Maintaining Batteries, Part
Maintaining for Energy
Savings, Part 3
Failure Frequency Analysis
NEC in the Facility
Answer to Electrical
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Working with management and supervision
National Electrical Code® on the production floor
Safety procedures and programs
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The designations "National Electrical Code" and "NEC" refer to the
National Electrical Code®, which is a registered
trademark of the National Fire Protection Association.
Batteries, Part 2
To ensure your stationary batteries are there when you
need them, look closely at how your maintenance procedures address the
- Load testing. This is a classic case of “less is more.”
Although load testing will tell you how much runtime your batteries can
provide, it reduces that runtime each time you perform this test. Some
battery experts believe the only time to load test is when submitting a
warranty claim for premature battery failure.
- Internal resistance testing. This test allows you to
the condition of your batteries. If you trend the test results, you can
proactively maintain and replace individual cells to optimize overall
- Thermal monitoring. Battery performance varies with
temperature, as does the charging rate. In multi-tiered batteries, each
tier will be at a different temperature and thus require a different
charging rate. Monitor the temperature of each tier.
- Charging rate analysis. This is a bit of a black art, but
well worth pursuing with a battery specialist who practices it. A
charging rate that is too high will reduce battery life, and one that
too low will reduce capacity.
Energy Savings, Part 3
Have you ever revised the factory settings on your HVAC
controls? If so, what procedures and references did you use? See if you
can answer the following questions:
The answers to these and other questions can produce energy savings in
the way you maintain your HVAC. The manufacturers of your equipment
should be able to help you find those answers.
- Do you know what the airflows are supposed to be at various
measurement points, and do you have the test equipment to test them?
- When measuring airflow in your system, are you using Pitot tubes or
electronic airflow sensors?
- Do you know the correct settings for the variable speed drives on
- Does your system have manual or automatic intake air vane controls?
If so (either way), how do you ensure these are positioned correctly at
any given time?
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Your plant controller mentioned at a staff meeting that
utility bills were higher than budget last summer. And that’s after
you raised the office air temperature settings by two degrees and put
locking covers on the thermostats. Now with winter setting in, you’re
under the gun to solve this before the next cooling season.
The building envelope doesn’t leak and no new equipment has been
added, so your boss thinks the HVAC system is the culprit. How can you
track down what’s going on?
The answer to this question appears at the end of this
The ways to track and analyze failure frequency are
numerous and diverse. MBAs and financial types like charts laden with
cost data, and quality-control people like probability analysis.
Although these are useful tools, they don’t provide the information
most critical to the maintenance function.
You need to identify and fix the equipment failure causes, to
maximize the flow of product through the plant. Answers to two
will help you:
We’ll take a closer look at this in our next issue.
- What are the equipment priorities based on plant safety and product
- What is the failure history of the critical equipment?
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NEC in the
Article 501 provides the requirements for Class I
locations. These are areas in which flammable gases or vapors are (or
may be) present in sufficient quantities to produce explosive or
ignitible mixtures [500.5(B)].
Class locations are further broken down into Division 1 (normal
operations) and Division 2 (abnormal operations).
- Use Division 1 wiring methods when combustibles are present under
normal operations [501.10(A)].
- Use Division 2 wiring methods when combustibles are present under
abnormal operations [501.10(B)].
Most people know that being distracted by a cell phone
while driving isn’t safe. We can probably even pick out a chatterbox
driver from a distance just by observing the traffic. Understanding why
it’s unsafe can help you stay protected while doing electrical work.
The human brain cannot multitask. When you try to do two things at
once, your brain has to switch between tasks. The switching costs are
what cause the danger.
In one study, people sat in a test room with monitoring equipment
took on the role of drivers. Each of them had periods of "brain
suspension," in which they didn’t process new information. It
matter whether they were speaking into a phone or to the person next to
them. The distraction of carrying on a conversation caused lapses in
attentiveness to the primary task.
Any time you’re around electrical equipment, focus on the primary
task. If another person wants to chatter, stop working. Let that person
know you can’t work safely and listen at the same time.
Electrical Troubleshooting Quiz
The following tests will help you quickly identify
the energy losses are in your HVAC system:
- Use an IR camera to examine the roof curbings for leaks.
- Use an IR camera to examine all interior ductwork, where exposed,
for leaks at the seams.
- Measure the current draw on each HVAC motor and compare to the
nominal calculated current. This is a quick way to isolate efficiency
losses. They may be due to any number of causes, both electrical and
- Conduct the airflow tests recommended by the manufacturer (e.g.,
airflow across the coil). Adjusting the blower speed and/or damper
position to obtain the recommended air flow can provide significant
- Inspect condenser unit vanes. These are often out of sight, out of
mind. Open crushed vanes with a vane comb made for that specific type
vane. If the vanes are clogged with debris, clean per the
manufacturer’s approved methods.
- Check airflow around condenser units. Ensure there are no obstacles
blocking free airflow around these. For pad-mounted units at grade
level, look for vegetation, pallets, and vehicles that are in the
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