The Importance of Acceptance Testing

Before we can begin to talk about “Acceptance Testing”, you may or may not understand the phrase. Acceptance Testing pertains to all new electrical components. These are either purchased from a distributor, or even a manufacturer, but have never been put into “service”, i.e. energized.

When a building is being remodeled, or even rebuilt, a lot of engineering goes into whether or not the electrical system needs to be replaced. A new building will have to have a new electrical system installed. All of the new equipment or components need to be tested for electrical integrity and safety.

Most people often ask, “Do I really need to get this tested?” or “This is just a waste of money, it’s all smoke and mirrors”. For some electrical testers, its a formality and brings home the bacon! For the test guys who genuinely care about their product or want to do whats best for the customer, there is a lot of pride and importance on the job that is performed.

In the Washington DC area, there are a lot of government facilities and entities located here. “Most” government know the importance of testing. I use “Most” in quotations because, it never fails, that you will run into a government employee that thinks testing is a complete waste of money.

That is, until we can show the importance of testing. Pictured below is a recent case I ran into that expresses the importance of testing before equipment is energized. This is 15,000 volt equipment and it did appear to have “test stickers” by a test company. But a good test technician could have eliminated the emergency outage that had to take place.

15kV Switchgear Heater Clearance

Low voltage heater placed within 1 inch of 13,800 volt bus

15kV Switchgear Acceptance Testing

Another low voltage heater that is almost touching the energized 13,800 volt bus

15kV Switchgear Bus Erosion by Heater

After a year of being installed in close proximity to the heater, constant arcing ate away at the bus

15kV Switchgear Acceptance Testing

This picture shows a heater about 1 inch away from energized bus. It also shows service loops that could have been placed under the enclosure.

15kV Switchgear Utility Acceptance Testing

There are many more ways to explain why testing your electrical equipment before energizing is money well spent. But people tend to respond to visual references more than just words.

Be safe out there!

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