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What Is Electrical Maintenance?

By Cassie L. Damewood
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Electrical maintenance is the upkeep and preservation of equipment and systems that supply electricity to a residential, industrial or commercial building. It may be performed by the owner or manager of the site or by an outside contractor. The work is commonly performed on a schedule based on the age of the building, the complexity of the electrical system or on an as-needed basis.

The main areas of general electrical maintenance commonly include the power outlets and surge protectors, generators and lighting systems. These supply sources are checked for structural integrity as well as internal stability. The maintenance plan normally includes the regular replacement of burned out fluorescent and incandescent lights. Many building managers in recent years have refitted their lighting systems with energy saving bulbs and elements.

Preventive maintenance is also generally part of a building’s upkeep. This plan ordinarily includes the scheduled inspection of large systems and equipment by a professional electrician. The purpose of these periodic assessments is to fix small problems before they escalate into large ones. This is particularly important at plants, hospitals and factories that heavily rely on these systems for daily operations.

Electrical generators, switches and circuit breakers are regularly checked for solid connections and intact wiring. If flaws are discovered, electricians normally make repairs. Depending on the condition of the wiring, the repairs are typically made by splicing wires together. In some situations, they are encased in metal tubing called conduit to protect them from wear. Keeping the wiring in good shape ensures a consistent flow of power to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

To guarantee the steady, uninterrupted flow of electricity to buildings, electrical maintenance is ordinarily performed by licensed industry professionals. These maintenance electricians normally have building specifications, wiring and equipment diagrams, and blueprints at their disposal to make sure they inspect all areas. They typically use a variety of hand tools, including hand drills, pliers, wire cutters, screwdrivers, knives and conduit benders. Voltage, amps and ohm meters are commonly used in the maintenance operations.

If there are specific areas of concern in a building’s electrical system, the maintenance crew may use specialized testing methods and equipment to isolate the problem. Power transformers are commonly analyzed as well as substation components and the construction of the site’s transformers. The testing procedures generally require a good understanding of switchgears and system design to comprehend how all of the electrical system elements interrelate.

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Discussion Comments
By uniqturtl — On Jun 11, 2011

@FebFM10 - Electrical plant maintenance is a wide field, with jobs at plants varying in their scope of work. Most technician jobs require (at the minimum) a 2-year technical associate degree. Many also require a journeyman's license. The job positions that are lower in status are usually given to those with less education, with the higher paying jobs going to those holding a journeyman's license.

Supervisory positions are open to those people holding a master electrician's license or even an electrical engineer's degree, depending on the requirements of the job.

By FebFM10 — On Jun 09, 2011

What type of degree of educational background do you have to have to do electrical plant maintenance?

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