When used in coastal areas and marine applications, it is not uncommon for an AC electric motor to become flooded. Fresh water doesn’t cause too many problems, but salt water can cause conduction and shorting, which subsequently lead to burning out. This is disastrous for many people and applications, as getting a new one might be difficult – you will experience downtime until it can be replaced, which costs you money, and they’re quite expensive to purchase.
If your motor has been flooded with salt water, you can bring it back to life using the following process:
- Wash the motor with distilled water
The use of distilled water will enable you to remove all of the salt and minerals that may be present. It’s important that you clean each of the components carefully, as you don’t want to accidentally cause any more damage than has already been done by the salt water.
- Remove grease and oil deposits
In order to remove any grease or oil deposits that may still be present, you will need a suitable electric grade solvent (such as electrosolve). Essentially, you are trying to return the motor to a state similar to that when it was brand new – no contaminants.
- Dry the stator windings
The best way to dry out the stator windings is with a low power source or lamps. The windings are incredibly delicate, so it’s recommended that you don’t dry them using a cloth or anything like that. It might take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to dry them completely.
- Remove the water vapors
Once you’ve washed the AC electric motor, it’s important to ensure that the rest of the work is conducted in an open space or that you have set up extractor fans, as this will help to remove the water vapours. When flooding occurs during winter, this can take days.
- Re-varnish the windings
Now that the stator windings are clean and dried, you will need to re-varnish them thoroughly. This is because the salt water will have eaten away at the original varnishing. You need to ensure that the windings receive adequate protection when the motor is running.
- Check the insulation resistance
After re-varnishing the stator windings, you will need to leave them to dry again. Then, check the insulation resistance. If everything checks out, the motor should be ready to go. If you try starting it and experience problems, however, the damage just may be too extensive.
We hope that you found the above information useful in bring your AC electric motor back to life after it has been flooded by salt water. Keep in mind that the length of time the motor was filled with water and the length of time it was left prior to undertaking the above process can affect its likelihood of working. If you believe that it’s still experiencing problems or there has been no change, it looks like it’s time for a professional repair or replacement.