The life expectancy of electrical hot stick varies. At any point, it may fail depending on the use. But some hot sticks can stay in perfect condition for years if they are well-maintained and are not abused. There are several situations that can cut short the life of a hot stick like when they are accidentally dropped from a significant height, but there are also a number of ways to extend its life and service.
Cleaning the hot stick serves one or two purposes that both ensures safety of the linemen using it. Cleaning is a way to eliminate contamination from the surface which could cause an electrical tracking. Doing this also protects its finish while maintaining its hydrophobic qualities. Silicone impregnated wiping cloths or disposable Silicone Wipes must be used in daily basis for cleaning. It can keep the finish of the hotstick intact. While, Moisture Eater II wipes are used for heavier contamination as it removes both dirt and moisture from the surface.
It's a protocol to perform a visual inspection to the device prior to use. This practice should include checking its proper functioning while searching for any damages, missing parts or loose components, worn out finish, cracks, scratches and fissures or any electrical tracking evidence. If you suspect a damage to the device, remove it from service immediately.
Handling and Care
Stands or tarps are used to keep the hot sticks from touching the ground of mud and dirt. Handle it with care and avoid dropping it for impacts could lead to defects. A special protective tubes, bags or racks are designed to secure hotsticks during storage and transport.
Electrical testing of hot sticks must be done at least once every two years and every time there's an uncertainty to the insulation properties of the hotstick. Frequent periodic testing may be necessary depending on its work condition, level of care and frequency of use. It must be done as well after repairs have been made. A worn out finish can erroneously pass the test when you apply sufficient amount of silicone to its surface. It's important to check it thoroughly. In case it fails the the testing, it must not be used for service until proper repairs are made. Certified technicians must assess the issue, do the necessary repairs, and the hotstick must be subjected again for testing before it can be used again.
Repairing and Refinishing
A minor damage or slightly worn surface can still be repaired to extend its service life. The defective components can be replaced, sustained scrapes and scratches on the surface can fixed. Only a qualified personnel should perform the repairs. Since its the linemen's safety that is at stake here, careful attention should be rendered to these protocols. Doing this can also help extend the service life of the hot stick device.