A commercial space is the engine of a business, and electricity is its fuel. When issues arise with the quality, amount, or reliability of electricity in a commercial building, that engine sputters out and productivity grinds to a halt. Everything from vending machines to printers, computers to air conditioners, depends on a reliable electrical system. So how can commercial space owners in and around Columbus, OH, ensure that the lights are on and machines are running without fail? The answer is power quality analysis.
Power quality analysis is a screening process carried out by electricians to measure a power supply's overall safety and efficiency. This thorough examination determines the quality of a building's power systems, and can protect against power failure and catastrophic accidents by catching common electrical-quality defects.
1. Harmonic Pollution
Harmonic pollution is the result of unsynchronized voltages and currents in a system. This pollution can affect the efficiency of energy use and utility costs, cause damage to insulation, overheat transformers, and negatively impact equipment lifespan. For example, popular and inexpensive fluorescent lighting has traditionally been a culprit when looking for the source of harmonic pollution. However, as commercial spaces modernize and upgrade, the growing amounts of electronic equipment have begun to carry a larger share of the blame for harmonic pollution.
2. Low Power Factor
Power factor is bang for your buck! This measure tells you how much power is being drawn (and paid for) and what percentage of that power is being used efficiently. If the power factor of a commercial space is low, upgrades are urgently needed to bring the building’s efficiency up to par. In fact, if a space’s power factor is too low, electricity suppliers may charge a penalty fee. When an electrician performs a power quality analysis on any commercial space, they’re looking for a power factor between .98 - .92.
3. Load Imbalances
If a “load” is the amount of electricity a building uses, “balancing” refers to the equal distribution of that electricity across the total circuits in the building. As commercial spaces add machinery and employees, more and more power runs through the building. If the additional electrical load to accommodate that usage isn’t addressed by professionals, electrical components will overheat and the panel will be overloaded, possibly leading to a total power failure.
4. Voltage Variations
You’re in the workshop of a building running a table saw, a stereo, and a high-powered lamp. Someone in the adjacent workroom turns on the heater, and…everything fails. Without the heater on, the power usage in that area of the building was stable. With the variation in power use introduced by the heater, the electrical system failed. The sudden increase or decrease of the amplitude or voltage is typically due to random heavy equipment failure, old electrical systems, and even dysfunctional electrical devices. These dramatic variations are a significant power quality issue and require professional solutions.
Power quality issues can arise regardless of the size of a commercial space. These events can originate inside a facility, from neighboring buildings, or even from the power company. Regardless of the source of a power hiccough, a thorough power quality analysis by Cogburn Electric will inform you of potential weaknesses in your building. Our professional and knowledgeable electricians in Columbus, OH, will go the extra mile to ensure that your electrical systems are optimized to run smoothly, reliably, and safely.
Get in touch with Cogburn Electric to chat about scheduling your power quality analysis.