Circuit Breaker Maintenance
A circuit breaker is an electro-mechanical device used for protecting electrical circuits from excessive amounts of current or abnormal power conditions. It is designed to keep equipment and staff safe from electrical malfunctions such as short circuits, surges, overloaded circuits, and more. For effective protection and highly-functional operation, circuit breaker preventive maintenance should be performed regularly to industry standards.
LionHeart Critical Power Specialists provide comprehensive maintenance for operators with critical power facilities in a wide variety of industries. With more than two decades of experience, we have the resources and skilled technicians to complete the effective maintenance you need.
What Is the Importance of Circuit Breakers?
A circuit breaker could be thought of as a resettable set of fuses. While fuses are very fast-acting, they are generally only used once and cannot be reset. Circuit breakers can be reset and turned back on without replacing any parts.
Circuit breakers are crucial for interrupting and clearing faults and short circuits in an electrical system to prevent other parts of the electrical distribution system from becoming damaged or suffering from the fault condition. Without circuit breakers, wiring and other electrical devices could become overloaded, start melting the insulation, overheat, catch fire, and cause countless other serious problems. Circuit breakers are now integrated into all aspects of a facilities. Some have intricate design systems, such as kirk key interlocks, that allow the transfer of power across a facility by using various sources of power.
Why Do You Need Circuit Breaker Preventive Maintenance?
Electrical devices, such as circuit breakers, require maintenance for various reasons:
- Circuit breakers transfer voltage and current to the cabling and loads throughout the system. This current generates some heat as it passes through any conductor and this heat can create problems such as insulating material degrading or melting.
- Circuit breakers also physically break the path of the current traveling through the breaker’s main contacts. These contacts can become pitted or worn, creating excessive resistance for the electricity to pass through, and thus creating more heat.
Circuit breaker preventive maintenance is a necessity for units, largely because breakers remain in an idle state for the majority of their lifespans. If a breaker has ceased to operate and fails at an inopportune time, it can cause roadblocks in production, in addition to being extremely dangerous for staff.
Who is Circuit Breaker Preventive Maintenance Recommended For?
Maintenance of the electrical system and circuit breakers within the electrical distribution system are recommended for anyone that operates a critical facility where it is necessary to identify problems before they create downtime or cause injury.
Circuit breaker preventive maintenance is required for medium voltage and high voltage circuit breakers, where the testing requirements and safety equipment vary from that needed for low voltage circuit breakers.
How Do You Know If You Need to Replace a Circuit Breaker?
Failure of a circuit breaker or an associated trip unit may require breaker or breaker component replacement. This can occur in many different ways, each rendering the existing breaker as failed. For example, failure of springs, contacts, cams, switches, and loose connections within a circuit breaker can cause thermal failure of the components and damage the molded case. LionHeart’s preventative maintenance and circuit breaker maintenance procedures will ensure we positively identify a potential failure point before your critical equipment fails. We provide extensive services so your units are functioning correctly when you need them the most.
What is Included in Our Circuit Breaker Preventive Maintenance Process?
LionHeart’s process consists of a thorough visual inspection of the breaker, cabling, and accessory devices for the circuit breaker. We can perform a secondary injection test, verify proper insulation resistance, and perform a contact resistance test during the maintenance check, if necessary.
When it comes to routine circuit breaker preventive maintenance, our technicians provide the following services:
- General cleaning and evaluation of the breaker.
- Providing analysis of all components and system operations.
- Removing and replacing damaged or worn out components.
- Breaker resets when needed.
- Meeting all National Electric Code (NEC) requirements for circuit breakers and connections with electrical systems.
- Supplying lubrication and final review for components.
- Following manufacturer and International Electric Testing Association (NETA) standards for testing.
How Often Should Circuit Breakers Be Tested?
Breakers need to be maintained based on the environment in which they’re operated, the criticality of the facility in which the device(s) performs, and the age of that unit.
These standards are established by the International Electrical Testing Association (NETA). NETA uses a table to provide maintenance guidelines for equipment. A typical facility will conduct circuit breaker maintenance on an annual basis, but manufacturer specifications and guidelines should always be followed.
There are several standard testing procedures that are followed regularly to avoid extensive repairs, such as:
- Resistance testing
- Operations testing
- Heat testing
LionHeart Field Service Engineers (FSEs) can perform annual testing and standard assessments on an as needed basis. Based on the facility, the amount of circuit breakers, and scope of service being requested, LionHeart may partner with an electrical testing company to conduct this testing and provide reports for the work. Breaker testing tends to be quite involved with the use of remote power supplies, calibrated test equipment, meters, and test benches capable of testing all breaker sizes and types.
We believe no organization should ever be at risk due to the failure of their critical power systems. LionHeart is the team you need for peace of mind.