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How to Protect High-Voltage Insulators against Contaminants

  • July 11, 2019

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Protect High-Voltage Insulators

High voltage insulators are the backbone of a power distribution system. They are critical components of a high-cost energy transfer setup that protect the conductors and transmission lines on a high-voltage grid.

While any electrical supply system requires insulators for smooth functioning, high-voltage transmission systems need insulators to prevent costly outages caused by equipment breakdown. Any undesired outage can cost the local economy millions in lost revenue, which is why more and more energy distribution companies are adopting a proactive approach to insulator maintenance.

Here are some important tips to help you understand the role of regular maintenance for high-voltage insulators.

Protect High-Voltage Insulators

  • Insulation of electrically charged components in a high-voltage environment is generally achieved using an oil insulator. Glass, gas, wire and vacuum insulators are also used in smaller settings.
  • Homes, public services and commercial establishments are dependent on uninterrupted power supply. This is possible if large power distribution systems are in top shape. As an insulator is constantly exposed to eroding elements, companies must be regular in cleaning and repainting insulators to control contamination.
  • The most common contaminants that affect the performance of an insulator include engine exhaust fumes, soot, ash, mineral salts, dust, smog, carbon deposits and grime. While some of these can be washed away by wind or rain, gradual deposition forms stubborn layers that need to be removed using special cleaning materials. In addition, high-quality protective coating is used to prevent further damage by the elements.
  • High-voltage insulators can continue to remain functional despite the strain caused by erosion, but they can catch you off guard with a breakdown caused by excess heat or poor upkeep. Bill Johnson from Utility Service & Maintenance, Inc.explains that regular maintenance and cleaning of high voltage insulators is essential in preventing failures.
  • Different cleaning substances are used to keep different types of deposits on an insulator. Tough deposits are best removed using dry substances and special cleaning pastes are applied to eliminate contaminants without damaging the surface of the insulator. Seasoned utility maintenance professionals use a combination of the most effective cleaners to protect a high-voltage insulator.
  • Most contaminate deposits on a high voltage insulator can be removed with deep cleaning. But if the damage has gone deeper and has caused punctures in the equipment, you may need to have some components replaced. Have a qualified professional inspect the insulation to determine if the parts can be repaired.
  • To minimize disruption in energy distribution and reduce upkeep costs, companies must execute a well-planned maintenance schedule. A cleaning service once every six months will keep high-voltage insulators in good shape and help prevent expensive repairs. Opt for a yearly maintenance plan as it is more cost-effective and ensures regular inspections, timely cleaning and prompt repairs in case of damage.
  • When having your utilities serviced, make sure to hire an experienced and reliable cleaning company with well-trained technicians who have the required experience and know-how to do a good job.
  • Lastly, always have your electrical equipment cleaned and serviced by a certified OSHA technician.