Electrical panel boards are used everywhere electricity is distributed. They might go by other names like:
- Distribution board
- Breaker panel/box
- Electrical panel
- DB board/box
- Consumer unit
- Circuit breaker panel
- Fuse box (still used conversationally…even when housing breakers instead of fuses)
Regardless of the name, panel boards are the specific part of electrical distribution systems responsible for dividing the main power supply into branch circuits that deliver power to different areas. The panel board protects the circuits from overloading or shorting out with fuses or circuit breakers.
The Importance of Preventive Maintenance Schedules for Electrical Panel Boards
A panelboard in electrical systems is an essential component and maintaining this power supply hub is of paramount importance.
The best way to avoid electrical failure, and the high costs of emergency repairs, is to develop a solid electrical preventive maintenance program for panel boards and all other components of your system.
Learn more about electrical utility maintenance and options in the blogs below.
Preventive Maintenance Schedule Checklist
Using an electrical preventative maintenance checklist is easy. And it’s important to conduct scheduled maintenance on electrical components to prevent problems.
However, there are numerous types and sizes of electrical equipment installed that require maintenance tasks varying in frequency and effort. It is essential to consider what types of equipment you’re dealing with before executing a regularly scheduled checklist.
Top 4 Maintenance Considerations
1. What’s the Market?
This is probably the most obvious differentiator for utility providers. Installed equipment can vary greatly between residential, commercial and industrial facilities. Special or niche facilities may require more detailed or out-of-the-norm maintenance plans like:
- Entertainment venues
- Aquatic or water-related
- Temperature-dependent environments
2. Geography and Environment
Second to the market is the environment surrounding the utility. Solar utilities in Africa are going to have a different checklist than solar utilities in Canada. Environmental conditions to consider include:
- Weather ranges/patterns
- Moisture, dirt, dust and sand tendencies
- Access challenges due to physical structures or topography
- Access challenges due to geopolitical or cultural norms
3. Equipment Age
The age of equipment must be considered when developing maintenance practices due to the differences in requirements of old and new equipment.
Design expansion can mean changes in electrical system loads over a period of time. The worldwide increase in digitization means more load consumption in general. Advanced age may increase the likelihood of equipment failure.
4. Country-Specific Standards
Routine maintenance and standards often start with a framework from electrical safety associations or governing bodies like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, OSHA or the National Fire Protection Association.
Compliance standards will vary by country but they are a good place to start when compiling your own preventive maintenance schedules.
Preventive Maintenance Plan Checklist
Depending on the above factors, some facilities may have their own power supply plants. Some may employ dedicated electrical maintenance teams.
Special occupancy facilities like hospitals may have more stringent preventive maintenance needs. Taking this into consideration, individual checklists will vary.
They may include:
- Check all power meters for functionality before shutting down
- Visually inspect primary controls for deterioration and overheating
- Conduct a general survey of electrical connections in all habitated areas of residential facilities
- Clean thoroughly, vacuum and visually inspect exterior and interior low voltage switchboards,circuit breakers, inlets, panel boards, electric distribution systems for wear and tear
- Check locking devices on electrical units for signs of damage or wear
- Examine boxes for warning lights and other indicators
- Confirm that indicators, lamps, sensors, and warning lights are functioning correctly
- Check that all labels are correct and in place
- Inspect and repair capacitors, transformers, and wiring manifolds
- Examine all outdoor and indoor lighting and relays for signs of wear and/or dimming
- Continuously monitor electrical systems residing in hazardous locations
- Check for malfunctions like loose connections, short circuits, signs of burning and small explosions
- Look over cable assemblies in combination with other wiring methods and installations
- Ensure grounding conductors are working properly with installed equipment
- Inspect lighting outlets and make sure they are correctly wired on specified circuits
- Inspect countertop, wall floor and ceiling receptacle proximity and spacing in relation to cold, heat and water
- Survey branch circuit types for all applicable receptacle outlets
- Identify and mend any frayed wires
- Investigate irregular wiring arrangements
- Inspect grounding electrode conductor connections including buried connections for heat damage and suitable placement
- Examine and repair surge protection units
- Inspect timers, power supply units, fuse carriers, relays and control wiring for humidity or temperature damage, as well as regular wear
- Detect signs of electrical disturbance as an indicator of shorts and sparking
- Ensure proper voltage in all rooms and areas of electrical usage
- Torque test and inspect bolted electrical connections to specified levels
- Disassemble battery tripping packs and check for signs of battery integrity, as well as corrosion or damage
- Perform thermal imaging surveys where necessary
- Check for signs of persistent overheating and determine specific areas for repair or replacement
- Inspect all control circuits and check for overcurrent protection
- Confirm that all motor disconnects are close to the motors and are easily accessible
- Check if multi-unit conductors are properly supplying all units and if they are correctly rated
- Verify that ground-fault and feeder short-circuit protection is sized according to the specific application
- Confirm transformers have adequate overcurrent protection and/or install protection if necessary
- Inspect transformers for failsafes or means of disconnecting immediately
- Conduct a detailed survey of all machinery and moving systems including proper wiring, and correct voltage supply
- Make sure all room circuits are rated for the number of machines and other electric equipment they are connected to
- Ensure proper insulation along panel boards and outlets
- Ensure the number of receptacles are in compliance for special occupancy facilities including hospitals and patient-care areas
- Check to see if power sources and feeder capacities are adequate and review the load calculations for essential systems
- Inspect supply routes to critical life-support systems and perform detailed checks on dedicated backup generators
- Inspect, repair, and/or replace supply lines for alternate power sources
- Identify load imbalances and isolate the source of extra consumption
- Relocate excess power consumers and balance supply as needed
- Check all air circuit breakers (ACBs) for continued integrity of all mechanical and electrical components
- Visual inspection of all busbar and accessories
- Check meter voltage connections, current transformer connections and modbus connections
- Check all components of molded case circuit breakers
- Examine all power distribution units (PDUs) for functioning, control circuit fuse rating, etc.
- Ensure the “all clear” after work is completed, but before fitting covers
- Conduct a final visual inspection of panels, boxes and other major system components after maintenance work is completed
How the Right CMMS Makes Preventive Maintenance Schedules Easy
The days of tracking work orders, field tickets and maintenance tasks with paper are over.
While digitizing your maintenance program can seem like a headache, good CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software) can make the transition easy.
Computerized preventative maintenance schedule software from 60Hertz Energy mirrors the current processes of tracking and reporting that companies are comfortable with. This way, your organization can adopt new technology quickly and easily, without reinventing your total workflow or disrupting customer service. Don’t know what is CMMS?
Effective maintenance management software aims to simplify preventative maintenance with customized alerts, inclusive design and offline capabilities. With the maintenance platform from 60Hertz, you can monitor, track and automate maintenance tasks for all assets in the most cost-effective way.
Contact our experts for more information on taking electric utilities and distributed energy resources to the next level.