materials such as debris, organic matter, snow and water have no place in switch boxes, conduits, junction box or other electrical enclosures. These can interfere with electrical connections through physical obstruction and by triggering or accelerating chemical damage (rust and corrosion).

Poor connections

All electrical components, from switches to outlets, should be installed securely. Loose connections can cause sparking, arching and noise between live terminals, which may eventually lead to power loss, overheating, damage and transmission failure.

Natural deterioration

Wires, breakers, outlets, switches and all other electrical devices naturally degrade with age. And they all have different life expectancies too. For instance, high-quality copper wires can last well over 100 years, while a circuit breaker's lifespan is typically between 30-40 years. Check the manufacturer-recommended useful lifespan of every component and replace those that exceed theirs, even if they still work fine.

Preventing electrical failure with power quality audits

A power quality audit (PQA) examines various characteristics of a facility’s power flow to determine its stability, efficiency and safety. Poor electrical connections, overloaded circuits and faulty devices can distort or disturb optimal power flow characteristics, which power quality audits can pick up. In other words, a PQA helps spot early signs of electrical failure and earmark problematic areas for further review or correction.

Even when being extra careful about proper electrical system maintenance, some of these electrical faults can still pop up. The best way to ensure electrical safety and performance at all times is by conducting regular power quality checks. And we’ll gladly help you with that. Eco Electrical is the one-stop solution to all your commercial electrical service needs, including power quality audits. Write to us or call 1300 326 353 to learn more about preventative electrical systems maintenance.

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