After installing an ATS, the next task is to keep it in good condition, usually by following a proper maintenance schedule. Automatic transfer switch maintenance involves a combination of regularly scheduled tests, visual inspections, and routine cleaning. In this article, we outlined the steps to maintain your transfer switch.
Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance
Keeping your automatic transfer switch, ATS in good working order is crucial to ensuring the safe and reliable operation of your backup power system. Neglected, a faulty ATS can become a source of problems that could cause an outage or even an electrical safety risk.
Fortunately, automatic transfer switch maintenance is not difficult or time-consuming, and following a regular schedule will go a long way toward preventing problems. Below are the maintenance activities that every user should follow.
Important: Note that these are general guidelines– always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific maintenance tasks and schedules for your model of ATS.
Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance Checklist
An ATS switch can get damaged in many ways, but mostly as a result of neglect by the user. To prevent early automatic transfer switch failure, manufacturers recommend various activities. These aim to ensure the proper transfer of power. You also get to extend the switch lifespan. The activities include:
- Performing scheduled electrical tests on the switch
- Inspecting the switch for damage
- Cleaning the switch
1. Automatic Transfer Switch Testing
To ensure a dependable power system, it’s important to perform transfer switch tests. The tests should be conducted at least yearly– and more often if the ATS is located in a dusty or dirty environment.
Automatic transfer switch testing requirements may also vary depending on the level of activity. For example, one switch will need to be tested yearly and another quarterly.
Some, such as operating the switch manually, must be done monthly. Here is a list of the automatic transfer switch testing procedures:
- Manufacturer operational terms and other transfer switch specifications are checked and confirmed.
- Performing a pole to contact resistance test.
- Checking that the ATS is operating correctly by manually transferring the load from the utility to the generator and back again.
- Monitoring the automatic transfer switch operation to listen for any unusual noises that could indicate a problem.
- Depending on the specific ATS maintenance requirements, an insulation resistance test may also be done.
2. Automatic Transfer Switch Inspection
In addition to scheduled tests, it’s also required to conduct a weekly visual inspection of the ATS. This will help you identify any potential problems so that they can be fixed before they cause an outage. Check out this automatic transfer switch inspection checklist for the required maintenance activities.
- Looking out for any loose or damaged wires.
- Inspecting the contactors and relays for signs of wear or damage.
- Checking that all the connections are tight and secure.
- Looking for any evidence of overheating, such as discolored insulation on wires or burnt marks on components.
- Inspecting the switch for leakage or signs of moisture
- Making sure that there is no build-up of dust or dirt on any of the components.
- Ensuring LED indicators and timing devices are working correctly.
Additionally, the person doing the inspection must check to ensure the transfer is properly anchored and aligned, and that it’s properly grounded with all cables intact.
3. Automatic Transfer Switch Cleaning
A major part of the automatic transfer switch maintenance process involves performing regular cleaning ups. This will help to prevent problems caused by dust and dirt build-up, such as poor electrical connections or component failure. Below are the steps that must be followed.
- All power to the ATS must be disconnected, including the utility and generator or solar battery power sources.
- Next, a soft brush or piece of dry cloth is used to remove any dust or dirt from the exterior of the switch.
- Then, a vacuum pump is used to suck out any dust or debris from the interior of the switch.
Avoid using a blower. It will blow dust into the switch.
- Finally, the automatic transfer switch is wiped with a clean cloth to remove any residual dust.
In the event that the inspections and tests reveal damage or excessive wear, it’s important to replace the component immediately to avoid a future failure. In some instances, only repair may be needed.
Depending on the problem, automatic transfer switch repair may be as simple as replacing a fuse or contactor. However, if the damage is more severe, it may require a complete automatic transfer switch replacement.
Automatic Transfer Switch Maintenance Tips
Your electrical system is an important installation, especially in a business environment. You want it performing reliably at all times. Here are some additional tips to help you keep your automatic transfer switch in top condition:
1. Make sure that your transfer switch maintenance program is carried out by a qualified person. Electrical systems can be dangerous if incorrectly serviced.
2. If the ATS is used in a corrosive environment, such as a saltwater coast, regular cleaning and inspection is even more important.
3. Make sure that the ATS is installed in a well-ventilated area to prevent overheating.
4. Keep the area around the ATS clean and free of debris to prevent accidental damage.
5. Lubricate moving automatic transfer switch components. Use a high-quality lubricant.
6. Always keep records of all tests and maintenance tasks that are performed on the ATS. The records can be helpful if there are any problems with the switch in the future.
These activities aim to prevent the switch from failing due to neglect. Automatic transfer switch failure can cause inconveniences, equipment failure, and other problems– sometimes even danger.
Proper automatic transfer switch maintenance is essential to the proper functioning of your switch. By following the steps in this guide, you can ensure that your ATS switch will provide years of reliable service. Remember to keep records of all tests and maintenance tasks that are performed on the switch, as these can be helpful if there are any problems in the future.