Disinfectant fogging is an established process used in industries such as pharmaceutical, healthcare facilities, critical production, and laboratories. The process converts liquid into a mist which is then dispersed into the atmosphere. There are several different fogging processes including hand-held fogging and stationary fogging. The method of fogging, type of chemicals, and concentrations vary based on the application.
Excessive fogging, failure to follow established guidelines, and utilizing the wrong disinfectants may lead to failures of vulnerable electrical and electronic components. The consequences of fogging may not result in an immediate failure.
Early warning signs include:
- visual evidence of corrosion
- contaminated surfaces
Typically, fogging is utilized to efficiently eliminate germs and contamination on exposed surfaces and difficult to reach areas. Unfortunately, the disinfectant mist may get into electrical enclosures. The mist can settle on electronic components and may lead to corrosion of microelectronics and circuit board components. The result can be corrosion of metal surfaces and discoloration of wire insulation. These effects can range from minor discolorations to shorting and failure of the electrical and electronic components. The individual circuit board and electronic component failures are more likely than a complete system deterioration.
The severity of the fogging effects has many variables including:
- Frequency and duration of applications.
Do dispersions occur daily for months, or every few days for weeks?
- Method of dispersion.
Do dispersions occur in wide-open areas or are they directed near enclosures and equipment containing electronics?
- The type of disinfectant.
Are Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) available for the disinfectant? Is the disinfectant selected based on a total risk assessment of effectiveness and potential negative consequences?
- Knowledge level and experience of fogging personnel.
Is an experienced vendor or untrained personnel utilized?
Is the technician trained in proper fogging methods and aware of the hazards of the applied disinfectants?
- Environmental rating of the electronic enclosures.
Are the cabinets ventilated? Do they have a filtering system? Are the cabinets equipped with fans that draw air into the cabinet? What is the proximity of the air intake to the fogging nozzle?
- The operational status of the equipment.
Is the electrical equipment energized and operating during fogging? Is the equipment properly shut down before fogging?
For more information on fogging and electrical components, NEMA’s complete COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting Guidance for Electrical Equipment is available for download here.
The tips offered here are intended to complement and not replace the recommendation of the equipment manufacturer. For more information on loss prevention and preventative maintenance CLICK HERE.
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