Testing a Breaker: What Common Circuit Checks Are Performed on Your Unit?

Your emergency power system is essential to the lives of people. If power should fail and this precautionary item does not function, many individuals could be injured or worse. System testing makes certain it is ready when needed the most. Component testing and maintenance are required by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA). There are many tests used to evaluate breaker performance. For example, a clamping ammeter can detect system overload. An overloaded system will cause breakers to trip after every reset. A clamping ammeter checks for overloads, detects in-progress shorts, and can verify if a current is being run along the circuit. It is clamped to a single wire for testing. A positive result shows a problem has been detected and helps a professional technician pinpoint the issue easier. The electromagnetic circuit finder is another testing tool which may be utilized. A finder or tracer helps technicians test for a live connection. Breakers do not always trip but instead continue to function while a problem is present. A circuit finder helps a technician in testing a breaker to determine which ones have a live circuit. Both devices assist with troubleshooting a current problem as well as to ensure a problem is not present.

NFPA 110: Providing Safety Guidelines to Professionals

The NFPA 110 is a set of codes regarding both installation, maintenance, and testing of EPSS or Emergency Power Supply Systems. Units are classified into levels based upon human need in the event of power failure. A level one system must be installed if human life or severe injuries are possible. When the system is not as critical to human life, a level two backup unit is required. This set of codes requires a control panel to be installed and tested regularly. The panel must have automatic remote start functionality, a run-off-automatic switch, shutdown components, alarms, and controls. Its location needs to be outside the EPSS service room. NFPA 110 guidelines apply to every portion of installation. They also require component testing and maintenance for system safety.

Testing a breaker is one of the many post installation requirements of these guidelines. As mentioned above, a breaker may be tested for overload, shorts, or a live circuit. Testing may also be performed to find out the current flow of electricity through the breaker panel. Those not in use need to be tested to verify power is not being sent to their wires. Active components must be checked for proper current flow. An electrostatic wand is a device which can tell the technician if a specific wire is hot. This tool allows detection without the risk of direct contact. If current is running to the breaker, a light will appear on the wand. This tool is not as reliable as others but can be a great initial safety precaution during other testing or maintenance. Prime Power technicians may use these and many other tools to ensure your system is ready for operation. Our technicians are highly experienced and trained to supply accurate testing, repairs, or maintenance to your backup power system.

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