How Heat Affects Electrical Equipment

It’s no secret that it gets hot in the Southern United States. There is somewhat of a cultural pride to how hot summers can be here in Texas. No matter how you feel about the heat, the fact is we have been breaking records as a continent for the hottest summer temperatures consistently over the past 5 years. What does all this mean for electrical equipment?

Electrical Equipment & Heat

Electrical equipment such as breakers, transformers, starters, and variable frequency drives all come with a listed maximum operating temperature range. When that range is exceeded, the risks of continuing to run that equipment at the exceeded temperatures can be:

  • Unanticipated equipment shutdown
  • Worsening equipment performance
  • Shortened life-cycle
  • Fire hazards

At ECP, we notice that a lot our customers’ need for replacement parts tends to peak in the summer months as the Texas heat barbecues every electrical enclosure in sight. If it’s a residential air conditioning unit that has a motor starter failure, the worst result is usually a disgruntled home owner. But when something fails at a multi million dollar factory, the resulting downtime can bring a financial disaster.

Beat the Heat!

In order to combat these disaster scenarios, technicians and maintenance managers must take steps to ensure the protection of critical equipment:

  1. Verify the following manufacturer installation requirements are met:How close a piece of equipment can be mounted to another
    • The size cabling that needs to be used
    • The type of enclosure and ventilation
    • Whether or not the unit itself can be exposed to direct sunlight
  2. Conducting routine maintenance checks on the areas that degrade the fastest:
    • Fans and filters
    • Electrical insulation
    • Contacts and coils
    • Sockets & Terminals
  3. Using temperature gauges and thermal cameras to monitor thermal activity:
    • Permanent temperature monitoring equipment
    • Mobile thermal cameras for quick analyzing

Proactive Measures:

Not everyone has the time or money to install a fancy temperature monitoring system. In some scenarios, it may be easier to rent/buy a thermal camera like the ones we offer from Fluke that allow you to quickly scan all of your equipment.

These high-quality cameras allow you capture video/pictures of whatever area you need to look at. The camera is built rugged for in the field use, has built in voice annotation note taking.  If you are interested in renting or buying a thermal camera, we’ve got you covered at https://ecpsolutions.com/product-category/products/inspection-equipment/

 

 

About the Author

Luke Benden
Luke Benden | Vice President of Sales

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