CAPACITOR BANK MAINTENANCE
If you have power factor correction capacitors within your facility, do you know if they are performing as they should? The Smith & Long Proactive Electrical Maintenance Services Team can provide that answer for you.
The “Power Factor” within your facility has a significant consequence and a direct correlation to the “effective power” you are paying for each month on your utility bill. In principle, the lower your power factor, the higher your utility bill without more “effective work” being accomplished by your electrical infrastructure.
Power factor correction is typically addressed in two distinct approaches, the first as a “stepped” system that will dynamically change in KVARs of capacitance according to the fluctuating demands of the facility. This type of system is generally connected at the main electrical service switchboard to support all downstream loads within the facility.
The second design approach is to provide several capacitors distributed throughout a facility connected to the most significant inductive loads (often motor related) in such a way that when the specific inductive load is active, the associated capacitor becomes part of that load’s operational circuit.
There are a few possible scenarios on the topic of “Capacitor Bank Maintenance” and power factor correction in general, one of which you and your facility will likely apply to:
- Power Factor Correction that has been addressed previously and is regularly serviced, maintained, and your power factor is optimized for your facilities load profile.
- Power Factor Correction that was addressed at some point, but has not been regularly serviced, or maintained, and as such, you do not know if your power factor is currently optimized for your facilities load profile.
- Power Factor Correction that, as far as you know, has never been addressed and as such you do not know if it is good…or bad.
If you fall into Category #1 and you are totally satisfied with your current service and maintenance provider and have full confidence in their reporting to you that your power factor is fully optimized…you are in a minority of facility operators.
If you fall into Category #2, let the Smith & Long Proactive Electrical Maintenance Services Team perform a full proactive maintenance service on your existing power factor/capacitor bank system equipment. This will be a two-pronged approach.
Firstly, to ensure what you have is fully functional. Our proactive maintenance service program will include a visual inspection, cleaning, terminal maintenance, testing, diagnostics, alarms and annunciation verification as applicable. Regarding the testing of the capacitors themselves, individual microfarad readings are taken and recorded, confirming each capacitor is still performing within its nameplate capacitance tolerances. When performing in an active environment, it is not uncommon for the expected lifecycle of a power capacitor to be approximately seven years.
Secondly, we will verify that your existing system is adequate for your facilities loads. This is important as often the system that was put in place originally cannot sufficiently address any subsequently increased loads or changes in load characteristics of your present-day facility.
If you fall into Category #3, let the Smith & Long Proactive Electrical Maintenance Services Team perform a power factor correction needs analysis on your behalf. Depending on the size and nature of your facility, we can provide datalogging to review the dynamic characteristics of your facility’s power factor. Additionally, a cursory review on your behalf of your previous twelve months of utility billings will reveal a lot of information regarding the net average power factor “behaviour” within your facility. Regardless of the approach, upon completion of the needs analysis, a recommendations report will be produced and submitted to you for your consideration, containing system options and potential ROI for the investment.
When it comes to Capacitor Bank Maintenance, Power Factor Correction and in fact all things Power Quality related, contact the Smith & Long Proactive Electrical Maintenance Services Team. We will provide quality proactive maintenance, inspection services, procurement, installations, and education.