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Dealing with wet/flooded motors: Saltwater becomes a major problem

Publication date: 
August 2019
Author(s): 
Chuck Yung, EASA Senior Technical Support Specialist
Type of media: 
Article

Flooding in the aftermath of tropical storms (hurricanes, monsoons and cyclones) with heavy rainfall will often shut down hundreds of plants along the Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas and other places around the world.

To get them up and running again, maintenance departments and motor repairers face the daunting task of cleaning muck and moisture from many thousands of electric motors and generators. The process in such situations can take weeks, if not months, and requires special clean-up procedures for motors contaminated by saltwater.

Although the problems are huge, affected plants can get back in production more quickly by working closely with service center professionals and following a few tips that will make the cleanup more manageable. These include prioritizing motors and generators for repair or replacement, storing contaminated machines properly, and using proven methods to flush away saltwater contamination. Constructing temporary ovens on site or at the service center can also add capacity for drying the insulation systems of flooded motors.

Topic(s): 
AC motors
Stators/windings
DC motors
Repair procedures and tips