What’s the Real Cost of Electrical Equipment Failure Due to Water Ingress from the Recent Storms in North America?
With the recent storms that have affected North America, we have all seen the pictures, videos and reports regarding the water damage that resulted from broken and busted pipes. Freezing temperatures, massive amounts of snow and power outages have wreaked havoc across the country, disrupting the residential and commercial landscape.
For businesses, big and small, the costs are piling up in the aftermath. From lost profits to product and building damages, businesses are suffering. To add insult to injury, many have most likely dealing with electrical equipment failure due to water ingress. There are a multitude of costs that arise from electrical equipment failures during storms and natural disasters. Some of those costs are:
- Complete System Failure[s]
- Product Loss: Clean-up, quality control, waste
- Labor and Service: Emergency hires, insurance, contractors, travel
- Replacement or service for damaged equipment
- Material Costs: Disposal, shipping, storage of inventory
- Loss of Life
Additional capital will be needed for all of the above, as well as all the inconsequential costs that will add up daily due to the failure of electrical equipment. The longer the repair or replacement, the higher the variable costs rise and take on a life of their own. Businesses often go bankrupt from electrical equipment failure, especially during storms and natural disasters. The consequences are severe and far reaching.
Ingress Protection of Electrical Equipment
The black hole of equipment failure costs can be avoided with planning and preparation. In order to prevent electrical equipment failures, it is important to have an understanding of what causes them in the first place. Let’s look at the primary causes of electrical equipment failure.
- Water ingress
- Loose connections or parts
- Power disturbance
- Foreign objects/Dust/Dirt/Oil
In order to prevent electrical equipment failures, a business needs to adhere to preventative maintenance, however, even the best PM schedule and checks can’t protect from the unexpected. Although preventative maintenance has proven to significantly reduce electrical equipment failures, it does not keep them safe from accidents and nature. Ingress protection can only be achieved with an enclosure. A submersible enclosure will keep electrical equipment clean, cool, and dry.
SLAYSON enclosures range from junction boxes to standard and compact submersible, watersheds, cabinets, and more. SLAYSON works with various industries such as automation and controls, military, maritime as well as oil and gas. With the use of enclosures, you can keep your electrical equipment systems protected from both solid and water ingress.
The Real Cost of Electrical Equipment Failure
To understand the real cost of electrical equipment failure and property damages from flooding, we are going to look back to the year 2010. It was the month of May, and Nashville, Tennessee, along with surrounding counties, experienced severe flooding. Loss of life was more than two dozen, and the cost of damages to property estimated close to $2 billion. Flash forward to the recent snow storms here in North America, and estimates of damage are already reaching $18 billion mark, and that is in the state of Texas alone.
When electrical equipment becomes submerged or damaged due to the incursion of flood water, melting snow or clean water from burst pipes in residential, non-residential or commercial property, facility structures and personal safety are threatened. It is well known that water and electrical power sources can be extremely dangerous and often deadly when encountered. When electrical equipment is submerged or comes in contact with water, it is generally incapable of being properly reactivated and operational
While all water damage to electrical system components is bad, floodwater is especially destructive. The reason for this is because of the contaminants present in the water. Contaminants will cause corrosion, destroy the integrity of the system and disable protective components.
Electrical systems are engineered to disconnect the supply of electricity in order to prevent injuries, electrical fires or damage to the rest of the system. However, that is not usually the case with water damage. When the protective components of the system become damaged by water, they often cannot disconnect the supply of electricity to the system. It is noted that moisture in general causes 17.4% of electrical equipment failures. All of this can be avoided when a proper enclosure is used for ingress protection.
Electrical Equipment Enclosures
Electrical equipment enclosures are cabinets or boxes built to prevent shock and protect equipment, either electrical or electronic. These enclosures are specifically made from materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, steel or rigid plastics. Enclosures are rated to protect electrical equipment from hazardous and non-hazardous conditions as well as environmental circumstances. They may also be used to shield against electromagnetic and radio frequency interference. An enclosure is utilized in a variety of applications such as building, industrial, and utility to protect the following types of equipment:
- Circuit breakers and controls
- Panel and distribution boards
- Telephone cabinets
- Pressurized systems
The National Electrical Manufacturers Association, NEMA, was created to form the technical standards by which manufacturing of electrical equipment adheres. Enclosures must be made in accordance with the NEMA technical standards and have a stated rating. The ratings are as follows:
NEMA1 – For indoor use only, protects against solid ingress.
NEMA2 – For indoor use only, similar to a NEMA1 but can protect against light splashing or dripping of water.
NEMA3 – Rated for indoor and outdoor use, can protect against both water and solid ingress, as well as the formation of ice and windblown dust.
NEMA3R – For indoor and outdoor use, protects against both water and solid ingress, as well as the formation of ice. It is similar to a NEMA3 enclosure, but CANNOT protect against windblown dust.
NEMA3S – Similar to NEMA3 but allows for external mechanisms to still be operable when ice is present.
NEMA3X, 3RX, 3SX – The X signifies corrosion protection.
NEMA4 and 4x – A 4 is similar to the 3, but protected from direct water(hose). The 4X has corrosion protection.
NEMA6 – For indoor and outdoor use, protects from object ingress (fingers and dirt), direct water, ice formation and temporary submersion.
NEMA6P – Similar to NEMA6, but NEMA6P can handle prolonged submersion to a limited depth and has corrosion protection.
NEMA12 and 13 – For indoor use, protects against indoor settled dust and drips, as well as the ingress of objects. Considered basic level protection. The 13 is the same, except with protection from oil and coolant splashing.
Enclosures designed by SLAYSON are rated NEMA6P and IP68, and are made from various materials that include marine grade 316 stainless steel, aerospace grade aluminum and engineered polyurethane composite. Working directly with its customers, SLAYSON will engineer the solution that is right for your intended application.
With the largest selection of submersible waterproof enclosures in the world, SLAYSON is the subject matter expert regarding underwater protection for electrical equipment. From 15ft(5m) to 1312ft(400m), SLAYSON enclosures can meet the needs of your application, no matter the industry or environment.
As the global leader in IP/NEMA rated enclosures, SLAYSON has over 20 years of experience in defense, engineering and infrastructure. To inquire about our line of enclosures or accessories, contact us and let our design team discuss your needs.