How to Carry out Proper Switchgear Maintenance

Switchgear maintenance
Switchgear maintenance

Switchgear maintenance involves many things, from carrying out inspections and making repairs to keeping the various parts of the equipment clean. As with any other type of electrical equipment, regular (and proper) maintenance of switchgear will keep it working smoothly and prolong its lifespan. Read this guide for more.

What is Switchgear Maintenance?

Switchgear maintenance means all of the various activities necessary to keep switchgear functioning properly. This can include anything from regular inspections to more involving tasks such as keeping the equipment clean.

While the actual activities involved in maintaining switchgear vary depending on the type of equipment involved, there are general principles that should be followed in all cases.

For example, maintenance of electrical switchgear must be recorded in a logbook so that there is a record of what has been done and when. This is important not only for legal reasons but also so that potential problems can be detected and dealt with early enough.

Switchgear Maintenance and Testing

Switchgear maintenance includes lots of different activities. One of the most important of these is testing. Switchgear testing helps to identify any potential problems so they can be fixed before serious damage occurs.

Different types of switchgear require different tests and testing equipment too, so it’s important to know which ones are relevant for the equipment you’re dealing with. For example, GIS switchgear maintenance requires a different approach since it’s contained in SF6 gas chambers.

High voltage switchgear maintenance requirements would also be different from those of the low voltage type. These tests should also be done by a qualified person, such as a switchgear engineer, using specialist equipment.

Electrical switchgear testing, short circuit test
Electrical switchgear testing, short circuit test

Types of Switchgear Maintenance

Switchgear companies usually provide recommendations for ways to maintain their equipment. These include the dos and don’ts that users must follow strictly. Generally, the switchgear maintenance requirements will usually be classified into the following types:

  • Predictive Maintenance
  • Preventive Maintenance
  • Corrective Maintenance

Switchgear Predictive Maintenance

Switchgear predictive maintenance is a type of maintenance that is carried out before any problems with the equipment arise. This can involve carrying out tests to identify potential issues and then taking steps to fix them before they cause any damage.

Predictive maintenance is often seen as the best way to maintain switchgear since it can help to avoid costly repairs or replacements. It is also less disruptive than other types of maintenance since it can be carried out while the equipment is still in use.

Switchgear Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance means activities that aim to prevent potential problems from arising. This often includes performing scheduled maintenance practices such as visual checks and making sure that the equipment is clean and free of debris.

Switchgear preventive maintenance, just like predictive maintenance, will help to prevent problems before they occur. It helps to lower the costs of operating the equipment and can also prolong its lifespan by keeping problems at bay.

Switchgear Corrective Maintenance

Corrective maintenance is carried out after a problem has already occurred. This type of maintenance involves repairing or replacing parts that have been damaged or making adjustments and upgrades to existing equipment.

Switchgear corrective maintenance helps to ensure that the equipment is safe to use and that it can continue to operate correctly. It can also help to prevent further damage from occurring in addition to ensuring power distribution systems do not suffer prolonged downtimes.

Switchgear cleaning
Switchgear cleaning

Switchgear Preventive Maintenance Checklist

A proper switchgear maintenance procedure is required, or the maintenance activities will be ineffective and, in some cases, dangerous. It’s also important to have the right tools and equipment for the job. The following is a list of preventive maintenance activities that should be done on switchgear.

1. Top of the switchgear preventive maintenance checklist is moisture inspection. Moisture is a major cause of switchgear problems and failure. Start by inspecting the switchgear assembly for moisture or leaking.

2. Next, inspect the switchgear panels and doors for any visible signs of damage such as cracks, dents, or other physical damage such as peeling paint.

3. Check all fasteners for tightness and other weaknesses. Loose connections can cause electrical problems such as arc flashes. Test bolted connection resistance using an ohmmeter. Refer to the manufacturer instructions for correct switchgear torque settings.

4. Inspect every switchgear connection for corrosion. Corroded connections can cause equipment to fail. This includes cable terminations. Ensure the cables are properly arranged and not cracked or stripped of insulation.

5. Make sure vents are not blocked and that there is adequate ventilation around the equipment. Check the filters to ensure they’re clean if the switchgear uses them.

6. Test all major switchgear interlock functions to ensure their proper operation. Try to open closed parts. Close open components to test their functionality.

7. Inspect the switchgear for proper grounding and other necessary requirements such as correct alignment and anchorage. If any of these is out of the specified requirements, take immediate action to correct it.

8. Operate/exercise the circuit breakers to ensure they’re working correctly, especially if they are subjected to frequent operations. Make sure they trip when they’re supposed to and that they reset correctly.

9. Test all indicators and similar equipment to ensure they’re functioning properly. Make sure they’re visible and that you can hear them.

10. Clean all parts of the switchgear assembly. This includes the inside and outside of panels, doors, and other accessible areas. Lubricate sliding and other mechanical parts if necessary once done.

11. Inspect all switchgear insulation for damage. Damaged insulation can cause electrical problems such as arcing. Use the appropriate methods and equipment to do insulation resistance tests.

12. Check all relays for proper operation. Make sure they’re energizing and de-energizing when they’re supposed to.

13. Check switchgear heaters for proper operation. Make sure they’re keeping the equipment at the right temperature.

14. Inspect the switchgear transformers for any physical signs of damage such as broken insulation, damaged windings, or loose connections.

15. Check the switchgear voltage and current rating to ensure they’re within the manufacturer’s specified values.

Once you’ve completed the switchgear preventive maintenance, you should have a good idea of the condition of the equipment. If you find any problems, make sure to repair or replace.

The switchgear maintenance checklist includes complex activities. A qualified person should, therefore, oversee the process to test or maintain switchgear. This person should have the required experience to carry out the work safely and effectively.

Switchgear repair, just like inspection, requires a qualified person to carry out. This will help avoid the danger of errors that may damage equipment and even, worse still, result in safety risks. Switchgear training should be provided to ensure workers are conversant with the equipment


Switchgear operation and maintenance are inseparable. To ensure a switchgear installation is working as it should, a maintenance program should be put in place from the outset. This will help to avoid any unnecessary downtime and associated costs.

The frequency of switchgear maintenance will depend on a number of factors, including the type of equipment, the environment in which it is installed, and the level of use. However, as a general guide, most manufacturers recommend that switchgear is inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.

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