Routine Inspections and PFC surveys
Routine inspections on your power factor correction panel play a vital role in the health of the system. An annual inspection is recommended on every power factor unit to maintain a power factor as close to unity as possible. There are several factors that can affect the health of a power factor unit such as ambient heat, dust, over/under sizing of components and wiring, quality of components and the lifespan of different components.
A routine inspection includes the following steps:
- On-site testing
- Physical inspection
- Thermography testing
Details of the routine inspection
When starting the routine inspection, it is vital to understand the current condition of the power factor unit. The technician will check the size of the system and how many steps the system allows for. Then they will test that the unit is bringing in the steps as and when the reactive energy is needed to achieve a healthy power factor.
A physical inspection is then conducted to assess the health of each single component. Each fuse is checked per step, cable size and condition is checked, reactive controller is checked to ensure functionality, control wiring is checked for correct setup of each step, each capacitor is load tested and terminals are checked for loose and safe connections.
A thermography test in completed on the panel as a safety measure to ensure the components inside the unit are not over heating or burnt out. Each component has an optimum temperature level to operate in safe working condition and to ensure lifespan of each component is reached.
Once the routine inspection is complete, a full detailed report is handed over listing all the above information with a qualified opinion on the status of the power factor unit.
What are the risks if a routine inspection is not completed
There is also a major fire risk with power units, especially when routine inspections are not completed. These units can run at substantial temperatures and they also collect dust which can cause an electrical arc in the panel.
Routine inspections reduce the fire risk considerably as these items can be caught in time and preventative measures can be taken.