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Have you ever experienced a power outage in your shop?

If you ever experience a power outage in your shop, then this post may save you from equipment damage!

Last week a Canada Goose hit a power line knocking out power to Empire and several businesses around us. I am writing to warn you about potential damage to your equipment when the power does come back on!

Our experience was that when the power did come back on only 2 phases of the 3 phase power were restored meaning that 110 volt lights worked and things appeared to be normal but anything that needed 3 phase power like our compressor tried to start but could not.  Our warehouse is relatively quiet so we could hear the motor on the compressor labouring so we quickly shut the main disconnect off at the wall saving us hundreds of dollars in motor repairs.  The next day we received a call from a neighbouring business, they had started their 3 phase saw prior to full power coming back to their building and damaged the motor, now affecting production and about to cost them significant dollars to repair.

Many of the newer pieces of equipment today will have fail safes for this but there is still equipment that has manual motor starters that remain on even when the power does go out. Summer is coming and that means thunder storms and power outages so please be aware of the potential issues that a switch left on can cause – not only on the electrical side of things but from a safety standpoint as well.

If people are in your shop when a power outage occurs, be sure they know to turn the power off on machines BEFORE the power is restored and  don’t restart your equipment unless you are confident that power to the building has been FULLY restored.