Dirty Power in the Pump Room Part 2

In Maintenance Tips by David Jerkins

In part one, we discussed what dirty power is, how to detect it, how to avoid it and what it might do to your equipment. Toady we’ll talk more about that last point and focus on a few specific pieces of equipment.

Controllers: Whether it’s chemistry control, autofill control, or any kind of controller. Computers in the pump room are particularly sensitive to dirty power. That said, it’s not a matter of when the dirty power will damage it, but a matter of if. Most types of dirty power, such as sags/surges, distortion, transients can damage the circuitry on the computer. If the issue is strong enough, it will damage the circuitry. Fry a component on the board or cause total data loss. Most equipment comes with some protection, but even the best protection can be beat if the issue persists. Placing controllers on a surge protector, GFCI, or even better a UPS (uninterruptible power supplies), will offer more protection to the device.

Some devices such as controllers may include a watchdog. While watchdogs are outside the scope of this blog, suffice to say: A watchdog is a method of monitoring for malfunctions and resetting after it detects one. A high number of watchdog resets on your device mean that there is a problem, and the device has to reset often. On controllers, this is usually caused by dirty power.

Example of Watchdog on an RSC3 interface (This should never be more than 1 reset. This controller is experiencing dirty power)

Pumps: Pump motors are susceptible to dirty power. Typically, dirty power will shorten the lifespan of the motor. It could also affect performance, dropping the RPMs which can affect flow rate in extreme cases. It can also cause the motor to stall and overheat. If you notice this in the pump room, consider calling an electrician familiar with dirty power to monitor the circuit.

Transformers: Various pieces of equipment in the pump room (Chlorine generators for example) are taking the AC power sent to it and “transforming” it into DC power. The lifespan of the transformer can be shortened by dirty power. Severe enough power issues could also cause overheating, damaging other components in the power supply with the transformer.

Other equipment: These are just some examples of equipment that can be affected by dirty power. There may be many more items in the pump room that are damaged by it. Consult the manufacturer of any piece of equipment you’re worried about to determine how much dirty power affects it.

If you suspect dirty power in the pump room, take immediate action. Call an electrician to place monitoring equipment on the lines to determine if dirty power is present. If it is present, actions can be taken to condition it. Refer to part one of this blog for more information on ways to detect dirty power and solutions to handle it.

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Dirty Power in the Pump Room Part 1