Reconditioned Circuit Breakers
Everything You Need to Know
It would take volumes to list the wide variety of makes, models, sizes, ratings, and levels of complexity found in the circuit breaker product category. Regardless of their size or operating parameters, the one thing that ties all circuit breakers together is that they are critical to the protection of life and property. Circuit breakers make safe power distribution, that we all depend on, possible. Electrical power equipment professionals understand this better than anyone.
The critical nature of circuit breakers brings up the misunderstood subject of circuit breaker reconditioning. Contractors and maintenance professionals need to be knowledgeable about the quality of the equipment they install, and the quality of the source of that equipment. There is an obvious concern when it comes to the practice of reusing any safety device, and the more critical the application, the warier any responsible professional should be. The prospect of using reconditioned circuit breakers brings up several important questions: Is it safe to use a reconditioned breaker? Why buy a reconditioned circuit breaker? Are there alternatives to reconditioned breakers? If I do purchase and install a reconditioned circuit breaker, how can I be sure that it meets or exceeds the safety parameters for which it was designed? These are valid questions that need to be addressed to decide if reconditioned circuit breakers are right for your specific application. Here, the experts at ROMAC Electrical Power Equipment will share our sixty-plus years of experience in remanufacturing to help answer these questions and make you a more informed consumer.
Q: Is it safe to use a reconditioned breaker?
A: Yes, as long as you know that the recon shop adheres to ANSI accredited reconditioning standards. PEARL (Professional Electrical Apparatus Reconditioning League) is an example of an organization that has established reconditioning standards that deal with circuit breakers and other electrical equipment. These ANSI accredited standards detail each step of the reconditioning process.
Q: Why buy a reconditioned circuit breaker?
A: Availability is the primary driver that forces professionals to purchase other than new circuit breakers. In applications where downtime is an issue, a matter of hours can make a real cost difference. Reconditioned circuit breakers are very often in stock and ready to ship immediately in situations where new breakers will take days or even weeks to arrive. Reconditioned circuit breakers also allow you to maximize your use of existing electrical equipment. Circuit breaker manufacturers continue to develop new breaker product lines while discontinuing support for previous models. In many cases, circuit breakers for a particular panel board may no longer be in production. Manufacturers will encourage you to upgrade the entire panel board to facilitate their newer product lines. A complete upgrade isn’t always plausible. Reconditioned breakers that are unsupported are available and ready to install. Stock and ready to ship. Purchasing reconditioned breakers from accredited suppliers can save you significant amounts of time and money. It doesn’t hurt that reconditioned equipment helps to reduce waste and pollution as well.
Q: Are there alternatives to reconditioned breakers?
A: If you have equipment that a manufacturer no longer supports, you will likely be forced to upgrade. Some manufacturers will sell new backward-compatible breakers, but at significant cost and usually with a long lead time. There are used and surplus circuit breakers on the market that have not been reconditioned or tested. Unless you are a recon shop, you should avoid any unqualified equipment. Under no circumstances should you buy any electrical equipment based solely on price. Be aware that very low prices may also mean that the equipment has not been properly verified.
Q: If I do purchase and install a reconditioned circuit breaker, how can I be sure that it meets or exceeds the safety parameters for which it was designed?
A: Recon shops that follow ANSI accredited standards have taken care of this concern for you. The PEARL process of reconditioning involves multi-point inspection, testing, reconditioning, post-reconditioning testing, and post-reconditioning inspection procedures for every component in a particular circuit breaker. Each breaker type has a separate and meticulous procedure to ensure that no stone is left unturned during the reconditioning process. Components are inspected, tested, reworked, or replaced, and then tested and inspected again. No circuit breaker, or other equipment, reconditioned in a PEARL recon shop will ship until it has been qualified through this rigorous process. The tolerances used to qualify these breakers has been taken directly from original manufacturer specifications for new equipment. The ability of a recon shop to provide you with test reports and work scopes speaks to the quality of that shop. Always insist on documentation when you purchase reconditioned equipment.
Reconditioned circuit breakers are an excellent option when you can’t get new breakers in the timeframe that you need them, or you can’t get them at all. They can save enormous amounts of time and money, and—like all reconditioned products—they are environmentally friendly. If you want to find out more about PEARL, visit their website: www.pearl1.org and find out more about the advantages of quality reconditioned equipment. If you’re looking for new, used, surplus or reconditioned electrical equipment, visit www.romacsupply.com. ROMAC has tens of thousands of products to meet your electrical power equipment needs and is a member of PEARL.