How do I know my electrical system has issues?

Assessing the state of an electrical system goes far beyond simply on/off or works/doesn't-work.  If you've ever experienced flickering lights because something else in the house was turned on, then you've experienced the subtle and intricate relationship that exists between every component making up a power system.  

 

While the lifespan of a light bulb rarely comes up as an issue, crucial and expensive equipment your business relies on can be prey to the same issues and you wouldn't necessarily know it.  

Below is a partial list of some of the symptoms to look for when determining if one has an issue with their electrical system and power quality.  

Utility / Billing

  • Complaints of excessive harmonic production

  • High power factor penalty charges

  • Unexpected changes in power factor

  • Complaints of causing system voltage disturbances

  • Excessive utility attention paid to your substation

  • Excessive outages

  • Excessive voltage sags or swells causing plant-wide disturbances

  • Frequent capacitor switching

  • Complaints of excessive LTC or regulator tapping

  • Unexpected energy charges

 

Lighting

  • Excessive light flicker or intensity fluctuation

  • Lighting failures

  • Lighting controller malfunctions or failures

 

Transformers

  • Winding overheating

  • Core overheating

  • General overheating

  • Excessive vibration or noise

  • Failures

  • High levels of combustable or carbon based gases

  • Overheated neutral

  • Excessive internal fuse blowing

 

Capacitor Banks

  • Abnormal number of blown capacitor units

  • Excessive vibration or noise, high frequency ringing

  • Overheated buswork or cables

  • Unusual bank tripping by upstream protection

 

Harmonic Filters

  • Reactor overheating

  • Abnormal number of blown capacitor units

  • Excessive vibration or noise, high frequency ringing

  • Resistor overheating

  • Unusual filters tripping by upstream protection

 

Main Bus

  • Abnormally high or low voltage

  • Abnormal voltage fluctuations

  • Excessive buswork noise

  • Unusual power fluctuations

  • Excessive voltage imbalance

 

Fuses / Breakers / Relays / ATS

  • Abnormal or excessive fuse blowing

  • Abnormal or excessive breaker tripping

  • Nuisance ATS operation

  • Nuisance Relay operation

  • ATS failure to transfer

  • Nuisance Breaker operation

  • Poor synchronization

 

Overhead Lines

  • Excessive line trips

  • Excessive conductor movement

  • Unexplained flashovers

  • Excessive line corona

 

Generators

  • Overheating of generator machine

  • Overheating of generator engine

  • Loss of full load capability

  • Loss of engine efficiency

  • Inability to hold frequency

  • Inability to hold voltage

  • Failure to start

  • Failures of machine or engine

  • Excessive bearing failures

 

Panels

  • Overheated neutral wiring

  • Overheated conductors

  • Overheated breakers

  • Nuisance breaker tripping

  • Excessive voltage imbalance

 

Motors / MCCs / Drives

  • Excessive winding failures

  • Excessive bearing failures

  • General overheating

  • Unusual or intermittent contactor drop outs

  • Contactor failures

  • Overheated breaker

  • Unusual or intermittent breaker trips

  • Excessive breaker failures

  • Excessive drive failures

  • Drive input MOV failures

  • Excessive drive misoperation or shutdown

 

Cables

  • Excessive cable movement in cable tray

  • Overheated cables

  • Melted external jacket

  • Melted insulation

  • Cut insulation and/or charred arcing at cut

 

Busway

  • Excessive busway movement

  • Overheated busway

  • Excessive vibration or noise

 

General Plant Equipment

  • Unexpected shutdowns

  • Printed circuit board failures

  • Excessive PLC failures

  • Excessive industrial PC failures

 

General Office Conditions

  • Unexpected shutdowns

  • Excessive PC reboots, crashes or lock-ups

  • Excessive PC failures

  • Poor network communication

  • Unexpected loss of data or corrupted files on PCs

  • Unexpected loss of telecommunications

Still not sure?  Contact us...