Winterizing Maintenance Checklist
As winter approaches, plants should begin to turn their thoughts towards winterization and prepare for the cold weather conditions they will soon be facing. Maintaining your heating system before the winter months will help avoid costly, un-expected downtime. To help our customers prepare for the unique challenges posed by cold weather, we've created an industrial winterizing checklist.
PERFORM A MEGGER TEST ON ALL HEAT TRACING CIRCUITS
An insulation resistance (IR) or megger test checks the insulation resistance of both the cable and power wires to isolate potential faults to ground. The megger applies a voltage (1000-2,500 VDC, depending on the type of cable) between the metal braid or ground and the cable's heating core. Perform an insulation resistance test on each heat tracing circuit as detailed in product installation and maintenance manuals. Confirm that values are consistent with product specifications indicated.
GROUND FAULT BREAKERS SAVE LIVES
The NEC requires all heat tracing to be protected against ground faults. All ground-fault breakers should be tested according to the manufacturer's instructions. If your heat trace control circuits do not have ground fault breakers, anyone working on mechanical or electrical at your plant could have their safety compromised, and you should consider upgrading your controls that will provide ground fault.
CHECK YOUR COMPONENTS AND CONNECTION KITS
Visually inspect heat trace components. Improperly installed or damaged connection kits, termination kits, etc, can result in water ingress, corrosion, or the loosening of electrical connections. Check the components against installation documentation to confirm that the installation is correct. Ensure that all component locations are marked with the Electrical Connection labels.
CHECK YOUR CONTROLS
Before the winter season, review settings and alarms on thermostats and controllers to ensure that they are properly set. Also, perform all basic maintenance procedures as found in product operation and maintenance manuals.
INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE RECORDS
Keeping records of maintenance and testing will allow you to verify what system tests have been completed, original electrical values, etc. This information can be valuable in determining if the system is operating properly over time and help with preventive and predictable maintenance.
Insulation Integrity Check
Missing, damaged or wet insulation reduces thermal efficiencies increasing heat loss that can render electric heat tracing completely ineffective or extremely inefficient. Visually inspect all lines for missing, damaged or wet insulation. Proper insulation plays a critical role in the overall heating system.
Check Emergency Inventory/Spares
Stocking spare components and cable will allow for timely repairs or replacements should you have a failure of your heat tracing system. Know your local supplier and where local inventory is kept should an emergency arise.