When Does the Age of Your ATS Become a Problem?
How confident are you in the reliability of your Emergency Power Supply System? Has your facility been blessed with one of the few transfer switches deserving of a nickname? If “Old Faithful” or “Built Like a Tank” doesn’t ring a bell, then you may need to consider the age of your system as a contributing factor to its performance.
For some of us, hitting a certain age can be unpleasant, but it’s not always because we’ve neglected our health. Consider the last time you needed a new vehicle. Sure, sometimes we just want that newer model, but let’s focus on the “need” in this scenario. One of the most common reasons why people get a new vehicle is due to their reliability and safety. When the cost and frequency of repairs begins to outweigh the general reliability of your car, the benefits of something new become increasingly tempting. Sometimes the decision to upgrade is easy, but there are some factors to consider before you can transfer your collection of guilty pleasure CDs over to your new car. Unless you have Bluetooth now, which I highly recommend. But that begs the question, “how old was your last car?” Did you know Bluetooth has been around for 20 years? Does that skew your perception of time a little?
The point here is that nothing lasts forever, and technology moves faster than we realize. What we find most often in the field is that if your ATS is 10 years old or more, you may start to experience signs of aging. Older technology can only be repaired so much before it needs to be replaced with something more advanced, efficient, and reliable. Think of all the wear and tear parts that are involved in an electrical system. Retrofitting something newer to an old piece of equipment can be difficult when the right parts become difficult to find.
Even if you’ve been maintaining your ATS to NFPA 110 standards, upgrades are inevitable in the long run. Upgrades to your system or building like an elevator mod may even require a newer switch to satisfy the change in demand. Regardless of your situation, there will come a time when your ATS will exceed its useful life and begin to cause problems in your operations.
Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself:
Have I ever had problems with it transferring from normal power to emergency power?
What about back to normal power?
Did my ATS not perform as expected during a test or inspection?
Did my ATS not work at all during a power outage?
Did I have to replace any timing cards or relays lately?
Is my ATS microprocessor controlled or old relay and timer controlled?
Have I had / Am I planning to do an elevator mod at my site?
Depending on how you respond to some of these questions, you may already be getting a pretty good idea of how old your equipment is. And often times age isn’t that big of a problem if you’re prepared for it. Replacements can be quick and straightforward with proper planning. But when you’re playing catch up during the eventual failure, you may end up spending more time, energy, and money than you needed to.
Remember: maintenance doesn’t stop aging, but it will make a significant difference in overall performance. The age of your system may not be at the top of your to-do list, but I can assure you that it plays a major role in efficiency and reliability. If you are unsure about your ATS, or want to know more about its current condition, give us a call.