top of page

The main causes of switchgear failure and how to avoid them

Switchgear failure results from a number of different reasons. Some are due to problems with the equipment itself, while others are caused by external factors. Regardless of the reason, electrical switchgear failure can have serious consequences. Here is a list of the most common switchgear failure causes.

1. Faulty Switchgear Connections

A switchgear connection refers to the bolted, screwed, or welded joint between the different parts of the switchgear. Over time, these connections can loosen due to vibration or other factors. When this happens, it can cause an electrical arc that could damage the equipment or start a fire. This type of failure is often caused by poor switchgear maintenance.

2. Degraded Switchgear Insulation

Switchgear insulation is used to prevent electrical shocks. It can also help prevent fires by providing a barrier between live electrical parts and arc quenching or cooling. Over time, insulation can degrade due to heat, chemicals, or other factors. When this happens, it can lead to switchgear failure.

3. Improper Switchgear Service

Switchgear should be regularly serviced by qualified personnel. Switchgear service includes periodic cleaning, inspection, and testing. Sometimes, however, service intervals may be lengthened or skipped altogether. This can lead to a build-up of dirt, dust, and other contaminants that can eventually cause the switchgear to fail.

4. Old Switchgear Components

Like any other type of electrical equipment, switchgear has a limited lifespan. The older the switchgear, the more likely it is to fail. That’s why it’s important to keep up with the manufacturer’s recommended replacement schedule. This includes replacing old switchgear parts, as well as upgrading to new switchgear when necessary

5. Environmental Causes

Switchgear is designed to withstand a certain range of environmental conditions. However, extreme conditions can still lead to failure. This includes things like high humidity, high temperatures, or even salt air. External causes of switchgear failure also include animals, like rodents, getting into the equipment.


bottom of page