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Preventive Maintenance for Electrical Systems—Every Day
In the highly-competitive world of commercial building management, your success depends on high tenant occupancy, controllable expenses, and trouble-free operation. That means no unexpected shutdowns, no major equipment or service failures, and no expensive emergency repairs.
The heartbeat of any commercial building is its electrical distribution system, which regulates water pressure, climate, communication, and lighting. Without this heartbeat, all services stop--along with your business.
And facility downtime is not an option if you want to keep your tenants.
According to Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), (www.hsb.com), electrical system malfunctions are the leading cause of commercial building fires. These fires have increased in frequency and severity over the past two decades, due primarily to increased demand on existing electrical systems. Even newer buildings are not immune to electrical failures, as businesses demand an ever-increasing stream of power, placing more and more pressure on overloaded systems.
The number one cause of such failures is a lack of proper maintenance—or no maintenance at all. HSB reports that 75% of all electrical failures are due to human error or carelessness, deficient or delayed maintenance, unqualified personnel, and/or budget cuts. According to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in New Jersey (www.IEEE.org), the failure rate of electrical systems is three times higher for those that have not had preventive maintenance than for those that have.
Commercial facilities’ infrastructures typically have many safeguards in place, such as pump gauges, water tank level alarms, and smoke detectors. In many cases, a property may have a Building Management System (BMS), which controls and monitors the building’s mechanical equipment, such as air handling and cooling plant systems, as well as lighting, fire extinguishing, and security systems.
Electrical distribution systems, however, are often overlooked because most of the facility’s electrical enclosures are inaccessible. Since many electrical enclosures cannot and should not be opened in the “on” or “energized” position, maintenance personnel usually enter an electrical switchgear room or electrical closet limited to their senses—sound, sight and smell--to detect signs of overheating. But once a worker smells something burning or hears something arcing, significant damage has already occurred, and the level of danger has increased significantly.
In a typical one-million square foot high-rise commercial office building, there are literally hundreds of electrical power and distribution panels, along with just as many disconnects. This equipment may receive an infrared scan once per year, at most, or an occasional “clean and tighten,” which is conducted during off hours. The “clean and tighten” procedure requires both an electrical shutdown and significantly higher electricians’ wages. It is a major expense and inconvenience for both building owners and their tenants.
This "clean & tighten" procedure can increase the probability of creating such problems where they otherwise would not exist.
According to Hartford Steam Boiler, electrical system malfunctions are the leading cause of fire in commercial buildings – Annual Cost to Industry – over $30 billion. More than 30% of these malfunctions are caused by loose and dirty connections.
CNA Insurance - A reasonable “average” electrical fire loss today is estimated to be $750,000.00.
IEEE – you can effectively reduce your risk of an unscheduled outage by as much as 66% with an effective preventive maintenance program in place.
IEEE – Disconnect Switches have the highest % rate of failure without preventive maintenance.
U.S. Department of Energy – The cost of cleaning and/or replacement of electrical terminations is low compared to the significant energy savings.
Delta T Alert ™ bridges the gap between your infrared scans by monitoring and reporting critical temperatures within your electrical enclosures on a daily basis.