Intermittent flickering of lights. Computers unexpectedly shutting down. Overheating wires, motors and transformers. Process control devices acting unpredictably. Unfortunately, it isn’t unusual for a facility to experience unexplained power nuisances that can result in these and other unwelcome consequences. After all, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has identified nine common power problems capable of wreaking havoc with sensitive electronic equipment. Ignoring the symptoms of electrical system disturbances is a dangerous gamble that can result in equipment damage, premature failure, data loss and potentially devastating downtime. Yet it can be extremely challenging to ascertain exactly how and where these anomalies are creeping in.
That’s why a growing number of organizations are opting to engage in a power quality audit. One of the most comprehensive, cost-effective measures to ensure the ongoing reliability, efficiency and safety of your electrical system, a power audit identifies issues and provides the necessary data to design an optimal preventive solution. In addition to helping a company combat electrical issues, a power audit can yield ancillary advantages such as enhanced operational efficiency, improved power factor and extended equipment service life. Whether you are aware of existing problems or considering a proactive approach, this type of site survey can be a valuable asset to virtually any environment, including industrial sites, commercial buildings, shopping centers, government buildings, constructions projects, oil platforms and drilling rigs, mine sites and other applications.
During a power audit, engineers will complete a thorough walk-through of the site with the IT manager or facilities director, documenting locations that require back-up power and taking notes. This also provides the opportunity to gather information from company officials regarding any trouble spots that may have been noticed in the facility, such as swelling batteries, error messages or baffling system glitches. Engineers rely on specialized equipment and instruments designed to detect faults and other power issues, giving them the ability to verify an array of factors, from the continuity of the power supply to voltage quality to network frequency disturbances. Engineers will also be on the lookout for anomalies such as over voltages, harmonic distortion, imbalances, reductions of power factor and other threats capable of damaging system components.
After recording parameters and gathering information useful in pinpointing the source of any power problems, engineers analyze the data to diagnose issues and recommend appropriate solutions. The final report, which provides a complete picture of an electrical system’s state of operation, gives customers an in-depth view into their current power strategy, as well as a playbook to ensure ongoing protection and power stability for the facility moving forward. Additionally, the report serves as an important tool to help map out an effective preventive maintenance strategy.
When considering a power audit, it is essential to find a reputable service organization with expertise in this area. At the conclusion, the service provider should identify the potential cost and power savings available to you, then tailor any recommended system to meet the specific needs of your business.
Ultimately, a power quality audit makes for a well-informed IT or facility manager — one who will be much more likely to keep critical equipment up and running and avoid downtime. If you’re interested in ascertaining the overall health of your electrical environment, call Unified Power today.