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Factors to Consider Before Deciding to Replace Your Switchgear

by Kyle Marshall

The reliability and performance of an electric grid are usually dependent on the switchgear. The switchgear is the equipment that manages, controls, isolates, and protects electrical equipment from overloads and short circuits which can damage them and interrupt power supply. They are also used to de-energize electrical equipment to allow electrical repair and maintenance work. Regular maintenance practices can extend the usable life of your switchgear. However, with time, you may find that you are not getting the expected service from the equipment. If you are thinking about replacing such equipment, but are unsure of whether it's a smart move, consider these factors which can guide you into making the ideal decision.

Switchgear lifespan

Switchgears have a mechanical and electrical lifespan, both of which are critical in making the replacement decision. The mechanical lifespan refers to the number of switch operations that the switchgear can perform without experiencing electrical loading. The electrical lifespan refers to the maximum number of switch operations that can be performed for a certain size of electrical loading. Factors such as the quality of the switchgear, installation, and maintenance can extend or shorten both lifespans of the equipment. Once any of these lifespans expires, the switchgear has to be replaced.

Application needs

The applications and environment in which a switchgear is used can affect your decision to replace it. Switchgears used in commercial buildings may have been easier to maintain due to fewer cases of overloads and shorts. Also, the equipment can be easily repaired without incurring huge costs.  However, for a switchgear that's used in a large industrial complex, maintenance requirements may be high as it manages high-voltage electrical equipment which may be prone to short circuits and overloads. In such a case, replacing the switchgear can save you from incurring huge costs of replacing other power equipment that may be affected due to a defective switchgear.

Servicing and maintenance costs

Some switchgear system configurations require regular and costly maintenance routines. This may not be a problem when the system is new as maintenance requirements and cases of breakdown are usually minimal. However, as the equipment ages, you may find it failing between inspections or requiring more services than before. In such a case, you may end up incurring huge maintenance and servicing costs, and it would be cost-effective to purchase a new switchgear and get the best service from it.

A switchgear is the heart of the electric grid and ensuring that its operating efficiently is essential for the smooth operation of electrical equipment. If your switchbox are not offering the expected service, you should consider replacing it to prevent damage to electrical equipment.