How to Keep Your Building’s Electrical System Healthy

Keeping your building’s electrical systems healthy and in good working order increases efficiency, reduces downtime, enhances productivity, and creates a safer environment for your employees. This is critical because operational efficiency is closely tied to a resource that is so dependable every day that we take it for granted, a reliable flow of efficient electricity

Several factors can diminish the electrical health of your equipment and the electrical distribution systems that power it. 

  • Age
  • Improper Installation
  • Poor Maintenance
  • Improper Use
  • Moving, Changing, and Adding equipment

Just like maintaining your physical health, keeping your electrical system healthy requires regular checkups and maintenance.  

Engineering Studies: A Check-Up for Your Electrical System

Several engineering studies help you identify the potential problems that could be lurking unseen in your electrical system. These studies expose the undetected hazards in the system so that a qualified electrical contractor can repair them. 

Arc Flash Risk Assessment – An arc flash is an explosive discharge of electricity that can injure or even kill employees and damage equipment. It can be caused by a fault or short circuit in the electrical distribution system resulting from old or improperly installed equipment. An arc flash risk assessment calculates the incident energy (the amount of energy released during an arc flash) at each point in a distribution system. This helps determine what kind of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed to protect workers who maintain the electrical system. The assessment evaluates all of the electrical distribution equipment to ensure that it has been installed properly, is in good condition, and complies with the current electrical code. A comprehensive arc flash risk assessment protects employees and contractors who work on the electrical equipment and gives owners valuable insight into the state of the electrical distribution system. The best time to perform this assessment is after changes have been made to your power distribution system. It must be performed by a professional engineer or a licensed electrician. 

Selective Coordination Study – This study ensures that all the overcurrent protective devices in the electrical distribution system are designed, installed, and programmed to work together to minimize the extent of power outages during an electrical fault or short circuit. A professional engineer performs this study after changes have been made to your power distribution system to ensure it is operating properly. 

Equipment Evaluation – This study verifies that the electrical distribution gear is properly rated to withstand a fault current experienced during a fault or short circuit.  Equipment should be accurately rated for its working conditions. For example, if a gear is rated for 10,000 amps but could experience a fault current of 30,000 amps, it could be vulnerable to an arc flash explosion or other catastrophic equipment failures. To ensure the system is operating properly and compliant with code, professional engineers, journeymen, or electrical designers can perform this evaluation at any time.  

Power Quality Study – Poor power quality can be caused by many factors, and it can result in equipment failure and power interruptions. This study uses a recording meter to evaluate the quality of the power that your equipment consumes. It also identifies issues that can be caused by improper wiring, failing electrical equipment, incorrect grounding, unbalanced loads, or improperly applied electrical distribution equipment. The best time to perform this study is after changes in the power distribution system, and it can be performed by a professional engineer, journeyman, or electrical designer.

Preventive Maintenance from Service Technicians

Service technicians provide several types of hands-on maintenance to your systems and equipment.  

Infrared (IR) Scanning – When an electrical motor is overworked and likely to fail, or a circuit breaker in a panel is overloaded, they get hotter. An IR scan uses an infrared camera as a diagnostic tool to detect increased heat levels that could indicate a pending equipment failure or even a potential fire. The scan includes removing panel covers and inspecting all breakers and wiring inside of the panel or gear to identify potential code issues and items that require repair. A thorough infrared scan of electrical panels includes a full report with pictures and repair recommendations. Annual IR scans give advanced warnings that enable owners to repair or replace equipment before it fails, this reduces the risk of system downtime.

On-time Monitoring – Equipment is in greater danger of failing when it suddenly starts to use more power. On-time monitoring gives you real-time reports of how much power each piece of equipment is consuming. The process begins when a service technician installs software that allows you to constantly monitor your equipment’s power consumption. The software alerts you when power consumption exceeds certain levels so that you can anticipate failure and breakdown and reduce downtime. 

Lighting Retrofits – Replacing old, outdated lighting with LED lighting keeps your electrical system performing at its best. This allows you to lower maintenance costs, cut power consumption, and provide better lighting for your employees. Utility companies offer incentives that can offset the cost of lighting retrofits. 

Distributed Antenna System (DAS) Installation – Building materials can interfere with the cell phone signal inside your facility. This makes the mobile technology used inside your building unreliable. It also interferes with the radio signals used by first responders that could be called to your business in an emergency. A DAS installation places a network of interconnected antennas inside of your building to strengthen the cell phone signal so that mobile devices and emergency equipment work as intended. If you are experiencing mobile connectivity issues in your building a qualified DAS provider can assess the problem and offer you customized solutions. 

How Hunt Can Help

Hunt Electric makes it easy to evaluate and improve the health of your building’s electrical system by giving you all the engineering studies and preventive maintenance services you need in one place and accessible from a single point of contact. With one phone call, you have access to our expert team of electrical engineers to perform engineering studies and our team of highly skilled service technicians to repair problems these studies might find in your electrical system. We build long-term relationships with our clients so that we become well acquainted with their electrical systems and unique needs.  Our goal is to be your trusted partner in maintaining the health of your electrical system and equipment so that your environment remains safe, productive, and profitable. 

Learn more about how we can help today.