Preventative maintenance is underrated. It is one of the most simple and effective things that you can do to save yourself time, money and stress. By performing regular checks on your reefer outlets, you are likely to catch any potential problems early-on, and have the opportunity to repair them before anything gets worse. All of us have experienced some level of panic or drama that comes when something that we rely on breaks unexpectedly. Regular maintenance is one way to help and avoid those stressful and unwanted situations.
Reefer outlet maintenance inspections should occur each year, and after any severe short circuit. The work should be conducted by qualified personnel only. Be sure to perform maintenance on equipment only after the power has been turned off, disconnected, and electrically isolated. Move through each step, paying attention to any areas that may require cleaning or replacement.
- Clean dirt and dust from the unit by using a brush, vacuum cleaner, or clean, lint-free rags. Avoid blowing dust into circuit breakers or other components. Do not use a blower or compressed air.
- Carefully inspect all visible electrical joints and terminals in the bus and wiring system. Check and re-tighten all accessible electrical connections to the manufacturer’s torque specifications. If such information is not provided with the equipment, consult a member of the ESL team.
- Carefully inspect all receptacles. Remove any dust and/or dirt by wiping out with a clean lint free rag. Inspect for any cracks or breakage. If any are found, replace the component. Inspect the pins and/or contact sleeves. Look for signs of heating (discoloration) or arcing (pitting). If any are found, replace the receptacle.
- Check that all receptacle covers properly close and seal against the face of the receptacle.
- Visually check all conductors and connections to be certain that they are clean and secure. Loose and/or contaminated connections increase electrical resistance which can cause overheating. Such overheating is indicated by discoloration or flaking of insulation and/or metal parts. Pitting or melting of connecting surfaces is a sign of arcing due to a loose, or otherwise poor connection. Parts which show evidence of overheating or looseness should be cleaned and re-torqued or replaced if damaged. Tighten bolts and nuts at bus joints to manufacturer’s torque specifications.
- Examine any circuit breaker surfaces for the presence of dust, dirt, soot, grease, or moisture. If such contamination is found, the surfaces should be cleaned.
- Examine any circuit breaker’s molded case for cracks. The integrity of the molded case is important in withstanding the stresses imposed during short circuit interruptions. Breakers should be replaced if cracks are found.
- Operate each switch or circuit breaker several times to ensure that all mechanisms are free and in proper working order. Replace as required.
- Do not oil or grease parts of molded case circuit breakers.
- Exercise switch operating mechanisms and external operators for circuit breakers to determine that they operate freely to their full on and off positions.
- Check the integrity of all electrical and mechanical interlocks and padlocking mechanisms.
- Test lamps for proper operation. If the lamps are in a marine environment it is recommended that lamps be replaced every two years.
- Seal off any conduits which have dripped condensate, and provide means for further condensate to drain away from the unit.
- Desiccant should either be replaced or re-activated.
By taking these steps to care and maintain your equipment, you are likely to save yourself from some future headaches that come from procrastinating and waiting for an inevitable break-down that will come in time. Check out our manuals on reefer outlet maintenance for more information, or reach out to one of our team members.