Electrical standards offer guidance on how to deal with water-damaged electrical equipment

Source: PlantServices.com

Aug 20, 2010

Several technical documents and electrical industry standards from the Professional Electrical Apparatus Recyclers League (PEARL), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the InterNational Electrical Testing Association (NETA) and the Electrical Apparatus Service Association (EASA) can help electrical professions safely, quickly and cost effectively get the lights back on in flood-ravaged Tennessee.

“Water and electricity are usually not functional allies,” explains PEARL Director, David Rosenfield, and President of ROMAC. “After catastrophic flooding, one of the greatest challenges a community faces is how to restore electrical service. Devices such as circuit breakers, contactors, relays, transformers, fuses, pilot devices, insulators, bushings, as well as other parts and subassemblies are highly susceptible to water damage, but that does not mean that every flooded device needs to be scrapped. For some electrical equipment, reconditioning offers a safe, fast way to return electrical apparatus to service. In other cases, such as riveted molded case circuit breakers used in homes, replacement is definitely the best choice. Either way, safety must be the first priority for Tennesseans. NEMA, NETA, EASA and PEARL standards can provide guidance to electrical professionals who are trying to decide what can be saved, and what should be replaced.”

NEMA’s “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment,” can be downloaded for free from NEMA’s website. This document “provides advice on the safe handling of electrical equipment that has been exposed to water. It outlines items that will require complete replacement or that can be reconditioned by a trained professional,” according to the NEMA website. NETA standards and member companies can provide guidance on field testing and repairs to verify device operation and suggest repairs. 

After determining what equipment is a potential candidate for reconditioning and what should be replaced, electrical professions can access PEARL’s electrical apparatus Reconditioning and Inspect & Test standards to learn how certified professionals can safely recondition and return existing switchgear and other electrical equipment to service. In the case of electric motors and transformers, the electrical community can also check out EASA for guidance and help.

“During these difficult times, the U.S. citizens and corporate interests have a long-standing tradition of pulling together to help the victims of flooding and other natural disasters,” explains PEARL President, Brian Corekin, and President of Monster Fuses Inc. “The world’s economic troubles haven’t made it any easier for the small business person. If we can help one company to get their lights back on and keep people employed, then we’ve done something we can be proud of.”

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